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What Goes with Chili?

A row of red chili peppers on a hot grill.

When serving a delicious bowl of hot chili, many people like to have a side or two to go with it but are not sure what to pair with their bowl of chili. The sides you choose will depend on the type of chili that you are making and what will satisfy your taste buds.

You can also jazz up whatever type of chili you are cooking by adding chopped onion, a bell pepper, jalapeño peppers, beef broth, olive oil, and even smoked paprika or garlic powder to change up the flavor of your chili. Whether you’re fixing chili con carne in a slow cooker or a white chicken chili in the crockpot, adding different types of beans can also change the flavor of your chili.

The different types of beans you can use range from dark red or light red kidney beans, pinto beans, or even hot or mild chili beans. You can add a diced tomato to your pot of chili as it boils on the stove or even beef broth while cooking it over an open fire. Basically, anything goes when you are cooking up this popular dish.

Whether you or making a red chili that features ground beef and diced tomatoes or using a red Chile pepper in your homemade pot of deliciousness, leftover chili will always be the best food to eat the day after it is cooked.

Chili bars have become as popular as the tried and true fun events of chili cook-offs when it comes to this type of dish and there are many items you can include on your chili bar. Some of the most popular items to add to a bowl of chili is a dollop of sour cream in the center of their bowl of chili or shredded cheeses, such as cheddar and Mexican cheeses, that can be melted over the top of your bowl of chili.

You can also add uncooked diced onions and tater tots to your chili bar to round out the meal for your guests. You can even include an appetizer or two on your chili bar for people to munch on before they dig into their bowl of homemade chili.

If you have ever wondered what goes with chili, we have several answers to that question for you to consider before creating your next delicious bowl of chili goodness. Here is our list of many side dishes and even a dessert or two that you can serve up with your next bowl of hearty chili.

Related: 15 Different Types of ChiliHow to Store Chili | Types of TortillasEasy Homemade Chili Recipe

Easy Cornbread

A bowl of chili with a couple of cornbread slices.

Cornbread is the most popular side dish to serve with chili. You can make cornbread from scratch using a recipe that you may have that’s been handed down for generations, or you can opt for the easier way by simply grabbing a box of a Jiffy corn muffin mix, adding some water to it, then baking it in a round or square pan in the oven.

Smother your piece of cornbread in butter and pair it with your bowl of chili and you won’t be sorry. This is a delicious side dish option and rounds out a very filling meal that will leave your family and friends satisfied the rest of the day.

Classic Cornbread Muffins

A small pot of chili with three of cornbread muffins.

You can also use your box of Jiffy mix to make cornbread muffins by simply pouring the batter into a cupcake pan complete with the paper cupcake holders if you wish. These muffins are fluffy and moist and also taste great with a bowl full of chili after you smother them in butter. They are a great side dish to go with chili and are easy to include on a chili bar when serving a group of people.

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Bowls of crispy sweet potato fries.

Another great side dish to serve with chili is a plate of baked sweet potato fries. Not only are they delicious, but they are very healthy for you also. They are lower in carbs than regular French fries and easy to fix by simply cutting up a few sweet potatoes and popping them in the oven after seasoning them well. They can cook while your chili simmers on the stovetop or in the crockpot. You will end up with a side of lightly crispy goodness to go with your bowl of chili.

Mexican Sweet Potatoes

This is a bowl of chili with Mexican sweet potato fries on top.

While we are on the subject of sweet potatoes, you can serve up Mexican sweet potatoes on the side with your chili. These sweet potatoes are baked until they are tender then smothered in black bean sauce and a tangy cilantro sauce for extra deliciousness.

You could always change up what type of sauce are you use if you are serving it with chili with beans, a bean salsa may make you feel that it is bean overload, so you could opt for tomato-based salsa instead. You can just pop these in the oven to bake while you check on your chili simmers on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker.

This is also a great option if you are with serving a large crowd at a chili supper or a party since you can make several of these at once to put out on display for your guests. They are delicious and festive looking for your table too as an added bonus.

French Fries

A bowl of French fries with chili on top.

If sweet potato fries or baked Mexican sweet potatoes are not your things, you can certainly serve up a big plate of potato French fries with your bowls of chili for your family and friends. There are many variations you can go with, including loaded bacon Ranch French fries with cheese, or frozen French fries that you just pop in your oven.

You can also use a Fry Daddy to cook your cut-up potatoes and turn them into a batch of crunchy French fries or use the latest craze, an Air Fryer, to cook up a plate of crispy season French fries while your chili is cooking.

Salads and Cornbread Croutons

This is a plate of salad with chili and chicken toppings.

Contrasting a hearty bowl of chili with a lighter side salad, garden salad, Caesar salad, or some other type of salad is a great way to get a healthy serving of fresh vegetables while making a delicious meal. If you opt to make a Caesar salad with creamy Caesar dressing, crispy cornbread croutons are a great option to top off your salad. You can also use these croutons on top of any of the other types of salads you can choose from to go with your chili.

You can make your own crispy cornbread croutons the same way you make cornbread. Simply create the cornbread then cut it up into small squares and deep fry or bake in the oven after seasoning well and you will have a delicious batch of cornbread croutons to go on top of your salad.

Flaky Homemade Biscuits

Sets of flaky homemade biscuits with chili.

You can make a batch of buttermilk biscuits or buy already made buttermilk biscuits to go with your pot of chili. These biscuits are delicious smothered in butter and warm honey. These biscuits are a great option to also use on a chili bar when you are serving a lot of people.


A basket of freshly-baked homemade popovers.

Popovers or dinner rolls can be served with bowls of chili but many people are not sure what a popover is. It is actually a kind of dinner roll but the center is filled with air. Popovers got their name from the fact that when you bake them they are literally popping over the sides of the pan when you take them out of the oven. You can whip up a batch of these while your chili is boiling on the stove.

Tater Tots

This is a close look at a bowl of tots with chili on top.

You can pop a bag of tater tots into your oven and bake them while your chili simmers so they will be ready for your friends and family to eat when the chili is done. Some people even like melted cheese on top of their tater tots then you can add that if you want. Tailored tops aren’t an easy option to go with your chili at dinner time or to place on a chili bar for a larger group of guests.

Baked Potato

This is a piece of baked potato topped with chili and cheese.

Baked potatoes in even loaded baked potatoes that include bacon, ranch dressing, and cheese are great options to go with a bullet chili. Whether you like your big potato with just butter and sour cream, plain, or loaded, baked potatoes go very well with chili.

Onion Rings

A chili cheeseburger with a side of onion rings.

Like tater tots, onion rings can simply be popped into the oven or the air fryer to serve up with your chili. The added onion flavor is a welcome contrast to the spicy chili.

Refried Beans

This is a look at a bowl of refried beans and nacho chips.

Depending on which type of chili you are making, refried beans are a great option. If you are making a Mexican-style chili or using the chili as part of Taco night, refried beans are the side you should choose.

Macaroni Elbows

A bowl of chili with macaroni elbows.

Many people love to port their bullet chili over a bed of macaroni elbows or mix the macaroni right into the pot of chili and serve it all together.


A plate of spaghetti aglio e olio with chili.

If you have made a pot of Skyline chili, also known as Cincinnati Chili Con Carne, you will definitely need to serve it over a plate of spaghetti and top it off with some diced onions, kidney beans, and cheddar cheese.


Two bowls of rice with toppings of chili.

Many people love to eat their chili over the top of a bowl of rice. You can use any type of rice you want, including white rice, fried rice, or brown rice. A bowl of chili made with pork tastes great over a bed of jasmine rice.

Melted Cheese

A traditional Mexican dish that has melted cheese and chorizo.

Many people enjoy melted cheese on top of their steaming hot bowl of chili. You can use any type of cheese for this but most people seem to opt for yellow or white cheddar cheese.

Tortilla Chips

A bowl of chili con carne with tortilla chips.

Tortilla chips are a great option to go with chili especially if you are making taco salads with your chili. They are also a great option to place on a chili bar.


A bowl of chili with crackers.

Crackers are an old staple when it comes to bowls of chili. For generations, people have put crackers in their chili. It is definitely a great option to offer people you are serving your chili to since so many people are used to having crackers with their chili.

Grilled Cheese

Skewered grilled cheese with chili.

A grilled cheese sandwich tastes great with a bowl of chili. You can make your grilled cheese sandwich with any type of cheese you desire.

The Chili Bar

A close look at a chili bar that has a pot of chili surrounded by various ingredients.

You can place anything you want on your chili bar but there are several items that seem to be staples for most chili bars. Shredded cheese in a bowl works well on your chili bar, so guests can put the amount they want on top of their bowl of chili. Cheddar cheese is usually the type of cheese that is used, but you can use any kind you want, and it will also depend on what type of chili you are serving as to what kind of cheese you want to place on your chili bar.

Another option is to chop up an onion and other veggies that people may want to add to their chili. Sour cream is a very popular option on chili bars since a lot of people like to place a dollop of sour cream in the center of their bowl of chili. Many of the sides that are given as options in this article can be placed on your chili bar, including tater tots, French fries, tortilla chips, and more.

Desserts with Chili

Skewered chili and chocolate bars over a fire.

There is an array of different types of desserts that go well with chili, including yogurt and cinnamon sugar bread. Many people opt for apple strudel or an apple crisp since a lot of people serve chili during the fall months of the year when apples are plentiful and popular. Lemon bars and peach shortcakes are two other options that many people serve with a pot of chili along with lemon yogurt parfait, Key Lime Pie, and Raspberry Tiramisu.

Six FAQs About What Goes  Well With Chili