What to serve with chili from essential toppings to side dishes. A hearty bowl of chili is a staple for the fall and winter seasons. Here are some fun ways to elevate that pot of chili and different ways to serve it.
During the fall and winter months, there is nothing quite like a comforting pot of chili. It's hearty, full of flavor, and can be served with a variety of fresh toppings. Chili really is one of the best comfort foods!
One thing I love about chili is its versatility. It can have tons of fresh produce, can be vegetarian, meaty chili, bean-less and even different flavor profiles.
It can be made in a slow cooker, large pot, instant pot, or in a cast iron over a campfire. There is no wrong way to make a big bowl of chili.
Whatever type of chili you prefer, there are so many different ways to elevate it. From toppings to side dishes, this guide will give you all kinds of ideas to serve with your chili as well as different dishes to turn it into.
No matter what recipe you use and what is in your chili, there are lot's of different toppings you can add! This will give you even more flavor and textures to your chili. Here are some great options:
Fresh Produce: Chili can be pretty heavy at times so adding fresh produce is a great way to lighten it up a bit. Here are some ideas:
- Green Onions
- Yellow Onions
- Diced Tomatoes
- Diced Jalapeños
- Lime Wedges
- Diced Avocado
- Diced Olives
Cheese, Cream and Sauces: For hot chili, adding a touch of dairy is a great way to thin out a bowl of chili and add some creaminess to it.
Creams and cheeses are a great way to tame the spiciness of the chili for pickier eaters.
Here are some ideas:
- Sour Cream
- Cheddar Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Pepper Jack Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Hot Sauce
Something Crunchy: Sometimes adding a different texture to a dish really takes it from good to great! Since everything is sautéed down and cooked, chili tends to have a softer consistency.
Add in one of the things below to bring more texture to your bowl.
- Tortilla Strips
- Tortilla Chips
- Potato Chips
- Oyster Crackers
- Sourdough Croutons
Make the best chili bar by having all these toppings as options for your next chili night. A chili bar is perfect for your next large gathering or game day party. Chili is always a crowd pleaser!
On its own, chili is the perfect dinner and can typically stand alone. However, it is always nice to have a variety of options for a meal. The best side dishes are a potato, roasted veggie, or bread of some kind.
Below are different chili side dishes:
Other Side Dish Ideas:
- Sweet Potato Fries
- French Fries
- Tater Tots
- Hot Dogs - Make a chili dog
- Garlic Bread
- Green Salad
- Cheesy Bread Sticks
- Brussels Sprouts
- Onion Rings
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
🌭Ways to Serve Chili
Maybe chili on its own is getting underwhelming. Here are some ways to take this dish and recreate it into something completely new.
Chili Dogs: There is nothing quite like a loaded chili dog. Simply serve any chili over a hotdog on a bun and finish with your favorite toppings.
Baked Potato: Baked potatoes are great on their own, but make them even better by serving with a warm pot of hearty chili. It's a great way to add some protein and create a full meal.
Leftover Chili Cheese Dip: Use a couple of cups of your leftover chili and create a dip everyone will love. Simply warm the chili up, and add in the cheese until melted. Serve with chips and be the hero of the party.
Chili Mac: Add in some cooked elbow noodles and shredded cheese for a fusion dish the whole family will love. The hearty and robust chili paired with a creamy Mac and cheese make a perfect meal.
Over Nachos: Simply spread over chips, add on some shredded cheese and bake until melted for a loaded pan of nachos.
Freeze For Later: Most chilis will freeze really well. Just make sure there is no dairy before freezing.