44 Best Side Dishes to Pair with Chili

While a warm bowl of chili can be incredibly satisfying on its own, it’s often the perfect accompaniment that elevates the meal to new heights. Whether you’re craving something light and refreshing or rich and filling, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 44 must-try side dishes that are sure to complement your favorite chili recipes.

From classic pairings like cornbread and rice to more adventurous options for those who like a little heat, there’s something for everyone. So go ahead, get creative with your meal, and discover the ultimate side dish for your next big bowl of chili.

Twice Baked Pepper Stuffed Potatoes

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These vibrant potato bites burst with flavor from the combination of chopped peppers, onions, and tangy pickled jalapenos, providing a bold and piquant kick. Meanwhile, the harmonious union of sour cream and butter imbues each bite with a silky, indulgent texture that’s simply irresistible. As an added bonus, this recipe makes for an excellent accompaniment to chicken wings – try it as a side dish for your next gathering!

Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes

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With minimal effort and a handful of ingredients, you can effortlessly produce Hasselback potatoes that are both crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy within. The key to achieving this perfect balance lies in selecting potatoes with a higher starch content, such as Russet or Yukon Gold varieties, which will yield a satisfyingly crunchy skin without sacrificing tenderness.

Air Fryer Mashed Potatoes

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To prepare the simplest and quickest mashed potato recipe, look no further than this air fryer method that requires just five minutes of prep time. To begin, place baby potatoes in the air fryer basket, followed by a light drizzle of oil to ensure even cooking. Once cooked, remove the potatoes from the air fryer and mash with butter for a creamy consistency. This recipe is not only quick and easy but also versatile, making it an excellent side dish option for pairing with brisket or other hearty meals.

Gouda Smashed Potatoes

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Indulge in the ultimate comfort food combination: succulent golden potatoes perfectly balanced by the savory flavors of oil and garlic. The second round of baking elevates this dish to new heights, as a velvety layer of gooey gouda cheese is infused with an addictive crispiness that will leave everyone craving more.

Air Fryer Jacket Potatoes

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To create these scrumptious jacket potatoes, you’ll only require a trifecta of fundamental components: potatoes, oil, and salt – not to mention the convenience of an Air Fryer in your culinary arsenal. Feel encouraged to get creative by incorporating herbs, spices, and personalized toppings to elevate the flavor profile. The result is a harmonious balance of crispy texture and fluffy interior, making them the perfect accompaniment to your favorite spicy chili or other indulgent pairings.

Chili Lime Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Slices

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The sweet and tangy flavors of these potato slices harmonize in a delightful culinary experience that’s far from typical. Not only are they mouthwateringly delicious, but they’re also incredibly healthy and nutritious. What’s more, they cater to various dietary requirements, being vegan, paleo, and gluten-free – making them an excellent option for your next gathering or cookout. Whether you’re serving a vegan main course or a juicy steak, these sweet potato slices are sure to please the palate.

Garlic Butter Instant Pot Red Potatoes

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For a hassle-free and delicious twist on classic mashed potatoes, these Garlic Butter potatoes can be made either in an Instant Pot for added convenience or using a covered baking dish for a traditional oven-baked approach. The addition of stock infuses the potatoes with a rich, savory flavor that’s simply irresistible – they’re so tender and fluffy, it’s like they’re melting in your mouth as you take each bite.

Healthy Sides for Chili

If you’re seeking a nutritious accompaniment to elevate the star of your meal, such as a hearty bowl of chili, consider pairing it with one of these eight mouthwatering options that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Air Fryer Parsnip Fries

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Indulge in the delightfully complex flavor profile of these root-veggie sticks, which seamlessly blend sweet, nutty, soft, aromatic, and smoky notes. The clever combination of paprika, garlic, and maple syrup ensures a truly explosive culinary experience.

To elevate their health benefits while minimizing oil usage, consider employing the trusty Air Fryer instead of deep-frying these treats.

Butter Lettuce Salad

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Accompanying a meal with a green salad is an excellent way to incorporate essential nutrients into your diet. By incorporating avocados, radishes, and chives into the mix, you’ll create a nutritious and satisfying side dish that will impress with each bite. The combination of creamy avocado, crunchy radish, and subtle chive flavors harmonizes perfectly when dressed in a light mustardy lemon dressing. This refreshing and tangy creation offers a clean mouthfeel that’s sure to please even the most discerning palate.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

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This unconventional salad eschews the usual suspects – think tomatoes and cucumbers – in favor of a harmonious blend of tangy tamarillos, creamy goat cheese, nutty parmesan, crispy breadcrumbs, and an abundance of aromatic depth. The real showstopper, however, is the oregano-infused vinegar dressing that adds a bright, refreshing quality to each bite, perfectly complemented by the subtle presence of basil and lemon zest. Whether you’re seeking a light and revitalizing summer dinner option or simply looking to shake things up in the salad department, this flavorful fusion is sure to hit the spot.

Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats

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Get ready to wow your cookout guests with this mouthwatering grilled zucchini recipe! By halving the zucchinis, coating them in a flavorful Mexican spice blend, and grilling them to a smoky perfection, you’ll be creating a dish that’s sure to become a crowd-pleaser. But it’s the creamy topping – a masterful mix of mayo, yogurt, and crumbly feta cheese – that truly elevates this recipe from good to great. Its refreshing tanginess provides the perfect contrast to the charred sweetness of the grilled zucchini, making for a truly unforgettable culinary experience.

No Mayo Creamy Cranberry and Walnut Coleslaw

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Indulge in a symphony of flavors with an ensemble cast of cabbage, carrots, green onions, cranberries, and walnuts, all harmoniously combined with a creamy and tangy dressing. This refreshing bite is elevated by the subtle sweetness of maple syrup, which plays a crucial role in balancing out the other ingredients. For optimal results, avoid substituting the maple syrup with honey or another sweetener, as this could disrupt the delicate flavor profile. To achieve the perfect consistency, rely on full-fat yogurt to thicken the dressing, preventing it from becoming too runny and ensuring a delightful texture that complements the crunchy vegetables.

Raw Zucchini Carpaccio with Shaved Manchego

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Summer’s sweetness comes alive in a harmonious balance of zucchini ribbons, shaved Manchego cheese, and citrusy lemon. As the salad’s refreshing essence mingles with the spicy undertones of hot chili hints, every bite is a delightful symphony of flavors. To elevate this culinary symphony, be sure to incorporate both the juice and zest from the lemons, allowing their zesty notes to tie the dish together in a beautiful flourish.

Sweet Potato Beet Salad

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Savoring the harmonious blend of roasted vegetables, creamy cheese, and crisp greens, this salad is a symphony of flavors and textures. The sweetness of sweet potatoes shines through, making it a standout ingredient that’s difficult to replicate with other options. When paired with succulent pork chops, this dish becomes a match made in heaven.

Southwest Salad

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This Southwestern-inspired salad brings together a medley of bold flavors, featuring corn, juicy tomatoes, creamy avocado, crisp red onions, and romaine lettuce. A generous helping of cheddar cheese and crispy bacon add a satisfying depth to the dish. The real star of the show, however, is the tangy dressing, infused with the brightness of lime juice, the subtle heat of jalapenos, and the freshness of cilantro – it’s a true taste sensation.

Bread Sides

Imagine the perfect harmony between the bold, zesty flavors of chili and the satisfying crunch of a well-made bread slice. The key to achieving this ultimate comfort food experience lies in selecting the right bread recipe that can stand up to the rich, spicy goodness of your favorite chili. Whether you’re looking for a classic comfort food or something new and exciting, here are some top-notch bread recipes that will elevate your chili game.

Instant Pot Cornbread

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Indulge in a golden and crispy cornbread that pairs perfectly with chili – it’s a match made in heaven! The key to this addictive recipe lies in the unexpected addition of pumpkin puree, which adds a depth of flavor and subtle sweetness. Meanwhile, the sharpness of cheddar cheese provides a tangy contrast that will leave you craving more. For an added layer of complexity, try incorporating crumbled bacon into the mix. As the maple syrup mingles with the cooked bacon, the result is a delightful harmony of sweet and savory notes.

Soft Homemade Garlic Knots

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Indulge in the delightful texture of these garlicky bread knots, boasting a tender interior and crispy exterior. To achieve this perfect balance, simply brush the knots with garlic and herb butter before baking. For an added touch of elegance when hosting dinner parties, sprinkle the finished product with coarse sea salt and garnish with dried herbs for a beautifully presented centerpiece on your table.

Gluten-Free Cornbread

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Crafted with a unique blend of ingredients including cornmeal, almond milk, and coconut oil, this gluten-free cornbread not only accommodates dietary restrictions but also boasts a healthier profile. For those looking to minimize their sugar intake, feel free to substitute the traditional sweetener with a granulated alternative. This versatile recipe can be easily adapted for individual servings by baking it in a muffin tin, yielding a dozen small and satisfying cornbreads.

Brown Butter Maple Beer Bread

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Indulge in the perfect accompaniment to your favorite chili recipe – a delectable brown butter bread infused with the richness of maple syrup and the subtle depth of beer flavors. This delightful treat boasts an impressive texture, balancing light and airy interior with crispy, crunchy edges that will leave you craving more. The best part? You can whip up this heavenly bread in no time at all, sans yeast and kneading – a game-changer for busy home cooks or anyone looking to add a touch of elegance to their mealtime routine.

Honey Butter Rolls

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Tiny breads, infused with the warmth of honey butter, elevate even the most comforting stews and chilis. Their soft, buttery texture is a perfect complement to rich, savory dishes. While their natural sweetness is undeniable, it’s equally easy to omit the honey and indulge in a more traditional buttery treat. The versatility of these bite-sized breads lies not only in their flavor profile but also in the simplicity with which they can be adapted to suit individual tastes.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

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A harmonious union of jalapenos and cheddar elevates this tender bread to new heights, infusing it with a delightful balance of spicy and tangy flavors that seamlessly pair with a wide range of Mexican-inspired dishes. For an added layer of indulgence, consider incorporating diced bacon into the dough, resulting in satisfying protein-rich bites that will keep you going.

Garlic Parmesan Knots

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Wrapped in a crunchy exterior and boasting a soft, fluffy interior, these cheese-filled knots are a delight to behold. A sprinkle of dried herbs adds an extra layer of flavor before they emerge from the oven. The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity – store-bought pizza dough makes it quick and easy to prepare, making it perfect for those impromptu dinner gatherings that require minimal fuss.

Buttermilk Biscuits

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Indulge in the soft, airy delight of these scrumptious biscuits, an ideal accompaniment to your daily meals. With their luscious buttery flavor and flaky texture, they provide a delectable foundation for any culinary experience. For an added depth of savory goodness, consider incorporating cheese or herbs into the dough, elevating the biscuit’s versatility and appeal.

Crusty French Baguette

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Imagine sinking your teeth into a warm, crusty loaf that’s bursting with flavor and texture. This rustic bread recipe delivers exactly that – a crispy exterior giving way to a light and airy interior that’s simply irresistible. And the best part? It’s incredibly easy to make, requiring minimal fuss and waiting around. Whether you’re serving it alongside soups, stews, or chili, this delicious bread is sure to become your new go-to companion.

Garlic Naan

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Don’t let the thought of making naan for the first time intimidate you – this recipe is designed to be approachable and easy to follow. The end result is a deliciously simple and straightforward bread that’s sure to please. Once topped with a rich, garlicky butter, these irresistible rounds will vanish in an instant.

Rice Sides for Chili

For those who consistently opt for rice as their go-to accompaniment to chili, we’ve curated a selection of mouth-watering recipes that will elevate your comforting mealtime routine.

Instant Pot Brown Rice

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This delectable dish is perfect for feeding a crowd, requiring only three simple ingredients. The best part? It’s cooked to perfection using the Instant Pot, eliminating any uncertainty. Feel free to get creative by adding your personal touches and spices, elevating it to your taste.

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice

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This aromatic basmati rice is an exceptional accompaniment to any meal, boasting a harmonious balance of refreshing citrus notes and earthy herbal undertones. To elevate its flavor profile even further, consider incorporating warm spices like cumin or cinnamon, which will imbue the dish with an added layer of depth and complexity, ultimately enhancing the overall dining experience.

Fiesta Saffron Rice

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This show-stopping saffron rice recipe is the perfect addition to your special occasion feasts, guaranteed to leave your guests clamoring for more. The combination of caramelized onions, crunchy bell peppers, sweet peas, and aromatic saffron infused into every grain is a match made in heaven. What’s more, this delightful side dish requires a mere 10 minutes of prep time, making it an effortless yet impressive accompaniment to your next dinner party.

Oven-Cooked Rice

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Discover the simplicity of oven-cooked rice without the fuss. This game-changing technique requires just a few basic ingredients: uncooked rice, boiling water, and a touch of salt and butter for added flavor. No preliminary boiling or stovetop preparation necessary. Simply place your rice in a single baking dish, cover with foil, and let the oven do its magic to yield perfectly cooked rice every time.

Turmeric Rice

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When it comes to pairing turmeric rice with other dishes, the possibilities are endless. Not only does it complement the bold flavors of Indian curry, but it also harmonizes beautifully with spicy chili con carne. The underlying earthy tone of turmeric is expertly balanced by the pungency of onions and garlic, creating a culinary experience that’s as much about aroma as it is about taste. Meanwhile, the subtle nuance of bay leaf adds another layer of depth to this savory delight.

Best Sides for Chili

To elevate your chili experience and leave your guests in awe, consider incorporating one of the following recipes into your gathering. By doing so, you’ll not only complement your favorite chili dishes but also add a unique twist that will make the evening truly unforgettable.

Crispy Corn Fritters

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Indulge in a delightful fusion of flavors by combining pancake mix, eggs, beer, and corn to create mouthwatering corn fritters that effortlessly please even the most discerning palates. The exterior’s satisfying crunch perfectly complements the tender, fluffy interior, making these scrumptious bites an excellent accompaniment to any protein-rich meal.

Classic Corn Casserole

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Alongside your spicy chili, any side dish loaded with corn is sure to be a hit. This corn-rich recipe, made by combining a corn muffin mix with creamed and whole corn, yields a pudding-like delight that’s one of the best Mexican side dishes I’ve ever had. Its ease of preparation and budget-friendliness make it an excellent addition to any meal.

3-Ingredient Candied Jalapenos

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For those who crave a culinary thrill, these candied jalapenos offer a sweet and spicy treat. Simply combine sugar, water, and your favorite Jalapenos, then cook until they’re syrupy and perfect for pairing with any meal. A word of caution: if you’re working with extremely hot peppers, be sure to remove the seeds to avoid amplifying the heat even further.

Sweet Potato Rolls with Maple Bacon Glaze

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Indulge in the delightful fusion of flavors as two whole teaspoons of warm cinnamon infuse the sweetness of honey and butteriness, creating a harmonious balance. The subtle yet distinct spice enhances every bite, making it a crucial component of this indulgent treat.

Imagine tender sweet potatoes enveloped in a soft, crumbly dough that gives way to crispy perfection on the outside, all while being elevated by the rich, velvety texture of maple-glazed bacon. This mouthwatering combination will leave you craving more.

Cinnamon Paprika Sweet Potato Fries

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Indulge in the delightful union of sweet potatoes and cinnamon, elevated by the smoky depth of paprika – all wrapped up in a crispy French fry package. This oven-baked recipe is the ultimate guilt-free indulgence, ideal for satisfying your snack cravings or serving as a side dish to accompany your favorite meat-based meals.

Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts

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In a remarkable 15 minutes, you can transform ordinary Brussels sprouts into an extraordinary accompaniment for your chili, thanks to the harmonious union of deep garlic flavors and zesty lemon notes. The subtle sweetness of these mini cabbages is elevated by the aromatic properties that unfold as you sauté them. To add a touch of sophistication, consider sprinkling Parmesan cheese generously just before serving – it’s a game-changer.

Keto Cornbread Chaffles

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Indulge in the rich flavors of cornbread without the carb burden. These keto waffles, crafted with corn extract, cheese, and eggs, deliver a satisfying taste experience that’s reminiscent of traditional cornbread, minus the excess carbohydrates. And let’s not forget their visually appealing shape – a waffle, perfect for serving and presenting.

Cheese Cauliflower Rice

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This cauliflower delight combines the richness of cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar, and mayo to create a velvety-smooth experience that’s both creamy and cheesy. The best part? It’s incredibly easy to prepare – simply load it up with your desired cheeses and condiments, then let the magic happen. If you’re in a hurry or want an alternative to baking, consider steaming the ‘rice’ first, followed by a quick microwave melt of the cheese on top. This convenient method still yields a deliciously cheesy outcome, minus the need for extra oven time.

Sauteed Mushrooms

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When it comes to elevating a meat-based dish, sautéed mushrooms in garlic and butter are the perfect comfort addition – and that includes chili. The key is to let those mushrooms reach a rich, dark brown color before deglazing the pan with broth. This crucial step not only adds depth to the flavor but also prevents skipping over this vital component.

Cornbread Pudding

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Indulge in the ultimate comfort food combination – a rich and velvety cornbread that beautifully complements your chili. This delectable dish boasts an extraordinary texture, veering away from traditional bread-like consistency to evoke the tender essence of a soufflé. For added depth and satisfying bites, feel free to incorporate chopped vegetables or crispy bacon, elevating this match made in heaven to new heights.

Savory Cornbread Pudding

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Savoring the warmth of comfort food, this cornbread pudding brings together the bold flavors of Mexico with the comforting familiarity of chili con carne. With its spicy, cheesy goodness, it’s a side dish that’s sure to become a new favorite. While this recipe remains straightforward and easy to follow, feel free to add your own flair by incorporating additional herbs and spices to make it uniquely yours.

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