18 Tasty Side Dishes To Serve With Chili

There’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of chili on a cold day, accompanied by a medley of savory sides that elevate the experience from mere sustenance to a satisfying meal. With so many options to choose from, it can be daunting to decide what to serve with your favorite chili recipe.

From classic comfort foods to innovative twists, here are 18 mouthwatering side dishes that pair perfectly with a hearty bowl of chili:Breadsticks and baked potatoes offer a satisfying crunch and warmth, while sweet potato fries and soft pretzels add a touch of sweetness.

Bread Sticks


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The allure of savoring crispy breadsticks smothered in rich chili is undeniable. Fortunately, crafting these tasty treats from scratch isn’t a daunting task. Breadsticks effortlessly complement a wide range of meals, making you the go-to chef in your household once you’ve mastered the art. What’s more, this recipe allows for creative experimentation, enabling you to personalize your breadsticks with garlic butter, cheesy goodness, or even vegan alternatives using plant-based butter and oil. With versatility like this, it’s no wonder we’re fond of this recipe.

Baked Potatoes


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A staple in many cuisines, the humble baked potato is incredibly versatile and can complement a wide range of meals with ease. This includes pairing perfectly with hearty bowls of chili. To achieve the ideal baked potato, the key lies in striking a balance between crispy skin and fluffy interior. The secret to achieving this harmony? A crunchy crust of salt, preferably sea salt, applied during the baking process.

The salt on the surface of the potato serves as a natural desiccant, drawing out excess moisture and resulting in a delightfully light and airy center. To replicate this technique, simply brush your potatoes with olive oil before generously sprinkling them with fine salt.

A bonus to consider: leftover chili can be transformed into a satisfying topping when spooned over a freshly baked potato. The combination is nothing short of magical.

Sweet Potatoes


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For those who crave the comforting combination of baked potatoes and chili con carne but are mindful of their carb intake, a sweet potato offers a delightful compromise. When served alongside steaming bowls of rich chili, these naturally sweet tubers are sure to please even the most discerning palates. While they’re perfectly enjoyable on their own with a pat of butter, you can also customize them with your favorite toppings – the choice is yours. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes is so pronounced that honey isn’t strictly necessary, though we won’t judge if you do choose to add it; after all, treats are meant to be enjoyed!

Sweet Potato Fries


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When it comes to deciding what to pair with beef chili, French fries may initially come to mind – and that’s a completely understandable preference. However, consider giving sweet potato fries a second glance. Not only do they offer the perfect balance of crispy texture and savory flavor, but they’re also surprisingly easy to make. Unlike their potato counterparts, these sweet potato treats are seasoned to perfection, ensuring a delightful combination of sweet and salty notes that complements the rich flavors of your chili nicely.

Soft Pretzels


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Who can resist the allure of soft pretzels? When paired with a warm, savory bowl of chili, they form a match made in heaven. The unique texture of soft pretzels – crispy on the outside and soft within – makes them an ideal complement to the rich flavors of chili. One of the best things about this combination is that it’s incredibly versatile. You can shape your pretzels into traditional twists or cut them into bite-sized pieces for easy dipping. This flexibility makes soft pretzels a fantastic addition to any chili bar, offering a delightful and satisfying snack for your guests.

Grilled Cheese


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There’s something undeniably comforting about a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich with its gooey cheese oozing out. While traditional pairings might include tomato soup, there’s no reason why it can’t be enjoyed with a rich and tangy tomato-based chili instead. The creamy cheese and crunchy bread are a match made in heaven when paired with the hearty, comforting warmth of the chili. For an added layer of flavor, consider spreading butter or mayonnaise on the outside of the bread before cooking, and don’t forget to add a secret ingredient – a dash of mustard on the inside of the bread prior to grilling. This simple trick elevates the humble grilled cheese to new heights.

Rice


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When pairing the high-protein meal that is chili con carne with a side of carbohydrates, consider serving up a bowl of fluffy Spanish rice alongside it. This flavorful accompaniment is surprisingly easy to prepare and can be cooked in your rice cooker, making it a low-fuss option for any meal. Not only does this Spanish rice complement the savory flavors of white chicken chili well, but it also pairs nicely with pinto beans for a satisfying and filling combination. For added variety, try serving it alongside some crusty bread or warm tortillas to round out your meal.

Nachos


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Nachos are often the unsung hero of Mexican cuisine, bringing people together with their irresistible charm. While chili may have its devoted fans, nachos enjoy widespread appeal, transcending individual preferences. This versatility stems from the fact that there’s a nacho variant to suit every palate.

The beauty of nachos lies in their ability to accommodate diverse tastes and dietary requirements. For instance, vegetarians can create a plant-based version by incorporating ingredients like corn, bell peppers, black beans, and shredded cheese. The addition of toppings such as tomatoes and jalapenos elevates the dish into a satisfying meal.

Canned beans can be used to great effect, providing a convenient and time-saving option. Simply rinse them thoroughly, allow them to dry slightly, and they’re ready to top your nachos. This flexibility has contributed significantly to the popularity of nachos.

When paired with chili, however, nachos take on an added significance. They complement the rich, spicy flavors of chili perfectly, transforming a simple meal into a memorable dining experience.

Cornbread


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When it comes to pairing a satisfying meal with chili, few things can rival the classic combination of chili and cornbread. This tried-and-true duo is a match made in heaven, offering a comforting and filling experience that’s hard to beat. Of course, traditional southern-style cornbread remains a staple, but why not shake things up a bit by adding some sweetness to your northern version? The subtle hint of sugar helps balance out the heat from the chili, creating a harmonious flavor profile.For an added layer of excitement, consider experimenting with different cornbread variations. For instance, Mexican-inspired cornbread pairs surprisingly well with chili, offering a unique twist on this beloved pairing. And let’s not forget the importance of presentation – be sure to serve your cornbread warm, slathered in softened butter that’s reached room temperature. This ensures every bite is both rich and indulgent.

Chips & Guacamole


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When indulging in spicy chili or other bold flavors, it’s essential to have a cooling contrast to balance out the heat. For many, this means reaching for guacamole or avocado, its creamy richness providing a perfect antidote to fiery dishes. Our recipe for homemade guacamole and tortilla chips is sure to become a staple at your gatherings, offering a delicious way to temper the burn of hot chili, cayenne pepper, or Mexican cuisine. And if time is of the essence, don’t worry – this recipe adapts just as well to store-bought chips, providing a convenient solution for those short on prep time.

Coleslaw


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Paired with a spicy chili dish, a refreshing and nutritious side is a must-have to balance out the heat. While guacamole is always a great option, incorporating some crunchy and colorful vegetables into your meal can be incredibly rewarding. To achieve this, I recommend preparing a batch of coleslaw the night before you cook your chili. This recipe cleverly combines green and red cabbage with shredded carrots, resulting in a visually appealing dish that’s sure to delight. The subtle kick from the apple cider vinegar adds a zesty freshness, but feel free to experiment with champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar for an added layer of complexity.

Tacos


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Tacos are a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine, right alongside chili and nachos. But when it comes to pairing tacos with chili, authenticity is key. That’s why making your own taco shells and seasoning from scratch is the way to go. It’s surprisingly easy to whip up a batch of homemade taco shells, and you’ll be amazed at how much better they taste compared to store-bought alternatives. As for the seasoning, ditch those pre-packaged mixes and opt for a blend of classic spices instead. The result will be tacos that are truly sublime. To take it to the next level, be sure to serve them with all the fixin’s: a squeeze of lime juice, a sprinkle of cilantro, some chopped onion, and maybe even a dollop of sour cream on the side. With these simple steps, you’ll be enjoying an authentic Tex-Mex experience in no time.

Quesadillas


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Quesadillas – a culinary marvel! They’re incredibly versatile, allowing you to transform leftover meat into a mouthwatering meal in mere minutes. Simply combine the meat with some cheddar cheese and place it between two tortillas for a satisfying treat.

Of course, there’s no rule that says you need to include meat – you can also create delightful quesadillas using grated cheese as the star of the show.

If you’re searching for a scrumptious appetizer or side dish to serve with chili, look no further than this beloved Mexican staple. Your guests will thank you when you dip them in creamy guacamole and sour cream – the perfect accompaniment to hearty bowls of chili.

Cheesy Potato Skins


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There’s something truly special about cheesy potato skins that elevates them beyond the humble baked potato. The key to making these crispy, flavorful treats is to plan ahead and save the potato skins from a previous dish, such as mashed potatoes, for use in this recipe.

When deciding what to serve with chili, consider using those wonderful potato skins to make a decadent snack that’s sure to please. The outside of each skin is seasoned with a rich garlic butter flavor, while the inside remains creamy and indulgent.

To take these cheesy potato skins to the next level, be sure to have some sour cream on hand for dipping. This simple combination of flavors and textures is sure to become a new favorite.

Onion Rings


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While many fast-food chains offer mouthwatering fried onion rings, it’s surprising how easy it is to create your own version at home. Depending on where you reside, you likely have a favorite spot for these tasty treats. However, with just a few simple steps and some basic ingredients, you can whip up a batch of delicious homemade onion rings that rival any takeout joint. And the best part? You can enjoy them not only as a side dish to your favorite burgers or hot dogs but also paired with chili or other savory dishes. The key to achieving the perfect onion ring is to use sweet onions like yellow or Vidalia varieties, which offer a milder flavor compared to their white counterparts.

Drinks


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When it comes to pairing beverages with a satisfying chili dinner, you want drinks that can hold their own against the bold flavors of the meal. Serving chili with something as bland as soda would be a mismatch made in heaven. Instead, opt for sweet drinks like sweet tea that complement the savory notes of the chili. But don’t stop there – traditional Tex-Mex favorites like margaritas, sangria, and popular Mexican beers are also great choices to round out your dining experience.

Fresh Salad


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When it comes to pairing with chili, one dish that never fails to impress is a fresh salad. Its wholesome goodness and customizability make it an ideal accompaniment. The key to a perfect salad lies in its variety of greens, which can be as simple or complex as you like. What’s more, the beauty of a salad lies in its ability to be tailored to individual tastes, making it a versatile option for any gathering.

Chips and Queso


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In the world of Tex-Mex cuisine, chile con queso – affectionately known as just ‘queso’ to fans – is a beloved staple that sparks fierce debate and enthusiasm alike. The passion surrounding the perfect queso recipe has even reached the hallowed halls of legislative power. While we’re not about to take sides in this contentious issue, one thing is certain: queso pairs magnificently with a hearty bowl of chili. Enjoy it as a dip for your favorite chips or spoon it generously over your chili – either way, you’ll be in for a flavorful treat that will leave you craving more.

Final Words

These delectable recipes are sure to become a staple in your household. Invite loved ones over and experience the joy of sharing a meal together. We’d love to hear about your favorite dish!

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