Side Dishes

What to Serve with Chili: 20 Easy Side Dishes

Make chili night memorable with these delicious side dishes!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
Learn more about me
Updated September 3, 2022

It’s hard to know what to serve with chili since it’s already so hearty. Filling ingredients like chili beans and beef make this dish a complete meal all on its own.

what to serve with chili

But when you’re feeding a whole family, side dishes keep dinner fun! The right side dish can transform a warm bowl of chili into something special.

You can’t go wrong with classics like cornbread and seasoned rice. Dipable sides like tortilla chips are a family favorite for game nights and parties.

There are so many ways to turn this humble comfort food into something amazing. I’ve taken inspiration from Mexican and Southern cuisine to create this list of my favorite chili side dishes.

what to serve with chili serve

01. Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are the perfect filling side dish for active households with hungry kids.

A lot of the same toppings you use for chili can be used to top your baked potato too. Simple ingredients like sour cream, green onions, and cheddar can turn a humble potato into a real treat.

02. Sweet Potato Fries

Amp up the Tex-Mex flavors with these spiced sweet potato fries.

Homemade fries are tastier and so much healthier than the frozen pre-made versions. Drizzle your potato wedges with oil before baking and sprinkle with spices like cayenne to complement the chili.

These sweet potatoes are best served with a creamy mayo dip!

03. Cheesy Potato Skins

If baked potatoes were a hit, try these cheesy potato skins next!

A little melted cheese and green onion transform potato skins into a delicious treat. Coat the skins with oil to get that perfectly chewy and crispy texture in the oven.

04. Tater Tot Nachos

Need an addition to your game night dinner spread? These fun nachos are a good way to spice up an old classic.

Top these nachos with your favorite chili recipe and shredded cheese. If you like it spicy, try adding pickled jalapeños on top for a little heat.

Make sure you serve this dish with forks—it’s a messy one!

05. Jalapeno Poppers

A party classic you can whip together in just a few minutes!

These jalapeno poppers are filled with cream cheese and savory bacon bits, topped with crispy panko crumbs. They pack some heat but aren’t overly spicy as long as you remove the seeds and ribs.

You can make these poppers ahead and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to bake.

06. Quesadillas

These quesadillas are filled with all your favorite Mexican flavors!

Quesadillas are similar to grilled cheese sandwiches, with the addition of bell pepper and chicken. Serve this grilled treat as a side with your chili, or even use chili as a filling.

Don’t forget the sour cream for dipping!

07. Guacamole (And Chips)

When I’m short on time, this crowd-pleasing dip is my go-to.

Guacamole is a great side dish to use up the ripe avocados in your kitchen. You can keep it simple with a splash of lime juice and salt, or add jalapeños for spiciness.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and you have the simplest side dish ever!

08. Onion Rings

Crispy like french fries, but so much more flavorful!

When you’re craving something fried, these onion rings are guaranteed to hit the spot. They’re simple to make at home using sweet onions, panko, and eggs.

They’re the perfect pairing for other game night foods like beef chili.

09. Brussels Sprouts

Get an extra serving of veggies with a side of these tasty brussel sprouts.

With some garlic and red pepper flakes, these brussel sprouts turn into little flavor bombs. Add melted cheese and bacon, and suddenly you have the ultimate comfort food!

Even the pickiest of eaters can’t turn their nose up at this delicious side.

10. Caesar Slaw

This unique caesar slaw is a great way to add some greens to your chili dinner.

This dish takes the crunchy texture of coleslaw and combines it with the garlicky notes of Caesar salad. It’s a great way to add another layer of flavor to your traditional mayonnaise coleslaw.

Add some bacon bits on top and your kids won’t even know they’re eating cabbage!

11. Apple Carrot Slaw

This coleslaw takes a sweet turn, with the help of sliced carrots and apples.

This mayonnaise-free coleslaw is the perfect side to lighten up a hearty meal. The dressing is a simple combination of honey, olive oil, and lemon juice to keep things fresh.

A simple coleslaw such as this helps keep chili night healthy!

12. Grilled Cheese

Instead of garlic bread try making this kid-friendly garlic grilled cheese.

Garlic bread is delicious, but it’s time for chili to find a new partner. This grilled cheese recipe gets its savory flavor from garlic powder and dried parsley.

Kids will love dipping this buttery grilled cheese right into their chili!

13. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Chewy fire-roasted corn gives this salad texture and flavor!

This pasta salad gets its smoky Mexican flavor from cayenne and chili powder. Tangy sour cream dressing and lime juice provide a pop of freshness.

You can make this pasta salad a day ahead of a party or a big dinner. Then serve it cold straight from the fridge to the table!

14. Ground Beef Tacos

Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays! Pull this dish together any day of this week with this simple wholesome recipe.

Freshly chopped tomatoes and cilantro will freshen up a classic ground beef taco. Make it into a family affair by letting the kids mix and match their own toppings!

You can serve these tacos alongside chili, or even use leftover chili as a filling if you like!

15. French Fries

These easy french fries can bake in the oven while you make your chili!

Paprika, chili powder, and garlic seasoning give these french fries a Mexican twist. Use russet potatoes with the skin on them for the crispiest results!

All these fries need is a good dipping sauce. Try making your own spicy dip by mixing ketchup and hot sauce.

16. Smoky Barbecued Corn

Tie your meal together with a side of Mexican-style roasted corn.

Mexican street corn is a far cry from your typical barbecued corn. It’s slathered with toppings like mayonnaise, chili powder, and melted parmesan cheese.

Once you serve this side dish, you’ll never want corn any other way.

17. No-Knead Peasant Bread

Everyone loves fresh bread, but the process of kneading and proofing is time consuming. This no-knead bread takes away all the hard work.

This bread just needs a couple of hours to rise, then you can bake it right in the bowl. Slice and add a pat of butter and you have a simple but delicious chili pairing.

Just don’t expect there to be any leftovers!

18. Zucchini Fries

Zucchini fries are a wonderful low-carb alternative to potato fries.

To get these fries nice and crispy you can use almond flour and grated parmesan cheese as a coating. Since zucchini absorbs so much oil, it’s best to cook these in the air fryer instead of a deep fryer.

If you like these zucchini fries, try making fries with other vegetables like parsnips.

19. Cornbread

Keep things traditional with this classic chili side dish.

Cornbread has a unique moist texture that puts it somewhere between a muffin and bread. The cornmeal provides a hint of sweetness which is a wonderful contrast for an especially spicy chili!

Cornbread can be enjoyed for breakfast with jam or on its own with your chili!

20. Spanish Rice

For a cheap and easy side, try this spicy tomato rice!

This rice comes together with pantry staples like chicken broth, diced tomato, and chili powder. You can serve your chili on top of this rice to stretch a meal and add some carbs.

This Spanish rice also freezes well. Pop leftovers into an airtight container and you have a side dish ready at hand.

What to Serve with Chili: 20 Easy Side Dishes

Directions


  1. Pick your favorite chili side dish from this list.

  2. Gather your ingredients.

  3. While the chili cooks, prepare your side dish.

  4. Serve up a spicy feast at your next family dinner or game night!

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