What to Serve Chili With

Have you ever found yourself craving a steaming bowl of chili, but unsure of what to serve alongside it? Well, worry no more! We’ve got you covered with a variety of delicious options that will perfectly complement your chili.

Whether you’re a bread lover, a fan of rice and grains, or someone who enjoys a little extra crunch on top, we’ve got something for everyone.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the perfect accompaniments to take your chili game to the next level.

Key Takeaways

  • Bread options such as cornbread, warm crusty rolls, tortillas, and naan bread provide contrasting flavors and textures to complement the savory flavors of chili.
  • Rice and grain options like white rice, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, and barley offer versatile and healthier alternatives that pair well with any chili.
  • Toppings and condiments such as cumin, paprika, chili powder, shredded cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, salsa, and hot sauce enhance the taste and add various textures to chili.
  • Salad options like roasted vegetables, quinoa salads, tangy vinaigrette, creamy ranch dressing, and flavor combinations provide a refreshing and complementary side dish to serve with chili.


You should serve chili with cornbread or a warm, crusty roll. These bread options are the perfect accompaniments to a hearty bowl of chili, providing a satisfying and complementary texture to the dish.

Cornbread is a classic choice that adds a touch of sweetness to contrast with the savory flavors of the chili. Its crumbly and slightly coarse texture makes it ideal for soaking up the rich chili sauce. Whether baked in a skillet or muffin tin, cornbread is a delicious and traditional choice that will enhance your chili experience.

If you prefer a different type of bread, a warm, crusty roll is a great alternative. The crispy exterior and soft, fluffy interior of the roll provide a delightful contrast to the thick and hearty chili. You can tear off a piece of the roll and use it to scoop up the chili or simply enjoy it on its own as a side.

Additionally, you may consider serving chili with other bread options like tortillas, garlic bread, or even naan bread for a twist. These versatile breads can add a unique touch to your chili experience and allow for even more delicious combinations.

Rice and Grains

Consider adding some cooked rice or grains as a side dish to complement your chili. Not only will it provide a delicious and filling accompaniment, but it will also help balance out the flavors and textures of your meal.

Here are some complementary rice options and alternative grain choices to elevate your chili experience:

  1. White Rice: This classic choice is a simple and versatile option that pairs well with any type of chili. Its neutral flavor allows the chili to take center stage while providing a soft and fluffy base.

  2. Brown Rice: For a healthier twist, opt for brown rice. With its nutty flavor and chewy texture, it adds a hearty element to your meal and provides additional fiber and nutrients.

  3. Quinoa: If you’re looking for a protein-packed alternative, quinoa is the way to go. Its light and fluffy texture complements the richness of the chili, and its nutty flavor adds a pleasant touch.

Whether you choose traditional rice or alternative grains, adding a side dish to your chili will enhance the overall dining experience. Experiment with different options to find your favorite combination and enjoy the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Toppings and Condiments

Adding toppings and condiments is a great way to customize and elevate your chili experience. Whether you prefer a mild or spicy flavor, there are plenty of options to enhance the taste of your chili.

Start by adding some flavorful seasonings such as cumin, paprika, or chili powder to give your chili that extra kick. These seasonings will bring out the rich and complex flavors of the dish.

Now, let’s talk about unique toppings. One classic option is shredded cheese, which melts and adds a creamy texture to your chili. You can choose from cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even a spicy pepper jack for an added punch.

Another popular choice is sour cream, which adds a cool and tangy element to balance out the heat. For a crunchy texture, try adding some crushed tortilla chips or chopped scallions on top. These toppings not only add flavor but also provide a delightful contrast of textures.

In addition to toppings, condiments can also take your chili to the next level. A drizzle of hot sauce or a dollop of salsa can add an extra layer of heat and flavor. If you’re a fan of avocados, slicing some and placing them on top of your chili will add a creamy and buttery taste. Lastly, a squeeze of lime juice can brighten up the flavors and give your chili a refreshing twist.

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When it comes to salads, there are endless possibilities for side dish options that can complement your main course. From roasted vegetables to quinoa salads, you can choose side dishes that add variety and texture to your meal.

Additionally, salad dressings play a crucial role in enhancing the flavors of your salad. Whether you prefer a tangy vinaigrette or a creamy ranch, the right dressing can elevate your salad to a whole new level.

And let’s not forget about flavor combinations! Mixing different ingredients can create a harmonious blend of tastes that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

Side Dish Options

You can’t go wrong with cornbread as a side dish option for chili. Its golden crust and moist interior perfectly complement the hearty flavors of the chili.

But if you’re looking for other bread options or vegetarian alternatives, here are some delicious choices:

  1. Garlic bread: A classic choice, garlic bread adds a savory kick to your chili. The crispy, buttery slices are perfect for dipping into the chili and savoring the rich flavors.

  2. Cheese biscuits: These fluffy biscuits are packed with cheesy goodness. They’re a great alternative to cornbread and add a comforting and indulgent twist to your chili experience.

  3. Jalapeno corn muffins: For those who like a little heat, jalapeno corn muffins are the way to go. The spicy kick from the jalapenos adds a delicious contrast to the chili, making every bite exciting and flavorful.

Try these bread options and vegetarian alternatives to elevate your chili experience and satisfy everyone at the table.

Salad Dressings

Looking for a zesty dressing to drizzle over your salad? Try the tangy vinaigrette for a burst of flavor that will elevate your greens.

When it comes to salad dressings, you have two options: homemade or store-bought. Homemade dressings offer the advantage of being customizable to your taste preferences and free from preservatives. You can experiment with various ingredients to create your own unique flavor combinations.

On the other hand, store-bought dressings provide convenience and a wide variety of options to choose from. Creamy dressings, such as ranch or Caesar, offer a rich and indulgent taste, while vinaigrettes provide a lighter, tangy flavor that complements fresh vegetables.

Flavor Combinations

If you’re feeling adventurous, try mixing some unexpected ingredients to create unique and delicious flavor combinations for your salad dressing. The possibilities are endless when it comes to experimenting with different flavors and textures.

Here are three flavor combinations that will take your salad dressing to the next level:

  1. Sweet and Savory: Combine honey or maple syrup with soy sauce or Dijon mustard for a delightful balance of flavors. This combination works well with grilled chicken or shrimp.

  2. Tangy and Creamy: Mix Greek yogurt with lemon juice and fresh herbs like dill or parsley. This tangy dressing pairs perfectly with roasted vegetables or grilled fish.

  3. Spicy and Refreshing: Add a kick to your dressing by combining sriracha or hot sauce with lime juice and cilantro. This zesty dressing is great for drizzling over a vegetarian taco salad.

Whether you’re looking for complementary meat pairings or vegetarian options, these flavor combinations will add excitement and depth to your salads. So go ahead, get creative, and elevate your salad dressing game!

Appetizers and Snacks

Consider serving some nachos or buffalo chicken dip as appetizers to accompany your chili. These delicious snacks are perfect for kicking off your chili dinner and will keep your guests satisfied while they wait for the main course. Here are a few appetizer recipes and snack ideas that pair well with chili:

Appetizer Recipes Snack Ideas
Nachos with melted cheese, jalapenos, and guacamole Tortilla chips with salsa and queso dip
Buffalo Chicken Dip with celery sticks and tortilla chips Mini sliders with pulled pork or beef
Spinach and Artichoke Dip with pita chips Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers
Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella Stuffed mushrooms with cream cheese and bacon
Mini quesadillas with cheese, chicken, and peppers Spicy chicken wings with ranch or blue cheese dressing

These appetizers and snacks will complement the flavors of your chili and add variety to your meal. They are easy to prepare and will surely impress your guests. So, why not take your chili dinner to the next level by serving some tasty appetizers?

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Looking to elevate your chili game? Let’s talk vegetables!

Discover the art of complementary veggie pairings that will take your chili to the next level. From adding a pop of color with bell peppers to adding a touch of sweetness with corn, these veggies will not only enhance the flavors of your chili but also add a nutritious twist.

Get ready to impress your taste buds and your guests with these mouthwatering vegetable additions to your chili recipe.

Complementary Veggie Pairings

Don’t forget to try serving chili with some cornbread or cheesy garlic bread. These delicious accompaniments perfectly complement the rich and flavorful spices found in chili. But why stop there? Here are three more veggie pairings that will elevate your chili experience to new heights:

  1. Avocado: Creamy and buttery, avocados add a refreshing contrast to the hearty chili. Slice some ripe avocados and place them on top of your bowl of chili. The coolness of the avocado will balance out the heat and spice, creating a harmonious combination of flavors.

  2. Roasted Corn: The natural sweetness of roasted corn kernels brings a delightful crunch to every bite. Simply roast some corn on the cob until golden brown, then cut off the kernels and sprinkle them over your chili. The smoky flavors of the roasted corn will add depth to the dish.

  3. Cilantro: Fresh and vibrant, cilantro adds a burst of freshness to any dish. Chop up some cilantro leaves and sprinkle them over your chili. The herbaceous aroma and bright flavor of cilantro will brighten up the overall taste of the chili.

Enhancing Chili Flavors

To enhance the flavors of your chili, try adding a touch of dark chocolate to give it a rich and velvety taste. The addition of chocolate may seem unconventional, but it is a secret ingredient that many chili connoisseurs swear by. The bitter-sweetness of the chocolate complements the spiciness of the chili, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. The chocolate melts into the chili, infusing it with a deep, complex taste that lingers on your palate. It adds depth and richness to the dish, making it more indulgent and satisfying. Experiment with different types of chocolate to find the one that best suits your chili recipe. Whether you prefer milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate, each will bring its own unique character to the dish.

To further enhance the flavors of your chili, there are other flavor enhancers and cooking techniques you can try. Here is a table that provides some ideas:

Flavor Enhancers Cooking Techniques
Cumin Slow Cooking
Smoked Paprika Browning Meat
Chipotle Peppers Simmering
Worcestershire Sauce Sauteing
Lime Juice Roasting

Each of these flavor enhancers and cooking techniques can add depth and complexity to your chili. Experiment with different combinations to find the perfect balance for your taste buds. Remember, cooking is all about creativity and experimentation. So, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and discover new ways to enhance the flavors of your chili. Happy cooking!

Soups and Stews

Have you considered serving some warm cornbread alongside your chili? Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to a hearty bowl of chili, as it enhances the flavors and provides a complementary pairing.

The rich and buttery texture of the cornbread complements the bold and spicy flavors of the chili, creating a delicious combination that will leave you wanting more.

Here are three reasons why serving cornbread with chili is a great idea:

  1. Texture: The soft and crumbly texture of the cornbread contrasts beautifully with the thick and chunky consistency of the chili. Each bite of cornbread adds a delightful crunch and a hint of sweetness to balance out the savory flavors of the chili.

  2. Flavor: The slightly sweet and earthy flavor of the cornbread complements the smoky and spicy flavors of the chili. It adds a touch of sweetness that helps to mellow out the heat and brings out the richness of the chili’s spices.

  3. Versatility: Cornbread can be enjoyed in many ways with chili. You can break it apart and dip it into the chili, crumble it on top for added texture, or even use it as a base for a chili pie. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, cornbread is sure to take your chili experience to the next level.


Are you in the mood for a refreshing beverage to complement your meal? When it comes to beverage pairings for your chili, there are plenty of options that can enhance the flavors and provide a thirst-quenching experience. Whether you prefer non-alcoholic options or want to try something a little different, there is something for everyone.

One classic choice for a non-alcoholic beverage pairing is a cold glass of lemonade. The tartness of the lemonade can help balance out the spiciness of the chili, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. If you’re looking for something with a little more kick, consider a spicy tomato juice or a virgin bloody mary. These options can add an extra layer of depth and heat to your meal.

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For those who prefer a milder option, a fruit-infused water can be a delicious and refreshing choice. Try infusing water with slices of cucumber, lime, or even strawberries to provide a subtle hint of flavor that won’t overpower the chili. Additionally, herbal teas, like chamomile or peppermint, can also be a great choice to cleanse the palate between bites.

No matter your preference, there are numerous beverage pairings to complement your chili. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the perfect drink to accompany your meal. Cheers!


When it comes to desserts, you have a choice to make: sweet or savory?

Do you prefer indulging in a rich, decadent chocolate cake or would you rather savor the complex flavors of a cheese and fruit platter?

The choice is yours, but it’s important to consider whether you want to stick to traditional dessert options or venture into the realm of unique and innovative creations.

Sweet or Savory

I’m torn between whether to serve a sweet or savory side dish with the chili. On one hand, the sweetness can complement the spiciness of the chili, creating a delicious contrast of flavors. On the other hand, a savory side dish can enhance the umami flavors in the chili, making it even more satisfying.

Here are three options to consider:

  1. Sweet Cornbread: The sweetness of the cornbread pairs beautifully with the spicy chili. The moist and crumbly texture adds a delightful contrast to the hearty dish.

  2. Savory Garlic Bread: The aromatic garlic and buttery flavor of the bread can elevate the umami taste in the chili. The crispiness of the bread provides a satisfying crunch.

  3. Sweet Potato Fries: The natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes complements the spiciness of the chili. The crispy exterior and soft interior of the fries create a delightful texture combination.

Ultimately, the choice between sweet and savory will depend on your personal preference and the overall flavor profile you want to achieve.

Traditional or Unique?

For a twist on a classic, consider trying a unique side dish that will add an unexpected flavor to your meal. When it comes to serving chili, you have the option of sticking to traditional accompaniments or stepping outside of the box with something non-traditional. Both choices offer their own benefits and can be paired with different types of meats to enhance the overall dining experience. To help you decide, here is a table that compares traditional and non-traditional side dishes:

Traditional Non-Traditional
Cornbread Sweet Potato Fries
Rice Avocado Salad
Sour Cream Quinoa Salad
Shredded Cheese Coleslaw

Whether you prefer the comforting familiarity of traditional sides or the excitement of trying something new, the key is to find the perfect balance that complements your chili and satisfies your taste buds. So go ahead, experiment and discover the perfect pairing for your next chili feast!

Leftover Ideas

You can also use leftover chili to make delicious chili cheese nachos. It’s a quick and easy way to transform your leftover chili into a crowd-pleasing snack or appetizer. Simply spread a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet, spoon the leftover chili on top, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Pop it in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. The result is a mouthwatering combination of spicy chili, gooey cheese, and crunchy chips. It’s the perfect game day treat or late-night snack.

But that’s not the only way to repurpose your leftover chili. Another popular option is to make chili mac. This comforting dish combines your leftover chili with cooked macaroni noodles. The result is a hearty and flavorful meal that is sure to satisfy. To make chili mac, simply cook the macaroni according to package instructions, drain, and then mix it with your leftover chili. You can top it with some shredded cheese and bake it in the oven for a cheesy, comforting casserole. It’s a great way to use up any leftover chili and create a whole new meal.


So, now you know what to serve with your hearty bowl of chili! From warm breads that soak up the flavors, to creamy rice and grains that add a satisfying texture, the options are endless.

Don’t forget to pile on the toppings and condiments for that extra kick of flavor. And if you’re feeling adventurous, pair your chili with a refreshing salad or a comforting soup.

To quench your thirst, choose from a variety of beverages and end the meal on a sweet note with a delicious dessert. Don’t forget to get creative with the leftovers too! The possibilities are endless.

So go ahead, get cooking and enjoy the perfect chili meal!