22 Best Side Dishes For Chili

Chili is an all-time favorite all-in-one pot meal. A combination of ground meat, tomatoes, beans, onions, garlic and heartwarming spices blend together creating a special dish.

Some people prefer it thick and served with tasty toppings like cheese, avocado, onions, and sour cream. Others like to as a hearty soup served with saltine crackers or tortilla chips. Take a look at our top side dish recipes that are perfect with chili.

1. Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

Cast Iron Skillet Cornbrea

Homemade cornbread can be baked into a loaf, muffin tins, or cooked right inside a cast iron skillet. There are easy-to-make cornbread mixes on the market that only require a few pantry ingredients.

Serve warm right out of the oven or skillet and cover with butter and honey. Add cheddar cheese and jalapeños to the batter for an added dimension.


2. Fast and Easy Quesadillas

Quesadillas are delicious pockets of cheese, onions, tomatoes, corn, and jalapeños tucked inside a corn or flour tortilla and cooked until everything melts wonderfully together.

Some of the same ingredients that are found in chili are also used in quesadillas making this side dish a perfect choice for chili.

The toppings commonly used with chili, like sour cream, crema, cheddar cheese and salsa, are also commonly enjoyed with quesadillas making the two a perfect match.


3. Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks

Copycat Olive Garden Breadsticks

If you are looking for a crowd-pleaser that compliments your chili recipe, go for the breadsticks. These buttery dunkers are just what is needed to make a delicious, sumptuous meal.

Breadsticks are better than ordinary white bread because they have a thicker crust, are already seasoned with salty, garlicky, buttery goodness, and easy to pick up and dunk!

Plus the seasoning on the breadsticks mixes with the chili enhancing the flavor even more. Serve them warm, right out of the oven for the best results.


4. The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich


There is something extremely comforting when you combine an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of chili. The toasty buttery outside beautifully combines with the creamy warm cheesy inside to create a chili sidedish marriage made in heaven.

Whether you stay with the traditional American cheese and white bread favorite or get inspired and use gourmet breads and cheeses, any grilled cheese sandwich is welcome next to your favorite chili.


5. Fresh Garden Salad

Fresh Garden Salad

Soup and salad have always made a great team. A fresh green garden salad with greens, tomatoes, carrots, onions, radishes, cucumbers, avocados and other veggie favorites topped with your favorite croutons, shredded cheese and dressing is a fabulous side dish for chili.

Not only is it healthy, it is a lighter and crunchy complement to chili. Either make your very own homemade salad dressing or find a brand like cool, creamy ranch or something with a sweet and spicy twist like peach salsa.

Top the chili with the same shredded cheese and croutons to blend the tastes together. Other salads that go great with chili are Greek, Caesar, Cobb and Taco.


6. Best Ever Guacamole

Best Ever Guacamole

Hola! In order to keep the meal consistent with Mexican fare, tortilla chips and guacamole are the perfect side dish for chili.

The market is loaded with brands of tortilla chips that are flavored with chili, lime, taco, cheese, and other seasonings but plain is just as good as it gets with a homemade bowl of chili.

If you have time, make your own chips that offer a fresh, warm side dish. Right before you are ready to eat, combine chunks of avocado, onion garlic, jalapenos, lime juice, cilantro, and a pinch of salt together for a tasty, creamy dip for your chips and chili.


7. Soft Pretzel Recipe

They are buttery, salty, and totally satisfying to enjoy by themselves, but when served with a hot bowl of chili create a rich, addition to a chili supper.

Personalize your pretzels with dashes of cinnamon and sugar, garlic Parmesan, and buffalo wing sauce for additional flavor.


8. Classic Cole Slaw Recipe with Homemade Dressing

Classic Cole Slaw Recipe with Homemade Dressing

A bright refreshing side dish that complements the rich, savory depth of chili, is a crispy, sweet coleslaw.

Coleslaw can be made in a variety of ways, but we recommend staying true to the traditional recipe of shredded cabbage, carrots and sweet slaw dressing. A bite of heat and a bite of sweet is always a kitchen win, win.


9. Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are many chef’s and foodie’s choice for serving with their favorite chili recipe.

Whether they are baked in an oven or sliced, seasoned, and fried in oil, their gorgeous orange color, rustic texture, and sweet depth of flavor work wonderfully as a side dish with chili.

Add to the flavorful experience and serve with toppings like sour cream, ranch dressing, bacon bits, and chives that all complement chili’s ingredients.


10. Perfect Baked Potato

Perfect Baked Potato

A perfectly baked potato cut in half with butter and sour cream melting throughout creates a bowl for chili.

You might have to dig some potato out and keep it on hand for another recipe to make room for the chili. Make sure you use big baking potatoes to get the best results. Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and onions for an amazing meal.


11. Best Classic Nachos

Load up the chips with cheese, onions, peppers, jalapenos, and cilantro and you’ve created a super side dish.

If the chili is a soupier version, add the nacho chips to the soup and allow it to absorb all the flavors. If it is thicker, use the nacho chip to scoop up some chili or load up the top with a spoonful of the chili.


12. Homemade French Fries

Homemade French Fries

Piping hot French fries right out of the fryer or baked in the oven go hand in hand as a quick and easy side dish for chili.

The chili can either be poured all over a plate of French fries or individual fries can be dunked into a bowl of chili. The salty potato flavor enhances the ingredients in the warm bowl of chili perfectly.


13. How To Make The Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe for baked macaroni and cheese is one of the best side dishes for chili. It’s an all-time favorite comfort food that is creamy and delicious. Serve the mac and cheese in a separate bowl or dollop a few scoops right into the chili in the place of other toppings.


14. Garlic Cheese Toast

Garlic Cheese Toast

Dip garlic toast into the chili and the melting cheese, garlic, and buttery flavors marry together. Bake your own garlic toast with freshly minced garlic, butter, cheese, and parsley in the oven or a bread maker.


15. Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

Restaurant Style Mexican Rice

Mexican rice that is loaded with authentic southwestern flavors like fire-roasted tomatoes, jalapeños, peppers, onions, chili powder, garlic, and Chipotle creates the perfect complement to chili.

Add a dash of lime juice to a spoonful of chili and Mexican rice to create a symphony of flavor.


16. Cincinnati Style Chili

Cincinnati Style Chili

Hot spaghetti served with chili is called Cincinnati Style chili. Serve it 2-way simply over spaghetti, 3-way, with spaghetti, and shredded cheddar cheese, 4-way with spaghetti, diced onions, and shredded cheddar cheese, or go all out and serve it 5-way with spaghetti, warmed kidney beans, diced onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.


17. Easy Beef Tacos

Easy Beef Tacos

Tacos make one of the tastiest side dishes for chili. As a matter of fact, the chili can be a filling inside the taco! Add your favorite toppings and a dash of hot sauce or salsa for a Mexican meal everyone will enjoy.


18. Homemade Biscuits

Homemade Biscuits

A basic, delicious side dish for chili are homemade biscuits. This traditional bread-like side is a tasty complement that enhances each bite. Spread on butter and drizzle honey for a sweet and savory delight.


19. Easy Baked Apples

Easy Baked Apples

Instead of a savory side dish for chili, opt for a sweeter one, like baked apples. The sweet apples baked with warm notes of cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar create a tasty touch of goodness.


20. 3 Ingredient Chili Cheese Dip

3 Ingredient Chili Cheese Dip

All the cheese fans at the table will love this cheese dip side dish for chili. It’s simple to make, takes only three ingredients, and simply delicious when added to chili. Tortilla chips help scoop up all the flavors together.


21. The Ultimate Chili Dog Recipe

The Ultimate Chili Dog Recipe

Hot dogs and chili go hand in hand at baseball games and American kitchens. The soft bun, savory hot dog covered in chili, cheese, and onions is an American pastime. Add yellow mustard for even more fan-favorite flavor.


22. Gourmet Peanut Butter Sandwich

Gourmet Peanut Butter Sandwich

Simple peanut butter spread on soft white bread creates one of the simplest side dishes for chili. The salty peanut flavor complements all the chili ingredients and creates a creamy substitute for cheese. Some chili recipes call for peanut butter!

Create a gourmet sandwich with specialty breads, bananas, crushed nuts, cinnamon and other ingredients. A peanut butter sandwich is also tasty when grilled.


However you prefer your chili, there are a number of ways to serve it and side dishes that complement this popular, satisfying dish.

Best Side Dishes For Chili

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