After cooking a delicious pot of chili, you may start wondering what to eat with chili. What will taste good next to that hearty chili and really complement all of the flavors inside that bowl? There are actually tons of side dish recipes that you can make and serve alongside your chili recipe. There really is something for everyone!
Most chilis are tomato-based which means that they are slightly tart and acidic. Therefore, sweeter side dishes tend to go well with chili. Lots of recipes have meat, beans, and tons of spices blended in as well. You should keep all of those spices in mind when you think about sides. Chili is also typically a very hearty meal. You may want to opt for side dishes that are on the lighter side. Salad, for example, goes quite well with such a hearty meal.
Now that you have a few rough guidelines and information to think about when looking for side dishes, let us show you our favorites. We have gathered the best 15 side dishes to eat with chili. Each one is better than the last!
Cornbread is a classic side dish that everyone loves. Our cornbread recipe is very easy and only takes about 10 minutes to put together. The sweetness of the cornmeal and sugar pairs wonderfully with a meaty bowl of chili. This recipe is made with applesauce so the muffins will be extra tender and moist. Mix in a drained can of corn or steamed corn kernels to give the muffins extra texture and taste. Making cornbread muffins is a fun alternative to a traditional cornbread loaf.
This delicious recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen may only have a few ingredients, but it makes some amazing mashed potatoes. Russet potatoes are key to cooking smooth, soft mashed potatoes thanks to their low starch content. Put a big scoop of these potatoes on a plate and then pour your chili over the top. Add a dollop of sour cream or chopped chives and it will be a match made in culinary heaven!
Making sweet potatoes using this recipe from Downshiftology is one of the easiest side dishes ever. Wash, poke, and bake is all you need to do! A sweet potato is full of vitamins A and C as well as fiber. They add some great nutritional value to your chili dinner. The naturally sweet taste of a baked sweet potato goes well with the acidic, tomato base of the chili.
Homemade coleslaw makes for a wonderful side dish to any chili meal. The nice crunch of the coleslaw goes great with the softer, tender chili. This recipe from Spend with Pennies is very simple and can be made in about 10 minutes. Buy pre-shredded cabbage and carrots to pull this recipe together even faster. Make the coleslaw a day in advance to give the flavors time to really blend together.
5. Kale Salad
Salad is an easy, light side dish to serve with chili. This kale salad recipe from Cookie and Kate is full of sweet ingredients that go well with the savory main course. This recipe is made with apples, cranberries, and pecans. A homemade dressing with maple syrup, honey mustard, and apple cider vinegar is the perfect topping. The complex flavors of the salad are perfect alongside the flavorful bowl of chili.
A warm, fresh biscuit is perfect to go alongside your hearty chili. Mom on Time Out biscuits are flakey and buttery. They are perfect for soaking up any juice left at the bottom of the bowl. Scoop some chili over the top of biscuits and you’ll have a great, complete meal!
After finishing your chili meal, you may be craving a sweet dessert. These chewy sugar cookies from Add a Pinch are the perfect solution! Sugar cookies are tender, moist, and just as soft as your bowl of chili. Kids and adults will agree that sugar cookies are the perfect way to end a chili dinner.
Some people love a spicy, hot bowl of chili. If this sounds like you, then this side from Fifteen Spatulas is one you will want to try. We love this stuffed mini pepper recipe. Small chili peppers are stuffed with goat cheese, parmesan, olive oil, and chopped jalapeno. Bread crumbs are sprinkled on top for extra flavor and crunch. You can try using cornbread breadcrumbs for a sweet and savory touch. The peppers are then baked until golden and served warm. You may want to enjoy these little bites as an appetizer. They’re a great addition to your dinner menu.
Hushpuppies are essentially little fried cornbread balls. This hushpuppy recipe from Small Town Woman is crispy and packed with a sweet flavor. A batter of cornmeal, flour, milk, and seasonings is deep-fried in canola oil. The crispy balls are best when served fresh and hot out of the oil. Make them right before you are ready to enjoy them for the best results. Hushpuppies are the perfect substitute for classic cornbread. You can even substitute the creole seasoning for chili powder to get a more cohesive taste with your main meal.
Garlic parmesan sweet potato fries from Half Baked Harvest are a wonderful side to serve with chili. The fresh chopped garlic and cheesy parmesan complement the sweet taste of the potatoes. The spicy aioli dipping sauce is the perfect finishing touch. These fries are a great alternative to the classic sweet potato recipe. We love that they are baked rather than fried for easy cooking at home.
Nachos are a perfect side dish but also ideal for serving under a big scoop of chili. Use the nacho chips to scoop up each bite of chili for a crunchy, meaty meal. This recipe from Love From the Oven features beans, cheese, peppers and so much more. Add your favorite foods to personalize your nachos even more. Many of the nacho recipe ingredients mimick chili ingredients making them the perfect marriage of foods. Melt some extra cheese over the nachos and this tex mex dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
12. Onion Rings
Thick, sliced baked onion rings are a fantastic side. Baking the onion rings makes them healthier than most deep-fried versions. Try using Vidalia onions for a sweeter taste that will complement your main course. This recipe from Damn Delicious has the perfect blend of creole seasoning and saltiness. Just be warned that these crunchy rings are addictive!
13 .Soft Pretzels
Salty, soft pretzels are delicious for eating alongside chili or for dipping right into. Try this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and have the whole family help roll and shape the pretzels. Not only will they taste amazing but they can be an afternoon family baking activity! If you have extra pretzels, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and always a crowd favorite. It’s a fact that no one can resist a home-cooked bowl of creamy mac and cheese! This bright, white cheddar mac and cheese tastes fantastic next to rich, flavorful chili. Not only will the cheddar cheese be a delicious match for the tomatoes and beans in your meal, but it also makes for a beautiful presentation. Our recipe will make your taste buds sing after just one bite.
15. Grilled Cheese
The perfect grilled cheese is the ultimate side. This recipe from Salt Pepper Skillet has a secret ingredient that makes the grilled cheese way better than any other you have ever tasted. What is it? Mayonnaise! You can also make this recipe your own by using different types of cheese. Try white cheddar, feta, or even blue cheese in between your slices of bread. If you have any other cheesy ideas, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear how you make your perfect grilled cheese at home!
Chili is just one of those meals that makes you feel warm, happy, and full. These delicious sides are all the perfect way to round out your dinner. Whether you are making New York-style chili with shredded chicken or the classic ground beef versions, these sides are amazing with everything! From salad to cornbread, we have tried them all.
Now that you are done reading our list, give a few of the recipes a try or try them all! So it’s time to get out your slow cooker, pull out your favorite chili recipes, pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage, and start cooking. Will you try cornbread muffins first? Or maybe make two of these amazing sides for an extra filling dinner. Whatever you choose, we know you will love these recipes! Enjoy.