What to Serve with Chili – 22 Best Chili Side Dishes

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Most chilis work well with a side dish. So what to serve with chili? Here are 22 chili side dishes plus topping ideas to make pairing easy!

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We all love a comforting bowl of chili on a cold winter day. Classic homemade chili is perfect for a weeknight meal because it can be easily prepared in minutes. You’ll only need a few ingredients like kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and onions and you’re all set. Of course, chili would not be complete without spices such as chili powder and cumin.

With its thick and smooth sauce and tender beans, chili is simmered to perfection to produce a complex, smoky and spicy flavor that everyone loves. Considered a traditional winter comfort food, chili is filling and hearty enough to warm you from the inside and out. And, chili is even more delicious as a leftover meal the next day.

While a pot of chili is often filling enough to be a meal by itself, adding delicious sides to your favorite chili recipe will definitely give your dinner a boost and it simply tastes amazing to have such a medley of flavors going on. If you have been wondering about what to serve with chili, we’ve listed some of the best side dishes you can add. From cornbread, rice, green salad, and bread, we have a variety of options to suit your preference.

What to Serve with Chili - 22 Best Chili Side Dishes

Best Chili Toppings

Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled feta cheese or even parmesan cheese can make an excellent chili topping. It melts right into a warm bowl of chili and who doesn’t find melted cheese comforting?

Sour cream: A dollop of sour cream, whether conventional or of the vegan variety, can add a nice cooling factor to balance out any heat a chili may have. Greek yogurt or cashew yogurt works great, too.

Tortilla chips: Grab a handful of tortilla chips and crumble them in your hands before topping off a bowl of chili for that lovely crunchy texture that offers a nice contrast to the soft nature of chili.

Green onions: Sliced green onions add a bit of freshness, flavor, and crunch to a good chili.

Avocado: Sliced avocado or avocado in the form of guacamole usually melds well with the flavors in chili, and adds a cooling component and a dose of healthy fats.

Salsa: If you like to add some freshness or additional spice to chili, add a dollop of salsa before digging in.

Hot sauce: A drizzle of hot sauce on a bowl of chili is usually a match made in heaven for true spice lovers!

Crackers: Much like tortilla chips, crumbled crackers are excellent over a bowl of chili for that crunch factor.

What to Serve with Chili - 22 Best Chili Side Dishes

What Kind of Sandwich Goes with Chili?

Hands down, grilled cheese is the best sandwich to accompany chili. Many people serve chili with some shredded cheese and some bread of some sort. Why not get it all in one go?

What Bread Goes Well with Chili?

Cornbread is the classic chili accompanying bread, however, a good dinner roll or biscuit is a close second.

What to Serve with Chili – 22 Chili Side Dish Recipes

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Pan de Yuca
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Air Fryer Baked Potatoes
These Air Fryer Baked Potatoes have perfectly crisp exteriors with soft and fluffy centers. They are the perfect baked potatoes and could not be easier to make!
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Grilled Cheese Sandwich w/ Cream Cheese, Roasted Peppers & Basil – Aleka’s Get-Together
If you’ve never tried grilled cheese using cream cheese, you haven’t lived yet. This sandwich is also made with roasted peppers and basil!
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Spicy Spiralized Sweet Potato Fries (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Oil-Free) – Strength and Sunshine
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The Best Gluten-Free Cornbread
A super easy, healthy and delicious Gluten-Free Cornbread recipe that also happens to be vegan, dairy-free and egg-free!
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How to Make an Everyday Rainbow Salad – Running on Real Food
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Air Fryer Potato Wedges
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Sea Salt Chickpea Crackers (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
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Air Fryer Potato Skins
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Vegan Zucchini Fritters (Gluten-Free)
These easy, healthy Gluten-Free Vegan Zucchini Fritters are made with chickpea flour for added nutrition and depth. Packed with the perfect blend of spices, these delightful vegan fritters are beyond DELICIOUS, too!
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Baked Garlic Pepper Polenta Fries (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Incredibly quick and easy 5-Ingredient Baked Garlic Pepper Polenta fries! This vegan gluten-free snack or appetizer is full of healthy and crispy deliciousness!
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Cheesy Air Fryer Loaded Nachos (5 Minutes!) – Aleka’s Get-Together
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Portobello Mushroom Tacos Recipe – Little Sunny Kitchen
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Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chips
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Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas – i Heart Vegetables
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Vegan Coleslaw
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What to Serve with Chili - 22 Best Chili Side Dishes

What to Serve with Chili: Butternut Squash Chili + More!

Most chilis work well with a side dish. So what to serve with chili? Here are 22 chili side dishes plus topping ideas to make pairing easy!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Southwestern
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Kristen Wood


Spicy Chickpea Quinoa Crackers:

  • 1 cup quinoa cooked (I like red quinoa)
  • 3/4 cup garbanzo bean chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 10 tbs water
  • oil for greasing

Lentil and Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 roasted green chiles or jalapenos finely chopped
  • 1 sweet bell pepper chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or salsa of choice
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs coconut sugar
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 batch of spicy chickpea quinoa crackers see recipe above
  • Optional Garnishes: cheese sour cream or yogurt, cilantro


Spicy Chickpea Quinoa Crackers:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Grease parchment paper with a bit of olive or coconut oil.
  • In a large bowl combine quinoa, flour, and spices. Mix to combine.
  • Gradually stir in water. Mix well.
  • Pour cracker batter onto your greased parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Using a spatula, spread the batter into a thin and even layer.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until crisp and edges are beginning to brown.
  • Let cool and then break up into crackers.

Lentil and Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili:

  • In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil, onion, garlic, chiles or jalepenos, and bell pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Turn heat to high, and then stir in lentils, tomato sauce or salsa, broth, and spices.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in butternut squash.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes longer.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Stir in cilantro and lemon juice.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Optionally, garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream (or yogurt) and fresh chopped cilantro.
  • Serve with Spicy Chickpea Quinoa Crackers (recipe above).
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1345mg | Potassium: 318mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1257IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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