Home Appetizers 10 Best Chili Appetizers

10 Best Chili Appetizers

Try these chili appetizers as the perfect starter for your meal!

Chili is always a yummy treat, especially in the fall and winter months, but it can be hard to find things with which to pair it.

There are so many appetizers you can pair with chili, some of which you may never have even thought of, like guacamole and potato skins. 

Mexican Nachos with Tortillas, Guacamole and Jalapeno
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Whether you enjoy starting your meals with something rich and spicy like a dip or stuffed peppers or prefer something less messy, such as Mexican cornbread, this list has you covered. 

So sit back, and get ready to discover some truly delicious options for chili appetizers that’ll work for practically any season.

Cheesy Queso Dip with Tortilla Chips

1. Hormel Chili Dip

I started with Hormel chili dip because of all the options on this list, it’s the one I make most because of how simple it is to pull together.

You can make it with only three ingredients – Hormel chili (no beans), shredded cheddar cheese, and cream cheese – in only 5 minutes!

Plus, the only appliance you’ll use to make it is the microwave! It doesn’t get much better than that.

Also, it’s thick, creamy, cheesy, and incredible, so it’s always a crowd-pleaser.  

2. Quesadillas

When you think of quesadillas, you probably imagine cheese, some meat, and maybe a few peppers and onions.

After trying this recipe, though, your mind will go straight to chili!

That’s not because you’ll make them with chili, of course, although you can do that, too! Instead, it’s because they’re a fantastic chili appetizer. 

Whether you make beef, chicken, or veggie quesadillas, they all pair well with chili. 

Usually, I serve these as appetizers, and then people get their chili and start eating the two things together instead.

Either way, they’re cheesy, spicy, and delicious. 

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Chipotle Guacamole

3. Chipotle Guacamole

Guacamole is one appetizer that most people don’t think of when they think of chili, but its clean, refreshing taste actually complements chili’s rich spiciness perfectly. 

And if you’re going to serve guacamole, you might as well serve the best guacamole. In my humble opinion, that comes from Chipotle. 

It’s smooth, thick, and has plenty of flavor, and you can make it with only six simple ingredients – avocados, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and salt.

4. Cheesy Bacon-Stuffed Mini-Peppers

Not everyone can pair a spicy, hearty appetizer with something as equally spicy and filling as chili, but if you’re someone who can, you’ll enjoy these stuffed mini-peppers.

You’ll start with mini-sweet peppers; then you’ll stuff each with a mixture of cream cheese, green onions, bacon, garlic powder, shredded cheddar cheese, and Worcestershire sauce.

Once they finish baking, take them out and top them with more cheese and – per the recipe – chopped cilantro.

(I usually skip the cilantro and add more diced green onions.)

The whole process takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and you’ll have a dozen gooey, cheesy, bacon-filled peppers to enjoy.

Just be sure you don’t overdo it with these, or you might not have any room left over for your chili.  

5. Crispy Oven-Baked Potato Skins

Oven-baked potato skins are the ideal appetizer for chili simply because they’re the perfect appetizer for everything.

They have crispy skins, and their insides are deliciously buttery and cheesy.

The addition of chives, bacon bits, and a few other things are just extra yumminess. 

As much as I love loaded baked potatoes, they have nothing on these scrumptious spuds. 

Sliced Cornbread

6. Mexican Cornbread

Whether you serve it before your chili as an appetizer or with your chili as a warm and spicy side, Mexican cornbread is sure to be a hit. 

It has the same dense and crumbly texture as traditional cornbread, but it’s much cheesier and has a lot more heat, thanks to the Mexican cheese blend, chiles, and jalapenos. 

The can of cream corn also adds a light hint of sweetness that tastes great both in the bread and when crumbled into chili. 

7. Mexican Street Corn Salad

Some people enjoy adding corn to their chili. Others prefer to enjoy a sweet and spicy corn salad before they eat their chili.

If you fall into the latter category, this recipe is the one for you. 

It has all the zest and flavor of Mexican street corn, but it’s in a chunky, chilled salad that tastes amazing, particularly when served before a hot, spicy chili. 

Loaded Beef Nachos with Avocado and Vegetables

8. Nachos

Nachos are another hearty appetizer you can pair with chili, especially if you’re serving a lighter, less filling chili as the main course.

In fact, the ground beef, beans, onions, cheddar cheese, and all the other toppings are very chili-esque, making nachos a good starter for getting you in the mood for chili.

You can go as heavy or as light as you like on the toppings. The great thing about nachos is how versatile they are. 

9. Taco Cups

I’m not sure what it is about Mexican food that goes so well with chili, but whatever it is, it works.

These taco cups are like bite-sized tacos full of all kinds of yumminess.

The seasoned ground beef is spicy and filling, and the wonton wrappers are delightfully thin and crispy.

You can add whatever toppings you like, but I tend to stick with the tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, and green onions. 

Serve everyone a couple of these before your chili. Your guests will undoubtedly thank you for it. 

Bowl of Cheesy Cowboy Crack Dip with Corn, Onions and Chips

10. Cowboy Crack Dip

Since I started with Hormel chili dip, I thought I’d end with my famous cowboy crack dip. It’s similar to the Hormel dip, but it’s even better. 

It also takes longer to cook, though, so it isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a quick and easy appetizer.

Prep time is only 10 minutes, but it needs to cook in the slow cooker for a couple of hours.

Thanks to the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, it’s creamy, thick, and supremely cheesy.

The sausage adds flavor, texture, and protein, and the corn and Rotel kick the taste up a notch. 

Serve it with tortilla chips, and be sure you don’t eat so much that you won’t want your chili afterward.

10 Best Chili Appetizers


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Chili Appetizers

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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