What to Serve with Chili: 17 Incredible Side Dishes

by insanelygood
bowl of chili

Chili is a hearty meal that will warm you up on cold, winter nights. You can serve it up with a few complimentary side dishes or all by itself. It’s great either way!

Our family loves chili with a side of cornbread or a bowl of chips.

But there are lots of incredible side dishes that will transform this tasty bowl of goodness into an unforgettable meal. You can go with the classics like cornbread and tortilla chips. Or change it up with some soft pretzels and cheesy potato skins.

Here are my top chili side dishes for game night, get-together’s, or simply a fun family dinner.



You can never go wrong with a classic! Go the traditional route by pairing your chili with a soft, sweet piece of buttery cornbread. Classic comfort food the whole family can agree on.

Plus, there are lots of variations you can try as well. Try some maple butter cornbread to add a bit of sweetness to your meal. Or if you want a smoky flavor, bacon cheddar cornbread is a side dish your family will never forget.



Cheesy breadsticks taste great on their own, but dunk them in a bowl of chili and you’ve got a definite crowd-pleaser.



A great way to add even more Mexican flair to your chili! It’s got everything, from peppers, cheese, tortilla bread, and chicken. You may want to leave the chicken out though if you’re already serving it with meaty chili. Totally up to you.



Add some crunch to your chili with a side of nachos. Just prepare some melted cheese, salsa, and you’ve got the perfect finger food.



You can even use your chili as a filling for tacos. Spicy meaty chili goodness embraced by soft and crisp tortilla bread? Just the thought of it makes me hungry. This is also a great way to use up your leftovers.

baked potatoes

Baked Potatoes

It’s perfect when you need to feed a group of hungry kids. Warm baked potatoes topped with sour cream, melted cheese, and bacon – not even the pickiest eater can say no to this!

cheesy potato skins

Cheesy Potato Skins

Pair your savory bowl of chili with some baked potato skins. Top with melted cheese, sour cream, bacon, and green onions. It doesn’t get much better than that!

baked sweet potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Add something sweet to your meal. Baked sweet potatoes are super easy to make. Plus, you can top it off with butter, salt, pepper, brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and toasted pecans.

In fact, it’s almost like dessert! But still loaded with nutrients.

onion rings

Onion Rings

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. This classic appetizer goes perfectly with chili. It’s like the perfect bar food without having to go to the pub.

soft pretzels

Soft Pretzels

Another one of my favorite bar foods. This soft and salty side is a wonderful alternative to cornbread or biscuits. Just
one more way that you can turn a classic bowl of chili into an unforgettable meal.

fresh salad

Fresh Salad

A fresh salad goes with just about anything. Fresh leafy greens topped with carrots, tomatoes, crispy radishes, cucumbers, and croutons.

It’s a great way to balance out the savory chili and add some veggies to your meal.

sweet potato fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries allow me to eat one of my favorite “cheat” foods but without the extra calories. They’re crispy on the outside and sweet on the inside. Plus, they’re super simple to make while your chili is cooking.

To make, start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Scrub 4 medium sweet potatoes and then cut them into fries (about 1/2 inch wide).

Coat the fries in olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes. Or until edges are lightly browned.

chips and guacamole

Chips & Guacamole

An excellent side dish especially for those extra hectic days! Just open a bag of your favorite tortilla chips and you’re all set. Serve with creamy guacamole, salsa, or melted cheese.

grilled cheese

Grilled Cheese

I love a good sandwich with my chili and grilled cheese is the perfect match. Crunchy, cheesy bites of goodness dipped into a bowl of chili. Yum!

With this combo, I’m happy to relive my childhood a hundred times over.

Mexican Coleslaw


Add a refreshing side to your meal with creamy coleslaw. The fresh, crunchy texture pairs perfectly with a hearty bowl
of chili.

Plus, coleslaw is super simple to put together. You can even use a bag of pre-shredded veggies. Yes. I’m guilty 🙂

But when you’re busy, anything that helps me get dinner on the table quickly is a win.

Spanish Rice


Another great use for chili is as a topping for rice. You can use white, brown, or whatever kind you prefer. Spanish rice is a nice variation with peppers, tomatoes, and onions. A good way to incorporate carbs and vegetables into your chili.



If you’re in the mood for some alcohol, chili is best paired with wine. Red wine, Sangria, and Margaritas are all excellent options. The key is to partner it with a fruity wine, which compliments chili well. And of course, you can never go wrong with a cold glass of beer. Bottoms up!

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