What to Serve with Chili: 20 Best Side Dishes


Quick Answer: What to Serve with Chili?

The best side dishes that go with Chili are- Sweet Cornbread, Nachos, Fresh Salad, Tacos, Sweet Potato Fries, Onion Rings, Chicken Fajitas, Garlic Breadsticks, Quesadilla, Grilled Cheese, Coleslaw, Black Rice, Stuffed Mini Peppers, Grilled Zucchini Salad, Mango Guacamole, Smoky Jalapenos, Buttermilk Biscuits, Pumpkin Yogurt Fruit Dip, Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad and Zucchini Fries.

In this post, we are going to have a gander at 20 best side dishes to serve with Chili.

I have personally tried my hand at these recipes and they taste truly magical with this hearty dish.

Let’s dive right into the recipes without any further ado-

1. Sweet Cornbread

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 330
Total preparation time– 40 min

Don’t we all admire chili with a classic side of sweet cornbread?

Go conventional and pair up this tender, moist and buttery side with your chili.

If you do not have a sweet tooth, there are plenty of variations for you to try!

Just add some cheddar cheese and throw in green chili into the usual recipe, we bet you will love the twist.

Plus, use brown sugar and ditch the flavorless white sugar for an enhanced corn flavor.

Go check out this beyond easy cornbread recipe by Preppy Kitchen:

2. Nachos

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 306
Total preparation time– 15 min

Hands down the all-time favorite finger food!

A side of cheesy and crunchy nachos comes together in minutes, goes incredibly well with the Texan style chili and what’s even better is that you can make it the way you want!

Prepare some salsa and add in olives, fresh coriander leaves, corns, jalapenos, bell pepper or anything you might want to those nachos and you are all set.

For the cheese lovers out there, here’s a quick recipe straight from Home Cooking Show’s Kitchen:

3. Fresh Salad

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 45
Total preparation time– 15 min

A fresh and refreshing salad is not only healthy but downright delicious.

To boot, it goes perfectly well with just about any meal.

Go for a simple green salad, fresh and flavorful, it can never go wrong!

Just combine your preferred greens along with some diced onion, bell pepper and carrot and toss with a lemon or vinegar dressing.

Additionally, you can sprinkle some nuts or seeds for added crunch.

4. Tacos

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 226
Total preparation time– 15 min

Who said Tacos are only for Taco Tuesdays?

A side of savory and flaky tacos fits just right with chili and is loved by everyone with a fondness for spicy food.

To make this Mexican staple, you literally don’t need to do anything but use up the leftover chili as a filling.

So simple yet so scrumptious!

5. Sweet Potato Fries

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 124
Total preparation time– 45 min

Looking for something both sweet and healthy to pair with your steaming chili bowl?

Well, look no more.

A side of sweet potato fries is extremely easy to make and does not take up a lot of your time.

Just season the freshly prepared fries with some dried herbs, salt and pepper and don’t forget to coat them in olive oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges have turned visibly brown and serve them right away!

Check out this amazing recipe by Mind Over Munch:

6. Onion Rings

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 332
Total preparation time– 35 min

Want to enjoy a pub-style meal at home?

Onion Rings have to be your best bet!

A great side dish to chili, they are extremely tender on the inside and crispy and crunchy on the outside.

Make them baked or fried, they will taste divine either way!

Extra tip- Use white onions as they tend to fry really well.

Here’s TheCooknShare’s take on the recipe:

7. Chicken Fajitas

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 147
Total preparation time– 35 min

A delectable side of chicken fajitas not only enhances the Mexican theme but also makes a perfect dip side to soak up your chili.

Quick to throw together, the dish is so versatile that you can alter it the way you want.

On a lookout for something healthy?

Add some lean chicken or fresh veggies and it’s done!

Try to make the seasoning at home itself with these basic ingredients- lime juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic, ground chili, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

You are guaranteed a tender, juicy chicken this way!

Here’s an easy recipe along with home-made seasoning:

8. Garlic Breadsticks

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 395
Total preparation time– 50 min

Even the choosiest of eaters drool over a side of crunchy and buttery garlic breadsticks.

The garlic flavor complements the chili pretty well and the breadsticks when dipped soak up all the richness!

You can make these breadsticks in minutes if you use pre-made pizza dough.

Nevertheless, you can also make the dough at home if time is not the issue.

Do check out this recipe by Hebbars Kitchen:

9. Quesadilla

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 293
Total preparation time– 20 min

Flavorful quesadilla is another amazing option to add to the Mexican theme and make your guests admire you even more!

It can be prepared quickly and easily and is loaded with everybody’s favourite cheese and veggies.

From mini peppers and cheese to tortilla and chicken, a taste you can’t resist!

Joshua Weissman tells us the secret to a perfect quesadilla:

10. Grilled Cheese

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 290
Total preparation time– 25 min

Imagine the goodness of cheese between a perfectly grilled toast, heavenly no?

Don’t think much and pair this comfort side with your hearty chili for a great accompaniment.

You can either use cheddar cheese or any other type of cheese you want.

Here’s an amazing grilled cheese sandwich recipe:

11. Coleslaw

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 169
Total preparation time– 20 min

Refreshing, creamy, crunchy, colourful and downright healthy; coleslaw is the perfect accompaniment to your chili.

It is filled with the richness of cabbage, onions, carrots, mayo and vinegar.

Make sure to chop the veggies finely and for the secret ingredient, just drizzle in some Tabasco sauce and the salad will be a guaranteed hit!

Here’s how Kunal Kapur makes this healthy salad:

12. Black Rice

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 160
Total preparation time– 40 min

Not many of us have heard of black rice, probably because they are identified as “forbidden”.

They are deep black in colour but usually turn to deep purple when cooked.

Discovered in China, Black rice makes a super healthy side dish given the numerous health benefits it offers.

It is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, is known to keep cancer at bay!

Here’s how you cook them rice the right way:

13. Stuffed Mini Peppers

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 113
Total preparation time– 25 min

Some stuffed mini bell peppers are all you need to spice up your chili night even more!

The crunchy texture of the pepper perfectly complements the chili.

What’s even better is that you can save up a lot of time by stuffing them peppers with your left over taco filling.

Make sure to add lots of jalapenos, olives, chili beans, dried herbs, and cheese for an outstanding flavor.

14. Grilled Zucchini Salad

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 54
Total preparation time– 20 min

Zucchini salad is a fresh and delicious summer side dish.

It is prepared with easy to find at home ingredients and takes no longer than 15 minutes!

Take it to the grill and we bet you will love how nice and charred the Mediterranean style salad will turn out!

Add some fresh basil, mint leaves or chives for that extra tint!

Don’t miss out on this incredibly easy recipe by The Mediterranean Dish:

15. Mango Guacamole

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 224
Total preparation time– 15 min

Mango guacamole is just the right sweet and spicy complement to that fiery chili.

Ditch the boring creamy guacamole and give the tangy sweetness of mangoes a try, you won’t regret it!

Additionally, drizzle some lime juice, fresh cilantro and serrano chili and your guests will surely ask you the secret recipe!

Here’s a super quick and easy recipe for you:

16. Smoky Jalapenos

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 40
Total preparation time– 50 min

Fine roasted and smoked jalapenos are the best addition to all types of Mexican food, irrefutably.

The spiciness of jalapenos plus the goodness of bacon makes this side dish the perfect!

If you are big on spicy food, red ripe jalapenos is the best choice for you.

If not, don’t sweat it, prepare this dish using yellow chili peppers or some mild banana peppers and you are good!

17. Buttermilk Biscuits

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 350
Total preparation time– 40 min

Chili and buttermilk biscuits are the best all- time meal option, isn’t it?

Homemade buttermilk biscuits are not only buttery soft but are also pretty hassle-free and quick to make!

You will just need these 6 basic ingredients- all-purpose flour, salt, butter, baking powder, buttermilk and honey and it’s done!

Make sure that the dough remains lumpy and sticky if you are looking for good crumbliness.

Check out this recipe by Bigger Bolder Baking:

18. Pumpkin Yogurt Fruit Dip

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 89
Total preparation time– 10 min

It is the sweetest yet the simplest side that goes amazingly with a bowl of chili.

This Pumpkin Yogurt Fruit Dip can be pulled off in no longer than 10 minutes and contains the goodness of apples, pumpkin, maple, nutmeg and cinnamon!

Making the dip is anything but a cumbersome task: all you need to do is mix together the ingredients in a bowl and that is it!

As simple as it gets.

19. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 227
Total preparation time– 30 min

Mexican street corn or Elote pasta salad is nothing but a sensation!

This creamy and charred side is made by roasting fresh and coating with chili, cottage cheese and finishing with a seasoning of lime juice and mayo.

The most interesting part is that this recipe rounds up all year and can be prepared with three different types of corns- fresh, frozen and even canned! Amazing, isn’t it?

Do check out this amazing recipe:

20. Zucchini Fries

Total calories (per 100 gm)– 224
Total preparation time– 35 min

Crunchy from the outside and tender from the inside, Zucchini fries are made from eggs, flour, garlic powder, parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Coated with delish breadcrumbs and baked to perfection, these fries have a great nutritional value.

While this side can be relished on its own for the parmesan coating , zucchini fries are extra appetizing when paired with chili, ketchup, mayo or any of your preferred sauces.

It also pairs incredibly with a greek ranch dip.

Here’s how Shilpa Shetty Kundra makes this healthy side:


Can we prepare Onion rings in a pot with oil?

Yes, you can definitely prepare the rings in a pot with oil, however, it is easier to do so in an air fryer. You can make them in a larger quantity.

Cast iron skillet or pan? What works best for chicken fajitas?

Ideally, A cast iron skillet works incredible for the best sear when seasoned properly. However, if you don’t own one, you can always use a nonstick pan.

What are the drinks that pair well with Chili?

A hearty bowl of chili is best paired with wine. Red wine, Margarita and Sangria are all good options. Alternatively, chilled beer works equally well.

Bottom line

We hope you enjoyed reading this ultimate guide on what to pair with Chili!

Ensure to try your hand at all the side dishes, as each one has its unique flavor, texture and specialty that complements a hearty bowl of chili seamlessly.

Have more exciting recipes to share? Tell us below!

Also, don’t forget to share these delish recipes with your near and dear ones.

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About Karen Wilson

Karen is a foodie to the core. She loves any variety of food - spicy or junk! Her slender body and height are deceiving, as she enjoys eating hearty meals that would leave most people gasping for air. She has an appetite for life, and wants everyone around her to share in it too.