What goes with chili? Here are the best sides to serve with chili, from moist and tender cornbread to crisp salads to sweet potato fries.
Chili is always a hands-down hit in our house. But what goes with chili? Of course there’s the standard choice: cornbread (which let’s not lie, always hits the spot). But outside of that, it’s harder to find a natural choice. Do you try a green salad? Balance a bowl of chili with a plate of something else? What are the best sides for chili?
Here are all our favorite sides to serve with chili! Each one complements the chili with a comforting vibe, or contrasts it with fresh and zingy flavors. This list is especially perfect for entertaining, if you’re hosting a chili night or chili cookoff party.
And now…what to serve with chili!
What to serve with chili? Try this Mexican Style Cornbread! Fill this crowd-pleasing quick bread with green onion, red pepper, and jalapeno peppers, then add a hint of Mexican-blend cheese. It comes out so moist and savory sweet, it will become your new go-to! (It is over here.) Pair it with chili, black beans, tacos, or even a breakfast skillet: it’s totally versatile.
Next up in our sides to serve with chili: baked sweet potato fries! The sweetness of the potatoes is the perfect antidote to hearty, savory chili. These fries are lightly crispy on the outside, perfectly seasoned, and lusciously sweet on the inside. Pop a batch in the oven while the chili simmers.
Using hearty kale leaves in a Caesar salad has become popular in restaurants: and for good reason. The fluffy, ridged texture of the leaves are ideal for coating in Caesar dressing. This spin on the Kale Caesar is our go-to, with a fresh, creamy homemade dressing and crunchy breadcrumbs in every bite. It’s versatile enough to go with just about anything and the flavor? This might be the most addicting salad you’ve had.
Buttermilk biscuits with hot honey? Yes, please! Ready for the flakiest, most buttery and tender biscuits? This buttermilk biscuit recipe is a true gem—and all your friends will ask for your secrets. You might have only thought of cornbread as a side to go with chili, but biscuits are where it's at. Step it up by adding our spicy honey: it takes only 5 minutes to make and the sweetness takes it over the top.
Try either Flaky Homemade Biscuits or Best Vegan Biscuits.
If you're serving chili for a crowd, these Mexican baked sweet potatoes would be a great festive looking side! The sweet potatoes are baked until tender, then covered with black bean salsa and tangy cilantro sauce. Since the chili has a healthy dose of beans, another option would be to top with our Best Salsa Fresca instead. The contrast of the lightly sweet potato with the tangy and spicy toppings can't be beat! Pop them in the oven while the chili is simmering.
The only thing better than homemade cornbread is…homemade Corn Muffins! Here’s our copycat recipe that takes all that’s great about the box mix…without the box! These muffins are moist and fluffy, with the ideal sweet savory flavor. And, they’re faster to make than cornbread, making them an ideal side dish for just about anything...but a perfect side to go with chili.
What goes with chili? Chips and guacamole! Here's our fan favorite recipe for an incredible creamy guacamole with the best savory, zingy flavor! Add to it your favorite tortilla chips and you've got the perfect pairing for a hearty chili bowl.
Here’s a standout side for chili starring everyone’s favorite ingredient: Butternut Squash Salad! This one is a symphony in a bowl: hearty sweet squash pairs with crisp apple, chewy cranberries and a citrusy orange vinaigrette. All the best flavors of fall and winter ingredients sing together in perfect harmony!
Ever tried delicata squash? It's a unique oblong variety that cooks quickly with no need for peeling, and has a sweet, buttery taste that’s similar to a sweet potato. Here's the perfect way to make it into a side for chili: as fries! Cut it into half-moon “fries” and serve it with this homemade buffalo sauce. It's a huge crowd pleaser!
These loaded sweet potato bites are a crowd favorite! Roast up thin rounds of spiced sweet potatoes, then top them with cheese, green onion, and sour cream. Each bite is a little bit of heaven! Bonus: they're quicker than Loaded Potato Skins.
Try this refreshing Romaine Salad as a fresh side to go with chili! The electric green of the romaine leaves, pastel dressing and delicate pink radishes have a fresh monochrome effect tastes as good as it looks. The Green Goddess Dressing smothers it all in herbaceous creaminess. Take it over the top with a sprinkle of crunchy breadcrumbs, an ingenious alternative to croutons.
What’s a popover? It's kind of like a dinner roll, but on the inside it’s custardy and filled with air! The name comes from literally “popping over” the sides of the pan. It’s perfect as a side for chili. And the recipe is easy to memorize: so you can whip them up while you have chili simmering on the stove!
What to serve with chili? Try this Sweet Potato Salad! You won’t be able to stop shoveling in bites of this healthy side dish (we couldn’t, at least). The contrast of garlic roasted sweet potato cubes, feathery baby arugula, cranberries and creamy goat cheese hit it out of the park. Top it with tangy honey mustard dressing and well, you’ll want to park yourself in front of the bowl.
Are you ready for the coziest, simplest side to go with chili? This Pumpkin Yogurt Fruit Dip, served with crisp thin slices of apple. This dip tastes like everything you love about the season: pumpkin, maple, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. And it takes only 5 minutes to stir together. And it’s a healthy snack that you can feel good about eating. The sweetness and tang of the apples and yogurt are the perfect counterpoint to chili.
And to round out our sides to go with chili: another crisp salad! This shaved Brussels sprout salad tastes like a bowl of vibrant confetti, and will leave you glowing from the inside out. It’s a study in contrasts: feathery shaved Brussels, the pop of pomegranate seeds, and the bright crunch of the apple. It’s vibrant and colorful, covered in a lightly sweet vinaigrette: the perfect pair for a big bowl of chili!
Want a chili recipe to go with those sides? Just in case you’re still looking for a favorite, here are all our best chili recipes:
- Best Vegetarian Chili: classic, lightly spicy and so good!
- Ultimate Vegan Chili: totally plant based crowd pleaser
- Quick Chili Recipe: a lightening fast recipe perfect for weeknights
- 3-Bean Healthy Chili Recipe: stars a trio of beans and healthy quinoa
- Quinoa Vegan Chili: a hearty vegan option
- Mango Black Bean Chili: using mango brings a unique sweetness
- Creamy White Chili: features white beans and a creamy base
- Best Sweet Potato Chili: this all-star recipe features tender potatoes
- Vegan Crockpot Chili Recipe: got a slow cooker? This one’s easy to prep
15 Best Sides to Serve with Chili
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 16 1x
Here’s the best side to go with chili: cheddar cornbread! This tender, moist easy cornbread recipe will become your new go-to.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1 for 1 gluten-free flour)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ¾ cup Mexican blend cheese
- 3 tablespoons seeded and minced jalapeño pepper
- ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 green onion, finely minced
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease a 9″ x 9″ baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter, and milk until a smooth dough forms. Gently fold in the shredded cheese, chopped jalapeño, chopped bell pepper, and minced green onion. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with a spatula.
- Bake 25 minutes, until puffed and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then slice into pieces and serve.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
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