25 Things That Go Well With Chili

Discover the dishes or sides that go well with chili for a comforting, hearty meal.
inflationism a bowl of chili and sides cffd a ca caa
inflationism a bowl of chili and sides cffd a ca caa

Chili, with its rich flavors and comforting warmth, is a staple in many households, especially during the colder months.

While chili is a complete meal in itself, pairing it with the right side dishes can elevate the entire dining experience.

Whether you’re hosting a game night, a family dinner, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, these side dishes are sure to complement your chili and leave your guests asking for more.

Classic Cornbread

Cornbread and chili are a match made in culinary heaven.

The soft, buttery texture of the cornbread perfectly balances the spicy and hearty nature of chili.

For those looking to experiment, variations like maple butter or bacon cheddar cornbread can add a delightful twist to the traditional recipe.

Cheesy Breadsticks

Imagine pulling apart a warm, cheesy breadstick and dipping it into a bowl of hot chili.

The combination of the gooey cheese and the robust flavors of the chili is simply irresistible.


Adding quesadillas to your chili meal can enhance the Mexican vibe.

Filled with a mix of peppers, cheese, and tortilla bread, quesadillas offer a crispy contrast to the soft texture of chili.

For meat lovers, adding some chicken or beef can make it even more delectable.

Crunchy Nachos

A plate of nachos layered with melted cheese, salsa, and jalapeños can be the perfect crunchy companion to your chili bowl. Every bite offers a mix of textures and flavors that’s sure to delight.

Tasty Tacos

Why not get creative and use your chili as a unique taco filling?

The spicy, meaty goodness of chili, when wrapped in a soft or crispy tortilla, creates a fusion that’s both familiar and new.

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Baked Potatoes

A baked potato, with its fluffy interior and crispy skin, can be the perfect canvas for your chili.

Top it with sour cream, cheese, and bacon, and you have a side dish that’s both filling and delicious.

Cheesy Potato Skins

Potato skins, with their crispy edges and soft centers, are a treat on their own.

Add some melted cheese, sour cream, and green onions, and you’ve got a side dish that’s hard to resist.

Sweet Potatoes

For those who prefer a hint of sweetness with their meal, baked sweet potatoes are the way to go.

Top them with butter, maple syrup, and toasted pecans for a side dish that’s both sweet and savory.

Crispy Onion Rings

The contrast of the crispy exterior and soft interior of onion rings makes them a favorite side dish for many.

Paired with chili, they offer a delightful crunch that complements the rich flavors of the main dish.

Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels, with their chewy texture and salty flavor, can be a wonderful alternative to the usual bread sides.

Dip them in chili for a taste sensation that’s sure to please.

Fresh Salad

To balance out the richness of the chili, a fresh salad with leafy greens, veggies, and a tangy dressing can be the perfect side.

It adds a refreshing touch and introduces a variety of textures to the meal.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries are a healthier alternative to regular fries and offer a sweet contrast to the spicy chili.

Their crispy exterior and soft interior make them a favorite for many.

Chips & Guacamole

For a quick side dish that requires minimal effort, chips and guacamole are perfect.

The creamy texture of the guacamole combined with the crunch of the chips is a match made in food heaven.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A grilled cheese sandwich, with its crispy exterior and gooey cheese-filled center, is a childhood favorite for many.

Paired with chili, it offers a comforting combination that’s hard to beat.

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Creamy Coleslaw

For a touch of freshness and crunch, coleslaw is an excellent choice.

The creamy dressing and crunchy vegetables provide a refreshing contrast to the hearty chili.

Flavored Rice

Rice, being a versatile side dish, can be flavored in numerous ways to complement chili.

Spanish rice, with its mix of peppers, tomatoes, and onions, is a popular choice.


To wash down the rich flavors of chili, consider pairing it with fruity wines, sangria, or margaritas.

For those who prefer non-alcoholic options, a cold glass of iced tea or lemonade can be refreshing.

Seasoned Fries

Fries, seasoned with a mix of herbs and spices, can be a delightful side to chili.

Their crispy texture and salty flavor make them a crowd-pleaser.

Gourmet Hot Dogs

Elevate your regular hot dogs by serving them with toppings of your choice.

Add some chili on top for a unique twist and enjoy a fusion of flavors.

Easy Mexican Rice

Mexican rice, with its hearty and flavorful profile, can be a great side to chili.

It not only adds a different texture but also helps balance out the spiciness of the chili.

Garlic Bread

The aromatic flavors of garlic bread, combined with its crispy texture, make it a favorite side dish for many.

Dunk it in chili for a garlicky treat.

Spaghetti (Cincinnati-Style Chili)

Combine spaghetti and chili for a unique dish that’s both filling and flavorful.

This combination is popular in Cincinnati and is a must-try for pasta lovers.

Jalapeno Poppers

For those who love a kick of heat, jalapeno poppers, stuffed with cream cheese and bread crumbs, are perfect.

They can be served as an appetizer or a side dish.

Fruit Salad

A fruit salad, with its mix of sweet and tangy flavors, can be a refreshing side to the spicy chili. It’s a light and healthy option that adds a touch of sweetness to the meal.

Classic Potato Salad

A chilled potato salad, with its creamy dressing and mix of vegetables, can be a delightful side to hot and spicy chili.

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It’s a classic that never goes out of style.

Eric’s Take

Hey there, I’m Eric. If you’ve been following my culinary journey, you’d know I have a soft spot for BBQ and smoked dishes.

But let me tell you, chili holds a special place in my heart.

Growing up in California, I’ve had my fair share of chili bowls, each with its unique twist.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with countless recipes, trying to perfect that rich blend of flavors.

The first time I made chili from scratch, I remember being overwhelmed by the aroma that filled my kitchen.

The blend of spices, the simmering beans, and the tender chunks of meat created a symphony of flavors that was hard to resist.

But what truly elevated that experience was pairing my chili with the right side dishes.

It’s like finding the perfect wine to go with your steak; it just completes the experience.

Cornbread, for instance, is my go-to. Its soft, buttery texture contrasts beautifully with the hearty nature of chili.

And on days I’m feeling a bit adventurous, I’d whip up some cheesy breadsticks or even quesadillas.

Trust me, the combination of gooey cheese with the robust flavors of chili is simply divine.

I’ve also tried using my chili as a unique taco filling, and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer.

The spicy, meaty goodness of chili wrapped in a soft tortilla creates a fusion that’s both familiar and exciting.

Over the years, I’ve learned that while chili is fantastic on its own, pairing it with the right side dishes can transform your meal into a gastronomic delight.

It’s all about balancing flavors and textures to create a complete dining experience.

Some of My Favorite Recipes:

For more of my culinary adventures and recipes, do check out my profile on What Goes Well With?.

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