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What Goes With Chili: 41 Side Dishes for Chili

A nice big bowl of chili is nourishing on its own. But for a full meal, you need a delicious side dish for chili, too.

Every spicy bowl of chili needs its delicious companion by its side.

From light salads and hearty dishes to full-on spicy sides for the extremely bold ones, I’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re a cornbread, rice, potato, or homemade-bread fan, your match is hiding among these 41 ultimate best side dishes to serve with chili.

side dishes for chili

Chili Toppings

When it comes to chili, the topping options are pretty endless. But that doesn’t mean that you should dump them on top blindly.

Depending on what type of chili we’re talking about – red (classic tomato and ground meat), verde (loaded with green peppers), white (poultry and white beans), or veggie chili, the toppings vary.

Red chili – top it with cilantro, shredded cheddar, tortilla chips, or sliced onions and jalapenos.

Verde – top it with lime wedges, sour cream, cilantro, crushed chips, chopped green onions.

White – top it with jalapeno slices, avocado, chopped tomatoes, crumbled bacon, hot sauce, chips.

Veggie – top it with Greek yogurt, cilantro, roasted corn, Cotija cheese, or drizzle with honey.

What Goes Well with Chili

A nice bowl of hearty chili definitely serves a crowd. But for a filling meal, you need to have something to serve it with, too. But what pairs well with chili?

Well, anything that’s bready, warm, and crusty will definitely be a good match. You can never go wrong with rice, potatoes, or even a nutritious salad, too.

If it has corn or other Mexican spices, that is always a safe option.

Potato Sides

Potatoes and chili is a combo to die for, period. If you’re looking for a potato side to accompany this spicy Mexican staple, then here are some great options for you to try.

This vegetable makes for a great side dish to create a hearty meal.

1. Twice Baked Pepper Stuffed Potatoes

Twice Baked Pepper Stuffed Potatoes

These potatoes are filled with colorful chopped peppers, onions, and pickled jalapenos for a hot and acidic kick.

The sour cream and butter combine perfectly, giving your potato bites a smooth and incredibly enjoyable texture.

You could also serve this as a side for chicken wings.

2. Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes

Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes

With just a couple of ingredients and an Air Fryer, you can quickly make these Hasselback potatoes.

Crispy to perfection on the outside and still soft and fluffy on the inside.

Use potatoes that lean on the starchy side most (russet or Yukon golds work best). Otherwise, the skin might turn out soggy.

3. Air Fryer Mashed Potatoes

Air Fryer Mashed Potatoes

Made in the Air Fryer with just five minutes of prep time, I bet this is the easiest mashed potato method ever.

Place your baby potatoes in the basket, drizzle with oil, air fry, then mash with some butter.

This could also be a nice side for brisket.

4. Gouda Smashed Potatoes

Gouda Smashed Potatoes

Drizzled with oil, sprinkled with garlic, and baked to perfection, these golden potatoes are everything you’re looking for next to your chili.

The second baking part gives you a gooey gouda topping and even crispier skin, that no one will be able to resist.

5. Air Fryer Jacket Potatoes

Air Fryer Jacket Potatoes

For these jacket potatoes, all you need are just three basic ingredients – potatoes, oil, and salt – and an Air Fryer in your kitchen.

Feel free to experiment with herbs, spices, and beloved toppings.

So crispy and fluffy, pair them with your spicy chili, and these potatoes will more than satisfy you.

6. Chili Lime Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Slices

Chili Lime Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Slices

Hints of spice and a tangy zing bring harmony to the flavors, these sweet slices are not your typical potato side. They are healthy, nutritious, and super delicious!

Plus they are vegan, paleo, and gluten-free, which makes them a safe option for your next cookout.

You could also serve this side with steak.

7. Garlic Butter Instant Pot Red Potatoes

Garlic Butter Instant Pot Red Potatoes

These Garlic Butter potatoes are made in the Instant Pot for extra convenience, but you can also use a covered baking dish and make them in the oven.

The stock gives them juiciness that is finger-licking worthy. They are soft, fluffy, and basically melt in your mouth.

Healthy Sides for Chili

Looking for a healthy side to shine next to your infamous chili entrée? Then I’ve got not one but eight amazingly delicious dishes for you to whip up.

8. Air Fryer Parsnip Fries

Air Fryer Parsnip Fries

These root-veggie sticks are sweet, nutty, soft, aromatic, and smokey. They’re seasoned with paprika, garlic, and maple syrup for the ultimate explosion of flavors.

And to make them even healthier and with less oil, use the good, old Air Fryer instead of deep-frying them.

9. Butter Lettuce Salad

Butter Lettuce Salad

Green salad as a side dish is a nutritious way to accompany a meal.

Enriched with avocados, radishes, and chives, this lettuce bowl offers a healthy punch that will also please with every single bite.

Dressed in a light mustardy lemon dressing, this salad offers a clean, refreshing, and tangy mouthfeel.

10. Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

With tangy tamarillos, goat cheese, parmesan, crispy breadcrumbs, and tons of aroma, this is not your typical tomato and cucumber bowl.

Tossed in an oregano-flavored vinegar dressing and enriched with refreshing basil and lemon zest, this salad is perfect for summer dinners.

11. Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats

Grilled Mexican Zucchini Boats

These grilled zucchini will become your go-to recipe to pull out when hosting a cookout.

Cut in half, massaged with a Mexican spice mixture, grilled to charred perfection, and then topped with heavenly creaminess.

The topping is a mixture of mayo, yogurt, and feta cheese, and it is nothing short of refreshing.

12. No Mayo Creamy Cranberry and Walnut Coleslaw

No Mayo Creamy Cranberry and Walnut Coleslaw

Cabbage, carrots, green onions, cranberries, and walnuts, smothered in a creamy and tangy dressing are the ultimate refreshing bite.

The dressing uses maple syrup, so make sure not to substitute it with honey or another sweetener.

To make the dressing thicker and not too runny, full-fat yogurt works best.

13. Raw Zucchini Carpaccio with Shaved Manchego

Raw Zucchini Carpaccio with Shaved Manchego

Zucchini ribbons with shaved Manchego cheese, lemon, and olive oil is a pure summertime satisfaction.

The zesty refreshing notes from the salad will perfectly complement the hot chili hints.

Make sure to use both the juice and zest from the lemons for an enhanced acidic touch that will wrap the flavors up beautifully.

14. Sweet Potato Beet Salad

Sweet Potato Beet Salad

A fresh salad filled with roasted veggies, cheese, healthy greens, nuts, and the perfect combination of spices and condiments.

Sweet potatoes offer a distinctive taste and sweetness that is hard to recreate with other ingredients.

This is a perfect side dish for pork chops!

15. Southwest Salad

Southwest Salad

Corn, tomatoes, avocado, red onions, romaine salad, cheddar, bacon… Practically all of the Southwest flavors you can think of join forces in this bowl of heaven.

The dressing is made with lime, jalapenos, and cilantro, and it is really as tasty as it sounds.

Bread Sides

For ultimate chili satisfaction, you’d want to dunk your bread slices in the spicy heaven and soak all of the Mexican flavors in one single bite. Here are the best bread recipes when you’re craving for some of the best comfort food.

16. Instant Pot Cornbread

Instant Pot Cornbread

Golden and crispy, this easy and simple-to-make cornbread will be the best you’ve ever had with chili.

The secret lies in the pumpkin puree and the sharpness of the cheddar cheese.

Feel free to add crumbled bacon to the mix for an even crispier bite. The maple syrup will combine perfectly with the cooked bacon.

17. Soft Homemade Garlic Knots

Soft Homemade Garlic Knots

These garlicky bread knots are so soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Brushed with garlic and herb butter and then baked.

If hosting a dinner party, make sure to sprinkle them with coarse sea salt and top with dried herbs for a fancier look on your table.

18. Gluten-Free Cornbread

Gluten-Free Cornbread

Made with cornmeal, almond milk, and coconut oil, this cornbread is not only gluten-free, but it is also dairy-free and healthier.

If you’re steering clear from sugar, use a granulated sweetener instead.

This recipe can be baked in a muffin tin for a dozen of individual small cornbreads.

19. Brown Butter Maple Beer Bread

Brown Butter Maple Beer Bread

Maple syrup and beer bread – Light and airy while super crispy on the outside, this brown butter bread with maple and beer flavors is just the thing your chili lacks.

And the best part? With no yeast and kneading, this bread goodness can be made in no time.

20. Honey Butter Rolls

Honey Butter Rolls

These soft, buttery, and sweet tiny breads are perfect for your stews and chilis.

The best part about them has to be the honey butter topping they are smothered with after baking. If you don’t like them sweet, though, feel free to omit the honey and brush generously with butter.

21. Jalapeno Cheese Bread

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

Jalapenos and cheddar star in this heavenly softness, giving this airy bread a spicy and sharp kick that perfectly complements any Mexican dish.

If you’re feeling extra generous, add some diced bacon to the dough for some protein bites to keep you full.

22. Garlic Parmesan Knots

Garlic Parmesan Knots

These knots are fluffy on the inside and wrapped with a crisp crust topped with salty Parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle with dried herbs for extra flavor at the end of baking.

The recipe uses store-bought pizza dough, so these knots are easy and quick, perfect for your last-minute dinner parties.

23. Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

So light, flaky, and incredibly tasty, these fluffy bites are the perfect companion for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Fluffy and rich in buttery flavor, these biscuits are the great base for any meal. If you want them super savory, feel free to add some cheese or herbs to the dough.

24. Crusty French Baguette

Crusty French Baguette

Rustic, crispy, and incredibly airy on the inside, this is the bread you (and your chili) have been waiting for.

Simple to make and without too much waiting around, this recipe is the ultimate keeper.

Served with soups, stews, and chili, it’s too delightful to be resisted.

25. Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan

If you haven’t made naan before, please, don’t shy away from this recipe. It is simple, straightforward, and most importantly, anyone can whip it up.

Brushed with silky, smooth, and aromatic garlicky butter, these enticing bread rounds will be devoured in a jiffy.

Rice Sides for Chili

If you’re the kind of person who’s always rooting for rice as a side, then these recipes are perfect for you and your favorite chili bowl.

26. Instant Pot Brown Rice

Instant Pot Brown Rice

With just three ingredients, this is a delicious and safe choice to put on your table when serving for a crowd.

And the best part? It is made in the Instant Pot so no guesswork is involved.

Of course, you’re free to mix in your favorite add-ins and spice things up.

27. Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice

Refreshing, zesty, and tummy-filling, this herbed and citrusy basmati rice makes an ideal side dish, regardless of what you’re serving it with.

For a real flavor boost, add some fragrant spices such as cumin or cinnamon. That will completely transform the taste and take your entrée to the next level.

28. Fiesta Saffron Rice

Fiesta Saffron Rice

This saffron rice is made for your special occasion dinners, and it is definitely a recipe that your guests will be begging you for.

With onions, bell peppers, peas, and seasoned saffron rice, this easy side dish is colorful, tasty, and rich in texture.

Just 10 minutes of prep-time are needed.

29. Oven-Cooked Rice

Oven-Cooked Rice

If you haven’t cooked rice in the oven before, here is your chance to try this amazing trick.

All you need is rice, boiling water, and some salt and butter for flavor. No pre-boiling, no turning on the stove required. Just one baking dish and a piece of foil for perfectly cooked rice.

30. Turmeric Rice

Turmeric Rice

Turmeric rice is perfect for your Indian curry, but just as delicious alongside a spicy bowl of chili con carne.

The earthy turmeric flavor is accompanied by the fragrance of onions and garlic for a truly aromatic dish. The bay leaf gives yet another satisfying hint.

Best Sides for Chili

For a fail-proof side that will not only complement your chili but wow your guests too, take a pick from the recipes below, and success is guaranteed. Use these to make your chili night great and take your ground beef recipes to a whole new level.

31. Crispy Corn Fritters

Crispy Corn Fritters

With a ready pancake mix, eggs, beer, and, well, corn, you can whip up these crispy corn fritters in no time.

So crispy on the outside and incredibly soft and fluffy in the middle, these yummy fritters are the ideal side with any protein-based dish.

32. Classic Corn Casserole

Classic Corn Casserole

Any side dish that is loaded with corn will be much appreciated alongside your spicy chili.

Made with a corn muffin mix, creamed and whole corn, this corn pudding-like recipe is one of the best Mexican side dishes I’ve ever tasted.

So simple to make and budget-friendly.

33. 3-Ingredient Candied Jalapenos

3-Ingredient Candied Jalapenos

These candied jalapenos are perfect for any spicy-and-hot-food aficionados.

With just sugar, water, and your beloved Jalapenos, you can easily cook some syrupy and candied hot bites that go well with any meal.

If your peppers are super hot, make sure to remove the seeds to avoid adding extreme heat to your meals.

34. Sweet Potato Rolls with Maple Bacon Glaze

Sweet Potato Rolls with Maple Bacon Glaze

Honey-sweet, butter-smooth, and loaded with fragrant cinnamon. The recipe uses two full teaspoons of cinnamon, and you better follow through. It makes all the difference.

Cubed sweet potatoes trapped inside a soft dough that is crispy on the outside and topped with maple-glazed bacon.

35. Cinnamon Paprika Sweet Potato Fries

Cinnamon Paprika Sweet Potato Fries

Another sweet potato and cinnamon combination, only this time enriched with smoky paprika and cooked as French fries.

Healthy and straight from the oven, this is the guilt-free Sweet potato fries recipe you’ve been waiting for.

Perfect as a snack or a side dish to any meat-based meal.

36. Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts

Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts

Ready in under 15 minutes from start to finish, these soft and flavorful sauteed Brussel sprouts will pair well with your chili.

Loaded with deep garlic flavor and lemony notes, these fragrant and zesty mini cabbages make one delicious side.

My tip would be to generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese right before serving.

37. Keto Cornbread Chaffles

Keto Cornbread Chaffles

Made with corn extract, cheese, and eggs, these chaffles (Keto waffles) give you the cornbread taste you’ve been craving, minus all the carbs.

Plus, these rounds come in the shape of a waffle, so you really cannot find a better look for your cornbread.

38. Cheese Cauliflower Rice

Cheese Cauliflower Rice

Loaded with cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar, and mayo, this cauliflower dish is not only creamy and cheesy but very velvety, as well.

And while this is a great bake, you can also just steam the “rice” and then quickly melt the cheese on top in the microwave.

39. Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms

Sauteed mushrooms in garlic and butter is just the comforting touch that any meat-based entrée needs. And that goes for your chili, as well.

Letting the mushrooms get dark brown and then deglazing the pan with broth really transforms the taste, so make sure not to skip this vital step.

40. Cornbread Pudding

Cornbread Pudding

Creamy and full in flavor, this cornbread is the perfect match for your chili. With a much moister texture, this dish is less bread-like and even resembles a souffle.

Feel free to play around with chopped veggies or even bacon for some extra crunch.

41. Savory Cornbread Pudding

Savory Cornbread Pudding

Spicy, cheesy, and with just the right Mexican flavors to go with your chili con carne, this cornbread pudding is a side dish that doesn’t fail to bring comfort.

This is a basic recipe, but feel free to throw in some extra herbs and spices to give it a more personal touch.