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What to serve with chili?

I tried searching the thread, but "chili" brings up every other post, so apologies in advance if this has already been discussed.

We're (BF and I) hosting a Super Bowl party and a good friend has asked if he could bring his chili. It's delicious and a tradition whenever he hosts a football-watching party. We're planning on supplementing the chili with other dishes and sides. However, I'm drawing an absolute blank as to dishes that would compliment chili. He'll also bring cornbread, so that's covered.

Any suggestions? Bring 'em on, easy or difficult. Thank you!

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  1. If he is not planning to bring toppings, I'd make those up for him. The list can go on,but a few favorites are:
    sour cream
    chopped red onion
    And one year I made chili and had the crunchy skin hot dogs (Kasper) with buns.
    Served international beers (actually asked everyone to bring a six pack with intentions to share and try different beers.
    or your could have at the ready pre- baked potatoes ready for serving chili in...

    1. I'm making chili Fri night and plan to make corn bread. I use my grandmother's recipe and it is more like a corn cake because it uses a lot of eggs, sour cream and creamed corn. Not a traditional southern corn bread but it gets rave reviews. Goes great with chili. For other side dishes think along the lines of a southwestern theme.

      1. Quesadillas are a great, if heavy, accompaniment.
        On the lighter side, I always like to offer raw veggies for something crunchy and cool alongside - we've always traditionally served carrots, celery, and sweet pickles. I have no idea why the sweet pickles - my family has just always served cold little sweet gherkins with chili. Seems to go pretty well.
        I always also like crackers or tortilla chips. It's nice to have something crunchy.
        Fresh pineapple tossed with chopped cilantro is also a nice side.

        For dessert - mexican brownies!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Andiereid

          Sometimes I make chili and serve it over thin spaghetti with toppings. People love it!

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Funny you should mention rice... every time he made it, I always said I wanted it with a bowl of rice. Everyone looked at me like I was insane, but I grew up with rice. To me, it goes with everything, especially a hearty and meaty dish like chili.

            1. re: geekyfoodie

              Exactly. The only time this is embarassing for me is the few times a year I eat a steak I have to have rice with it. I have fixed potatoes for my friends and rice for myself.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I was anemic as a child and my mother, believing in the higher iron contents of red meat, made me eat steak often. I had it with rice and steamed broccoli. Whenever I eat steak nowadays, rice is almost always the accompaniment. My BF is a steak conoisseur and is slightly aghast at the idea, but I love it.

                1. re: geekyfoodie

                  Now that I think about it, my yankee mother always served rice with her chili, and she put beans in it, too. I had forgotten that. If I served rice with our chili here in Houston, my family would bolt! And they would howl if there were beans, too.

                  1. re: danhole

                    Beans, beans, they're good for the heart... :)

                    My friend's version has red kidney beans in it and I think the soft beans give a nice contrast to the meat. How do you make your chili, Danhole? Meat only or other non-bean ingredients?

                    1. re: geekyfoodie

                      Yup, meat only with lots of seasonings, black coffee, unsweetened choc and some masa at the end. It's a very Texas version. When you go to a Chili cookoff around here you don't see many with beans.

                      Now, don't think I am anti beans. I think they are my favorite comfort foods. Lima beans, butter beans, navy beans, red beans, bean soup, etc. Just not in my chili.

                      1. re: danhole

                        Oooh, unsweetened chocolate and black coffee are interesting touches. It would be fun to go to a chili cookoff and sample.

                        Well, I'm kind of anti-bean. Can't stand them served straight-up. Love them in stew-ish items like chili or pasta e fagioli, but not as a side. I grew up with red bean soup served as dessert and I can tell you that, for the life of me, I've never developed a taste for the stuff.

                        1. re: geekyfoodie

                          And don't forget the masa at the end. It thickens it a bit and gives it a very good mexican type flavor.

              2. Fritos for Frito Chili Pie

                1. Beer. That's about the only side I need when it comes to Chili.

                  1. Not Chowhound fare but in ~95 to accompany a "bowl of chili and pan of cornbread" I made: cocktail weenies in "tube" crescent rolls, mini cheeseburgers,
                    salami & cheese w/ crackers and bread platter, mixed nut bowl, dungeness crab louie salad.

                    A mixture of; danish, muffins, and scones, fruit, fruit juices and coffee, w/Brandy and Kaluha for early arrivals.

                    Add: Bonnie's Buffalo Wing Dip and two small bobolis for snacks.

                    1. Lots of dips.

                      Chili is great with tortilla chips some different dips would be in order. Make some salsa, guacamole, multi layer dip with refried beans, tomatoes, cream cheese, etc. I would also get some taquitos which are available frozen just about everywhere.

                      1. how about hot dogs... chili dog option -- yum!

                        1. I say cole slaw...green, refreshing, cool...there are so many great ways to make it, too! I've seen Yucatan style slaw, Texas Slaw, Asian slaw, etc. Many have no mayonnaise.

                          1. "Cheese bread"

                            purchase a loaf (or two if you have a crowd) of good Italian or French bread. Cut down the middle lengthwise. Place on foil covered baking sheet.

                            Mix 3/4 c mayo with 1/2 c grated cheddar, 1/2 c grated Jack cheese(or your favorites)

                            add to this 2 minced green onions, glugs of hot sauce to taste, S&P, 1/2 c minced parboiled broccoli, 1/2 c ch. raw cabbage, 1/2 c ch. red bell pepper. You can embellish further: olives, capers, ch. pepperoncini, etc)

                            Slather the mayo/cheese/veg mixture on each 1/2 of the loaf. Bake at 375 till bubbly- 15 min or so. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before cutting into serving slices. Arrange on platter.

                            1. do u happen to have a good chili recipe?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: drewb123

                                Unfortunately, I don't. My friend's the one cooking it and I never asked for the recipe. However, there are threads with chili recipes, but you have to have some patience. Searching for "chili" or "chili recipes" produces a lot of hits that may or may not have to do with chili.

                                1. re: drewb123

                                  I did the Dean and DeLuca eggplant and black bean chili recipe and it was quite good. I got good reviews from our guests last year at a super bowl party.

                                  1. re: drewb123

                                    If you want something w/ a bit of a twist... I did a spicy lamb & chorizo chili w/ hominy and I won a chili cook-off w/ the recipe (as did other reviewiers on epicurious who posted). Here is the link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                    I added some kidney beans, canned tomatoes & a bit of chocolate too. It's an amazing chili, w/ depth and texture. I love it... especially w/ a big dollop of sour cream and some queso fresco.

                                  2. maybe not for your superbowl party, but my absolute favorite with chili is Mashed Potatoes... The ultimate comfort food!!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: chefschickie

                                      hahaha! Interesting....the only person I ever knew to make mashed potatoes with her chili was my mom who was of Irish heritage.

                                      1. re: chefschickie

                                        We have some amazing mashed potato recipes, so I'm tempted. Potatoes, baked/mashed/etc., are always great sides. I'm more of a rice fan, but potatoes come a close second.

                                        1. re: geekyfoodie

                                          Be brave! Make a statement for the two of us (you and I in this case). make some rice.

                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            I second the rice idea. I generally eat my chili with rice too. Isn't there a cilantro rice recipe floating around here somewhere? That might be a nice option.

                                      2. Another thread about what to serve with chili; some good ideas there too:


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: PDXpat

                                          Thank you! My search was a little aggravating and very fruitless... I found chili recipes, but not a lot of suggestions for sides. Guess I should have searched with "chili party".

                                        2. One person did mention crackers but this needs to be emphasized. What is the point of chili without crackers?? If you don't set some out, people will be rummaging through your kitchen looking for crackers. (Not water biscuits, not Sesame Wafers, nothing from the gourmet shop: just plain old soda crackers aka saltines.) Also, set out an assortment of hot sauces for people who want their chili hotter.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Querencia

                                            How about a starting with a chopped salad--southwest style--romaine lettuce, red and/or yellow bell peppers, jicama, red onion, black olives, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, toasted pepitas--with a chipotle ranch dressing--add pureed chipotle to your favorite ranch dressing or make your own. For your own dressing--2 parts buttermilk, 1 part mayo, lime juice, a little maple syrup, salt and pepper.

                                          2. I got it down to a regular routine for our feminist strategizing meetings 30+ years ago at Casa Sharuf. Everyone expected it, so I had to make Sharuf's Famous Chili. It was accompanied by guacamole with veggie dippers -- jicama, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, and radishes. Also, hand-made (fresh today) tortillas from our Mexican mercado and tortilleria. Since the tortillas were rather thick, I cut them in half after heating them up. There would be hot sauce too, of course. And butter for the tortillas. Dessert would be either fresh melon or pan dulces from our nearby panaderia.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              We have some amazing Mexican markets nearby... I've been meaning to explore them for the longest time. This party is the perfect reason to, especially since I love panaderias!

                                            2. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! Keep them coming. At this point, I'm probably going to use most of the suggestions. Of course, there will be beer.

                                              I also thought of making some sweet corn pudding. I'll sheepishly admit that I picked that idea up from Chevy's, the faux-Mexican chain, which serves an amazing side called sweet corn tomalito. From what I could research on the interweb, it has Tex-Mex origins. I have a recipe for it that comes pretty close to Chevy's version and thought it would compliment the chili well.

                                              1. I had a dinner party last weekend that featured chili with optional toppings of black olives, scallions, cilantro, sour cream, and grated cheddar. We had a skillet of cornbread and a salad of avocado, blood orange, and red onion over baby salad greens. The salad may be too frou frou for a Super Bowl party. But one thing that goes great with chili is tamales. If you make your own, you'll blow them away with how delicious they are.

                                                1. Chili and rice sounds mighty nice.

                                                  1. My boyfriend has to have a peanut butter sandwich on white bread. He grew up eating the two together, and still enjoys the combination today.

                                                    We had a chili party a couple of months ago and the toppings we had were onions, green onions, jalapenos, oyster crackers, fritos, different types of cheeses, sour cream, and cilantro.

                                                    I would recommend something chocolate for dessert, we had cupcakes.

                                                      1. Good flour tortillas. As much as I like chili, I can't take eating a big bowl of it. But I do like making soft tacos using flour tortillas: chili, cheese, onion, lettuce. Delish and it's filling.

                                                        1. I owuld serve guacamole and chips with the chili

                                                          1. crackers, cheese, potatoes, sour cream, you name it!

                                                            1. My favorites: I second good corn tortilla and salad, I am a veggie person and need them, I also love roasted sweet potatoes (citrus glaze always goes over very well) and roasted parsnips with chili, or spaghetti squash is really good with chili. Or roasted potatoes too (I grew up on potatoes in Idaho, so unlike others on this thread, my husband had to teach me to eat rice!)

                                                              1. I too like rice. White, wild, or brown is yummy. How about...
                                                                Salad or a cooked green--escarole, spinach, broccolini with garlic and olive oil
                                                                Pizza bread
                                                                Garlic bread
                                                                Plain old homemade bread (Mark Bittman's No Knead is a good companion to chili)
                                                                Homemade corn chips
                                                                Brauts, white hots or good old fashioned hot dogs
                                                                Mac and cheese
                                                                Sweet potato fries

                                                                1. Thanks again for your suggestions, everyone! In the end, this was our Super Bowl menu:

                                                                  Sweet corn tomalito
                                                                  Fried chicken
                                                                  Jalapeno poppers
                                                                  Pigs in a blanket (using kielbasa and Italian sausages)
                                                                  Chopped salad (lettuce, cabbage, tomato, jicama, cilantro, scallions, corn)
                                                                  Pita/baba ganoush/hummus
                                                                  Chocolate cutout cookies with icing and sprinkles
                                                                  Coffee-walnut cookies

                                                                  Mr. Geeky and I had a really busy week leading up to Sunday, so we opted for easier dishes. We told our guests that we had drinks on hand, but if they had a personal preference, they were more than welcome to bring more drinks. In the end, we had a pretty eclectic mix of beers.

                                                                  Thanks again!

                                                                  1. I make a lot of chili and have tried most the suggestions and they pretty well cover it. Except the #1 way it's served in the UK- over spaghetti! I tend to put it over rice with sharp cheddar cheese and pickled jalepenos, but often do it the UK way just because it's so fast, good and easy. Makes the chili go further too! Shiner Bock as lager accompaniment . (Having some nice wild boar and venison chili tonight!)

                                                                    1. Corn bread with cheese, kernels of corn, and green chilies, beer, and if it is hot Texas chili, a mango cream cheese gelatin mold...seriously. Learned this from an El Paso friend many years ago.

                                                                      1. Can I just say that I have never heard of the alleged UK way to serve it over Spaghetti. Only ever had it in this country with Rice, taco shells or tortilla's. Are you sure you aren't mixing it up with Spaghetti Bolognaise?

                                                                        1. I sometimes like to serve chili over polenta/grits with some crushed Fritos. It makes a tamale like dish. Real tamales are of course better, but this is a quick and dirty substitute.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                            The polenta/grits are made ahead, firmed-up in the fridge, cut into rectangles or triangles and toasted, aren't they?

                                                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                                                              I serve it warm and loose like a cornmeal mush or spoonbread consistency with the chili spooned over the top. This is a cold weather dish, mostly. Similar to Chi Chi's or El Toritos sweet corn cakes (except mine are savory).

                                                                              Quick Mock Tamales - Microwave Polenta and Canned Beanless Chili

                                                                              When I crave a quick tamale, I make a batch of microwave polenta and spoon Hormel's or Stag's beanless chili over it. Quick and close to a tamale.

                                                                              Quick Polenta and Chili Mock Tamales

                                                                              2 3/4 cups water
                                                                              1 cup milk
                                                                              2 Tbs dehydrated onion flakes
                                                                              1 tsp garlic powder
                                                                              1 tsp onion powder
                                                                              1 teaspoon table salt
                                                                              1/8 tsp white pepper
                                                                              1 egg, well beaten
                                                                              2 Tbs olive oil or cooking oil
                                                                              1 cup yellow corn meal

                                                                              1 (15 oz) can Hormel or Stags No Beans Chili

                                                                              In a 3 quart covered microwaveable casserole dish,
                                                                              mix together the water, milk, onion flakes, garlic powder,
                                                                              onion powder, salt and white pepper.
                                                                              Stir in the beaten egg. Whisk well.
                                                                              Stir in the olive oil. Whisk well.
                                                                              Stir in the corn meal. Whisk well to stir out all lumps.

                                                                              Cover and microwave on high for 6 minutes.
                                                                              Remove lid and stir well, stirring out any lumps.
                                                                              Cover and microwave on high for another 6 minutes.
                                                                              Uncover and stir well until polenta is creamy.

                                                                              Separately, heat the contents of the can of No Beans Chili.

                                                                              Spoon the polenta into individual serving bowls and top with heated Hormel No Beans Chili.