Chili is a spicy, meaty dish that is enjoyed by many.
It is cooked in many different ways, but the basic ingredients are always the same: ground beef or turkey, beans, chopped onion and bell pepper, tomato sauce, or diced tomatoes.
The flavor of chili is unique, but there are no specific flavors that can be pinpointed exactly.
Chicken, pork, beef, and even tofu are often used in chili recipes.
The most important part of cooking chili is to find the balance between spicy and sweet.
You can add various spices, from cinnamon to chili powder, to get that perfect flavor.
Many side dishes pair perfectly with chili.
In this article, we will be talking about eight side dishes you can make for chili.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Chili?
Chili is a classic dish that is best served with side dishes.
This may be because chili tastes great by itself, but if you want to get the most out of your meal, it’s good to have an expansive range of foods available to you.
Tasted alone, chili is lacking in some ways; however, it creates a much more flavorful, well-rounded dish when paired with complementary side dishes.
The best part about serving chili is that there’s no one way to do it, and you can mix and match side dishes as much as you want.
It’s all about your preference.
Another way to make chili taste its best is to combine it with side dishes for a more flavorful dish.
Since the dish is relatively simple, pairing it with some sides will make it stand out even more.
What to Serve with Chili? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Are you ready to try some side dishes with your chili? Here are just a few of the many options that pair well with classic recipes.
1 – Bacon and Potato Salad
Potato salad is a classic for a reason.
The simple combination of creamy potato and mayonnaise with crunchy, salty bacon takes this side dish to the next level.
Try it with a cold, creamy dressing to keep it light, or go for mayo and mustard to give it just the right amount of kick.
The best part is that it’s easy to make, and anything you don’t serve immediately will keep for a couple of days.
2 – Cheese Fries
Cheese fries are among the most popular side dishes to pair with chili, but it’s probably not because they taste great together.
The truth is that cheese fries are awesome on their own, and pretty much anything tastes good smothered in cheese.
Don’t save this for special occasions, though, because it’s so easy to make that you can enjoy them any day of the week.
You can even replace the fries with tater tots or potato wedges if you want every bite drenched in a gooey cheese.
Replace the fries with tater tots or potato wedges for every bite.
3 – Green Bean Casserole
Casseroles are some of the best side dishes, and green bean casserole is one of the most popular.
A simple combination of beans, onions, cheese, and sauce makes this dish a winner no matter who you’re cooking it for.
It’s also easy to modify this recipe by adding in different cheeses or even bacon if you want to make it even more flavorful.
Just remember that green bean casserole is best served warm, so cook it just before serving.
It takes about half an hour for the sauce to thicken up, and this dish won’t taste as good once cooled down.
Casseroles are some of the best side dishes around.
4 – Strawberry Spinach Salad
Salads are another staple that goes great with chili, and strawberry spinach is one of the best.
For a light and refreshing side, you can’t go wrong with this simple combination of creamy goat cheese and sweet balsamic dressing on top of fresh spinach.
This salad is perfect for picnics and potlucks because it’s quick and easy to make in large quantities, and you can even prep it the day before.
Salads like strawberry spinach are perfect for picnics and potlucks.
5 – Cornbread Muffins
Cornbread is a popular side dish that serves as an excellent complement to chili.
There are many ways to make cornbread muffins, but the best way is to prepare it in a cast-iron skillet so that you get an even crispy layer that’s perfect for dipping into chili.
It’s also easy to turn your cornbread into the chili itself.
Just mix up some bread batter and pour it over your chili in bowls—be sure to let cook for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Some of the best ways to make cornbread muffins are with cast iron skillets.
6 – Baked Potatoes or Baked Sweet Potatoes
Baked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes are two of the best side dishes to pair with chili, and it’s because they’re so versatile.
Whether you prefer a classic potato or sweet potato, this dish is easy to whip up in just about any oven.
Just remember that baking takes time, so cook your potatoes before you start heating the chili and allow them to cool before serving.
Burritos—stuffed with chili and cheese—are another great idea.
Baking takes time and should be done before cooking the chili.
7 – Steamed Veggies
Steamed veggies like carrots and broccoli are a great healthy and low-calorie option for those who want to keep their chili light.
Steaming is relatively quick and easy, meaning that these vegetables will be ready before the cornbread is done.
Just make sure you keep your veggies crisp by cooking them until they’re just right—overcooked veggies have a mushy texture, while undercooked veggies are hard and chewy.
Make the best-steamed veggies by cooking until just crisp.
8 – Nachos
Nachos are the best option for those who want to combine their chili with something crunchy.
It’s quick and easy, too—you only need a few minutes to chop up your cheese, jalapenos, and black beans and then pile it onto tortilla chips.
They’re also perfect for those who want a little bit of everything in every bite.
Just remember that nachos can get soggy after a few hours, so eat them right away.
The best nachos have everything in every bite.
If you serve chili at your next family dinner, try one of these eight side dishes to serve with it.
If you’re looking for something classic, then go with cornbread muffins or baked potatoes.
If you want something sweet and savory, go with a balsamic strawberry spinach salad.
Whatever option you choose, keep in mind that all these side dishes go great with chili.