What to Serve with Chili - 13 Side DIshes

What To Serve With Chili – 13 Creative Sides

If you love chili as much as I do and are wondering what to serve with chili the next time you make it, keep reading to discover 13 creative side dishes that taste absolutely great with chili!

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I make chili quite often, especially in the colder months, because I love it so much.

However, I tend to get bored with eating the same sides all the time – I mean there are hundreds of articles online that say cornbread is something that tastes good with chili.

I think most of us know this already!

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So, in this article I wanted to come up with a few side-dishes that go well with chili that you maybe haven’t considered before

1. Grilled Poblano Peppers

Let’s face it, all different type of peppers taste great with chili, but I think grilled peppers – and specifically grilled Poblanos – are my favorite pepper to eat with chili.

Grill them on your outdoor charcoal grill until they have some light char on them for the perfect accompaniment.

I like to use poblanos because they are large enough to slice down the middle and each half is still a substantial piece of pepper.

I serve them sliced or ‘split’ down the middle and pour my chili directly onto the open sides of the pepper.

You can even scoop out some of the pepper on each side and fill the hollow sides with chili – delicious!

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

2. Sour Cream and Chives

We’ve all had sour cream as a side-dish with our chili, but adding chives on top of the sour cream just kicks it up a notch.

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Look at the photo above – the chives on top of that nice, big dollop of sour cream makes my mouth water every time I look at it!

Please check out this article for anything you’ve ever wanted to know about chives!

3. Black Bean and Couscous Salad

If you prefer an Easy No Bean Chili, but are cooking for friends or family who like beans, an easy solution is to make a Black Bean and Couscous Salad to serve with your chili.

If you want to whip up a quick black bean and couscous salad yourself, make sure to use my favorite black beans they are an absolutely essential addition whenever I make a recipe that calls for black beans!

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

A nice Black Bean and Couscous Salad will satisfy anyone who wants beans.

And whenever you are serving a bean-less chili, they can simply have this Black Bean and Couscous salad as a side-dish!

What do you think of these suggestions for Chili Side Dishes? If you like content like this, if you want to be notified whenever I post a new recipe or article, please subscribe to my Email List.

4. Fried Pickles

Fried pickles are great to serve with chili!

Just hear me out – LOL!

Fried pickles taste great when served alongside chili.

I especially like to dip fried pickles into my chili or – if you decide to make fried pickle slices – just drizzle a little chili directly on top of your fried pickle slices.

Now, I must admit, I’ve only had fried pickles with chili out at a restaurant, but if you want to make fried pickles at home, here is an absolutely essential piece of kitchen equipment – I am not sure how I’ve made it this far without one!

And, once you have that little gem in your home kitchen, you are ready to fry your own pickles at home like Amy from She Wears Many Hats.

5. Grilled Oysters

We all think of beans, steak and chicken as part of our favorite chili recipes.

Likewise, different starches like french fries, rice, and breads are great to serve with chili, but many other articles have already addressed these side dishes.

If you are as huge a fan of Mexican food as I am – and you probably are if you are reading this article – you already know that some seafood pairs incredibly well with Mexican recipes, and especially chili.

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

I mean, who doesn’t love a shrimp taco or seafood burrito, right? Well grilled oysters make an incredible side for chili – trust me on this one.

You can grill your oysters-on-the-half-shell on the same grill you are grilling your Poblanos on and serve them alongside your bowl of chili or just drizzle some chili right into the oyster in the shell.

In fact, seafood goes so well with chili, this won’t be the last seafood side-dish you’ll see me serve with chili here!

6. Steakhouse Mac & Cheese

If anyone else is a fan of Outback Steakhouse, a few years ago they came up with what I consider an elevated Mac & Cheese side-dish.

It’s made with a White American Cheese, large Cavatappi, instead of the traditional ‘Elbow’ macaroni, and topped with spicy paprika and I think, maybe, Old Bay seasoning.

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You can even get their Steakhouse Mac & Cheese topped with bacon – It’s delicious!

I’ve had this served with their chili before, and I can tell you that this may be my favorite side of them all!

7. White Rice

I figured before we got into even some more of these exotic, non-traditional, chili side-dishes, I would give everyone a lay-up with white rice

White rice is certainly not very exciting, but can serve as a wonderful foundation for a nice, hearty chili.

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I like to pour my chili directly over my white rice served in a bowl and just give the rice a minute to absorb all the goodness of the chili.

Yes, it’s boring, but oh so delicious!

8. Hawaiian Shrimp Kabobs

Hawaiian shrimp kebobs with pineapple

I mentioned above that Grilled Oysters would not be the last seafood side-dish you would see me pair with chili and I wasn’t kidding!

I love the combination of sweet and savory and if you do, too, then my Easy Hawaiian Shrimp Kabobs With Pineapple may be the perfect accompaniment to a nice, spicy chili.

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

The sweetness of the pineapple counteracts some of the acidity and spice of the chili to make an incredible combination.

And the shrimp taste delicious with the chili drizzled on them, as well!

If you like to grill as much as I do, try out these durable metal barbecue skewers the next time you make shrimp kebobs or any kebobs.

9. Jalapeno Poppers

Another pepper-themed side-dish that goes incredibly well with chili are jalapeno poppers.

A favorite bar appetizer, these fried jalapenos taste awesome when dipped in chili.

I like to serve jalapeno poppers with chili and another, less spicy, dipping sauce such as ranch or even a Greek tzatziki sauce.

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Thus far we’ve seen some traditional and some very unique sides for chili,but the next side dish may be the most popular of them all.

Even though it is a traditional side, I felt it was one I just couldn’t overlook…

10. Nachos

Nachos are a great side to serve with chili

I know, I know, I said I would come up with a unique list of side dishes for chili, but hear me out…

There are just some sides for chili that we just can’t ignore, whether you’re serving a meatless chili, bean-less chili or you are even looking for what to serve with Chili Verde, nachos just can’t be ignored.

As a matter of fact, my Super Bowl Nachos Topped With Jalapenos and Sour Cream are just begging to have chili poured all over them!

And if you really want to make these nachos even more impressive, please take a look at my 21 Crazy Ways To Use Leftover Taco Meat – smothering nachos is just one of my suggestions!

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

Now that we deviated to a more traditional side to serve with chili for a moment, let’s get back to some more of the non-traditional sides again….

11. Crab Legs

Crab legs go surprisingly well with chili!

Another seafood side. WHAT?!

Oh yeah – crab legs rock alongside chili and I am not kidding!

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I can always eat crab with chili since chili is not a far cry from the hot sauce they sometimes serve with shrimp or crab.

And if you love crab legs, too, and are wondering what side dishes go with crab legs, please check out my article, What To Serve With Crab Legs to get a head-start on sides for your next summer crab bake!

12. Sweet Potato Fries

Heading back towards a more traditional pairing here (I know not everybody likes seafood) my next recommendation on a great side-dish for chili is sweet potato fries.

I like to serve my sweet potato fries golden brown with just a little bit of Coarse Sea Salt.

The only way to eat sweet potato fries with chili – in my opinion – is to douse them in it!

13. Quiche

Before you think I’ve gone off the rails a bit with this suggestion, please give me a moment to explain…

Admittedly, quiche is probably not a side dish you ever considered serving with chili.

But if you think a little more deeply about what quiche is, it starts to make a little more sense.

Quiche is fluffy, light, and egg based.

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

You’ve all heard of Huevos Rancheros (Mexican Breakfast Dish of Eggs Served Sunny Side Up and drenched in chili), so is it such a far cry to think that quiche wouldn’t taste pretty darn good when served with a little chili on top?

Quiche may be my most unusual side I came up with, but it is certainly one of my favorites!

What Drinks To Serve With Chili

Now, I didn’t think any article about what to serve with chili would be complete if I didn’t mention a few of my favorite drinks to have with chili.

Classic Margarita

There is no drink that is ‘more Mexican’ in my opinion, than a Classic Margarita.

Served with some Sea Salt or even this incredible Himalayan Pink Sea Salt around the rim and a nice lime wedge and I am in heaven.

Use one of these really cute, traditional-style Margarita glasses for the full Mexican experience!

Yes, this is a traditional drink, but absolutely my favorite drink to serve with chili.

Citrus Based Beer

What’s better than beer and chili, right?

I especially like beers that have some type of citrus element, such as Blue Moon which is brewed with Valencia Orange Peel or a nice Modelo Chelado – their pineapple is my favorite flavor!

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And while I, typically, prefer darker beers, I prefer a light-ish beer with most Mexican dishes only because I feel a dark, heavy beer doesn’t pair as well with chili, which can also be somewhat on the heavier side – depending on how you make it.

Iced Tea

I didn’t think any list of what to drink with chili would be complete if I didn’t include at least one non-alcoholic beverage here.

And if I am not in the mood for alcohol, I immediately choose a nice unsweetened iced tea.

While traditionally served with lemon slices, I prefer to add several nice fresh lime slices to my iced tea because I feel that lime pairs better with chili or any other Mexican dish for that matter.

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

You can even garnish with mint leaves, either for effect or to flavor your iced tea.

I always like to consider what drinks pair well with my seasonally-inspired recipes and a nice cold iced tea is a great choice to have with hot chili or in the hot summer months!

Wrapping It all Up

Well, I hope some of these side-dishes inspired you to maybe consider something a little bit outside-the-box the next time you make chili.

There are a couple common themes that may help you the next time you are trying to decide what to serve with chili…

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First off is that I think we can all agree that peppers go well with chili, no matter if it’s fried jalapeno poppers, grilled poblanos, or even another pepper I hadn’t considered.

Do you have a particular pepper you like to serve with chili? If so, PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

Second, a nice cooling element can help take some of the spicy edge off of your chili. Sour cream is always good, as is white rice or even a couscous salad.

I like different seafood dishes with chili, especially any type of shrimp, grilled oysters, or crab legs – I know this is not for everybody, but if you like seafood, are a fan of Mexican food, and want to try something a little unique, give one of these sides a chance.

Greenlife – Cookware for the home chef

I hope you were inspired by some of my unique suggestions above.

If you want even more inspiration, please check out Kim’s article from Insanely Good Recipes – 25 Incredible Side Dishes for Chili where you can find some traditional and some not-so-traditional ideas of what to serve the next time you prepare your favorite chili recipe.

And remember, if you want to be notified whenever I post a new recipe or article, please subscribe to my Email List!

Happy Cooking!

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