Skip to Content

What to eat with chili?

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Rich, deep, and often spicy, chili stew contains chili peppers, ground meat, tomatoes and kidney beans. The aroma and bold flavors are accomplished with garlic, onion, and cumin.

A warm bowl of chili is the perfect comfort food to serve during parties, dinner, game day, and so much more. However, you need to pair it with the right side dishes and drinks to make it feel like a complete meal. 

What to eat with chili? Chili is traditionally topped with grated cheese, sour cream, crispy tortilla chips, chopped onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and scallions.

The hearty bowl is loaded with flavor and nutrition. Though it looks like a full meal, it often benefits from adding a side of cornbread, baked potato, grilled cheese sandwich, vegetables, fruits, and rice dishes can make it even more enjoyable.

Chili is loaded with flavor and nutrients, therefore it is considered to be a filling meal. However, it is versatile dish to serve with variety of sides and toppings. 

Wondering what to pair with chili? Here are some classic food combinations to try for yourself.

What flavor goes well with chili?

To balance the spicy heat of chili, contrast with some sweet, cool and creamy dairy such as cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream works wonders when balancing the heat. 

Depending on the region and recipe, dark chocolate lends the dish a faint sweetness while improving its consistency as well. 

Here are classic flavors that pairs well with chili:

  • chili + chicken + beans + broth
  • chili + sweet potato + ground turkey + black beans
  • chili + green lentils + cocoa powder + black beans
  • chili + pumpkin + ground turkey + roasted pepper
  • chili + dark chocolate + ground beef + red kidney beans

What vegetable goes with chili?

Not only colors, but adding vegetables in the stew is ideal for thickening the consistency and lending it a flavorful texture.When it comes to adding veggies to the chili, consider ones that are mild, but have a hint of natural sweetness to balance out the spiciness of the stew.

Popular vegetables that blend perfectly with chili include:

  • Bell peppers: These peppers are mainly used in Mexican cuisines like burritos and fajitas. They intensify the flavors that have already been put together and add a slight crunch. To give the chili some sweetness, go for orange or red bell peppers, and green bell peppers if you are leaning more on the savory side. 
  • Carrots: To offset the chili spiciness, a handful of diced carrots will do the trick. They give a chunky texture while still offering essential nutrients to the dish.
  • Onions: Chili can never be complete without onions. Select the onions to use based on how spicy the chili should get. Go with a sweet onion when seeking a mild or mellow onion flavor and red onions are perfect to garnish with as a topping.
  • Celery: When adding diced onions to chili, add in chopped edible sized celery. These two pairs are inseparable and are usually added to create a base for soups and stews. Be sure to cube the celery to avoid eating the stringy fibers present in longer pieces.  
  • Summer Squash: When making different chili versions, zucchini is a go-to. They may not play a significant role in diversifying the texture, but they’ll thicken up the base making sure every spoonful is robust. A green and yellow zucchini combo will make the dish aesthetically appealing. 
  • Winter Squash: For a hearty fall or winter combo, try serving chili with winter squashes like butternut, acorn, or pumpkin. Roast the gourd and dice them into bite size pieces, serve the chili on top for a hearty and fulfilling meal.
  • Potato and Sweet Potato: Nothing like serving chili with baked, mashed or roasted potatoes. For added sweetness, use sew potatoes, but regular russets typically get the job do very well.

What sandwich goes with chili?

Just like soup and stew, chili makes perfect meal to pair with cold and hot sandwiches. Traditionally, a grilled cheese sandwich pairs perfectly with chili because the stew lends a bit of heat to the sumptuous combination. 

The melted cheese load that comes with every bite is everything you hoped for. But to make it even more sumptuous, pair with a variety of sandwich options to enjoy a blend of sweet and bitter tastes. 

  • grilled cheese sandwich
  • peanut butter sandwich
  • egg and bacon sandwich
  • ham and cheese sandwich

What fruit goes with chili?

Fresh fruit or assorted fruit salad, particularly citrus and tropical fruits, are juicy, sweet and delicious on their own, but taste even better with the heat and spice of chili.

Whether these fruits are served fresh or paired with with lime juice and pepper flakes, these are chef’s favorite fruit to serve as dessert to complement with chili.

  • raspberries
  • lime
  • apple
  • lemon
  • peach
  • mango
  • pineapple
  • oranges
  • watermelon
  • kiwi
  • dragon fruit
  • strawberries 

What to serve with chili instead of rice?

Flavorful Mexican rice is widely served with a rich chili stew because it neutralizes the extreme spice into a middle ground. However, if rice dishes are not in the picture, there are numerous options that taste wonderful with chili.

  • cornbread
  • garlic bread
  • bread sticks
  • baked potatoes
  • fries
  • pretzels
  • nachos
  • tortilla chips
  • tacos
  • quesadilla
  • salad
  • mac and cheese
What to eat with chili

Eat with Chili: Conclusion 

The list of classic pairings is endless with chili, thanks to its rich deep spiciness. Pairing it with sweet dishes is the perfect way to balance the flavor and compliment the palate. 

In general, a bowl of chili is topped with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, chopped onions and cilantro, and slices of jalapeño for extra spice.

Additionally, chili complements well with meat, vegetables, fruits, and sandwiches, making these foods an ideal place to start. 

Adding vegetables into the stew offers color and enriches the texture. Include bell pepper, carrots, celery, and onions, these vegetables are slightly sweet and pair well with the salty and spicy flavor of chili. 

To make a full meal, add a grilled cheese sandwich and side of fruit salad with citrusy and tropical fruits as dessert to cool down the burning fiery mouth.

When rice dishes is not available, serve with Mexican cornbread, garlic bread, fries, soft pretzels, nachos, tortilla chips, tacos, quesadilla, salad, or mac and cheese to make a fulfilling and delicious meal to enjoy. With chili, the sky is the limit, so play around with the dishes shared above to see what works best for you and your family.

Sharing is caring!