Chili season is in full force, friends. (Have you tried our turkey chili with avocado?) In our opinion, the meaty, spicy stew is hearty enough to serve on its own, but then again, no dinner is complete without a few tasty accompaniments to balance things out—think healthy side dishes like tangy cole slaw and guacamole salad, cornbread recipes and family favorites like mac and cheese bites. Still wondering what goes with chili? With these 40 side dishes, you can transform a humble dinner into an absolute feast.
1. Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread with Tomatoes and Scallions
It’s a little bit fancy, but still just as tasty (and easy to make) as the original.
2. Pimento Cheese Stuffed Shishito Peppers
Only four ingredients to deliciousness. Swap the shishitos for jalapeños if you’re feeling…spicy.
3. One-Pot Mac and Cheese
We’re not drooling, you’re drooling. Bonus: There are basically no dishes to worry about.
4. Chilaquiles with Poached Eggs and Spicy Honey
A drizzle of spicy honey cuts the richness of the eggs and fried tortillas for a beautifully balanced dish. It’s filling, so serve your chili in smaller portions if you’d like.
5. Savory Monkey Bread
The flavor is infinitely adaptable (mozzarella today, Swiss tomorrow). Plus, this pull-apart bread is perfect for dunking.
6. Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Slaw
Our favorite cold-weather veggies strike again, this time in a crisp, refreshing take on slaw.
7. 15-Minute Microwave Mashed Potatoes
Some people serve chili over baked potatoes, but we’re fans of spuds in all forms. And, when they’re ready in almost no time, how can you resist?
8. Gluten-Free Cheese and Cauliflower ‘Breadsticks’
Cauliflower is a regular guest star in our kitchen and it’ll forever hold a special place in our heart. It’s the healthy-ish side you never knew you needed.
9. Avocado Rice
We’re in the mood for some Tex-Mex tonight. Don’t skimp on the freshly squeezed lime juice.
10. Veggie-Loaded Stuffed Bell Peppers
They’re colorful, bursting with flavor, vegetarian and totally customizable.
11. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers
Throwing your vegetables on the grill to get them nice and charred is totally worth it for the boost of flavor. (Psst: Looks aside, sticking to one veggie per skewer results in each one cooking more evenly.)
12. Baked Gorgonzola Bites
All you need is five ingredients to make this melty, cheesy, pull-apart recipe.
13. Smoky Barbecued Corn
Let’s keep grilling season going all year round (and top all our vegetables with grated Parm).
14. Sprightly Biscuits
Surprisingly, these flaky cuties get their light texture from citrus soda. No, there will not be leftovers for breakfast.
15. Malibu Farm’s Vegan Chop Salad
There’s a reason this classic salad is still popular. Make it plant-based to balance out your meaty bowl of chili.
16. Garlicky Cauliflower ‘Rice’
Five cloves of garlic sounds like a lot, but one bite and you’ll know it’s just the right amount.
17. Tater Tot Nachos
Add your favorite salsa, sour cream, green onions and cilantro and you have yourself a spectacular side dish.
18. Green Beans with Garlicky Pistachio Vinaigrette
Gone are the days of mushy, lukewarm green beans. The garlicky dressing pairs surprisingly well with chili.
19. Spicy Broccoli Sauté
It’s six ingredients including salt and olive oil, and it’s blanketed in garlicky breadcrumbs. Cool if we have seconds?
20. Corn and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lime
Swap the feta for halloumi or cheddar, add jalapeño, go wild.
21. Cheese and Bacon Baked Potatoes
Giving your spuds the Hasselback treatment means there’s extra surface area for toppings. Brilliant.
22. Mango Guacamole
Sweet and spicy, just the way we like it.
23. Spiralized Winter Vegetable Gratin
Put that farmers market haul to good use.
24. Quick Guacamole Quinoa Salad
It happens to be vegan, but no one will suspect a thing.
25. Zucchini ‘Fries’
With these on our plate, we don’t miss potatoes. (Can you believe we said that?)
26. Cheesy Polenta Bites with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
It’s all about mixing highbrow with lowbrow, people.
27. No-Knead Peasant Bread
Homemade bread sounds intimidating, but once you try this version, you’ll never go back to canned crescent rolls.
28. Baked Mac-and-Cheese Bites
You take a total crowd-pleaser and make it mini, and suddenly everyone is giving you a round of applause.
29. Easy Dinner Rolls
You: 1. Bakery: 0.
30. Easy Zucchini Chips
They’re best eaten by the handful.
31. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Step away from the frozen onion rings. This side is great on its own, or smothered in chili (and a handful of shredded cheese).
32. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sriracha and Lime
We almost don’t want to call this brilliance a side dish.
33. ‘Everything Bagel’ Cauliflower Rolls
They’re low carb so, yeah, we’re eating three.
34. Beer Margarita
It’s as refreshing as it is potent, not to mention a cinch to make.
35. Cast Iron Cornbread
Using a cast iron skillet is the key to crispy, golden-brown edges. We can’t recommend it highly enough.
36. Avocado and Black Bean Pasta Salad
Proof that pasta salad isn’t just for picnic potlucks (and doesn’t have to be made with mayo).
37. Mini Nachos
Honey, we shrunk the nachos, and we’re actually pretty proud of ourself.
38. The Best Frybread
It’s crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and the ideal thing to dip into a bowl of chili.
39. Light and Tangy Cole Slaw
Buy your cabbage pre-shredded (and thank us later).
40. Julia Turshen’s Skillet Cornbread with Cheddar and Scallions
The ultimate chili side dish? Spicy, cheesy cornbread, of course.