The next time you’re hosting a get-together, or when it’s your turn to have the gang over to watch Sunday afternoon sports, consider serving a hearty chili. When it’s time to eat, set up a chili bar of toppings, so everyone can pick and choose their favorites.
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In this post, we’re sharing 30+ Best Chili Toppings for an Amazing Chili Bar. Some of the recipes are classic chili toppings and others might surprise you. Take a look!
Always a favorite on chili, grated cheese adds a touch of salty flavor. Add different kinds of cheese like monterey jack, queso, and havarti.
Cool a spicy bowl of chili with some rich sour cream. Add a sprinkling of green onion for an additional hit of flavor.
Instead of sour cream, add a dollop of Greek yogurt to your chili instead. It has a nice tangy flavor and is a healthy source of protein.
A touch of lime juice is a great way to add a burst of fresh flavor to dishes. It’s a key ingredient in guacamole and salsas, and is also delicious with chili. You can also use lime juice to temper some of the heat in a spicy bowl of chili.
If you enjoy a bit of crunch with a hearty bowl of chili, tortilla chips are an excellent choice. They also add a delicious salty flavor.
Grab a jar of salsa and add a couple of spoonfuls to your chili. The flavor of salsa is a wonderful addition to chili, and you can choose the heat level from mild to picante.
Creamy and full of flavor, guacamole is a natural to serve with chili. It balances the spiciness and also adds flavor that’s a perfect complement to savory ground beef.
This flavorful herb is either loved or hated. If you love cilantro, sprinkle it on chili to add a burst of fresh flavor.
For those that like spicy foods, include a bottle of hot sauce on the chili bar. This way, the chili won’t be too spicy for guests who shy away from spicier foods.
Spicy and flavorful, you can serve them fresh, or pickled in a jar. We love the crunchy bite of fresh jalapenos, but jarred jalapenos will also work in a pinch.
If you have a gang of meat-eaters on your guest list, include a bowl of this well-seasoned ground beef at your chili bar. It adds a delicious flavor that perfectly complements the chili.
Your vegan and vegetarian guests will appreciate this option. It can be added to vegan chili, or enjoyed on its own with tortilla chips, salsa, and spicy jalapeno peppers!
The flavor of chili and olives couldn’t be more different but they actually work! The olives add a tart and salty burst of flavor that cuts through the richness of the chili. We think you’ll like it, so give it a try!
If you’re a fan of peppers, serve a variety with your chili. How about smoky chipotle or sweet bell peppers?
Raw onions add a pleasant zippiness that pairs well with savory dishes. Red onions aren’t as sharp, and green onions add great flavor. You can also serve cooked onions, which will add a subtle sweetness to the chili.
The dense texture of cornbread works well with rich and creamy chili. Add some crumbled cornbread to a bowl of chili to make it more hearty and to temper some of the spiciness.
Filled with spicy flavor, these sausages add great flavor to your chili. They’re salty and will add a nice kick of heat.
Chocolate is a popular ingredient to cook with in many parts of Latin America, so it isn’t surprising that it can also be included in chili. You can either add it to your chili while it’s cooking, or serve it at the chili bar to stir into individual bowls of chili.
Espresso Powder and Espresso Beans
Similar to cocoa, coffee can also be used to enhance the flavor of chili. Add a small bowl of espresso powder to your chili bar but be sure to tell your guests not to use too much!
If you love the salty umami flavor soy sauce adds to dishes, try some in your chili as well! A little goes a long way.
You may not be familiar with sweet and spicy chili, but a touch of honey added to a bowl of chili will smooth out the spices and introduce a slightly sweet flavor.
Everything’s better with bacon, including chili! Be sure to fry the bacon until it’s crisp, and then crumble it into small pieces. It adds a nice crunchy texture to the chili and loads of savory flavor.
You’re used to adding croutons to salad for some crunch, so why not chili? Try to get croutons that are flavored with garlic for a taste your guests will love.
Not as spicy as tabasco, this hot sauce has a more subtle bite that’s delicious stirred into chili.
It may seem odd but the sweet flavor and soft texture of mango works really well with the rich savory flavor of chili. And because mangos are sweet, they introduce a wonderful balance to the spicy heat of chili.
This is a great addition to both vegan and meaty chili. The squash makes chili heartier and will also temper some of the heat with its smooth, creamy texture.
Instead of adding beer to your chili bar, serve it as a beverage option, or include it when you’re cooking the chili! It brings out the flavor of the meat and introduces a touch of maltiness.
Perfect for those who like a touch of sweetness, your guests can sprinkle some cranberries on their chili for a touch of tangy sweet flavor in every bite.
Big on flavor, maple syrup will add a subtle sweet flavor and will also help to curb some of the heat!
Glass of Whiskey
Introduce a slightly different but delicious flavor to your chili by adding a touch of whisky to the pot while it’s cooking. You can also serve it as a beverage on the rocks, to enjoy while eating the chili!
This is a great option for those who can’t tolerate dairy. The coconut milk will add a touch of sweetness to the chili and will also help to reduce some of the spicy heat.
Add some regular cola (not diet or sugar-free) to your chili while it’s cooking. It adds a slightly sweet flavor that’s hard to distinguish but definitely works!
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Easy Homemade Chili with Toppings
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 can red kidney beans drained
- 1 can tomato sauce
- Your favorite chili toppings
- Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add ground beef. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
- Add the broth, canned tomatoes with their juice, drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat and gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for a few minutes and serve with your favorite toppings.