The Ultimate Chili Dinner Menu
Kick Back and Relax
If a gathering of friends and family looms on your horizon, place a pot of chili on the sideboard, surround it with simple make-ahead accompaniments, and let this no-fuss buffet practically serve itself. We've crafted a special menu for easy entertaining, so hosts and chefs alike can enjoy the night too.
Rustle up a pot or two of chili that will serve a gang and can be made ahead and reheated before serving. After all, many chilies are even better the next day. Round out the menu with our selection of trustworthy sidekicks such as coleslaw, cheesy breads, creamy spinach dip, and brownies.
Read More: Throw a Chili Cook-Off Party!
Take our word for it, these poppers, filled with garlic, cream cheese, and bacon, are a must-serve appetizer at your next party. For a healthier, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version, turn to our Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños recipe.
Guacamole with Fish Sauce
This super simplerecipe stars perfectly ripe avocados—there's no need for tomato or other flavor distractions. You want the avocados' richness to shine next to the tangy zip of lime and cilantro and their flavor to deepen with savory fish sauce. While it may seem like an unlikely ingredient, the fish sauce adds a wonderfully salty and complex flavor profile to the dish. Prevent the avocado from browning and take it to an event by placing it in an airtight container and pressing plastic wrap directly over the top. Serve with whole grain tortilla chips or pita chips.
Lemony Kale Salad
Jalapeño-Cheddar Corn Muffins
These hot and spicy cheddar-pepper muffins are sure to give you a little taste of fire. Seed the jalapeño for less heat. You can also use fresh corn kernels in place of the frozen corn. Parmesan Corn Muffins or Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Corn Muffins can also be a great pair for chili. See More: Our Favorite Corn Muffins; How to Make Corn Muffins
Yeast Dinner Rolls
One dough recipe yields five roll variations. To prepare ahead of time, shape, bake, cool completely, wrap in heavy-duty foil, and freeze for up to eight weeks. Thaw and reheat (still wrapped) at 350° for 12 minutes or until warm.
For a cheesier bite, our quick and savory Basic Beer-Cheese Bread pairs well with chili and is ideal for any dinner party. Our Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits also deliver a garlicky-cheddar punch that is entirely gluten-free and contains fewer calories than the contents of a traditional bread basket.
Classic Beef and Bean Chili
Nothing says “party” like a good pot of chili—even if it turns out to be just the company of two and not a party of six or ten. Steaming bowls of meaty, spicy chili are the ideal way to please everyone and only dirty one pot in the process. The deep, slow-simmered flavor in this recipe happens in just an hour or two on your stovetop.
A wee bit of canned chipotle chiles goes a long way in infusing this chili with rich, smoky flavor and a hint of heat. This recipe proves that hearty chili doesn’t necessarily mean meat on the ingredient list.
Colorado Green Chili
A panful of char-roasted fresh green peppers gives Colorado chili its distinctive hue. You can sub sweet green bell peppers for Cubanelles if you prefer. Look for masa harina—the traditional thickener in this chili—in the supermarket's international aisle or in Latin markets. Serve with brown rice, if desired.
Texas-Style Chili with Brisket
Texas chili is purely beef-driven: no beans allowed. This version boasts smoky, complex, deep flavor from a mix of dried chiles and chili powders, while corn flour gives it extra body.
White Chicken Chili
Oven-roasting fresh chile peppers builds complexity. A combination of diced chicken and ground pork amps up meaty flavor. Half-and-half and creamy avocado topping make the broth velvety.
Pumpkin lends a unique and mouthwatering spin to the classic custard layered dessert with a soft caramel top. This flan is convenient—it can be made in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to serve. If you already have leftover sweet potatoes that have been simply prepared and minimally seasoned, our Sweet Potato Buttered Rum Flan will do the trick too.