18 Sides That Make Chili a Meal

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When chili falls into your meal plan, you can expect a dinner that’s hearty and filling. It is certainly meal-worthy all on its own, but I always think having one simple side is the ticket to rounding out this cold-weather superstar. Whether you want something ultra-comforting and made for dipping, a side that’s bursting with freshness, or something tangy to keep your tastebuds balanced, these 18 sides offer something for everyone.

Cornbread and Biscuits

I can’t think of a more cozy and comforting way to make chili complete than with a side of tender cornbread or a warm, buttery biscuit. You can even get a head start by adding this to your weekend meal prep and then heat it in the oven just before getting dinner on the table.

Winter Weeknight Salad(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Green Salads for Something Fresh

I’m of the belief that there’s a place for salad with whatever I’m cooking for dinner — even when chili is in the lineup. Salad rounds out dinner with something fresh and is a simple way to get another helping of veggies on the table without turning on the oven.

Tangy Cabbage and Jalapeño Slaw(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Tangy Slaws

Slaws are my favorite simple side to pair with any and all types of chili. The freshness, crunchy texture, and tangy bite are an ideal balance to hearty chili, plus slaws are a breeze to pull together. To cut down on prep time I often start with a bag of pre-shredded veggies.

How To Make Crispy Baked Avocado Fries(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Veggie Fries

When the goal is getting an extra helping of vegetables on the table to round out your pot of chili, a side of oven-baked veggie fries is always a good idea. Just don’t forget the dipping sauce.