Chili Con Carne is an easy dish to make and is so tasty. It’s the perfect comfort food, substantial and warming. Everyone has their own subtle variations that make it ‘the best’. One area where people often struggle is deciding what to serve with chili con carne. Well in this article we are going to give you lots of suggestions. They are all quite easy to make, some are traditional, some not, but they are super tasty!
11 Best Chili Con Carne Side Dishes
If you’re wondering what goes with chili con carne then we’ve got 11 great sides you know about. These sides can be grouped together or used by themselves.
1. White Rice
Let’s start simple. White rice makes an ideal side for chili con carne. Chilli con Carne is normally easy to make, so you might not want to be adding layers of complexity. White rice is the answer. It is great for ‘cooling down’ spicy food. If you like your chili really saucy it is also great for soaking up some of those tasty juices.
2. Grilled Cheese Potato Skins
These crispy slices of goodness are amazing with chili con carne. You get to enjoy them ‘as is’ or you can use them as little scoops for the chili. Pile them high with layers of grated cheese, jalapeno peppers, green onions, and maybe a little diced bacon before roasting in a hot oven for 30 minutes or until they go all crispy. You can use the insides of the scooped-out potato as a side for whatever you are making the next day for dinner too.
Chilli Con Carne is very much considered a southern-style dish… So why not go the whole hog and serve up some tasty cornbread. It’s filling and real comfort food. You can accessorize it too! Feel free to add some sliced green chilies to your usual cornbread recipe or add a handful of Mexicana cheese to make it cheesy and spicy. Ripping chunks of cornbread to mop your plate clean is one of the joys of eating chili.
4. Sweet Potato Fries
These aren’t any old sweet potato fries. If you are looking for what to serve with chili con carne you are going to want to keep the Mexican vibe going. Don’t worry, it is still super easy. Just cut your sweet potatoes into wedges and parboil for around 3 minutes. Once dried toss them with salt and pepper, a spoonful of olive oil, and a tablespoon of taco seasoning. Bake for 30 minutes or until the ends just begin to go dark. Perfect for dipping in chili con carne.
Some people make them in a skillet, we find that the easiest way is actually in the oven. Nachos feature all of the things you associate with Mexican side dishes all in one easy to grab triangle of goodness. Cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, tomato salsa, chopped pepper. Just throw it all together and bake in a hot oven for around 20 minutes until it all goes a little gooey. Add a few drops of hot sauce to spice it up a little.
6. Corn Salad
Corn salad is fresh, tasty, and a good way to keep it fairly light. Toss corn kernels with some chopped tomatoes, a diced red onion, and maybe a few basil leaves. If you want a dressing, mix some lime juice with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. It doesn’t get much simpler than this.
7. Baked Spicy Pitta Chips
Using up a huge pack of pitta bread can be a little trying. Here’s the answer. You can flavor your pitta chips with whatever you like. Our suggestion is to use cumin seeds and a little sage or marjoram. In a pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once it begins to foam add your cumin seeds and chopped herbs and fry gently until they are dark and fragrant. Chop your pitta into wedge shapes and toss with the butter before cooking for around 15 minutes in a hot oven.
8. Crusty Bread
If you don’t want to make cornbread you can keep it simple. Crusty bread with lashings of butter is a great side for chili con carne. You can bake it yourself or just go for store-bought. If you want to cheat a little, put it in the oven for 15 minutes before serving your chili. The outside will go all crispy.
9. Tortilla Wraps
For something handheld, you could consider tortilla wraps. Either serve them warm and loose alongside your chili con carne or wrap portions of chili in individual tortillas. No knife or fork necessary. If you want to go super fancy, bake the tortilla wraps topped with grated cheese to make a sort of burrito.
10. Baked Potatoes
Alright, we’ll admit, sometimes the humble baked potato can do with a little help to make it shine. They make the ideal ‘bowl’ in which to serve your chili con carne. Prick a large potato all over and paint with olive oil. Season and roast in a 400-degree oven for around an hour. Once the skin is all crispy cut into quarters, leaving each segment attached at the bottom. Lash with chunks of butter followed by big spoonfuls of chili con carne and maybe a dollop of sour cream to finish it off.
11. French Fries
Ok, maybe not traditional, but who doesn’t like dipping French fries into a rich and spicy sauce? Make your fries super chunky to make a substantial side dish for chili con carne that everyone will want to dig into.
Chili con Carne is cheap, tasty, and easy to make. Try and play to its southern influence with your sides. Including Mexican themed food is always going to be a hit. Anything that soaks up all of the rich sauce is also great. What to serve with Chilli con Carne, what ideas do you have? Any secret ingredients. Let me know in the comments below.