Hosting your favorite guests and loved ones a spectacular chili night is a fantastic way to show your appreciation for not only your guests, but for the food, you’re serving!
Serving up chili as the night’s delicacy is just what any evening needs as your guests can pick and choose from a wide range of toppings and sides.
Sometimes a planned out meal isn’t for everyone, because no two people have the same preferences and tastes. So, this way you get the best of both worlds.
Your guests can sample every topping you have available at your chili bar if they deem it necessary, and for the fussier of eaters out there, there is bound to be a topping that they will enjoy on this list.
They just have to find it! So, we hope we can help you find the best chili toppings for your chili bar and by the end, you’re guaranteed to have a favorite in the making.
Chili bar’s also almost always end in a family night to remember, so don’t miss out on the chance to host the event of the year amongst your loved ones.
Nutritional Value Table
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1. Greek Yogurt
We think this may be the most obvious choice of chili topping you could opt for, chili can be so wonderful to serve up for all its exotic and exciting flavors. However, when there are spices, comes the risk of many factors that make you regret the spices!
First, the runny nose starts, you sniffle a few times to keep it at bay, and then you feel your tongue tingle with the afterburn of the chili.
While this is an exciting experience to try new flavors, this can be rather annoying when you’re trying to enjoy a meal or party.
So, that’s where greek yogurt comes into play and saves the day. Whip out a pot of your favorite greek yogurt brand and serve alongside as a refreshing topping!
2. Lime Wedge
They say when serving spicy and oriental food, the more sour and flavorsome you go, the better! Sour additions to your meals toppings are just the kick you need for spicy food and chili is complimented so well by things like lime wedges.
The acidity in lime wedges actually helps to balance out that spiciness from chili, reducing the spice to a more tolerable level. So, one or two lime wedges should do the trick and ease the weaklings for spice into your wonderful chili bar evening.
There’s no shame in not being able to handle spice, but if you can secretly enable your guests to take some of the spice away, why not?
If you’re going to go all out on a chili bar, you may as well provide toppings and sides that are going to enhance that kick from the chili!
This type of liqueur enhances flavors in stews and barbeque sauces especially, so it only makes sense to try it as a topping for your chili bar.
The smokey and earthy notes to whiskey are exactly what your chili bar could be missing and we guarantee it will be appreciated by every single one of your guests.
You can actually pour whiskey straight onto chili, or you can opt to let it reduce in a separate pot to enhance the flavors. It’s up to you, you’re the host!
There are always going to be spice enthusiasts at a dinner party or chili bar event, and no matter how many spices they’ve experienced, nothing seems to be good enough to excel their expectations when it comes to chili!
So, why not go all out and add even more extra chillis to your toppings?
They can handle much more than your chili, so why not give it everything you’ve got. Chipotle and dried ancho peppers both make for a fantastic option for toppings.
This may be a surprise to some, but chocolate and chili, are deemed a delicacy in some countries. Or, well, across the globe actually! Every year for my brother’s birthday and Christmas, I buy him something to do with spices and chilis.
Because he is a psychopath and can handle any amount of spice despite him being the whitest person on the planet.
I cannot count the number of times he has offered me something like chips or roasted snacks, that he claims have ‘little spice’ and I fall for it every. Single. Time. I just never learn.
So, I buy him the spiciest thing I can every year, and chocolate is always a go-to infused with the hottest spices I can find.
One day, I will succeed in making him suffer as he has made me.
6. Tortilla Chips
Again, this is where I slip up and accept my brother’s offering of chips, only to be betrayed by him when he doesn’t tell me how spicy they are. Siblings are great, aren’t they?
Well, if you do love your spices, tortilla chips are a fantastic addition to your homemade chili recipes. Everyone loves tortilla chips and your chili bar will be the talk of the whole damned country, let alone the town!
Also, no bar is complete without tortilla chips so what are you doing not considering using them! They make perfect dunking tools.
I feel like by the end of this entire article, you’ll have got to know my brother down to a T. He is as obsessed with espresso as he is with spicy food and maybe I should have let him write this.
Apparently, (according to my toad of a sibling) cocoa powder, coffee, and espresso all help enhance flavors inside chili. Something to do with the earthy tones to them or something like that, I can’t remember what he said.
Either way, your chili can taste even bolder and better when espresso and coffee are involved in the picture. Try throwing some chocolate into this mix and you’ll get an even more delightful bowl of chili to serve at your chili bar.
8. Shredded Cheese
Anyone who is anyone understands that chili, and cheese, (imagine I’m holding up to hands like a weighing scale please) is the dream team.
Maybe it’s the addition of dairy to cheese that cools off your palette when you’ve had too much chili, we’re not sure. But we’re not going to complain either when something that delicious just works no matter what.
You can never go wrong with the classics, cheese is a fundamental topping within reason. Add some parmesan to help thicken up that chili mixture and make it creamier!
9. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is actually a common seasoning in every Asian kitchen, it’s the type of condiment that actually works with chili rather well.
The deep, golden brown liquid adds saltiness to dishes and brings out flavors in many types of meat, so this one came as an obvious choice.
You can give your chili and Asian flare that adds a rich umami taste to chili, soups, and other stews packed full of voluptuous flavors.
You’ll only need a few tablespoons to change up your chili recipe and it brings a complex flavoring mixture that no other seasonings can quite achieve.
It comes as no surprise that chili can be well complemented with a small or large amount of sweetness to it.
We think it just may be human nature to combine sweet and salty foods together, I’m convinced that no one person decided to combine them, it just came as intuition and now we get to enjoy flavors that shouldn’t work, but do!
A few tablespoons of honey is all you need to create a beautiful and complex flavor combination.
The sweetness in honey pairs well with ingredients like tomatoes, chilis, and other spices, because even tomatoes have a secret sweetness to them which only becomes enhanced with honey.
Sometimes, the best chili bar toppings are the ones that never fail to impress us. Salsa adds a sweet, tangy, and almost refreshing contrast to chili dishes, it’s also beyond easy to make so there are no excuses here!
Salsa only needs a few simple ingredients to hype up your chili bar, and once you’ve figured out what works for you in your personalized salsa, you’ll be unstoppable!
We recommend starting with tomatoes, onions, and your choice of spices that you can blend up in a food processor to achieve a staggeringly good salsa. From there on, it’s up to you what you add in, try something sweet to change it up a bit.
We all know that tortilla chips are the staple for chili, but how about something else crunchy and light to accompany your chili bar into the heavens above.
Croutons may be French by nature, but who says you can’t excel with your homemade chili with them?
The texture alone is a wonderful addition to a chili bar and your guests won’t be left feeling disappointed by your level of experimentation in this case.
You’ll have gone above and beyond to please them and that’s what matters. You can also make them so easily, simply slice stale bread into cubes, for obvious reasons, and coat them in olive oil or butter, and then toast away!
13. Coconut Milk
Another chili bar savior coming your way so catch it with open hands right now!
Coconut milk is similar in the way that yogurt is when it comes to spices, it has a mellow taste to it that eases the level of spice you become affected by, and what’s better than a vegan alternative for those who are especially affected by lactose.
The creaminess of coconut milk also gives the chili a luscious and splendid consistency that just can’t be beaten with other alternatives.
You can get that creaminess from other kinds of milk, but coconut milk has flavors that make it so unique with spices, so good luck finding a better alternative.
This may seem like an obvious choice, again. However, many people don’t know the benefits of adding guacamole to the chili bar station because they’ve either never tried it before, or they’ve never tried it made by you!
Apparently, avocados add such a unique richness to dishes like chili and it’s also a healthy boost to your system!
I say apparently because I myself, am a picky eater and guacamole is on my vendetta for life list. I have nothing against it for the chili lovers out there though!
The lovely green hue to guacamole is what makes it so perfect for chili because it adds a splash of vibrancy to the dish.
It’s also so easy, just whip up mashed avocados, minced onions, cilantro, tomatoes, lime juice, salt, and pepper and you’ll have yourself the perfect topping.
15. Coca Cola
This is the same type of enhancement as coffee and chocolate when it comes to chili toppings, cola just has the perfect notes to it to compliment chili and your life would truly be lost without it, so get yourself some cola for your chili bar and don’t look back!
You only need one can and when combined with chili, the flavors are rich and have this complexity to them that you cannot find anywhere else. You may as well call yourself the chef of the year at this point my friend!
Well, we hope this one was obvious, but chili is always enhanced by more spice. If you didn’t know that, well, you’ve learned it today!
Tabasco sauce is a fabulous option, but today we think that for your chili bar, you need something with more of a kick to it, so sriracha is the go-to!
It isn’t all about spice with this sauce either, there are mildly sweet and tangy flavors to pick up on and just a quarter of a cup will do wonders to your chili.
Black, specifically. That’s enough said to be honest but that would be unfair you need to know why they’re so great with chili! Olives add a Mediterranean twist to most spicy dishes, let alone one as great as classic chili.
The saltiness and earthy flavors within black olives contrast that rich creamy taste in chili beautifully and you’ll be missing out if it’s not an option at your chili bar.
There’s a reason that chili recipes are not complete or set apart without a sweet addition to them. And mangoes are exactly what you may need to set yours apart from others. Pineapple is often found in Chinese food, and on pizza.
That’s because every savory dish needs its sweet counterpart like a king needs their queen. They add a tropical flair like no other and are perfect in chili when ripe, so make sure to check your coloring of yours to find out when it’s ready.
It’s also not uncommon to add fruit to savory dishes in Asian cuisines, the flavor contrast is mind-blowing, so take on the advice from other countries’ ideas!
19. Balsamic Vinegar
Vinegar is the most commonly used table addition in most restaurants, especially if you’re French. Just like America without cheese is not acceptable, France without a bit of balsamic vinegar is a crime.
Needless to say, your chili bar recipe needs something like balsamic to tie over the evening as a truly wonderful topping choice. Just like lime wedges, balsamic adds an acidity to chili which helps to neutralize the spices.
20. Bacon Crumbles
So, your chili is already packed fuller than you at a buffet, but can you squeeze an addition of smokey meat in there?
Yes, always yes! Bacon is great in everything and there’s never an instance or mealtime where bacon doesn’t make everything better.
Breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper, dinner, even as a midnight snack. It also adds flavors and texture to the chili where you can’t go wrong.
Chili is most certainly already packed full with meat but what’s one more going to do?
And chorizo isn’t like ordinary sausage meat, it’s got that extra smokey flavor to it that is so divine in dishes like chili so your chili bar really needs this topping more than the topping needs it.
Mexican chorizo adds wonderful flavors and has a smokiness you can’t get from plain old ground beef.
Simply pan fry your chorizo until crispy and throw it in a bowl of your best homemade chili!
We recommend finishing it off with a sprinkling or two of cheese to add even more flavors because if we’re going all out, you may as well! Go all or go home.
22. Butternut Squash
If you’re looking for a sweet addition to your chili, look no further than the butternut squash!
Sometimes you want a healthier alternative for added sweetness and it doesn’t get any more wholesome than with vegetables like butternut squash.
The sweetness is also one of those ingredients and toppings that help to mellow down the spices and is essential for your chili bar if you fancy giving it a whirl. Its textures add a crispy and tender contrast too, so what’s stopping you?
We couldn’t make a list of the 25 best chili toppings for your chili bar without offering you the idea of adding beer, it would be simply unacceptable to do so.
So, be assured we think beer would be the ultimate chili topping! It also won’t make your chili boozy as you’d expect, its maltiness brings out flavors in the meat, beans, and spices, giving you a top tear chili!
24. Herbs And Spices
Experimenting with herbs and seasonings in your chili is probably the best way to figure out what toppings go best with your chili specifically.
Every chili recipe is different because it’s made by a different person, so different seasonings will be needed to show off those spicy flavors to the best of their ability.
They add more personality to your chili the more you experiment. However, bear in mind that certain seasonings are stronger than others so try not to overdo it, no matter how tempted you are.
25. Sour Cream
Sour cream may be the most complimentary chili topping out there, it’s fresh, tangy, and saves your tastebuds from too much spice! It makes your chili even more appetizing and one dollop alone does wonderous!
It can help make your chili thick and velvety, whilst toning down the spiciness for the not-so-spicy-loving people out there. It also compliments meats to a whole new level, helping to elevate flavors!
Chili toppings are what make or break chili bar evenings and we hope you’ve been able to find the perfect topping you’ve been searching high and low for.
There really are no limits to the number of toppings you can use, so go crazy with spice and make the best chili this earth has ever laid eyes upon thus far!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Best Cheese Toppings For Chili?
Well, it depends where you’re from. The midwest prefers cheddar as its favorite chili topping, for obvious reasons.
You just can’t go wrong with cheddar cheese. Consider the thickness of your cheese topping, however, because thinner grated cheese will melt more consistently and make for a better chili dish.
What Goes Well With Spicy Chili?
Pair your chili with some sour cream if you’re unsure what to top your chili with, you can’t go wrong with a bit of sour cream and it’s the most popular form of chili topping when it comes down to it. It balances out the sweetness and spices.
Also, we think that maple syrup stirred in small amounts can be a great substitution for honey if you don’t have any to hand.
What Do You Put On Top Of Chili For Dipping?
To start, pour a generous amount of chili in a large bowl to share with your guests and friends. This will save you time adding more toppings when the bowl runs out.
You can add guacamole, sliced onions, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips, lettuce, cilantro leaves, sour cream, jalapenos, hot sauces, and many other toppings to make your chili the most exciting chili you’ve ever tasted.
Get creative and you won’t regret it!
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