Chili Bar – how to set it up, the best chili recipes and the ultimate toppings for the easiest party you’ll ever throw for a crowd!

pot of chili for chili bar surrounded by toppings

A Chili Bar along with the best toppings is the ultimate game day menu and it couldn’t be any simpler or more delicious without a lot of work!

The key to the best Chili Bar is a killer chili recipe (see below) plus All.The.Toppings.

chili bar with pot of chili surrounded by toppings

WHAT IS A CHILI BAR?

A DIY Chili Bar party is the easiest way to entertain and the toppings (and chili recipes!) are endless.

It’s basically a chili charcuterie board and the perfect kickoff to cooler weather – with or without a football game.

Just whip up a big pot of chili then set it out with all the amazing sides and toppings you can think of and let guests serve themselves.

TOP 5 HOT TIPS FOR EASIEST ENTERTAINING:

  1. Make the chili the day before then serve it in the slow cooker on warm or low heat.
  2. Be sure you have enough bowls, spoons and napkins.
  3. Do as much as possible before guests arrive so you can enjoy the party too!
  4. Include a fun cocktail, like my fall favorite Apple Cider Sangria.
  5. Have the game on (or fun music if the game hasn’t started) when guests arrive.

BEST CHILI BAR CHILI RECIPES:

pot of chili with sign saying ultimate chili bar

Make a batch of your favorite chili or try a couple of different kinds of chili.

Classic Ground Beef Chili:

chili bar showing bowl of chili

This spicy chili is my go-to recipe for chili and is on repeat at my house starting in the fall and going all winter long.

Hearty, boldly spicy, loaded with kidney beans and an absolute family favorite.

Make it in the slow cooker or in a pot or dutch oven on the stove – just don’t skip my two secret ingredients that take the flavor to the next level.

White Chicken Chili:

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili ~ creamy, loaded with chicken, beans, corn and green chilies. Topped with avocado, lime wedge and tortilla strips.

Slow cooker or stove top – loaded with chicken, corn, white beans and green chilies. 

Turkey LENTIL Chili:

Make this easy recipe with ground turkey or leftover holiday turkey.

This protein rich chili is packed with vegetables and lentils in a bold tomato broth.

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili:

turkey sweet potato chili ~ overhead photo of chili garnished with avocado

Again, use ground turkey or save this recipe and use that leftover holiday turkey.

Either way is delicious – loaded with vegetables and sweet potatoes.

Vegetarian Chili:

Tex Mex Veggie Chili ~ spicy, hearty, carnivore approved. Loaded with robust Tex-Mex flavors and packed with beans and vegetables.

Delicious, spicy vegetable chili – a great option that’s not just for vegetarians.

THE ULTIMATE CHILI BAR TOPPINGS:

Variety is the name of the game for a good chili bar. The best chili bar toppings will be your favorite toppings.

For me, the triple threat of toppings is sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and a pile of crispy, salty Fritos.

  • cheese is an absolute must. My preference is sharp shredded cheddar but monterey jack or even queso fresco are also great options.
  • sour cream or greek yogurt
  • Fritos corn chips, oyster crackers or saltine crackers
  • green onions
  • tortilla chips
  • hot dogs (for chili dogs)
  • pico de gallo
  • diced red onion
  • pickled jalapenos – for some extra tangy heat
  • lime wedges – squeeze on for a bright pop of flavor.
  • avocado slices or guacamole
  • fresh cilantro
  • tater tots
  • baked potato – sweet potatoes or russet
  • french fries

FINGER FOODS THAT GO WITH CHILI:

Adding a few sides is always a great idea. Here are a few of my favorites:

Air Fryer Chicken Fingers

Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

Beer Bread

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Hot Honey Lemon Pepper Chicken

HOW LONG DOES CHILI LAST IN THE FRIDGE?

Chili stores well in the refrigerator up to 3 days in an airtight container. Cool completely before refrigerating.

HOW TO FREEZE CHILI:

Chili is one of my favorite meals to freeze. There’s always a stash in my freezer throughout the winter months.

Just pack in freezer safe containers to avoid freezer-burn and store up to 6 months.

A hot bowl of chili on a cold day is always a good thing.

Enjoy!

overhead view pinterest pin showing chili bar surrounded by toppings

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overhead view pinterest pin showing chili bar surrounded by toppings

Chil Bar

How to set up a Chili Bar - easiest entertaining for game day - and any day - including the best chili recipes and the ultimate toppings!
5 from 1 vote
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories

Equipment

  • slow cooker, dutch oven or large pot

Ingredients
  

TOPPINGS:

  • Cheese! cheddar, pepper jack, monterey jack
  • sour cream or greek yogurt
  • Fritos, tortilla chilps, oyster crackers
  • green onions thinly slices
  • tortilla chips
  • hot dogs for chili dogs
  • diced red onion
  • pickled jalapenos
  • lime wedges
  • avocado slices or guacamole
  • fresh cilantro
  • tater tots
  • baked potato – sweet potatoes or russet
  • french fries
Keyword chili bar, how to set up a chili bar, best chili recipe, football food, tailgate recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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