Wondering what to put on top of chili? This epic list of unique chili toppings will be here whenever you need some meal inspiration!
Looking for some incredibly fun and delectably divine chili toppings?
Well, you have come to the right place!
There’s something so magical and exceptional about a bowl of steaming hot chili with a delightful topping.
And there are just so many food toppings that go oh-so-well with chili.
Each topping has its unique flavors and texture to the dish, which helps take it to the next level.
Whether you prepare home-cooked chili or simply heat some store-bought cans of chili, you can elevate this dish with many unique and delicious toppings.
Here are some of my favorite chili toppings for your next game night or cozy family dinner!
If you’re a traditionalist, then there’s no better chili topping for you to try than the classic topping loved by us Americans.
Top off that delicious bowl of chili with some chopped red onions, shredded cheese, jalapeños, cilantro, and sour cream for a dreamy meal.
2. Chorizo + Cheddar Cheese
Sometimes, you are craving more protein than the beef in your chili.
In such an instance, pan-fry some loose Mexican chorizo until it’s nice and crispy.
Pair the crunchy chorizo with a generous helping of sharp shredded cheddar cheese.
The cheese will perfectly offset the spiciness of the chili and also add some much-needed creaminess to the dish.
You can also top it with some freshly chopped scallions for an added layer of flavor.
Even though cornbread is usually paired with chili as a hearty side, I like to use it as a creative and mouth watering topping for chili.
Prepare the ingredients, mix, bake the chili cornbread for about 20 to 25 minutes, and then take the dish out of the oven.
I crumbled it on top of my bowl of chili, though others will have a slice alongside.
Want a creative twist on plain, old chili?
Try having your spicy chili with some spaghetti!
Finish off this divine combo with some chopped green onions and shredded cheddar cheese.
If you want to melt the cheese to become deliciously gooey, you can microwave the dish for a minute or two.
Pozole is a delectable traditional Mexican stew.
You can prepare it by adding some hominy to your chili.
For an added texture and flavor, add some chopped onions on top.
For some fajita fun, stir-fry some sliced red bell peppers and onions with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Keep stirring until the fajita mix is slightly soft.
Put this prepared mix on top of your chili bowl for a crunchy and colorful topping.
7. Maple Syrup + Sour Cream
Sometimes, you just want something sweet with your chili.
Even though there are a lot of sweet chili toppings that you can look into, nothing beats a dash of maple syrup.
However, if you’re worried it will be too sweet for your spicy chili, pair it with some spiced sour cream to balance the sweetness.
Simply stir some maple syrup into the chili while heating it.
Toast some cumin seeds in a pan until they give off a fragrance, and combine them with sour cream.
Top the maple syrup chili with the spicy, sour cream.
Another textured and flavorful chili topping is butternut squash.
Simply drizzle the squash cubes with olive oil and then roast them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.
Stir the baked squash into your chili. It will add a great texture to your dish!
End with a squirt of fresh lime juice.
Tomato-based meat dishes often pair well with a variety of cheeses.
Try this homemade three-cheese recipe that includes the hybrid Mexican-American cheese—Monterey Jack.
It adds a blend of mild, creamy, and slightly tangy flavors that enhance the taste of your dish.
Don’t worry about making a large batch of this versatile cheese blend, as it complements many Mexican dishes, including all types of chili recipes.
10. Queso Fresco
Cheesemakers will love spending time in the kitchen making this recipe.
This ingredient is a favorite in many Latin dishes, such as toppings for enchiladas, nachos, tacos, and chilies.
It’s like farmer’s cheese, adding a mildly tangy, slightly salty, fresh taste to your tomato-based Mexican fare.
11. Tater Tots
Have you ever heard of Chili Tots?
These cylindrical, deep-fried side dishes have become a popular topping for chilies that some folks thought of making a casserole.
You can top with cheese and Tater Tots, then bake the one-pan dish, or you can incorporate these add-ons later.
Adding them later gives guests the freedom to choose which toppings they want.
Kids will indeed have a lot of these in their bowls.
A classic meat stew won’t be complete without starchy toppings like croutons.
These seasoned, large dried pieces of bread add flavor, texture, and substance to your dish.
The bread cubes are an excellent option for those who want to enjoy mouthfuls of carb add-ons rather than crumbs.
Corn-based chips provide the flavor and aroma of roasted corn in Mexican fare.
Crushed homemade Fritos that are less saltier than store-bought versions are great sprinkled on top of Homestyle Chili.
It adds just the right flaky texture and a bit of saltiness that helps improve chili taste.
A great recipe of chili will call upon other favorite accompaniments like fries.
These add-ons balance the dish’s spiciness, the sourness of the lime wedges, and the saltiness of the cheese.
You can build your chili cheese fries or reverse them by using the fries as toppings on your chili and other garnishes.
15. Tortilla Chips
Add crunch to your Traditional Red and Chili Verde recipes with store-bought or homemade tortilla chips.
You can lay them on a platter whole or crushed.
It’s a must-have on any chili bar for game day.
It’s great in combination with other toppings, too, as it does not have an overpowering flavor.
16. Saltine Crackers
Try these classic soda crackers that add a crispy texture to your food fare.
It’s lightly salted and will complement your highlight dish and every other topping you can think of adding to your main fare.
They’re great to munch on too mid-game, so you’ll want to make a couple of batches.
Mexican cuisine is known for introducing different types of peppers to our palates.
This variety of dried chile pepper is only mildly spicy yet adds a robust flavor to your dishes.
It’s excellent for adding heat to room temperature chili mid-game.
You can serve whole ancho chiles with your chili bar or make your ancho chile powder, which is cost-saving.
Mexican dishes are also known for their vibrant colors.
Different-colored peppers will surely do the trick to add festivity to your bold red chili.
These make great toppings on Vegetarian Chili, but it’s versatile–adding that slight sweetness and crunch.
You can top it on any chili style for an even more exciting dish.
Few fruits make unique chili toppings.
You’ll commonly find lime wedges or lime juice drizzled on chili.
But, dried cranberries with their tart taste–sharp sourness with a hint of sweetness–will be an experience on its own!
Surprise your taste buds with a few of these on your go-to game night dish.
Try them in combination with crumbles of cornbread and some honey, too!
Of the few fruits that go well with chili are ripe mangoes.
Yellow mangoes brighten up your Mexican food.
Add a touch of lemon for that much-needed zing, and you’ll have the sweet acidity that will complete your feast.
21. Fried Onions
One of our favorite toppings is fried onions—crispy, savory, sweet, and aromatic.
Fry them to a deep golden brown, and you will see that it packs a punch with umami flavor.
It’s tasty on its own and will surely lift the flavors of your main dish even more.
22. Pickled Onions
Pickled Onions have that zesty acidity that Homestyle Chili craves.
It has the perfect combo of sour, sweet, and salty.
Its tangy, bit of sweet, and refreshing taste helps elevate the flavor of your main Mexican dish, salads, and sandwiches.
It also enhances the flavor of cheesy toppings, too!
23. Radish Slices
When serving green tomatillo-laced pork chili, you’ll want an eccentric topping.
The sharp taste of radishes with extra peppers will take the flavors of your main dish up a notch.
It adds the right zing to Vegetarian Chili, too.
For meatless chilies, always go with unique add-ons like this recipe.
24. Bacon Crumbles
What goes well with White Chilies?
Add-ons that pack a bit of bright flavor pair perfectly with this food.
The smokiness of bacon crumbles will enhance the richness of various chili styles, especially those that use chicken or pork.
Careful cooking is necessary for a topping that is not too fatty or salty.
After you’ve made a great chili to satisfy picky eaters, you would want to prepare a variety of toppings, too!
The tomato base can be meatless sometimes, so prepare this fare for your meat-eating friends.
A bowl of well-seasoned Mexican-style ground beef is a welcome addition to your spread of relishes.
26. Hot Dogs
Here’s a fun twist to another classic American favorite inspired by Mexican cuisine.
Think of it as a reverse chili cheese dog recipe.
Serve chopped hot dogs with your chili bowl and toppings like diced onions and cheeses.
This kids-approved add-on can be made at home, too!
A homemade version will surely impress your family.
The tangy taste of garlic perfectly complements a bowl of hot chili.
Even better for this topping choice is roasting the garlic cloves.
It results in a milder, slightly sweet caramelized flavor.
That sweet, tangy punch won’t take the spotlight away from the main course but will enhance it.
Chilies are more flavorful with various toppings that should include something starchy.
Sweet potatoes are carb-rich, making them a great addition to a hot bowl of chili.
Low and slow roasting will make it sweeter.
Your vegetarian friends and loved ones will certainly appreciate it when you add this recipe to your festive spread.
29. Refried Beans
If you make the no bean chili recipe, you might want to add beans as an option for your chili bar.
Vegetarians and guests who love beans will appreciate the refried version.
This Mexican staple also goes well with enchiladas.
When making the well-fried beans, you can use pinto or black beans for a tasty fare.
Another unique add-on to your chili is some tender, crunchy hearts of palm.
The acidity of this salad acts as an equalizer of all the accompaniments to the spicy Mexican fare.
You only experience the fresh taste with every bite.
It’s simply refreshing and a not-so-common addition to your toppings bar.
31. Roasted Corn
These bright yellow kernels will add a pop of color to your main course.
Have a game night to remember with chili and an assortment of toppings that can include vegetarian options.
You don’t need to light the fire to make this roasted corn.
It’s easy to make in the kitchen as this recipe results in the tasty pan-roasted version.
32. Corn Salsa
Fresh salsa is a mainstay in Latin cuisine.
This Corn salsa incorporates spices and acidic juices, perfectly balancing many types of chili—from the Traditional Red to the meatless version.
It’s colorful, too—an outstanding play of hues that adds fun to your main dish—perfect for game night!
33. Avocado Salsa
Mashed-up avocado is an easy topping to make for chili.
It helps to downplay a spicy variation of chili.
When you have friends and family who want a toned-down chili, try offering them this creamy salsa.
Now everyone will enjoy the Mexican feast how they like it.
Sneak some fruit into your meaty Mexican food by making this colorful topping in the kitchen.
Unlike the creamy avocado version, this recipe calls for bite-sized slices.
This party favorite will undoubtedly be a crowd pleaser as it is a popular accompaniment to Latin dishes.
35. Espresso Powder
There’s another kind of beans that home cooks put in their chili for a jumping flavor—coffee beans.
Espresso accentuates the dish’s aroma and brings out the spices’ flavors.
That earthy taste is something you might be missing to enjoy this delicious Mexican dish.
36. Cocoa Powder
Cocoa may be the one ingredient you’re missing out on for a family night to remember.
Unsweetened cocoa is not an equilibrium of flavors.
Instead, it brings out all of the flavors involved–from the chili to the other accompaniments.
37. Hot Sauce
Kick things up even further with your main course by topping it with hot sauce.
This homemade version will elevate your dish and make it even hotter—great for when the chili has cooled mid-game.
For guests who say your chili is not spicy enough, satisfy them with this recipe.
38. Sour Cream
Here are another favorite topping food lovers like to add to the top of their chili.
The Mexican dish won’t be complete without a balancer of some sort—and that’s where the sour cream comes in.
Its versatile topping cuts the spiciness and richness of White Chili, Chili Verde, and Homestyle Chili.
39. Hot Honey
Warm up your palate and fire up with honey—a spicier version!
Honey complements chilies, but this recipe is a little extra.
It’s the perfect blend of sweet and spicy—a playful addition to the highlight dish of the night.
You may want to make jars for guests to take home after hosting a great party!
40. Greek Yogurt
You have a mouth-watering spread of peppers and spices to go with your chili, and now you might have too much to handle!
Here’s where Greek yogurt saves the day.
This homemade version is a refreshing topping that acts as equilibrium for a dish that’s nothing but enjoyable down to the last bite.
A homemade ranch dip is a delicious option that combines all the flavors.
It works just like sour cream and Greek yogurt, giving you more choices when preparing a spread of accompaniments to please all of your guests.
This recipe has just the right blend of ingredients for a delectable feast.
Ranch Dressing Powder is just what you need for a creative topping for a Mexican chili main course.
Once the homemade mix is ready, get your favorite soda like Dr. Pepper or Coke.
It also works with root beer—a combination that will elevate the chili experience even further.
The bottom line
The best way to serve chili is to prepare a delicious chili bar!
Simply pour a generous helping of chili into a large bowl aI hope you enjoyed reading this guide on chili toppings!
Each of the toppings mentioned above adds a unique flavor and texture to the dish.
Try all the toppings I’ve mentioned above to find the ones you love the most!
- The Classic American Topping
- Chorizo + Cheddar Cheese
- Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
- Maple Syrup + Sour Cream
- Butternut Squash
- Mexican Cheese Blend
- Queso Fresco
- Tater Tots
- Tortilla Chips
- Saltine Crackers
- Dried Ancho Peppers
- Air Fryer Roasted Peppers
- Dried Cranberries
- Mango Con Chile Y Limon
- Fried Onions
- Pickled Onions
- Radish Slices
- Bacon Crumbles
- Mexican Ground Beef
- Hot Dogs
- Roasted Garlic Cloves
- Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes
- Refried Beans
- Hearts Of Palm Salad
- Roasted Corn
- Corn Salsa
- Avocado Salsa
- Espresso Powder
- Cocoa Powder
- Hot Sauce
- Sour Cream
- Hot Honey
- Greek Yogurt
- Ranch Dressing Powder
- Take a look at our Chili Toppings list!
- Gather the ingredients to create a new favorite dish.
- Woohoo! You created a home-cooked meal!
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