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The best toppings to put on chili and chili con carne sides tend to vary from person to person since we all have different preferences and chili board ideas. Someone might want rice, someone else might prefer cornbread, and others want both! The easiest (and most fun!) way to make sure everyone can choose their own toppings and sides to make their perfect chili bowl is to make a charcuterie board offering chili sides and toppings and just let everybody make up their own bowl. This ultimate chili bar is perfect for game day get-togethers or parties.

A chili party table filled with a mouthwatering spread including chili, cornbread, and other delectable foods.

A chili charcuterie bar is a great idea for any occasion, whether it’s game day, a chilly day when everyone needs cheering up, or you’re simply in the mood for some warming, hearty chili!

A bowl of chili and all the best chili toppings makes such a tasty meal! You might also like this slow cooker spicy corn and jalapeno cheese dip. For dessert, consider a crowd-pleasing batch of creamy Mexican rice pudding.

A bountiful chili board featuring a variety of mouthwatering foods, accompanied by cornbread.

Why You’ll Love It

Convenient:  You don’t have to remember how everyone likes their bowl of chili – just make this convenient chili board instead and let them help themselves to their favorite chili toppings.
Easy: Making this charcuterie board and letting everyone add their own toppings is no more difficult than making chili and sides and preparing toppings. It’s just as easy!
Photogenic: Charcuterie boards are fun to make and you can use your creativity to arrange everything on the platter. Don’t forget to snap some Insta-worthy photos and write captions before everyone digs in.

Bowls of chili and cornbread on a table.

Hosting a party with friends? Try my hearty beef chili recipe and get a list of 47 of the best chili toppings to try.

Chili Bar Ingredient Ideas

Chili bar ideas include everything you usually serve with homemade chili and more. You can also decorate the platter according to the season or occasion! This hearty beef chili is the recipe used here.

Ultimate chili charcuterie bar with a variety of toppings and accompaniments to create the perfect chili board.

Classic chili toppings include shredded Mexican blend cheese, pepper jack cheese or shredded cheddar cheese, diced fresh tomatoes or tomatillos, sour cream or Greek yogurt.

The ingredients for a chili charcuterie board recipe.

More ideas include guacamole or avocado slices, bacon crumbles, jalapeno slices or other chili peppers, cilantro, green onions, tomato or tomatillo salsa, lime wedges, and hot sauce.

A savory chili charcuterie board featuring a delicious bowl of chili topped with melted cheese and served with crispy tortilla chips.

For the sides, what about rice, crispy tortilla strips, saltine crackers, cornbread, and baked potatoes?

A chili bar with a variety of food on it.

How to Make Your Chili Dinner Board

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Make the chili:  Make chili con carne (and/or chili sin carne for vegetarians!)
Make the sides: While the chili is cooking, prepare your rice, tortilla chips, cornbread, or whatever sides you want.
Prepare the toppings: When it’s nearly time to eat, get your shredded sharp cheddar cheese or queso fresco and other toppings ready.
Arrange the chili charcuterie dishes and toppings: Put the bowl of chili in the center and arrange the sides and toppings around it, keeping the hot dishes close to the bowl of chili and arrange the cold ones (or the ones you don’t want to melt like the cheese) further away.
The finishing touches: Add plates, serving utensils, silverware, and napkins to the table, and your chili con carne dinner board is ready for everyone to admire and enjoy!

A large bowl of chili, cornbread, and other foods arranged on a chili board.

Substitutions and Variations

There are plenty of toppings for chili to choose from, so just take your pick from those listed above or in the photos or use your own imagination to decide what to offer along with your homestyle chili.

A large bowl of chili on a table.

There are lots of chili recipes to choose from as well as chili bar toppings, so just get creative and pick the ones you like best.

A bowl of chili with cheese and bread on a chili board.

If you are catering for people with food intolerances, remember you can offer dishes such as gluten free cornbread or vegan “cheese” alternatives.

A bowl of chili, cheese, and various dips on a table at a chili party.

How to Host a Chili Bar Party

Whether you prefer a sweet and spicy chili, a savory and spicy chili, a milder dish with a smoky flavor, or even something different like a white chicken chili, you’re going to love this unusual charcuterie board idea! Consider serving the chili in a crockpot to keep it warm.

A chili bar with a variety of dishes including a bowl of chili and cornbread on a wooden table.

Decide who you’re going to invite and then you can see who’s coming and figure out how much food to make. It’s a good idea to make extra – leftover chili keeps and you don’t want to run out.

Chili and cornbread on a wooden table.

Prep your sides and toppings ahead and then, when it’s time to eat, you can arrange everything on a charcuterie board and get ready for all the compliments!

A grand chili charcuterie board showcasing an assortment of delectable dishes is elegantly displayed on a table.

Tips for a Great Chili Bar

As everyone has their own preferred way of enjoying chili, make sure at least all the basics are covered, such as rice, cornbread and so on, and then think about other sides and toppings you can offer.

Chili charcuterie board with cornbread and pickles.

Make sure you know how many people are coming and plan accordingly, even doubling the recipe if necessary. Ensure you also have sufficient napkins, silverware and of course seating!

A mouthwatering chili charcuterie board displayed on a table.

Sides and Appetizers for a Chili Dinner Party

There are all kinds of sides and appetizers you can make for a chili dinner party. A fresh salad would offer a nice contrast with the spicy chili, perhaps green goddess salad or one of these creamy potato salads.

A table adorned with a variety of food and bowls, perfectly set for a chili party.

I love to use Mexican pottery to serve sides and toppings – look at these beautiful Mexican serving dishes (here). You might also want to whip up a cranberry margarita or jalapeno margarita for the grownups!

Sweet skillet cornbread.

Chili Party Ideas

If you want to take your chili party to the next level, you might want to consider a theme, such as a chili and beer-tasting evening (everyone can bring their favorite beer) or a chili and football party. Other ideas include a chili movie night or chili cookoff contest!

A bowl of chili and cornbread, displayed on a charcuterie board.

How to Store Chili and Chili Toppings

Store:  Leftover chili will keep for 3 or 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftover toppings will keep anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending what they are – anything fresh like cilantro or salad won’t keep as fresh as, say, leftover sliced onions, shredded cheese or sour cream.
Freeze: Freeze leftover chili for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer-safe Ziploc bag, then thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave or on the stove when ready.

A chili bar with cornbread and other toppings.

Chili Charcuterie Board FAQs

What about the vegetarians?

The great thing about making a charcuterie board is you can make both meat and vegetarian chili and then offer both (clearly labeled!) That way, if someone doesn’t want meat, they can still enjoy the chili along with all or most of the sides. The carnivores can dig into the ground beef chili and then everyone adds their own sweet, savory and spicy toppings.

Should you put beans in chili?

Now this question often leads to a hearty debate, so the best way to tackle it is maybe make the chili bean-free and instead offer kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or whatever beans you want on the charcuterie board!

A person holding a bowl of chili with chili toppings on a charcuterie board.

Don’t settle for plain chili when you can elevate the whole experience and make a charcuterie board with chili, rice, cornbread, and everyone’s favorite chili toppings. It doesn’t require any additional effort and means everyone can help themselves to chili along with whatever sides and toppings they like. Everyone gets to make their bowl of chili their way and you can make this great recipe for game day, a chilly winter day or whenever everyone is craving a delicious bowl of chili con carne.

Other Recipes to Try

How to prepare a chili board with all the fixes.

Chili Bar or Charcuterie Board Recipe

Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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3 Comments

  1. I made exactly the same as this one and no leftovers! My friends and family enjoyed it! 🥰