By Melanie Fincher

From cornbread classics to vegetable side dishes.

Most people won't think twice about serving basic cornbread when chili is on the table. But switching up your side dishes can bring a refreshing change to a classic comfort food dish. Whether you want to stay in your wheelhouse and try a new cornbread recipe, or bring fresh vegetables and flavors to the table — there's more than one way to make chili a meal. Discover 16 of our best side dishes to serve with chili.

Related: 10 Quick and Easy Chili Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

1. Sweet Jalapeno Cornbread

"Best cornbread ever! With my HOT chili, it went hand in hand," says reviewer CAT in the HAT. Sweet cornbread is a classic pairing for hot chili, but the fresh jalapeno peppers in this recipe bring something new to chili night.

Photo by naples34102

2. Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad

"I made this for a family gathering once and everyone loved it. And it's so easy to make. Now whenever we get together everyone wants me to make this," says recipe reviewer ELLIAR

3. Savory Roasted Root Vegetables

Recipe creator mgoblue1 says, "Beets were my sworn enemy until I tried them like this, it's a great way to use root vegetables. I think the beets add a beautiful red color to the dish, but if it bothers you to serve pinkish vegetables, substitute parsnips, rutabaga, or any similar vegetable; be creative!"

Photo by StacySnook

4. Perfect Baked Potato

Baked potatoes are often served with chili for a classic comfort food dinner. "I love baked potatoes that you get at the restaurant but I could not get the same taste with the potatoes that I did at home, until now. I was very pleased, added butter and sour cream and I was in heaven," says reviewer NANNIE2JORDAN.

5. Ann's Dirty Rice

"For all of those of us who live in terror, wondering what to feed the next wave of marauding hordes who come to lay waste to the kitchen contents, this is a life-saving recipe. I make it in triple batches and freeze it for brown bag lunches, quick snacks, or on-the-go dinners," says reviewer Wes. When paired with a simple chili main dish, you have a budget-friendly dinner that's ready in no time.

Photo by TTV78

6. Cornbread Muffins I

These cornbread muffins are perfect for bringing to a potluck and for dunking in a warm bowl of your favorite chili. "These muffins are very similar to the ones found in a famous down-home cooking restaurant. They're so simple to make and taste great because they have real pieces of corn as well as corn meal," says recipe creator Lisa K.

Photo by nycbaker

7. Loaded Tater Tots

Potato nuggets and crumbled bacon are baked in a cheesy sauce until hot and bubbling. Scoop it into a bowl and top with chili for pure comfort food.

Photo by Christina

8. Creamy Spiced Coleslaw

This fresh, tangy slaw is the perfect pairing for hearty chili. "I usually just buy coleslaw for convenience, but this was such an easy recipe, I will make my own from now on," says reviewer PTJ1969. This coleslaw only requires 10 minutes of prep.

Photo by *Sherri*

9. Red Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This mashed potato recipe is so irresistible, it'll take a great chili recipe to stand up to it. Recipe creator Shawnah says, "These red-skinned mashed potatoes are just the creamiest. They are always a hit with company. Just a warning: they are addictive!"

10. Classic Pub Style Nachos

Make a Tex-Mex inspired meal by serving these nachos on the side of some Real Texas Chili. Reviewer Theresa Andrews says, "Easy and delicious, crunchy, cheesy, and you can add anything, jalapeno, cilantro, green pepper. Or follow the original recipe. Five stars!"

Photo by Seattle2Sydney

11. Baked Zucchini Fries

It's easy to get vegetables on the table with your chili when they taste this good. Try this method for the perfect, crispy zucchini fries. "I thought these would be soggy and just okay at best. But wow! Crispy. Tasty. Easy. We have enjoyed fried zucchini at restaurants...this is maybe even better tasting. I'm back today to make more," says reviewer HomemadeHealthy.

12. Cheddar Onion Drop Biscuits

"These tasty biscuits have a savory Cheddar and onion flavor. Perfect with a bowl of chili or hearty soup in the winter or a main dish salad in the summer," says recipe creator trishthedish617. These biscuits are a flavorful alternative to cornbread that will still please everyone at the table.

Photo by naples34102

13. Yummy Guacamole

Smooth and cool guacamole is a refreshing contrast to thick and hearty chili. "My husband begs me to make this all the time and my 2-year-old can't get enough of it! It never lasts for more than a day in our house. If you like guacamole, you will LOVE this recipe. My sister and I have been tweaking it for years and finally have come up with the best recipe ever. The key is to use avocados that are perfectly ripe," says recipe creator Liam&Levi's Mommy.

Photo by naples34102

14. Sweet Grilled Corn

"Just the smell, unwrapping this corn after grilling, was enough to make our mouths water! And the taste was amazing. We will make this over and over," says reviewer lovesusa. You will be craving this tender and flavorful corn on the cob way past grilling season.

Photo by Elizabeth

15. Chopped Cashew Salad

"This colorful salad is tasty and healthy, a great way to get your kids or husband to eat their vegetables. You can substitute fresh, chopped basil leaves for dried and balsamic for the red wine vinegar, if desired. Sometimes I add mango or papaya for a nice change. The possibilities are endless," says recipe creator Jenn Harmon Jones.

16. Easy Mac and Cheese Muffins

It's a crowd-pleaser that looks good and tastes good. Recipe creator joplin_7_7_7 says, "This takes a fun approach to the traditional mac and cheese recipe. Kids can eat it like a muffin...making it a new mac and cheese experience!"

Photo by Jenny Anhold
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