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My Favorite Way to Set Up a Chili Bar

4.91 from 11 votes
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toppings, sides & accessories 

  • cornbread I have multiple versions in The Pretty Dish!
  • tortilla chips
  • fritos
  • flaming hot cheetos
  • tater tots
  • queso¬†dip in a little slow cooker
  • freshly grated cheese monterey jack, cheddar, havarti
  • crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco
  • pico de gallo
  • sliced cherry tomatoes
  • sliced radishes
  • pickled onions
  • sliced green onions
  • diced red onion
  • sliced jalapeno peppers
  • pepperoncini
  • chopped chives
  • chopped avocado
  • fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges for spritzing


  • Whether you're doing one chili or multiples, I suggest making them a few days ahead of time and freezing them. The night before, stick the containers in the fridge and the morning of, dump it in the slow cooker! Another option is to make the chili the night before and let it cook all night. The night before, you can also chop a lot of your ingredients and grate you cheeses, place them in small ziplock bags or bowls covered with plastic wrap and store them in the fridge.
  • If you go the queso right, I suggest getting one of the smaller slow cookers or using a fondue pot to keep it hot! I find the slow cooker option works best.
  • Right before your party, assemble your toppings. If you're have a ton of guests, I suggest using heavy duty disposable bowls! Put everyone out on a table, starting with the chili so people can move through a chili assembly line. It's perfect! I always place the chips and the hot dogs near the chili too.

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