Tired of the same cheese, sour cream, and avocado on your chili? I’ve got you!
Below, you’ll find over 60 ingredients you can use as chili toppings to enjoy your favorite chili recipe on repeat!
Best Toppings for Chili
I enjoy a hearty bowl of chili for lunch or dinner, especially if it’s the best chili on Earth recipe, and one way to make it not feel like the same bowl is to load it up with toppings.
These topping ideas can take your favorite chili recipe from great to wow in a matter of seconds! Plus, you can always stretch your chili by serving a little less and pairing it with a delicious chili side dish.
All of a sudden, nobody will know you just stretched that frozen chili to yield more at dinner!
Table of contents
Types of Cheese
Want to make your chili deliciously cheesy? Choose one or more of these cheeses and drool!
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: smooth with a buttery taste, this classic cheese never fails!
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese: a dusty cheese that adds more richness to the chili.
- Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese: this semi-soft cheese adds a spicier taste.
- Nacho Cheese: holds a hint of spice with a thick and creamy consistency.
- Shredded American Cheese: with a low melting point, it’s the one to choose for stringy and melty cheese.
These protein-rich toppings take your favorite chili to a new level of goodness.
- Chorizo: a spicy Spanish pork sausage with an irresistible smoky flavor.
- Chopped Hot Dog: a fun twist on a chili dog!
- Shredded Chicken: add some cooked shredded chicken for added protein that will absorb all the chili flavors.
- Bacon Bits: bacon lovers, this one is for you! Bacon bits add a bit of smoky, crispy, and delicious protein.
Crave bits of crunchiness in every spoonful of tender chili? Add these simple toppings:
- Tortilla Strips: Add an earthy corn flavor to your bowl.
- Saltine Crackers: create an irresistibly salty crunch.
- Oyster Crackers: similar to Saltines, except they are slightly less salty.
- Tortilla Chips: if you have leftover chips in your pantry, crush them up and use them. to top your bowl!
- Goldfish: another crunchy delight that combines the crunch with a delightful cheesiness. A great topping for kids!
- Ritz Crackers: a pantry staple with a buttery soft sweetness.
- Cheese Itz: it holds a little more flavor, so crush them up to enjoy as a topping.
- Cheetos: pair with regular or hot Cheetos for a snack fusion.
- Fritos: Frito pie anyone?
Any meal is an opportunity for adding more veggies! The healthiest chili toppings can also be super tasty.
- Fried Onions: a classic aromatic for adding flavor and aroma.
- Corn: some chili recipes include corn already, but adding more vegetables on top is a great idea.
- Green Onions: commonly used in soups to enhance flavor, the same concept applies to chili.
- Purple Onions: a more distinct and strong flavor than yellow onions.
- Roasted Bell Peppers: bell peppers are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and taste great on chili.
- Roasted Zucchini: the bulk of zucchini is water, which blends fantastically with chili consistency.
- Butternut Squash: this winter vegetable is a terrific ingredient for incorporating sweetness into the chili.
- Roasted Yellow Squash: another versatile veggie perfect for chili.
- Sweet Potato: a sweeter, healthier, more nutrient-rich option than baked potato.
- Diced Tomato: most chilis are made with a tomato base, so if you enjoy tomatoes, add some diced ones on top!
Grains & Carbs
These grains and carbs are terrific toppings when you cook a chili to feed a crowd. Simple, nutritious, and budget-friendly!
- Rice: this versatile carb can enhance the flavor of chili and keep your family full a little bit longer.
- Elbow Macaroni: this twist on chili is similar to a “Chili Mac.”
- Bowtie Pasta: bowtie pasta is fun and kid-friendly!
- Spaghetti Noodles: granted, this is a more mid-Western dish, but you are looking for more chili options! Spaghetti Chili, anyone?
- Quinoa: a low-carb alternative for rice.
- Cornbread: a Southern staple that pairs fantastically with chili. Most large groceries sell easy-to-bake packages.
Herbs & Garnishes
Add a final green touch to any meal and it will immediately look and taste restaurant-like!
- Chives: hold a delicate flavor and are typically added in their raw state at the end of cooking or as a garnish.
- Parsley: refreshing, light, and a simple ingredient to enhance the flavor.
- Lime Wedge: sprinkle lime zest, some lime juice, or add a wedge to the side for a citrusy flavor!
- Cilantro: adds a strong lemon peppery taste, so use sparingly.
- Cilantro Chutney: this traditional Indian dish pairs perfectly with chili!
Creaminess or sweetness? Maybe a pinch of heat? These chili topping ideas add flavor and texture to satisfy all kinds of cravings.
- Sour Cream: adds that touch of creaminess that takes chili to the next level.
- Cottage Cheese: with more protein than sour cream, cottage cheese has a similar texture with about half the calories.
- Chili Flakes: for enhanced spiciness.
- Cayenne Pepper: cayenne is sure to add a kick for a spicer option!
- Pico de Gallo: since chili uses a tomato base, the diced tomatoes, jalapenos, and onions pair surprisingly well.
- Guacamole: a match made in heaven.
- Chopped Avocado: avocadon’t you love this list? Avocado adds a richer consistency to this dish.
- Black Olives: try it; you might like it!
- Sriracha: a stronger sauce with garlicky flavors.
- Ranch: we all know that one ranch lover, but all it takes is a dollop!
- Greek Yogurt: another great alternative to cottage cheese and sour cream!
- Hot Sauce: for those who want to turn the heat up a notch.
- Balsamic Vinegar: the two create a spicy and tangy mixture.
- Horseradish: the spicy team will love this topping!
- Honey: hear me out; the honey adds a distinct sweet taste to the chili.
- Mango Habanero Salsa: sweet and spicy? Yes, please!
- Pineapple Mango Salsa: nutritious and delicious.
Indulge yourself and your family by adding one of these crunchy fried toppings to your bowl of chili. Epic!
- Fries: Upsidedown Chili Cheese Fries. No explanation is needed.
- Tater Tots: these are also a deliciously crispy option.
- Fried Shallots: a tasty & healthy alternative!
Surprise everyone with one of these sauces poured on top that will have them asking “what is your secret ingredient?”.
- Barbecue Sauces: most people enjoy this one with some brown sugar to enhance the sweetness.
- Whiskey: it doesn’t take much but adds depth and richness to the flavor’s peppery sauce.
- Maple Syrup: similar to honey, but healthier.
Jazzing up leftovers with the ideas on this list to make chili more interesting and flavorful every time! Which ones are you going to add first?