Entertaining | Set Up A Chili Bar + All-Purpose Chili Recipe!


Today I’m sharing an idea that you can use for Fall or Winter entertaining, as well as a timely idea for Super Bowl & other Football gatherings. I thought, ‘what could be more hearty, manly, and versatile than a chili bar?’ I didn’t want to do a chili tasting or cook-off because I think most people have seen that already. Instead I thought about the many ways you can serve chili using one all-purpose recipe.  This is how it usually goes at my house: First round is chili & tortillas, next day leftovers are served over pasta, at a fast food restaurant we order chili & baked potato, or chili cheese fries, etc.

This is a fun way to set up a buffet for friends and even the kids loved making their own variations. Using some printable tags from Party Box Designs I set up and labeled lots of chili toppers + root beer. You can see my list of options below, plus the delicious recipe I used that goes with everything!

Set up a chili bar

Base items available for topping with the chili:

  • Pasta
  • Tortillas
  • Hot Dogs
  • Crinkle cut french fries
  • Small bags of Fritos corn chips
  • Baked Potatoes


  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Onion
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • other condiments like ketchup & mustard for the hot dogs

Combine the base items with the chili and select toppings and you have a great meal.  I suggest small servings so you can have more than one combo – you may even want to cut the hot dogs in half.  One of my personal favorites is the Fritos bags that you can just grab and go.  You fill the bag with the chili and toppings and eat right out of the bag!

To hide the not-so-attractive crock pot, I wrapped it with burlap.  I served root beer from a large urn, which you could also fill with beer of course.

This chili bar was a huge hit with the family.  The husband loved it, the kids loved it, and it could even be used for a tween or teen birthday buffet.

chili bar by Celebrations At Home{all photos from Celebrations At Home}


All Purpose Chili Recipe

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned
  • Chili Seasoning Packet – “Original” flavor
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 can water

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours.

Get the printable football party tags from Party Box Design here.

For another great chili recipe, check out our Fiesta Chili Recipe here!


For more inspiration, follow me on Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter. Cheers!


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About Chris

Chris Nease is a party stylist and home entertaining expert with over 15 years of experience. In addition to her work as founding editor of Celebrations At Home, Chris is an editorial stylist and has contributed to Homes.com, SheKnows, and countless other websites. Most recently she was featured in Celebrate magazine, and her work has been published in Woman's World, Ocala Style, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, and Cottages & Bungalows.


  1. any ideas on keeping the dogs and pasta warm, for people coming back for seconds?

    • Pammyb, you can use crock pots or chafing dishes if you like. However, if the chili is hot it will warm up the pasta when poured over it.

  2. What a great idea! Could you please tell me where you found the white framed menu board? Thank you.

  3. I read through the comments and only saw clarification on the water but what size can of tomatoe sauce and diced tomatoes does the recipe call for? Thanks!


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