I’m sharing my best tips to set up a chili bar with all the fixings. Turn this slow cooker chili recipe into a topping for french fries, hot dogs, nachos & MORE! If you like this idea, you’re going to LOVE my Soup Bar with even more ideas for entertaining at home!
WHAT'S IN THIS GUIDE?
Set up a Chili Bar Party at Home
Today I’m sharing one of our most popular party themes for fall & winter gatherings – a chili bar!
It’s terrific for a game day party and family get together’s. What’s more hearty and versatile for entertaining 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 when I make a big pot of chili. First round is chili & tortillas, next day leftovers are served over pasta, and if there’s any left over we put chili on a baked potato, or make chili cheese fries.
I thought, why not put all those ideas into one single chili party? It’s a great idea for a themed dinner party too.
This is a fun way to set up a party food buffet for friends, and even the kids love making their own variations. You can see my list of chili bar toppings below, plus the delicious recipe I used that goes with everything!
Best Ideas for a Chili Bar
Before we get to what goes on a chili bar, let’s talk about how to set it up. *affiliate links included
- I find that a large table works best for this party buffet. A sideboard would probably be too small to hold all the fixings.
- Set up on the dining table or on the kitchen island. If you need to push the table against the wall in order to use an outlet, that’s perfectly fine.
- Serve the chili right from the slow cooker. To hide the not-so-attractive crock pot, wrap it with burlap.
- If you need to keep pasta warm or hot dogs hot, use chafing dishes for best results. They are a party hostess’ best friend. I love this stylish model, but if you don’t entertain much you can get away with using disposable ones (ah! did I just say that?).
PARTY TIP: Use corrugated disposable coffee cups for an easy-carry option. They’re easier to hold than bowls.
- Place mini bags of Fritos corn chips in a wire basket for a cute display. You fill the bag with the chili and toppings and eat right out of the bag! HOSTESS TIP: Get mini bags here for the BEST price.
- Use printable tags to label all the chili toppers and drinks, especially if you’re serving both beer and root beer.
- You can make a diy sign like I did here using paint, muslin fabric, letter stencils, and a frame.
- Serve beer or root beer from a large urn filled with ice.
This chili bar is a huge hit with the entire family, making it a great idea for parents. Serve this at kids birthday parties where you’ll also have adults.
PARTY TIP: This party idea is great for a man’s birthday or a teen’s birthday party buffet.
- All-Purpose Chili Recipe below
- Hot Dogs & Buns
- 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
- serving utensils
- slow cooker
- Prepare chili recipe in slow cooker and cook for 6 hours.
- Place all the fixings in individual bowls or serving dishes for guests to help themselves to.
- Layer the base items with the chili.
- Add selected toppings to top the chili 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.
More Chili Recipes
If you’re in the mood for a simple chili tasting party, try one or more of these tasty variations.
- Feel free to add a southwestern touch with this slow cooker fiesta chili recipe.
- Or go in another direction with this slow cooker white chili with chicken & sausage.
- For those times when you just want to make something totally indulgent and rich, try this cheesy chili recipe.
- Here’s a fabulous slow cooker white chicken chili made with chicken thighs and served in a bread bowl.
What’s your favorite chili bar combination? One of my personal favorites is the Fritos bags that you can just grab and go.
Now here is the tasty all purpose chili recipe that goes with everything on the chili bar. See more chili bar ideas on Pinterest.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned
- 1 1.25-ounce packet Chili Seasoning – “Original” flavor
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 15-ounces of water
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.