How to Set Up a DIY Chili Bar (Plus a Recipe for Turkey Chili!)
I tend to entertain a lot during the fall and winter months. Between October and February tons of holidays and events can creep up and can become a little overwhelming when you’re responsible for feeding a crowd. Today, I’m sharing how to set up a DIY chili bar, which is one of my favorite easy entertaining ideas to use all season long. (Super Bowl anyone?!) They don’t require a lot of effort on your part and can be made to appeal to a variety of diets and tastes. I’m also sharing a delicious recipe for my favorite turkey chili too!
Setting up a DIY chili bar is one of my favorite things to make when I’m hosting for an event or party. It’s sooooo simple to do and gives your guests all of the control to create their ultimate chili combinations.
I like serving it during the cool fall and winter months, when everyone just wants to get cozy and warm up! It’s a great idea if you’re hosting Halloween or pumpkin carving parties, New Years gatherings, the Superbowl, or a game night.
You can prep a lot of the toppings in advance to cut down on time, and the chili recipe that I’m sharing below is really easy to make.
When picking the toppings to serve for your DIY chili bar, I like to think about taste and texture. Chips, like crushed tortilla chips, add a little bit of crunch to a bowl of chili. You could also serve Frito’s, Goldfish crackers, or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for something fun and unexpected!
Fresh produce like sliced jalapeños, guacamole or sliced avocados, chopped tomatoes, sliced radishes, and different chopped onions (green onions, pickled onions, red, or white onions) all make great chili toppings.
Sour cream, cheese queso, bacon bits, and hot sauce are also great options to add to your DIY chili bar! (Sour cream on chili is a game changer for me!)
Obviously, you can’t forget the cheese. I don’t think I could eat chili without cheese! Shredded cheddar is always a good idea, but when setting up a DIY chili bar, serve a few different options for your guests to choose from. Monterrey jack, havarti, and crumbled queso fresco or feta are also awesome options that taste amazing with chili!
As a finishing touch I like to serve lime wedges for guests to squirt over the top and fresh chopped cilantro too.
When setting up your DIY chili bar, pick a location that has enough space to accommodate the chili and toppings. A long counter or table works perfectly.
Place the pot of chili at the beginning of the “assembly line”, along with the bowls, spoons, and napkins.
Add each of the toppings into small individual bowls with spoons or tongs, so that guests can help themselves as they move through the line.
It’s a simple set up that keeps things moving easily and without getting congested!
If you’re trying to accommodate multiple dietary concerns, you can make two different batches of chili, such as a vegetarian or vegan option and a meat option.
The recipe for this turkey chili makes about 10 cups, so depending on the size of your crowd, you can double the recipe (if you have a big enough pot!) or make two separate batches.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy (and delish!) turkey chili recipe:
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. Ground Turkey
- 1 1/2 Cups Onions, Chopped
- 2 Tsp. Minced Garlic
- 1 Cup Green Bell Peppers, Chopped
- 3/4 Cup Celery, Diced
- 3/4 Cup Carrots, Diced
- 1 1/2 Tsp. Chili Powder
- 2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
- 1 Tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1/8 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Can (19 oz.) Diced Tomatoes (with liquid)
- 1 1/2 Cups Canned Pure Pumpkin
- 1 Can (19 oz.) Navy Beans, Drained
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, Minced
- 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the turkey, onions, and garlic. Cook and stir until the onions begin to soften and the turkey is no longer pink.
Add the green peppers, celery, carrots, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Mix well and allow the mixture to heat through.
Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and pumpkin. Stir. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
Stir in the beans and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lime juice.
Serve the chili straight from the pot and allow your guests to pick their own favorite toppings!
I also like serving this turkey chili recipe with these pumpkin biscuits. They’re so good and work perfectly crumbled on top, served alongside, or used to dip into the chili!