Place a pot of chili on the sideboard, surround it with simple make-ahead accompaniments, and this no-fuss buffet practically serves itself.

Black Bean Chili
Credit: Greg DuPree

If a gathering of friends and family looms on your horizon, we've created a mix-and-match chili buffet menu designed for easy entertaining. Rustle up a stew pot or two of chili, and surround it with some deliciously simple accompaniments. Chili serves a gang, is informal, and can be made ahead and reheated before serving. Many chilies are even better the next day.

This menu allows you to tailor either chili to the group you're entertaining. The Southwestern Chili serves up smoky chipotle chile pepper and Cajun sausage; it's a great choice for a laid-back get-together. Or get fancy with a chili of beef stew meat and red wine. Whether it's a lake day or just weeknight entertaining, these Summer Garden Chili Bowls add the perfect touch of freshness to a classic bowl of chili. Spice it up with our Devilish Chorizo Chili with Hominy. Opt for vegetarian chili with this Black Bean Chili (pictured). You could even make these Two-Bite Chili Shooters for a lighter menu option.

Round out the menus with trustworthy sidekicks like coleslaw, cheesy breads, creamy spinach dip, and brownies. Such an easy, great-tasting buffet will make your culinary reputation larger than life, maybe as big as Texas.

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