How To Host A Chili Cook-Off

So since this year I am pregnant on my birthday, (which is today!) I wanted to come up with a fun party idea that didn’t include going out to the bars but would still be fun to include our friends and something fall themed since yesterday was the first day of Fall! So I decided on a Chili Cook-Off party! The party was a lot of fun and super simple to put together which was especially important to me this year since I am almost 32 weeks! lol So I wanted to share some pictures and tips for you today if you wanted to host your own Chili Cook-Off party! I’ll even share my own recipe at the very end!

The Decorations

Now I didn’t go wild with the chili decorations because quite frankly there isn’t a large selection of things you can buy! I am not huge into DIY and usually prefer to buy the decorations but I was able to find some fun chili pepper whirls and confetti online at Amazon but you can always cut out chili peppers from construction paper if you’re up for it! I also found some fun and free! printables online that I used for the party as well which includes the chili bar sign, chili cook off banner, score sheets, and chili markers. Also to add to the decor I used the flowers my mom sent me for my birthday which happened to be the perfect Fall colors and looked great by the chili table! For napkins, cups, and the tablecloth I went to the Dollar Tree and chose colors that reminded me of chili peppers red, green, and yellow! I used the small green cups for the samplers so everyone could try each chili before voting! Then I got larger plastic bowls so our guests could have a larger portion of their favorite chili!

The Food

So the food is of course the best part!! Our party was on the smaller side so I kept the toppings to a minimum and chose shredded cheddar, bacon bits, sour cream, Ritz crackers, oyster crackers, corn bread, limes, and regular as well as chili Fritos. For the people who didn’t like chili (yes they are out there!!) we had ham and cheese sliders. And of course I forgot to take a picture of our chilis (oops!) but we had a buffalo chicken chili, a beanless spicy chili, and a traditional bean chili with cinnamon! They all were so yummy and it was fun to try new recipes! For desserts we had caramel apple as well as pumpkin and apple cider Lofthouse cookies. Yum!!

The Prize

You can’t have a competition without a prize!! I found these fun and surprisingly heavy medals from Amazon that I knew I needed for the party! They even came with the red, white, and blue ribbons and were a fun addition to the party! Since we only had 3 chili recipes to choose from they ended up being more like a participation award but it’s still fun! My chili took 2nd place and lost by 1 point!! But who’s counting? ;-)

As you can see it’s a lot of fun and fairly inexpensive to host a Chili Cook-Off and is a fun, family friendly party that is perfect for the Fall season! Have you ever hosted a Chili Cook-Off? I’d love to hear how it went in the comments below!

Spicy Beanless Chili


  • 3lbs of ground beef

  • 1 large green pepper

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 jar of jalapeno salsa

  • 1 can of tomato paste

  • 2 cans of tomato sauce

  • 2 cans of stewed tomatoes

  • A few drops of Louisiana hot sauce

  • Optional: 1 can of chili beans (Brian loves beans in his chili so sometimes I add them to the recipe!)

Prep: 20 Min | Ready In: 2-3 Hours


  1. Brown the ground beef with the diced green pepper and onions. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat and add to your pot with the rest of the ingredients and stir. If you are sensitive to super spicy foods, you can use half the jar of salsa. I use the entire jar and about 6 drops of the Louisiana hot sauce!

  2. Let the chili simmer on low for a couple hours, stirring occasionally.

  3. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!