How to plan a walking chili food bar (perfect for game day!)

This walking chili food bar is the perfect solution for an easy game day menu or fall get together. Keep reading for a how-to guide on creating your own chili bar and scroll down to the bottom for the free printable banner and chili bar menu.


When I was brainstorming a fall get-together menu, I wanted something that was easy, comforting, and would be perfect for football games. Chili was the perfect fit, but I wanted to take a fun spin on it and do it in a portable/food bar version!

I combined a chili food bar with the idea of walking tacos to make this super fun walking chili bar.

If you’ve never heard of a walking taco, it’s basically an ingenious idea that uses a small bag of slightly crunched doritos and you put all of your typical taco fixings and meat into the bag and stir it up. It’s a fair staple for me so I was so excited to make this chili version.

Walking Chili Bar Menu.JPG
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And to take it to the next level, I upped the ante by making habanero queso blanco dip one of the topping options. Chili, fritos, and queso dip- it was even better than it sounds.

Not only is this walking chili bar simple and convenient, it’s perfect for game day parties.

It has all the necessary components for football game food- comfort food, filling, fun and beer-friendly (aka your friends will be super thankful they won’t have to try to balance a bowl or plate while throwing back some brews).

If I haven’t convinced you yet, let me just say this was one of the easiest entertaining menus I have ever planned.

Because I made the chili and queso in slow cookers, I was able to set it and forget it while I got other hings done (because I know you probably hate scrambling to clean the house AND make food as much as I do).

Then, just place the chips and toppings nearby and you’ve got yourself a perfect food bar! I chose to also decorate the table with some fun buffalo check items and leaves to give it a cozy fall vibe.

See below for a list of supplies and score the queso recipe and free printable banner and menu card.

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How to host a walking chili bar

This walking chili bar is the perfect food bar idea for a fall party or game day celebration. It requires minimal work, yet guests will be so impressed with how delicious and fun it is!


  1. Your favorite crockpot chili (I love this recipe but any will work)

  2. Assorted personal chip bags (I used chili cheese fritos, regular fritos, and cheez-its for kids/smaller portions) *see note below about # of servings

  3. Desired chili toppings- some options are sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, jalapenos, hot sauce, green onions, cilantro, avocado, crumbled bacon, etc.)

  4. Slow cooker queso dip (find the recipe here)

  5. Additional decoration/serving items (spoons, forks, napkins, table cloth)


  1. Prepare your slow cooker chili and queso to be ready shortly before company arrives (mine took about 3 hours on high)

  2. Once the chili is cooked, remove the top of the slow cooker to give it a little time to cool off. It will still be warm, but you don’t want it to be piping hot since people will be holding the bags.

  3. Slightly crush chip bags (not too much- just want to break up the pieces a little)

  4. Cut across just the very top of the bags on the long side

  5. Arrange open chip bags at the beginning of food table or counter

  6. Prepare chili toppings in small bowls and place towards opposite end of counter/table of chips.

  7. Place chili and queso slow cookers between the chips and toppings. If your chili is extra liquid-y, ladle some out so the chip bags don’t fill with mostly liquid.

  8. Finish the food bar with any decorations, silverware, and napkins that you plan to use. Place serveware in the chili, queso, and chili toppings bowls.


**I wasn’t able to find a large pack of the chili cheese frito bags so I purchased individually from the gas station. 

One bag was very filling, so I would plan for one bag each person (with a few extra to be safe in case anyone wants seconds). If you use this size bag, you may want to empty the individual bags a little since they were very full- you could put the extras in a separate topping bowl 

If you are using the very small fun size bags, I would plan 2 for each person. 

**The linked queso recipe should make about 12-15 servings since people will be using it for a chili topping. If you plan on having a larger crowd, I would suggest doubling the recipe.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Free printables:

Free printable buffalo check chili bar instructions menu (8x10):

If the menu does not look like the checks are aligned, try hitting “fit to screen” in your printer settings.

Free printable chili bar banner:

Directions: Cut out triangles and tape the back side to string, leaving about 1 inch between each triangle.

I am definitely going to be using this menu again for future laid-back entertaining menus! What are your go-to food menus for hosting a crowd?

Natalie LandeComment