America is a place where the restaurant is king. For all the things you could say about the United States, it is obviously a place that loves to have good food with company.
As such, there are thousands of different kinds of restaurants, serving food from all over the world – from exotic cuisine to the homegrown stuff.
However, one of the most popular cuisines is that of Tex-Mex food, and there are very few chain restaurants that do this style of fusion food as well as Chilis do. Not only is the food there delicious, but it is reasonably priced and comes with quick service.
With this in mind, we decided to take a look at the most popular Chilis menu items that are continuing to sell and are popular to this day.
1. Cajun Chicken Pasta
Starting off strong with the Cajun Chicken Pasta dish, a classic of the Chili’s franchise. This dish is a penne pasta dish cooked in an Alfredo Sauce, that is then loaded with grilled chicken, Parmesan, green onions, and tomatoes before being covered in spices.
The entire dish is then served with a side of buttery garlic toast, that is sure to fill you up if the dish doesn’t.
This dish works really well as a main, but can also serve as an appetizer for those who have a larger appetite, as the flavors gear you up for something meatier and juicier while being incredibly flavorful as well.
It is also a great option to cut through a lot of the meats from Chilis menu, as the spicy flavors and the freshness of the vegetables and chicken make it less heavy and more focused on flavor in general.
This makes it great for a casual lunch or a work dinner out.
2. Steak Fajitas
Since Chilis is a Tex-Mex chain after all, then they should be showing heavily for the Mexican side and what better way to show that then with a Tex-Mex classic – fajitas.
Although they offer several options for fajitas, one of the best is definitely the steak fajita.
The steak is marinated and then grilled, before being cut up and served in a bed of roasted bell pepper slices with a sizzling pan underneath.
On one side of the steak is a pile of seasoned rice and on the other side a pot of black beans with a fresh chopped salsa on top.
This kind of dish is the reason people go to Chili’s and the reason why it has become such a popular chain in the modern day.
For what this dish is, it is surprisingly low in calories (still high, but just not as high as what we thought) but it packs so much flavor into it, that you barely notice as you are guzzling it down.
3. Classic Rib-Eye
Swinging from the Mexican side of the Tex-Mex in Chili’s cuisine to the American side, we have the trusty and beloved classic rib-eye.
Chili’s has a great selection of beef dishes that you can have – from sirloins to racks of ribs – but nothing quite beats their rib-eye steak.
The steak is thick and marbled, which it needs to be to absorb all the butter it is basted in.
Once the steak is perfectly cooked, it is then plated (taking up about a third or two of the plate) before another pat of garlic butter is placed on top.
The steak is then served with steam broccoli and loaded mashed potatoes – mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon on them.
This combination will effectively eliminate your hunger, as you won’t have time to consider it as you are shoveling it in your mouth.
If you are hankering for a steak, and you don’t know what to get when you go to Chili’s then this is the choice for you.
4. Southwest Egg Rolls
Not the kind of restaurant you would normally see egg-rolls, but honestly, Chili’s have outdone themselves with this new fusion flavor.
Egg-rolls are a distinctly Chinese-American dish, based on spring rolls (but with a chewier, tougher wrapper), however Chili’s have taken them and filled them with flavors from the south-western United States.
With chicken, black beans, corn, jalapeño’s, jack cheese, red peppers, and spinach, this is an appetizer that is simple, but easy to share and absolutely delicious.
It also comes with a great avocado-ranch dipping sauce that is a mix of Southwest and Mexican flavors.
In fact, this dish has proved so popular that it has survived on the menu for many years and will probably remain a major part of the Chili’s franchise for a while.
If you are heading to Chili’s just for a drink and potentially to meet some old friends, but not really looking to eat much, then these are the perfect appetizers to wet your whistle to and to share with the people that you love.
5. Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadillas
Another Mexican classic that should always appear in Mexican based or Mexican fusion restaurants is the Quesadilla, the lesser known cousin of the universally loved taco.
Chili’s do three different kinds of true Quesadillas: Brisket, Beef Bacon, and Bacon Ranch Quesadillas, however the best one of the lot by far is the Bacon Ranch Quesadilla.
Normally, people would assume the Brisket is the best of the bunch, but the Bacon Ranch is definitely the most flavorful.
It is tender chicken, shredded cheese, salty bacon, with chili spices and homemade ranch wrapped in a corn tortilla and pan fried to golden perfection.
The dish is then served with pico, sour cream, and ancho-chile ranch to enhance the already delicious flavor.
The amount of sauce and spices in this dish make it a taste explosion that you won’t find in many other dishes and, due to the tortilla wrap, it makes good handheld food and perfect as a food at the bar or when having a drinking lunch out with friends.
6. Big Mouth Bites
Sliders have been a part of the American diet since time immemorial, even one of the first fast chain restaurants that existed in America was made famous by the sliders it served – White Castle, for anyone interested.
While sliders aren’t a main part of the Chili’s menu, they are certainly a very well-loved part.
The Big Mouth Bites are the only sliders on the menu, but they make a big impact.
This dish consists of four mini burgers (sliders) that are layered with sautéed onions, a beef patty, a piece of American cheese with a dollop of homemade ranch on top. These burgers are then served with a side of fries on a wooden board.
What’s great about these burgers is that if you and your friends are low on money, they can be a quick little treat that you can share on the cheap, or you can order them for kids without worrying about them eating too much.
7. Buffalo Chicken Ranch Sandwich
Chicken sandwiches have become increasingly popular in recent years, due to them being healthier than the standard beef patty and more people are watching their waistline, and while the undoubted king of chicken sandwiches is Chick-fil-A, Chili’s make some mean ones in their own right.
The best chicken sandwiches that Chili’s makes is that of the Buffalo Chicken Ranch Sandwich.
It is a breaded and fried crispy chicken filet that is drenched in spicy Buffalo sauce before being placed on a bed of tomato with lettuce and homemade ranch dressing drizzled over the top within a brioche bun.
Finally, it is served with a plate of fries to balance out the spice.
This sandwich has tons of flavor without being too saucy, which is a great bonus to the entire dish.
If you don’t want wings or are just looking for a zesty, spicy flavor with not too much food, then this sandwich is the perfect choice and will be something that you will definitely be ordering over and over again.
8. Cajun Shrimp Pasta
We mentioned earlier how the Cajun Chicken Pasta is a must-have on this menu, due to its many and varied flavors.
However, some people are just not big chicken fans and if you want a true Cajun meat from the bayous of Louisiana, then you have got to have shrimp.
Combining the shrimp with the penne pasta in Alfredo sauce from earlier and mixing it with those delightful southern spices, Parmesan, tomatoes, and green onions, is guaranteed to have people wolfing down this pasta like not tomorrow.
The slight seafood taste lends itself greatly to the spice and the cheesy Alfredo is not too overpowering, which creates a balance between the two.
While this dish does not have the bite of the Cajun Chicken, it can certainly compete by bringing its own unique flavor to the table and making a pasta dish that is well worth ordering when you are next at Chili’s.
If you are looking for food that sits slightly on the lighter side calorie wise, then you should consider buying from the Chili’s guiltless menu.
Every item on this menu is 650 calories or less and nothing on the menu is quite as good as the Ancho-Salmon dish.
This is a filet of Atlantic salmon that has been rubbed in Chili before being seared in a pan.
The cooked salmon is then drizzled in a spicy citrus-chili sauce and queso-fresco before having chopped cilantro placed on top. It is served with some Mexican rice and steam broccoli as standard.
This dish is amazing, the fresh and succulent flavor of the salmon works so well with the spicy chili and sweet citrus dressings, with none of them overpowering the salmon, but instead infusing it with rich flavors.
If you want to keep an eye on what you eat, but don’t want to miss out on a dinner function, then this is definitely the dish you want to be eating.
10. Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad
Speaking of slightly healthier options – but still nowhere near as healthy as the guiltless menu – we have the salads that Chilis serves.
This is one area where Chili’s has almost everything you could want in a salad, with 18 different salad ordering options. However, the best salad on this menu has to be the Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad.
Let us start off by saying that the buffalo chicken part of this salad is definitely not healthy by any stretch of the imagination. But the fact that the other parts of the salad are reasonably healthy counts for something.
The breaded and fried chicken is tossed in a buffalo sauce before being put on a salad bed of onion, tomato, and lettuce with bacon, blue cheese crumbles, tortilla strips, pico, and homemade ranch dressing.
The buffalo chicken and the salad balance each other out, as the hot and spicy buffalo chicken is mellowed by eating the salad underneath.
11. Molten Chocolate Cake
If you’re having dinner, then you have to have a dessert with it and if you are any dessert loving customer of fast food, then there is no better fast food dessert than Chili’s molten chocolate cake.
This dessert is a chocolate cake with a molten, melted, gooey center that is served with vanilla ice cream scooped and put on top and some caramel sauce around the side.
It has been a Chili’s menu item since the beginning and remains to be one of the most popular things on the menu.
When you eat this cake, it isn’t hard to see why. It is rich, decadent, and sweet enough to give that sugar high that could last for hours on end and fill the sweet void in your stomach.
This is one of those sweet treats that you can’t help but keep on having time and again.
12. Mushroom Swiss Burger
We have already spoken about the sliders that Chili’s offers and how good they are, but there are definitely a few contenders for the best singular burger. Yet, the crown for best Chili’s burger goes to the Mushroom Swiss burger.
It is a burger patty that is put on a bed of lettuce, tomato, and mayo with a slice of Swiss cheese on top and on top of that are sautéed mushrooms and onions.
The earthy flavor of the mushrooms with the sharp Swiss cheese goes really well in a classic beef burger patty and makes the whole thing taste much more rich and flavorful.
The flavor is more unique than most burgers as it uses sharper and more robust flavors, but it is well worth stepping out of your comfort zone and trying one. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
13. Quesadilla Explosion Salad
Due to the sheer size of this salad and the amount of ingredients, it is generous at best to call it a salad, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious or make us want it any less.
This salad is filled with grilled chicken, tomatoes, corn and black bean salsa, tortilla strips, and cilantro before being topped with a citrus-balsamic dressing and a handful of shredded cheese.
Then four cooked cheese quesadillas are placed on the side for your enjoyment.
The amount of food and flavor in this salad are enormous and make the entire thing a show in decadence and deliciousness.
Eating this will not only fill you up, but fill up your satisfaction level as well, and you will find yourself wanting more. It can be eaten along, or you could have it as part of a group meal where you all dip into it.
14. Spicy Shrimp Tacos
For a Tex-Mex fusion restaurant, it is shocking how no tacos have appeared yet on this list. Not to worry, though, as in this next one we are looking exclusively at tacos and none are so beloved at Chili’s as the Spicy Shrimp Taco.
This dish is a set of three soft shelled flour tacos that are filled with shrimp coated in a spicy chili-lime sauce, pico, cilantro, avocado, coleslaw, and queso fresco. The tacos are served with a side of black beans and Mexican rice.
This is a great dish to get if you are looking for something with tons of flavor, but with not too much food on it, as even though the tacos are filling there are not an excessive amount of them.
One of the best things to do with this dish is to use the rice and the beans as a palate cleanser for the hot tacos themselves.
15. Texas Cheese Fries
If you want some loaded fries that are full of all the greasy goodness that you love, then there is no need to look any further than here.
Texas Cheese Fries are a pile of cooked fries that have been covered in shredded cheese, jalapeños, bacon, and green onions before being thrown under the broiler for a perfect melty bite.
These bad boys are served with house ranch and are a must-have for any meal you get. You can have them as a side that everyone can tuck into, or you can have them as a main course for yourself, they fit perfectly into either role.
There are two size options for these fries which help as well, those that are half sized and those that are full sized.
If you weren’t feeling too hungry, we suggest going for the half sized ones, as you still get the same amount of flavor, but with slightly less food.
16. Texas Dry Rub Ribs
Who doesn’t love a good set of perfectly seasoned and rubbed ribs? If you are going to get yourself some ribs, you can go for many different kinds and styles, but the one that Chili’s opts for is that of the Texas style.
These ribs are dry rubbed before being smoked to absolute perfection and are so tender, the bones just slip away.
The ribs are served with an ear of corn that has been coated in cheese and herbs, and a side of fries along with a small pot of barbecue sauce.
Many in the barbecue belt areas that these ribs could never stack up to a set in their smoker that they set deep in the woods fed only with the finest mesquite for 140 hours, but it would be impossible to beat them.
However, Chili’s do a fine set of ribs in their own right.
17. Crispy Chicken Crispers
A chicken crisper is basically a kind of chicken tender with a crispier outside, and a crispy chicken crisper is basically a really crispy chicken tender that has been made even crispier.
The final addition to our list is something everyone can enjoy, and honestly, they are some fine chicken tenders.
These are heavily breaded and fried chicken filets that are served with a choice of honey-mustard, barbecue sauce, or homemade ranch, along with a side of corn and some fries.
The best part about this dish is its simplicity, as it is all just simple ingredients cooked right, and that can honestly be the best thing sometimes.
When you are looking for something that isn’t fancy but still tastes delicious and makes you feel good, then this is the perfect dish for you to have!.
Chili’s is a popular Tex-Mex chain for a reason, and that reason is that the food is absolutely superb. If you order one of the items on this menu, then you and all your friends are likely to have a fantastic meal to yourselves.