Want to throw a fun, no-stress party with your friends? Host your own chili cook-off party, brought to you by Evite in partnership with Hormel® Chili!
Our party stylist, Jessica Bailey, shares the full how-to in this video.
Encourage guests to compete for the title of chili champ by bringing a batch of their favorite chili. (You’re aiming for five entries total, but as long as you have at least three, you’ve got a contest.) Want to join the fun? We have a secret recipe for you — Hormel® Chili! Just pour, heat and serve the flavor of your choice — for example, the classic Homestyle Chili, Turkey Chili or Vegetarian Chili. To clearly label everyone’s entry in the competition, print these printable letter tents on cardstock and assign to each recipe. Make sure you have a power strip handy for guests who bring their chili in a crock-pot. We also recommend having extra ladles on hand for serving and a few kitchen towels available for quick cleanup.
Set the stage for the party with this free printable “Chili Cook-Off” banner. Print it on cardstock, then fold over the tabs at the top of each letter and tape the tabs down over twine. To make sure your banner is centered, work from the middle out, starting with the first “O.” Tape the tab to the paper rather than directly to the twine so you can adjust spacing by sliding letters over the twine in case the message isn’t perfectly centered.
To give guests a guide for reference, print this chili cook-off rules sign and place in a frame. There’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition!
Print out this cook-off scorecard and use double-sided tape to attach the paper to an 8″x10″ foam board. Hot-glue plastic condiment cups to your board and pass out pencils so guests can score the chili.
Don’t forget the toppings! Sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped green onions and tortilla strips are a few staples. Serve cornbread (extra points for jalapeño cheese cornbread muffins) and/or a side salad to accompany the chili.
Our go-to tip for centerpieces is to use what you’ve got. If you’re using Hormel® Chili, keep the cans and rinse them out. Then peel off the labels, tie ribbon or twine around the center and use them as flower vases! It’s a cheap, adorable way to add a little charm to your table.
If you have kids as part of the guest list, designate an area for them. Cover kid-sized tables with a roll of kraft paper, which doubles as a canvas for kids to color on (and makes cleanup easy once the party is over)!
Give disposable spoons (we like wooden ones) and paper napkins to the kids, since they tend to get a bit messy with chili. Make serving drinks easy by pre-pouring milk in pint-sized mason jars and putting them on ice until guests arrive. Add straws for extra fun and easy sipping.
Keep some wet wipes within reach for little hands and faces.
Be sure to have a nonspicy chili option, mac and cheese and/or chili dogs for the kids.
Once everyone has submitted their vote, tally the scorecards and declare a winner! Print these free printable prize tags, tie them to wooden spoons and hand them out as prizes.
Invite guests to the party with this free Evite invitation or another one from our potluck invitation gallery! And don’t forget to include relevant information in the “Message from Host” section of your invitation. For example, ask contestants to bring their chili in a crock-pot and bring their own ladle. You can also advise guests to share the type of chili they’re bringing in the comments section when they RSVP.