Chili Cook Off Rules and Free Score Sheet

Print These Chili Cook Off Rules and Free Score Sheet

I am known for hosting a party with a theme.  You may have caught one of my crazy annual Couples Olympics parties as examples.  This Christmas, for our party, we decided to host a chili cook off.  I have never done this before, but I came up with my own rules and it ended up turning out to be a blast. So, here are my personal Chili Cook Off rules as well as the free score sheet I made that you can download and use for your own chili cook off party.

How to Host a Chili Cook Off

What Should the Guests Bring?

Our party was intended to be very casual, laid back, and fun. Our rules were basically anything goes. You could make a chili appetizer, chili dessert, a traditional pot of chili, or whatever you want.  Each person or couple had to bring their own garnishes, toppings, or anything that would help in their presentation. I, the hostess, provided small disposable bowls, spoons, napkins, and outlets for crockpots (ha!). I also provided Chili Name Cards.  

The Prize

For each dish entry into the cook off, there was a fee of $10.00.  You could enter as a couple, or by yourself. You could also enter more than one dish if you wanted, however each dish had a $10.00 entry fee.  The winner takes all.


Our party was fairly small and intimate (keep scrolling for larger parties). So, to start the cook off, each person prepared ten taster bowls, complete with toppings and garnishes. This would be considered for the presentation category.  The Chili Name Card was set up at each station as well and we all walked around and took our time tasting and scoring. Print your free Chili Cook Off Score Sheet here.


There were ten tasters/scorers at our party. Each person scored each dish but did not score their own. Each score card has five categories:

  1. Presentation
  2. Smell/Aroma
  3. Flavor
  4. Texture
  5. Overall Impression

Each category received a score from 1-5, 5 being the best. Each person totals each column. Every score card has enough room to score five dishes.  In our case, each person used two score sheets.  I collected the score sheets at the end and totaled the scores to come up with the winner.

Scoring for large groups

If you are having party with more than five participants scoring is a little different. In some cases, people may

  1. not want to try a certain chili
  2. may arrive to the party late
  3. may be allergic to an ingredient
  4. simply didn’t get to taste all the chilis

So the best way to score fairly in these scenarios is to average each entry by adding the points and then dividing by the number of people who voted for that particular chili. This is also a great way to score if you have people who attend and did not make the chili, however want to participate in voting.

In Case of a Tie

Our scores were very different, so a tie wasn’t an issue. However, if there is a tie, I would suggest simply splitting the money down the middle!

Free Printable Download

I designed a score card for five as well as a name card. You can print them here for free.  Each entry should have a name. This name was entered onto the chili score sheet. If you have more than five participants, keep reading!

Chili Cook Off Rules for a large group

Update! This chili cook off score card has been a popular download since 2017. After hosting a cook off with my neighbors this year, I decided to add a score card if you have 6-12 participants. Download the score cards as well as Chili Cook Off numbers to use instead of name cards. Get them here for FREE:

Types of Chili

I have to say that all of the dishes were so good! Here is what we have had over the years:

  • Chili with Lime and Corn served with tortilla chips, cilantro, lime wedge, and dollop of sour cream.
  • Vegetable ground turkey chili.
  • Traditional chili served with sour cream and cheese.
  • Baked bread rolls stuffed with chili and served with three different dipping sauces.
  • White cheddar macaroni and cheese topped with tri tip steak chili and garnished with shredded cheese and green onions.
  • Smoked Pulled Pork Chili
  • White Bean Chili

Side Dishes

We also served side dishes to go with our chili. It was a casual eat when you want to type of party. We had chicken wings, fried shrimp, pretzel rolls, dip, several types of chocolate, chips, fresh veggies, meat and cheese platter, and Caesar salad.

This party was an absolute hit and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Hope you like my tips and find my free score card useful!

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Chili Cook Off Rules

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  1. I noticed a typo on the score card (in the directions section). It says ‘Cetegory’ instead of ‘Category’

  2. Hi Dinah!! Thanks for the great information! I found this pin looking for more ideas for our chili cook-off at work. We have about 30 people and I’m just wondering how I could make this work for having so many people 😅
    We are having a 5.00 entry fee and a list of items available for those who do not cook to bring something or charging 8.00 to just eat.
    I was planning on having them buy tickets for a dollar to vote and for however many times.
    Wondering if you have any more ideas. I feel im heading in the right direction but your idea is great too I’m just not sure for 30+. This is my first time planning a chili cook-off. 😋

    1. Hi Ada! Yes! We do this annually in my neighborhood with lots of people. The best way is to average the scores. Assign each chili with a number. Follow the directions in the post for scoring for large groups. Encourage everyone to try and taste and score each one. It works really well! If you are giving a prize, I would assign a flat dollar amount for 1st, 2nd. and 3rd place (or whatever you choose) based on the total earnings.

  3. I know this has been up for many years. Just wondering if anyone has the scorekeeper file so I can edit it? I want to add and subtract a few things to make it work for our work contest. Thanks.

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