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Hot Dog Chili Recipe

Are you hosting a BBQ or having people over to watch the big game? This hot dog chili has to join the party.

There’s really no bigger crowd-pleaser than a good hot dog.

But let’s be honest, hot dogs are so much better loaded with toppings! And chili is a beloved classic.

Home Sweet and Spicy Chili in a White Bowl
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It makes regular hot dogs truly shine, and it turns them into a hearty meal.

Want to impress your family and friends with the best hot dog chili ever? This recipe has you covered. 

What is Hot Dog Chili?

Essentially, hot dog chili is just a special kind of chili meant to be served on top of hot dogs.

It’s made primarily with ground beef, tomato sauce, and ketchup.

This chili is thicker than most varieties and has a sweeter flavor. It also doesn’t contain beans. It turns standard hot dogs into masterpieces!

Aside from the chili, you can also garnish your dogs with other traditional toppings. Try shredded cheese, onions, pickles, and more.

Hot Dog Chili Ingredients - Ground Beef, Water, Tomato Sauce, Ketchup, Chili Powder, Spices, Seasonings, Worcestershire Sauce and Sugar

Ingredients

You only need a few ingredients here, and they’re all probably already in your pantry.

  • Ground Beef – Use 80/20 beef for the best results. Anything fattier will make your chili too greasy. Any leaner, and it won’t be as tasty.
  • Water – It thins out the sauce. You can also use beef broth. 
  • Tomato Sauce – It serves as the base of the sauce.
  • Ketchup – It adds more tomato flavor and sweetens the sauce a little, too.
  • Chili Powder – For some heat.
  • Spices and Seasonings – Use chili powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Use the measurements as a guide, but feel free to add more or less to suit your taste.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – For that rich, umami flavor.
  • Sugar – It balances out the acidity of the tomatoes.

How to Make Hot Dog Chili

1. Brown the beef.

Place the beef in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Break it into small crumbles with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Stir it until the beef is no longer pink. You won’t need to spend a lot of time on this step. The beef will continue to cook when it simmers, anyway.

2. Add the flavorings.

Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, chili powder, salt, pepper, sugar, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce to the beef mixture. Bring it to a boil.

3. Simmer the Chili.

Turn the heat down and allow the chili to simmer until it thickens. This will take about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture from time to time to keep the bottom from scorching.

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4. Serve it and enjoy!

Drizzle the chili generously over hot dogs. Garnish them with shredded cheese, onions, and your choice of additional toppings. Enjoy!

Homemade Hot Dog Chili with Radish and Ground Beef

Tips for the Best Hot Dog Chili

  • Break up the ground beef into small crumbles so you can easily spoon the chili over the hot dogs. Use either a wooden spoon or potato masher for the best results.
  • Stir the chili from time to time as it simmers so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. 
  • This chili thickens up pretty quickly. If it gets too thick for your liking, thin out the sauce by adding a few tablespoons of water or beef broth.

Hot Dog Chili Variations

  • Instead of ground beef, use pork, chicken, or turkey. You can also try sausage or chorizo.
  • Add more flavor to the beef by sauteeing it first with onions and garlic. If you’re not in the mood to chop up vegetables, use garlic and onion powders instead.
  • Use beef broth instead of water for a meatier flavor.
  • Spice up the beef with cayenne pepper, paprika, and your choice of spices.
  • For a thicker chili, use tomato paste instead of sauce.
  • For sweeter chili, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar. Or, skip the sugar for a fully savory chili.
  • For a kid-friendly chili, skip the chili powder.

What Goes With Hot Dog Chili

Take your hot dog chili to the next level with these toppings:

  • Shredded cheese: Cheddar, Gouda, Mozzarella, take your pick. 
  • Vegetables: jalapenos, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, black beans, olives, anything goes. 
  • Sauces/Condiments: sour cream, pickle relish, salsa, hot sauce, mayo, ketchup, mustard, you name it.

For sides, you can’t go wrong with other BBQ or tailgate offerings.

Homemade Hot Dog Chili Sandwich with Ground Beef and Radish

Other Ways to Use Chili

Besides being a hot dog topping, this chili also serves other purposes. 

For instance, you can use it on burgers, fries, nachos, and baked potatoes. Try it as a pasta sauce, too. Chili bolognese and chili mac and cheese both sound like a great idea!

Or, how about some chili over rice? Top it with cheese, guacamole, and salsa for a hearty burrito bowl.

With all its many uses, consider doubling or tripling the recipe and serving it throughout the week!

How to Store Hot Dog Chili

Here’s how to store leftovers if you have any chili remaining.

In the Fridge

Store the chili in a sealable glass jar or air-tight container and refrigerate it for 3 to 4 days.

In the Freezer

Chili keeps well in the freezer. This means you can make a huge batch, freeze it, and enjoy it whenever you like.

First, let the chili cool completely. Place it in an air-tight, freezer-safe container. You can also use small containers to portion out individual servings. That way, you can easily thaw a small amount when needed.

To Thaw and Reheat

Thaw the frozen chili in the fridge the night before you plan to serve it. Pour it into a saucepan and warm it over low heat for about 10-15 minutes. For smaller portions, reheat them in the microwave until they’re warmed through.

More Chili Recipes You’ll Love

The Best Bowl of Chili
Texas Roadhouse Chili
Skyline Cincinnati Chili
Cowboy Chili
Wendy’s Chili

Hot Dog Chili

Servings

6

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Calories

168

kcal

Try this hot dog chili for the ultimate topper! Made with beef, tomato sauce, chili powder, and other spices, it’s always a hit!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1/2 (10-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • Add the ground beef and water to a large saucepan over medium heat. Break the beef apart with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
  • Mix in the tomato sauce, ketchup, chili powder, salt, black pepper, sugar, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the chili, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, about 20 minutes. Serve the chili over hot dogs. Enjoy!
Hot Dog Chili

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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