Hot Dog Chili Recipe

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There are plenty of days when simple meals are the best, and that rings true with this recipe for an easy Hot Dog Chili Recipe. It’s so delicious and worth the effort when your in the mood for chili dogs. With brown sugar and mustard, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

hot dogs in buns with chili, cheese and onions

The Best Homemade Hot Dog Chili

If you’re like me, easy dishes like chili dogs are a staple in my house. I used to make them with canned chili out of convenience, but I certainly know better now. Hot dog chili from scratch is far superior in flavor in texture to chili in a can, and this recipe is one of the simplest I have ever made. Many of the ingredients are pantry staples you likely have in your kitchen right now, making it also inexpensive! Another fun option with serving hot dogs is to make our easy homemade corn dogs and chili cheese dog bake.

Family dinners don’t have to be elaborate or extravagant to be yummy. My kids enjoy the quick dinners way more than the ones I put a lot of work into. This one is a hit because they can add whatever additional toppings they want to their hotdogs, customizing their plate. Trust me when I say that kids love having freedom at mealtime.

Whether you’re planning an easy weeknight dinner, or hosting a backyard barbecue or picnic, classic chili dogs are always such a huge hit with kids and adults.

ingredients needed to make hot dog chili

What You’ll Need

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make chili for hot dogs.

  • Ground Beef: Feel free to change it up and use ground turkey or ground chicken instead.
  • Ketchup
  • Tomato Sauce and Water
  • White Onion: Yellow onion also works here, too. Mince it very finely.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Ground Mustard: I recommend ground mustard powder but you can also use brown mustard if you prefer.
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Brown Sugar: It can be light or dark!

Watch The Recipe Video!

How to Make Hot Dog Chili Sauce

This is such an easy recipe! The longest step is simmering the chili, which is how you get deep, rich flavors. Other than that, once the chili is cooked, it’s ready to serve over your favorite hotdogs.

  1. Heat a Pot. Brown the ground beef in a large pot over medium-high heat. 
  2. Crumble and Drain. Crumble the meat as it cooks into very small pieces. Once the beef is fully cooked, drain the fat and add it to the pot.
  3. Add Other Ingredients. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir well.
  4. Simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 3-40 minutes. The chili should be thick, and the onions should be tender. Make sure to stir every few minutes. (If it’s too thick, add a splash of water or ketchup to thin it out slightly)
spoonful of hot dog chili

Substitutions and Variation Ideas

Here are some ways that you can make this hot dog chili your own.

  • Vegetarian: Replace the ground meat with a meatless alternative like Impossible meat or crumbled tofu.
  • Beans: Add pinto beans or kidney beans for texture and protein.
  • Onions: Omit the onions if you don’t like them.

What Goes With Hot Dog Chili?

Wondering what to serve with your hot dog chili sauce or better yet, as additional toppings? Here are some of my favorite ideas.

Side Dishes

  • Corn: Corn is always a great choice for a side dish and this Honey Butter Skillet Corn is salty and sweet. 
  • Salad: A quick and refreshing Watermelon Salad is a super delicious accompaniment.
  • Slaw: Not only is it a great topping but a great slaw like Easy Apple Slaw pairs well with hot dogs.
hot dogs in buns with chili, cheese and onions


  • Yellow Mustard
  • Chopped Red Onion
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • Chopped Pickles or Relish
  • Diced Tomatoes
spoonful of hot dog chili added to hot dogs in buns

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Store leftover homemade hot dog chili in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Reheat leftovers in a small pot over low heat until warm or in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway.

More Chili Recipes 

Hot Dog Chili feature
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Hot Dog Chili Recipe

This is such an easy recipe! The longest step is simmering the chili, which is how you get deep, rich flavors. Other than that, once the chili is cooked, it’s ready to serve over your favorite hotdogs.
Servings: 12 people
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes



  • Over medium high heat in a large pot, brown the ground beef and crumble as small as you can. Drain and add back to the pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  • Turn the stove to low and simmer for 30‐40 minutes stirring occasionally. Add water or ketchup if it thickens too much.
  • Serve chili over hot dogs.

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The recipe can be easily doubled for larger crowds.


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 518mg | Potassium: 367mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 551IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg


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