How to Make a Quick + Delicious Hot Dog Chili

Hot dogs are good. Hot dogs with delicious toppings are better. And when you need to turn the simplest of dinners into something amazing, this hot dog chili recipe is the answer. Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s packed with just the right amount of spices. Make sure to let the chili simmer long enough, allowing the flavors to come together.

Close-up of a hot dog in a bun with chili, mustard, and chopped onions.

Hot Dog Chili

This recipe is a quick and flavorful topping that transforms ordinary hot dogs into a crowd-pleasing meal.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serving Size 8 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • cup water
  • 5 ounces tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste for heat levels
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook meat. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until cooked through and no longer pink. Drain any excess grease from the pan if necessary.
    Two images showing ground beef in a skillet, one raw and one cooked.
  • Add liquids and seasonings. Add the water, tomato sauce, ketchup, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper to the skillet.
    Two images showing ground beef in a skillet with tomato sauce, ketchup, and spices added, and the final chili mixture.
  • Simmer. Mix well to incorporate all the spices. Allow the mixture to simmer over low heat for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste to adjust the seasoning as needed.
    Skillet filled with cooked hot dog chili, surrounded by hot dog buns, shredded cheese, and condiments.
  • Serve. Serve the hot dog chili with your favorite hot dogs and toppings such as chopped onions, yellow mustard and shredded cheese.
    A hot dog topped with chili, mustard, and chopped onions on a bun, served with potato chips on a plate.


The hot dog chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. It also freezes well, so feel free to make a big batch and freeze portions for later use. To freeze, allow the chili to cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe bags to containers. The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. 
For a leaner option, consider using ground turkey or chicken instead of beef.
Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 269mg | Potassium: 271mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 387IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg

I absolutely love this hot dog chili recipe. My family is pretty picky, but this recipe is one we all agree on. I love making a big batch and freezing portions for later—it’s a lifesaver on busy nights. Pair it with your favorite toppings, and you’ve got a meal everyone will enjoy.

Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll love it too!

Hot Dog Chili Tips

  • Brown the Meat Well: Make sure to brown the ground beef thoroughly to enhance the flavor.
  • Adjust the Heat: Start with a small amount of cayenne pepper, and gradually add more to suit your taste.
  • Let It Simmer: Allow the chili to simmer for the full 20 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
  • Drain the Grease: If you prefer a leaner chili, drain excess grease after browning the beef.

Key Ingredients and Tools

To help you make the best hot dog chili, here are a few important tools and ingredients to keep in mind:

A display of ingredients including ground beef, tomato sauce, ketchup, and various spices on a wooden surface.
  • Ground Beef. Quality ground beef is crucial for a rich and hearty chili. Opt for an 80/20 blend for the best balance of flavor and fat.
  • Chili Powder. This spice blend adds depth and warmth to the chili. You can find it in the spice aisle, and be sure to use a fresh batch for the best flavor.
  • Cayenne Pepper. Adjust the amount based on your heat preference. This spice adds a kick and can be substituted with hot sauce if needed.
  • Tomato Sauce. Provides the base for the chili, giving it a smooth and rich texture. Look for it near the canned tomatoes.
  • Paprika. Adds a mild, sweet pepper flavor. Smoked paprika can be used if you want a slightly different taste.

Using these ingredients will ensure your hot dog chili is flavorful and satisfying. Enjoy making this delicious recipe!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with coleslaw, deep-fried french fries, cast iron skillet baked beans, potato salad, and cornbread.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?

Absolutely! Ground turkey or chicken works great if you want a leaner option. Just be sure to season well, as they can be a bit milder than beef.

How spicy is this chili?

It has a mild kick, but you can adjust the heat by adding more or less cayenne pepper. If you’re not a fan of spice, start with a smaller amount and taste as you go.

Can I make this chili ahead of time?

Yes, you can! In fact, making it ahead of time allows the flavors to meld together even more. Just store it in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat when ready to use.

How long can I store the chili in the freezer?

The chili freezes well for up to 3 months. Just make sure to let it cool completely before transferring to freezer-safe containers or bags.

What are some good toppings for hot dog chili?

Classic toppings include chopped onions, shredded cheese, and yellow mustard. You can also add jalapeños, relish, or even a dollop of sour cream for extra flavor.

Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions or need more tips on making this recipe just right!

Storing Leftovers


  • Let the chili cool completely.
  • Transfer it to an airtight container.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.


  • Allow the chili to cool completely.
  • Transfer to freezer-safe bags or containers.
  • Label with the date.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.


  • For refrigerated chili, reheat on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave until hot.
  • For frozen chili, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until thoroughly heated.

Storing your chili properly ensures it stays fresh and delicious for future meals.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this hot dog chili as much as I do. It’s a simple and flavorful way to elevate your hot dogs, and it’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re cooking for a family meal or a casual get-together, this chili will be a hit. Don’t forget to store any leftovers for an easy meal later on. Enjoy!

How to Make a Quick + Delicious Hot Dog Chili
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