This quick and easy Hot Dog Chili recipe is a one-pot dish that is ready in just 30 minutes. Skip the canned stuff and make this flavorful chili that you’ll love smothering your hot dogs with instead!
Homemade Hot Dog Chili Recipe
It’s summer, which means it’s time for backyard barbecues and block parties! Honestly though, for most of us (especially those of us with kids in the house), it’s always time for hot dogs. While there are about a million ways to dress up a hot dog, you can’t beat the classics, like this tried and true hot dog chili!
This Hot Dog Chili has the kid stamp of approval as well as our own. It’s perfectly meaty, flavorful, and compliments hot dogs in a really satisfying way. What’s our secret? The addition of our favorite Homemade Chili Seasoning is what takes this recipe from good to great! It’s an inexpensive combination of bold spices that makes this simple hot dog chili so rich with flavor. While this chili is flavor packed, it’s also neutral and classic, so it’ll pair perfectly with any hot dog and bun of your choosing.
Whether you follow our Air Fryer Hot Dog recipe or toss them on a hot grill, once you top your hot dogs with our favorite hot dog chili, we promise they will be devoured!
You only need 6 easy ingredients to make this classic chili:
- Olive Oil – You can substitute this with avocado oil if you’d prefer.
- Onion – We prefer to use yellow onions for this recipe, as they lend a natural touch of sweetness to the chili. White onions will also work.
- Garlic – For the best flavor, make sure you use fresh garlic. Pre-minced is fine in a pinch, but the flavor won’t be as potent.
- Ground Beef – We like to use lean ground beef, but you can also opt to use ground chicken or turkey.
- Chili Seasoning – Make sure you use our Homemade Chili Seasoning mix recipe! The store bought packets are notorious for high sodium levels and additives.
- Tomato Sauce – Any brand will work just fine. If you don’t have tomato sauce, you can also use tomato paste and a little extra water or broth.
- Water: Or if you want, beef broth is a great way to add a little more flavor.
How to Make Hot Dog Chili
This easy chili will be ready in four simple steps:
- Sauté the onions and garlic. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté it for about 3 to 4 minutes, until it starts to become tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Cook the ground beef. Add the ground beef, breaking up the beef as it cooks, so that it’s nice and crumbled. Cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes. If you use lean ground beef, it should not need to be drained. If using a fattier cut of ground beef, I recommend draining off any excess grease in the pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Add the chili seasoning to the ground beef and stir to combine. Then add the tomato sauce and water, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for at least 10 minutes, until thickened.
- Enjoy! Serve over hot dogs, french fries (chili fries are the best), or whatever else your heart desires.
Tips For Best Chili Results
- Thin it out. If the chili is too thick for your liking, stir in some water or beef broth a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- More Tomato Flavor. If you like your chili more tomato-y, you can always add a tablespoon of tomato paste.
- Don’t burn the garlic. When you add the garlic to the hot olive oil, only cook it for a few minutes until it’s slightly softened and fragrant. You don’t want burnt pieces of garlic affecting both the flavor and consistency of the chili.
- Break up the beef. Whether you use ground beef or turkey, it’s important to break it up as it cooks. When it’s in crumbles, it’ll mix well with the other ingredients to create the right consistency for hot dog chili. You don’t want any big chunks of meat.
Variations to Try
Here are a few different ways you can dress up this chili:
- Add Beans. You can always add a can of beans to your chili too! Just stir them right into the pot while the chili is simmering.
- Make it spicy. Want to add some heat to your hot dog chili? Spicy chili dogs sure do hit the spot sometimes. Spice up your chili by stirring in some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste.
- Change up the meat. We like to use ground beef, but ground turkey also works well. You can always opt for a vegetarian plant-based option as well. If you do choose to go plant-based, follow the package instructions instead of the ones listed here for cooking the meat.
- Add Some Hidden Veggies: If you want to add some veggies, you would be very surprised to find out how well you can hide some cauliflower rice in this dish! Just add your riced cauliflower to the skillet with the ground beef. No one will know!
- Serve it differently. Hot Dog Chili is obviously meant for hot dogs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun! Chili cheese fries are always a huge hit. You can even serve this stuff over noodles if you’d like!
Fridge: Properly stored, this hot dog chili will stay fresh for about 3-4 days. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Keep in mind that in the fridge, your leftover chili will thicken, which is totally fine! You may just need to add a small splash of water or broth while reheating.
Freezer: Chili freezes great! So great that we usually make a double (or even triple) batch of chili to freeze for an easy dinner another day. Freeze your cooked and cooled chili in a freezer friendly airtight container for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen chili, I recommend transferring it to the fridge the day before you want to serve it and then reheat it again on the stove top.
Can I Make This Ahead?
This is a great make ahead dish for a party! You can follow the steps above to make this chili ahead and store it in the fridge or the freezer, depending on how many days ahead you are making it.
If you are making it the day of the party, then I recommend keeping it warm in a crockpot until you are ready to serve! If it dries out, add just a little extra water (or beef broth) as needed.
More Easy Comfort Food Recipes
Looking for more comfort food style recipes? Here are a few of our favorites:
- Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Stuffing
- Cast Iron Pizza
- Walking Tacos
- Beef Tips and Gravy
- Crockpot Turkey Breast
- Loaded Potato Soup
- Easy Chili Mac
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
- Cheeseburger Casserole
Hot Dog Chili Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb lean ground beef, or ground turkey
- 2 heaping tablespoons Homemade Chili Seasoning
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water, or beef broth
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté it for about 3 to 4 minutes, until it starts to become tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add the ground beef, breaking up the beef as it cooks, so that it’s nice and crumbled. Cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes. (If you use lean ground beef, it should not need to be drained. If using a fattier ground beef, I recommend draining off any excess grease from the pan.)
- Add the chili seasoning tot he ground beef and stir to combine. Then add the tomato sauce and water, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for at least 10 minutes, until thickened.
- Serve over hot dogs, French fries (chili fries are the best), or whatever your heart desires.
- Fridge: Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Freeze your cooked and cooled chili in a freezer friendly airtight container for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen chili, I recommend transferring it to the fridge the day before you want to serve it and then reheat it again on the stove top.
- Reheat: Reheat your hot dog chili in a skillet on the stove top. If it has dried out a little, add a tablespoon or two of water (or beef broth) as you reheat it.