Quick & Easy Hot Dog Chili Recipe

Not all types of chili are created equally, and that's a stance that we firmly stand by. There's classic chili, which is often loaded with beans and enjoyed on its own like a soup. Then there's the chili that you might find on chili cheese fries or on a hot dog, which is typically beanless and heavier on the meat. This quick and easy hot dog chili recipe is of the latter persuasion, and it is guaranteed to take your hot dogs to a whole new level of savory goodness. "My absolute favorite thing about this recipe is that it's so easy to make," recipe developer Cecilia Ryu says. "It comes together so quickly with just a couple of ingredients and spices."

While hot dogs may be considered a lowbrow food, that doesn't mean that you can't get creative with dressing them up, and this chili will help you do just that. Ground beef, onion, lots of spices, and even jalapeño peppers come together to form the chili, and it packs that perfect flavor punch that ketchup and mustard simply cannot provide. But don't stop at hot dogs; you could slather this chili on fries, nachos, or even use it for homemade walking tacos or Frito pies

Gather the ingredients for quick and easy hot dog chili

To make this chili, you'll need olive oil, ground beef, a chopped onion, and minced garlic. As for spices, we're using cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt. Finally, you'll need some tomato paste, Tabasco sauce, a can of chopped jalapeños, brown sugar, and some Worcestershire sauce. Ryu also suggests having raw chopped onions and shredded cheese on hand, to sprinkle on top of the chili dog. 

There are quite a few enticing ingredients in the list, from the chili powder to the brown sugar to the Worcestershire sauce, but there's one that really stands out to Ryu the most. "The canned jalapeño peppers are definitely unique in this recipe," she says. "It gives the chili an extra kick that is different than the cayenne or Tabasco sauce."  

Cook the ground beef

Place a large Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil. Once that begins to heat up, add the ground beef; use a spatula to break it all up. Cook the meat for 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through. You'll know the beef is good to go once it's thoroughly browned throughout. 

Add the rest of the chili ingredients

Now, it's time to transform this beef into chili. Add the onion, garlic, and all the spices to the Dutch oven with the beef. Stir everything together and allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Next, add the tomato paste, Tabasco, chopped jalapeños (and their juice), brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Mix all of these in.

Bring the chili to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pot, and allow it to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. After the simmering period is over, stir the chili to get a sense of its consistency. If it's too thick, add in a little bit of water to loosen it up. Give it a taste test, too, and add some more salt if needed. 

Slather the chili on some hot dogs

We hope your hot dogs are ready, because all that's left to do is top them off with this chili. Ryu also recommends topping them with chopped onion and shredded cheese: "They are optional but so delicious when eaten together," she says. As for additional pairing options, she notes that "chips or fries would be great," so why not toss some chili on those, too?

"You can definitely make this chili ahead of time," Ryu says, in case you want to make a batch in advance; it'll keep in the fridge for about 5 days. She notes that the chili may be quite thick when it's time to reheat it, so you may want to add a little water, check for seasoning, then enjoy the savory goodness all over again.

Quick & Easy Hot Dog Chili Recipe
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When you're looking for a chili to top off your hot dogs, you'll want something that's heavy on the meat and full of flavor. This chili is just that.
Prep Time
Cook Time
hot dogs with chili
Total time: 50 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 9 ounces tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Optional Ingredients
  • hot dogs and buns, for serving
  • chopped onion, for garnish
  • shredded cheese, for garnish
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once heated, add the ground beef and use a spatula to break it into small pieces. Cook beef for 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through and browned.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne, and salt to the beef. Stir well, until the onion is translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, Tabasco sauce, chopped jalapeño peppers including the juice, brown sugar, and the Worcestershire sauce to the pot. Stir well and bring the chili to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover.
  4. Let chili simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. If the chili becomes too thick, add water to thin it out. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  5. Serve the chili warm over hot dogs. Garnish with toppings like chopped onion and shredded cheese if desired.
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