Hot Dog Chili Recipe


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American Chili Dogs are a classic staple that’s perfect for game day or any BBQ. To make one, simply top your hot dog with this quick, easy, and super flavorful Hot Dog Chili sauce without beans.

Homemade Hot Dog Chili

This hot dog chili is exactly what you’re looking for when you want to make chili dogs. It’s nice and thick, which makes it packed with flavor and easy to eat.

Or, as my nephew describes it – “You don’t have to worry about it slopping all over your clothes if you forget to put on that bib!” (Yes, he really is the cutest.)

The combination of bacon, ground beef, tomato sauce, and spices is what packs this dish with flavor.

Bacon really is the added bonus that gives it a nice little salty crunch. This chili sauce will leave you your belly feeling full and happy.

What Is The Difference Between Hot Dog Chili And Regular Chili?

Hot dog chili is much thicker than soup chili is. It’s also normally made with just ground beef, a tomato base, and seasonings. Soup chilis, like this Chili con Carne, are often made with beans, which would be too chunky on top of hot dogs.

Since you only eat a little bit of hot dog chili at a time, it’s essentially a version of chili that has been sautéed down to have very little liquid and a big flavor impact.

Chili dogs topped with cheese and onions.

What Is Hot Dog Chili Made Of?

Bacon: I’m convinced that the bacon is what makes this the best hot dog chili sauce. The salty crunch is seriously out of this world delicious. You technically can make it without bacon if you want to, but you might need to adjust the salt.

Ground Beef: Lean ground beef is my favorite for this recipe. It’s the base of this sauce, and since it’s such an important ingredient, I wouldn’t recommend swapping it for anything else.

Onion and Garlic: Onion and garlic are the aromatics we’re using. I think using fresh onion and garlic adds a ton of flavor and a little texture, both of which make this dish so much better.

Spices: Chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper are the spices we’re using in this recipe. They’re all classic chili spices, and really add a lot of flavor to this dish. Feel free to adjust them based on your preference!

Flour: Flour is the ingredient we’re using to thicken the sauce. You could swap it for 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch if that’s all you have on hand.

Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste: We’re using tomato sauce to add enough liquid to the recipe. Then we’re pairing it with some tomato paste to amp up the tomato flavor. You can swap this for tomato soup if that’s all you have on hand, but I’d taste the chili before adding any additional sugar.

Sugar: Just a little bit of sugar balances out the acidity of the tomatoes and saltiness of the bacon, which gives the whole dish a really balanced flavor. You can swap this for brown sugar if you like a hint of molasses flavor.

The labeled ingredients for hot dog chili.

How To Make Hot Dog Chili

Start by cutting the bacon into 1/4″ strips, and then saute the bacon in a Dutch oven. Continue cooking it until it’s almost well done, then transfer the bacon to a plate and leave the grease behind. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions).

Cooking sliced bacon in a Dutch oven.

Add the ground beef and the onions to the pot, and cook until the ground beef is no longer pink and the onions are translucent.

Browning ground beef with diced onions.

Add in the garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook until the spices and garlic are aromatic.

Mixing a variety of spices into cooked ground beef.

Sprinkle the flour over the ground beef, then mix to coat. Add in the tomato sauce and tomato paste, stir, cover, and let it simmer. Add in the bacon and sugar, stir, cover, and let it simmer again until it’s totally thickened. See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

Mixing flour and tomato sauce into cooked ground beef.

What Goes With Chili Dogs?

Pretty much anything that you would pair with sloppy joes goes well with chili dogs. Some of my favorite sides to serve this with are Cilantro Lime Coleslaw, Creamed Corn Cornbread, Loaded Baked Potato Salad, Cornbread Casserole, and Roasted Baby Potatoes.

My favorite toppings are a bit of freshly shredded cheddar cheese, and a few thinly sliced white onions.

If you want something more similar to Coney Island Hot Dogs, don’t top them with cheese. Instead, top your Coney Dogs with diced raw onion and a drizzle of yellow mustard.

Four chili dogs on a white platter.

What Can I Do With Extra Chili?

If you’ve got leftovers of this chili, you can use it to make chili loaded baked potatoes, chili spaghetti, chili mac and cheese, or chili cheese fries. You could also use it in lieu of the ground beef in my favorite ROTEL Dip.

You can also freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for the next time you make chili dogs!

A close up image of hot dog chili sauce without beans.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image of hot dog chili on top of hot dogs, with title text at the top.

Game Day Recipes

If you’re looking for more game day recipes, be sure to check out our appetizers section! Some reader favorites are:

Yield: 16 servings

BEST Hot Dog Chili Recipe

The best hot dog chili recipe.

To make an American Chili Dog, simply top your hot dog with this quick, easy, and super flavorful Hot Dog Chili sauce without beans.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 pound bacon (sliced into 1/4 inch pieces)
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion (finely diced, about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce (12 ounces total)
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar


  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the bacon and cook for 7-8 minutes (or until the bacon is almost well done). Remove the bacon from the pot and leave the drippings behind.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium, and add in the ground beef. Break the beef up in the pot, then add in the diced onions. Cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink (around 8 minutes). While cooking, break the ground beef into small crumbly pieces. When the beef is done, drain and discard any excess grease.
  3. Add the garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix with the ground beef. Let the ground beef saute with the spices for 2 minutes (or until the spices are aromatic), then mix in the flour, and stir until the beef is coated. 
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Turn the heat up to medium-high (until it starts to bubble). Once bubbling, turn the heat down to low and cover. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir the bacon pieces back into the chili. Add in the sugar, stir, and cover again. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. The chili is ready when it has completely thickened. 
  6. Serve the chili on hot dogs, a baked potato, or on chili fries!


*This is a spice blend sold in the U.S. and Canada that is much more mild than the pure chili powders sold in the U.K. and other parts of the world.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 16.5gCarbohydrates: 4.5gFiber: 0.9gSugar: 2gProtein: 25.4g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


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The next time you’re having chili dogs, be sure to top them with this easy and flavorful Southern hot dog chili sauce!

The best hot dog chili recipe.

4 thoughts on “Hot Dog Chili Recipe”

  1. This was pretty good! I used 1 lb ground beef and omitted the tomato paste, just using a 15 oz can of tomato sauce instead, and then adding about 1/3 of the lb of bacon I cooked (saving for another meal). I also added 1 can of chili beans because I do like beans even on chili dogs…I would probably omit the teaspoon of salt next time, and since I didn’t add tomato paste I would increase the sugar a bit. The bacon was amazing in this, and my formerly picky teenager loved it and will probably have the leftovers on a hamburger (something he saw at a fast food restaurant?).

  2. This recipe tasted really good on my West Virginia hot dog. It blended well with a little mustard on top of it and adding a sweet Cole Slaw that I make. Now that’s a hot dog to enjoy…


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