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Square close up shot of hot dog chili in a pot
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4.75 from 12 votes

Hot Dog Chili

This sweet, tangy, and zesty hot dog chili sauce is the perfect topping to turn regular hot dogs into the best chili dogs!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword chili dogs, chili for hot dogs, chili hot dog recipe, hot dog chili
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 people
Calories 72.3kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (I used 90% lean)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • cup water
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • For serving: cooked hot dogs, hot dog buns, grated cheddar cheese, diced onion, pickle relish, mustard


  • Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink and onion is soft (about 7-10 minutes). Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into very small pieces as it cooks. Add minced garlic and continuing cooking and stirring for 1 more minute.
    Ground beef onion and garlic in a pot with a wooden spoon
  • Add water, tomato sauce, ketchup, paprika, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper.
    Hot dog chili ingredients in a cast iron Dutch oven
  • Bring to boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 25-30 minutes (or until chili thickens slightly).



  • This chili sauce is designed to be a condiment that you serve on top of hot dogs, and therefore has a sweet flavor that's similar to ketchup. It is not a chili that you eat on its own in a bowl. If you're looking for a more traditional beef chili recipe that's not very sweet, try this or this Crock Pot version.
  • Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to break up the beef into very small pieces as it cooks. A classic hot dog sauce doesn't contain any large chunks of meat.
  • Is hot dog chili gluten-free? Yes! Always check your labels on individual products, but this chili recipe can be made gluten-free.
  • Is hot dog chili Keto-friendly? This chili recipe has about 6 grams of carbohydrates and 72 calories per ¼-cup serving, so use sparingly if you're following a Keto diet.
  • How much hot dog chili do I need to feed 50 people? or 100 people? If you're serving this chili to a crowd, I recommend planning for about 2 hot dogs per person. Each hot dog is topped with about 2 tablespoons of chili, so you'll need ¼ cup chili per person. For a crowd of 50, that's about 12 ½ cups of chili (or this recipe multiplied by 3). To serve 100, you need about 24-25 cups of hot dog chili sauce (so multiply this recipe by 6).
  • A traditional hot dog chili does not include beans; however, you can add a can of drained, rinsed pinto beans, pink beans, or kidney beans if you like.
  • Swap out the ground beef and use ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, or even a combination that includes ground pork sausage or ground chorizo.
  • Add diced bell peppers to the skillet with the ground beef, onion, and garlic.
  • For spicy hot dog chili, add cayenne pepper.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 72.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.9g | Protein: 6.1g | Fat: 2.6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17.5mg | Sodium: 397.9mg | Potassium: 70.8mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 4.1g