Chili Dog

American classic chili dog, grilled hot dog on a bun, smothered in ground beef chili sauce, sprinkled with cheddar cheese and onions.

Chili Dog
Elise Bauer

Whoever invented the chili dog, a hot dog in a bun smothered with chili and sprinkled with cheese and onions, should be given a medal.

Messy, spicy, filling, did I say messy? Some claim that you can actually eat it with your hands.

Maybe, if it's right off the grill, and you don't have much chili on it, and the bottom is wrapped in foil or wax paper.

If you do attempt such a thing, for goodness sake don't wear white. I personally have never had much luck with these without utensils, and even then if I'm thinking ahead I'll tuck a paper napkin in my shirt.

Chili dogs are great for summer cookouts; you can make the chili ahead and all you have to do is grill the hot dogs and buns long enough to get some char marks. They cook up quickly and can feed many, and happily, and are perfect with a tall glass of lemonade, or a frosty beer.

Chili Dog

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 60 mins
Total Time 65 mins
Servings 16 to 20 hot dogs

The chili recipe makes enough chili for 16-20 hot dogs, which may seem like a lot, but you're just getting a large spoonful with each dog. So, if you have fewer people to cook for, just use the leftover chili as a stand-alone-dish for later. If you're feeding more, just double the chili recipe. You'll be happy you made a big batch.

Get the best quality hot dog you can, we tend to look for kosher dogs. The hot dogs themselves only need to be grilled enough to be heated; they are already cooked when you take them out of the package.


  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 4 chopped garlic cloves

  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 2 tablespoons molasses or honey

  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, optional

  • Salt

  • As many hot dogs as you have people to serve

  • Buns for the hot dogs

  • Chopped red onion, for garnish

  • Shredded cheddar (or jack) cheese, for garnish


  1. Cook bacon, onions, ground beef, garlic:

    Fry the bacon over medium heat until it begins to get crispy, then add the chopped onions and fry over high heat, stirring often, until they begin to brown.

    Stir in the ground beef. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned, a few minutes.

    When the beef is about halfway browned, stir in the chopped garlic.

  2. Add tomato sauce, molasses, broth, spices:

    Once the beef is well browned, stir in the tomato sauce, molasses and beef broth.

    Add all the spices except the cayenne and stir well. Bring to a simmer and taste. Add salt or the cayenne if it needs it.

    You can add more cayenne or chili powder if you like things really spicy, but taste first before adding more.

  3. Simmer for 30 min or more:

    Cook the chili on a gentle simmer for at least 30 minutes before you start grilling the hot dogs. You can cook it several hours if you want to, adding a little more beef broth here and there if the chili gets to dry.

  4. Grill the hot dogs:

    Grill the hot dogs over medium heat until they get a light char. Grill the hot dog buns briefly if you want – no more than a minute, as they will burn fast. You can also paint the buns with olive oil or butter before grilling if you’d like.

    Dog goes in bun, chili goes on top, sprinkle on chopped red onion and shredded cheese, and have at it!


Mexican hot dogs with pineapple salsa and chipotle mayonnaise from Lisa Fain the Homesick Texan

Chili Dog
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
537 Calories
31g Fat
34g Carbs
30g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16 to 20
Amount per serving
Calories 537
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 1175mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 172mg 13%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 590mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.