There are few things more indulgent than biting into a chili dog. With a soft bun, all-beef hot dog, warm ground beef chili, and melted cheddar cheese, this easy recipe is the best way to eat a hot dog.

Complete the meal with a creamy cucumber salad and some corn on the cob!

Three chili dogs on a white plate.

What is a chili dog

A chili dog is the best hot dog recipe around! It's made with a simple, bean-free chili that gets piled high on top of a hot dog. Then we add some cheddar cheese which melts on the chili then a sprinkle of green onions finishes off this whole delicious mess.

WARNING: make sure to have a few napkins at hand; you'll need them!

And if you have some leftover chili in your fridge (maybe from one of our many chili recipes), you can use that and sit down to a chili dog feast in mere minutes.

How to make chili dogs

This recipe is deliciously uncomplicated. If you're using leftover chili, you can skip right past the first step and move on to cooking the dogs.

  1. Make the chili. After browning the ground beef and sauteing the onion and garlic, add a can of diced tomatoes and season it with chili powder, honey, salt, and pepper. While the chili recipe is very basic, it's richly flavored and perfect on top of hot dogs.
  2. Grill the hot dogs over a fire (always the best!), on your BBQ, or even in a pan on your stove.
  3. Warm the bun. Spread a little butter on the inside of the bun and place it face down on your grill or in a pan for a minute to toast.
  4. Assemble your dog. You know how this goes … hot dog in a bun and chili, mustard, cheese, onions, anything else you like on top.

Full recipe in the recipe card below.

A close up of a chili dog.

Favorite hot dog toppings

There is no reason to hold back on the toppings here. These dogs are deliciously messy, so go ahead and overload your bun!

  • Make it a chili cheese dog with a generous pile of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Onions – minced red onion, chives, or green onion all work great.
  • Crispy bacon.
  • Pickled jalapeños or banana peppers.
What type of buns should I use?

We always use brioche buns when making hot dogs. They're perfectly soft and toast well without becoming dry. They're also the only buns that freeze really well, so we always have some in our freezer.
But if you've got a different kind of hot dog bun on hand, use that! These chili dogs will be delicious on any bun you like.

What type of hot dogs should I use?

We almost always use all-beef hot dogs from our favorite local butcher. But sometimes we go big with a smokie or bavarian sausage. There is no wrong answer about what kind of hot dog to use. If you have a favorite kind, use that. It will be delicious!

How long does hot dog chili last?

The chili will last for three days in your fridge. If you have leftovers and want to eat it by itself, add some beans or corn when you warm it up for a heartier chili.

Can I freeze this hot dog chili recipe?

Yes! Chili freezes excellent. We love these reusable Stasher freezer bags to freeze all sorts of things, including chili. The chili will keep well for 3-4 months in your freezer.

Two chili dogs on a plate with chips.

What to serve with chili dogs

Chili dogs are a fun and easy lunch or dinner all by themselves. But some veggies on the side can help round out the meal.

If you're feeling adventurous, try these chili dogs with one of our many chili recipes:

A close up of a chili cheese dog.
Two chili dogs on a plate with chips.

Chili Dogs Recipe

There are few things more indulgent than biting into a chili dog. With a soft bun, all-beef hot dog, warm ground beef chili, and melted cheddar cheese, this easy recipe is the best way to eat a hot dog. 

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

4.78 stars (22 ratings)
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  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder, or more if you like it spicy
  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes are great in this recipe!
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
  • 8 hot dogs or smokies
  • 8 brioche hot dog buns, gluten-free buns, if needed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped green onions, to serve


  • Add the ground beef to a small pot over medium heat. Let it cook until you see some fat in the pan then add the onion and garlic. Continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. 
    1 lb lean ground beef, 1 medium onion, 4 cloves garlic
  • Add the honey and chili powder to the pot and stir well. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes to caramelize the honey then add the diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Let the chili simmer on low heat while you prepare the dogs and buns. 
    1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
  • Cook the hot dogs and warm the buns over a fire, on a grill, or in a pan on your stove. When they're ready, put a hot dog in each bun and top with ¼ cup of the chili, 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar, and some green onions. (See notes)
    8 hot dogs or smokies, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, Chopped green onions, 8 brioche hot dog buns


You can add any other condiments you like to your bun. Mustard is the popular choice and many people like mayo, too. There are no right or wrong answers here!
Serving: 1 hot dog, Calories: 385kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 970mg, Potassium: 396mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 735IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 204mg, Iron: 4mg
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A close up of a chili cheese dog and the recipe title on top of the picture.