This New York style homemade hot dog chili will take your hot dogs to the next level and is SO easy to make. It’s meaty, flavorful, and even makes a delicious meal on its own topped with cheese and your favorite chili toppings. You’ll never go back to canned hot dog chili again!
Nothing is more All-American than a hot dog. That said, all across the United States, folks have their own way of making hot dogs.
We even have our own preferences for hot dog chili. With beans or without beans, spicy or mild, or no chili at all. Personally, I think New York style chili (beanless chili) is the best for topping hot dogs.
The next time you host or go to a cookout where hot dogs are being served, make this simple chili sauce.
It’s seriously the best hot dog chili recipe, and everyone at the BBQ will be asking for the recipe!
Fellow hot dog connoisseurs will also enjoy our Pretzel Dogs, which are hot dogs wrapped in a golden pretzel bread. They’re absolutely delicious with honey mustard! You can get all the flavors of a chili dog in our hot and hearty Chili Cheese Dog Casserole. It’s made with canned chili and comes together really fast.
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Ground beef— Use any ground beef you like. Save some calories and fat with lean ground beef. Using very lean meat lets you avoid draining excess liquid as well. If you use beef with a higher fat content, remember to drain it before adding the spices.
- Onion— Onion is cooked with the ground beef to soften it quickly and add wonderful flavor.
- Spices— The list of seasonings may look like a lot, but you need each one to get the flavor just right. It’s worth it; we promise! We use chili powder, ground mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, garlic salt, ground cumin, celery salt, and ground cinnamon.
- Ketchup— Ketchup is sweet and tomato-y, perfect for all kinds of chili. Use a no sugar added ketchup if you’re making this as a low carb chili instead of a hot dog chili.
- Tomato sauce— This helps give the chili a rich tomato flavor.
- Water— It helps thin out the liquid to make sure every bit of meat is coated in spicy, tomato-y goodness. Don’t worry; most of the water will cook off.
- Soy sauce— This adds umami flavor and helps the flavor of the chili to develop quickly. You can sub Braggs Aminos if you prefer something less salty.
- Worcestershire sauce— Another element of savory, umami flavor that takes this chili to the next level.
Equipment You’ll Need
No complicated equipment is needed here. To make the best hot dog sauce ever, here’s what you’ll need:
- a Dutch oven
- wooden spoon
- a strainer, if necessary, to drain off excess liquid
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
How to make homemade chili for hot dogs
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onions, breaking up the beef into fine crumbles. Cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is browned and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain off any excess grease or liquid.
Step 2: Add the chili powder, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, garlic salt, cumin, celery salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine, cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring constantly.
Step 3: Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, water, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
Step 4: Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Take off the cover and continue to simmer for about 40 more minutes, until 3/4 of the liquid cooks out, stirring occasionally.
Step 6: Serve over grilled or boiled hot dogs.
This hot dog chili recipe makes enough chili for 24-30 hot dogs. However, if you go easy on the chili, you could probably cover double that number!
If you don’t plan on serving the leftovers over hot dogs, you can eat it like a traditional chili topped with cheese, sour cream, onions, jalapenos, or your favorite chili toppings.
Want some hot dog side dish ideas besides French fries and potato chips? Try these!
- Boston Baked Beans
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad
- Old Fashioned Potato Salad
- No Mayo Coleslaw
- Classic Pasta Salad with Homemade Dressing
Storage and Freezing
This easy hot dog chili recipe keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Warm leftovers on the stovetop until heated through. You may need to add a little water to loosen it up and then let it cook out again before serving.
You can freeze leftover chili for up to 3 months. Store it in an airtight freezer safe container or in freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed above.
Tips for the best hot dog chili sauce
- Use a meat chopper or potato masher to break up the ground beef more easily.
- Cook the spices before adding liquids so they develop in the beef fat to make the chili more flavorful.
- To take this chili to a party or your next cookout, put it in a slow cooker near the hot dog bar to keep it warm and let the guests serve themselves.
- If you plan to eat this chili as a main dish and want it on the soupier side, reduce the cooking time until the chili is the consistency you prefer.
Additions and Variations
Serve this homemade chili over nachos. That’s right! It’s not just for a hot dog bun—add some to tortilla chips along with cheese and your favorite nacho toppings like sour cream and jalapenos.
Add red pepper flakes. A pinch or two of red pepper flakes is the perfect addition if you like a little heat, especially if you plan to serve this homemade hot dog chili over nachos or on its own.
Add brown sugar. If you like your chili on the sweeter side, add a tablespoon or so of brown sugar to the meat sauce.
Make a cheese Coney. You’ve heard of a Coney dogs, right? Top your chili dog with mustard, white onions, and shredded cheddar cheese to enjoy some chili cheese dogs.
Serve over fries. Make chili cheese fries with some of this hearty chili and shredded cheddar or nacho cheese sauce over crinkle cut fries.
Make Frito pie. We have a Crockpot Frito Pie recipe that’s pretty darn delicious, but you can easily sub this chili for the meat mixture listed on that recipe to whip up a Frito pie in no time.
Turn into Sloppy Joes. Serve this easy recipe on burger buns for a sweet and spicy take on the usual Sloppy Joes.
To make hot dog chili, you need ground beef, onions, seasonings, tomato sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and water to thin out the sauce.
Hot dog chili is usually bean-less, sweeter, and has less liquid. Traditional chili, on the other hand, is soupier, spicier, and often has beans and tomatoes.
Many people will say cinnamon is the secret ingredient. It adds a warmth and sweetness that complements both hot dog chili and traditional chili.
The simplest way (though it may not be the quickest) is to cook the chili longer to let the excess liquid evaporate. If you’re in a hurry, however, you can add a slurry made with one tablespoon each of cornstarch and cold water to the chili, and it will thicken up in a few minutes.
More Chili Recipes
- 3-Ingredient Chili – easy, hearty, the perfect quick weeknight meal
- Crockpot Chili Mac – your favorite comfort foods combined! What could be better than chili and pasta?
- Easy Crockpot Chili – enjoy a hot bowl of chili on a cold day. It warms the soul.
- Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix – the perfect blend of spices to make a flavor-packed chili recipe
- 3 pounds ground beef
- 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 & ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Place a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onions, breaking up the beef into fine crumbles. Cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.
- Add the chili powder, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, garlic salt, cumin, celery salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring constantly.
- Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, water, soy sauce, and worcestershire sauce, stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Take off the cover and continue to simmer for 40 more minutes, or until about ¾ of the liquid cooks out, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over hot dogs.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Reheat on the stovetop until heated through. You may need to add a little water to loosen it up and then let it cook out again before serving.
You can also freeze leftover chili for up to 3 months. Store it in an airtight freezer-safe container or in freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed above.
Enjoy leftover chili sauce over hot dogs or in a bowl topped with cheese, sour cream, onions, jalapenos, or your favorite chili toppings.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by a third party and intended to serve as an estimate only. The accuracy of nutritional information is not guaranteed.