This bean-less Hot Dog Chili Recipe is loaded with crispy bacon and ground beef. It’s perfect served on hot dogs or hamburgers, over nachos or fries, or even mixed into mac and cheese!
Normally I could take or leave a hot dog, but this isn’t just any hot dog recipe. This is hot dog chili, my friends. A perfectly seasoned bean free chili gets smothered onto your favorite hot dog and loaded with all your favorite chili toppings — pass the cheese, please!
What is hot dog chili?
Hot dog chili is a quick and easy, smoky, bean free, beef chili that turns a plain hot dog into the classic American chili dog — a hot dog in a bun served with chili and toppings.
It can also be used as a topping for nachos, hamburgers, fries, you name it.
What is the difference between hot dog chili and traditional chili?
Although they are similar in flavor and contain many of the same ingredients, hot dog chili and traditional chili soup are slightly different. Traditional chili tends to be spicier, chunkier, filled with beans, and more broth-y while hot dog chili is sweeter, doesn’t contain beans, and is much thicker since it’s used as a sauce.
If you’re looking for a traditional chili recipe, check out my instant pot beef chili instead.
Ketchup, yellow mustard, and relish are all common hot dog toppings and have been incorporated into this hot dog chili recipe to give it true hot dog flavors!
- Bacon – gives the chili a smoky flavor and a bit of chewy crunch.
- Ground Beef – the classic chili meat. Feel free to use any ground meat you have on hand such as ground chicken, turkey, or even pork.
- Minced Garlic – adds a subtle kick of nutty flavor.
- Salt and Pepper – enhances the chili flavors.
- Beer – adds a “malty”, earthy flavor. I used an IPA, because that’s what we always have on hand, but any beer will work.
- Beef Broth – a flavorful base for the soup.
- Tomato Sauce – gives the chili its classic sweet, tomato flavor and helps thicken the broth.
- Ketchup – adds additional tomato flavor and a touch of bright sweetness.
- Yellow Mustard – a classic hot dog topping, yellow mustard gives the chili a tart, tangy flavor.
- Relish – dill, sweet, or whatever kind you like!
- Brown Sugar – gives the soup a warm sweetness to balance out the acidity from the tomato sauce.
- Chili Powder – you can’t have chili without chili powder. This adds a kick of spice. Use more or less, to suit your tastebuds!
- Worcestershire Sauce – cuts the sweetness from the brown sugar by adding a bit of tang.
- Cooked hot dogs, hot dog buns, cheddar cheese, diced onion, relish, mustard, etc. – for serving!
How to make
This recipe is so easy to throw together and is the best way to take your basic hot dog to the next level!
- Place bacon in a single layer in a large stockpot then turn the heat to medium/medium-high. Cook until crispy then remove, crumble, and set aside.
- Using the stockpot with the hot bacon grease, add in ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper then cook until the meat is cooked through.
- Drain the grease, return the mixture to the stockpot, then stir in beer, broth, tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, relish, brown sugar, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened, stir in bacon, then serve over hot dogs with toppings and enjoy!
How to serve
Although the name “hot dog chili” implies this chili sauce can only be served on a hot dog, there are a few different ways you can serve it!
- On hot dogs. Cook up your favorite hot dogs, stuff them into a bun, and top them off with chili sauce and your favorite hot dog fixings like cheddar cheese, diced onions, relish, mustard, etc!
- Over fries or tater tots. Make chili cheese fries or chili cheese tots with hot dog chili, queso, sour cream, feta, you name it. Check out my air fryer frozen french fries recipe for inspiration!
- On hamburgers. Layer it on a beef burger or black bean burger with more of your favorite burger toppings. It’s messier but worth it, I promise. 😉
- Over nachos. Check out my loaded chicken nachos for inspiration!
- In mac and cheese. Ladle it over a bowl of mac and cheese for a smoky, spicy flavor twist.
How to store
Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
To reheat, microwave or warm on the stove until heated through.
Can you freeze hot dog chili?
Yes! To freeze, let the chili sauce cool completely then store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge then microwave or warm on the stove.
Hot Dog Chili
Equipment for this recipe
- 4 strips raw bacon
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (12 oz) bottle beer I used an IPA
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup relish
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Cooked hot dogs, hot dog buns, grated cheddar cheese, diced onion, pickle relish, mustard, etc. for serving
- Place bacon in a single layer into a large stockpot.
- Turn heat to medium/medium-high and cook until crispy.
- Remove bacon, crumble and set aside, but leave the grease.
- To the hot grease, add in ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Cook, breaking up the beef as you go, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.
- Drain the grease.
- Return the stockpot to the heat and stir in beer, broth, tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, relish, brown sugar, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, for 20 minutes or until thickened to your liking.
- Stir in bacon, taste and re-season, if necessary, then serve on top of hot dogs with toppings of choice and enjoy!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.