Try my Hot Dog Chili on the stovetop, in your slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot, then spoon it on top of hot dogs for the ultimate tailgate recipe.

Hot dog chili in a crock pot.

No tailgate party feels complete without chili dogs, in my opinion.

Whether you whip up this ground beef chili on your stove, in an Instant Pot, or in a slow cooker, you can’t lose. During the last few minutes of Hot Dog Chili prep, grill up some hot dogs, and prepare to be declared tailgate MVP.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Hot Dog Chili Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for hot dog chili.

Ingredient notes

  • Bell peppers: Or add or substitute carrots, celery, corn, or zucchini.
  • Chipotle chili powder: Substitute ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or omit if you don’t like spicy food.
  • Canned tomatoes: I love the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, but you can substitute regular canned tomatoes and add 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies. Ro*tel tomatoes work, too.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil in over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili powder, thyme, coriander, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
Hot dog chili in a saucepan.
  1. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up the clumps with a spoon, until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Hot dog chili in a saucepan.
  1. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer until the chili has thickened, about 1 hour longer (if chili sticks to the bottom of the pot, stir in ½ cup water and continue to simmer). Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Hot dog chili in a saucepan.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 cups of chili, enough to top 8 hot dogs with ½ cup chili each (or enough for 16 hot dogs if everybody uses ¼ cup).
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Cool within 2 hours, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days in advance. Reheat the full recipe on the stove over low heat to 165 degrees. Reheat small batches in the microwave.
  • Freezer: Cool cooked chili to below 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer within 2 hours and place into airtight containers. Frozen chili will last 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Instant Pot: Sauté the onions, peppers, spices, garlic, and beef in an Instant Pot until the beef is browned, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf and mix well. Cook on manual or high pressure for 10 minutes. Fast release the pressure when done.
  • Slow cooker: At the end of step 2, transfer the cooked beef mixture to a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 3, cover and cook the chili on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
  • Beans: Add 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed, in step 3 with the tomatoes if desired.  1 ½ cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 1 can (that’s about ½ cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of kidney.
  • Spicy: Add dried ancho chile powder, chipotle chiles, guajillo chiles, or New Mexican chili powder to the chili to crank up the heat, add some sweetness, or make chili a little more complex. Careful – some of these get really spicy!
  • More toppings: Cheese, sour cream, and scallions are classics. You can also try diced avocado, cooked bacon, fresh cilantro, minced onion, sliced jalapeños, hot sauce, lime wedges, tortilla chips, corn chips, or oyster crackers.
A chili dog on a plate with a pickle and chips.

More tailgating recipes

Hot dog chili in a crock pot.

Hot Dog Chili

Try my Hot Dog Chili on the stovetop, in your slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot, then spoon it atop hot dogs for the ultimate tailgate recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Servings 8 servings (½ cup each)
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 180

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper finely chopped (about ½ cup, see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained, petite diced if possible (see note 3)
  • 1 (15 -ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions 

  • In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil in over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili powder, thyme, coriander, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up the clumps with a spoon, until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer until the chili has thickened, about 1 hour longer (if chili sticks to the bottom of the pot, stir in ½ cup water and continue to simmer). Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Bell peppers: Or add or substitute carrots, celery, corn, or zucchini.
  2. Chipotle chili powder: Substitute ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or omit if you don’t like spicy food.
  3. Canned tomatoes: I love the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, but you can substitute regular canned tomatoes and add 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies. Ro*tel tomatoes work, too.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 4 cups of chili, enough to top 8 hot dogs with ½ cup chili each (or enough for 16 hot dogs if everybody uses ¼ cup).
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: Cool within 2 hours, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days in advance. Reheat the full recipe on the stove over low heat to 165 degrees. Reheat small batches in the microwave.
  7. Freezer: Cool cooked chili to below 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer within 2 hours and place into airtight containers. Frozen chili will last 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  8. Instant Pot: Sauté the onions, peppers, spices, garlic, and beef in an Instant Pot until the beef is browned, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf and mix well. Cook on manual or high pressure for 10 minutes. Fast release the pressure when done.
  9. Slow cooker: At the end of step 2, transfer the cooked beef mixture to a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 3, cover and cook the chili on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
  10. Beans: Add 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed, in step 3 with the tomatoes if desired.  1 ½ cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 1 can (that’s about ½ cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of kidney.
  11. Spicy: Add dried ancho chile powder, chipotle chiles, guajillo chiles, or New Mexican chili powder to the chili to crank up the heat, add some sweetness, or make chili a little more complex. Careful – some of these get really spicy!
  12. More toppings: Cheese, sour cream, and scallions are classics. You can also try diced avocado, cooked bacon, fresh cilantro, minced onion, sliced jalapeños, hot sauce, lime wedges, tortilla chips, corn chips, or oyster crackers.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 180kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 11gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 78mgPotassium: 263mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 979IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 2mg
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