Chili Cheese Dogs

Dinner, Quick and Easy, Summer

These chili cheese dogs are a summer delight! Flavorful stewed chili is scooped onto grilled hot dogs and then topped with melty cheese and crispy onions. Make these vegan or vegetarian by substituting in vegan ground meat and vegan hot dogs–easy!

Chili Cheese Dogs Side Angle with Pot and Plate

I’ve had chili cheese dogs on my mind recently so I decided to make a version that didn’t scare me. Sometimes hot dogs can scare me a little.

This is why making hot dogs at home is the best case scenario for me. I can ensure that I’m eating hot dogs that are nitrate-free and are made with ingredients I can pronounce.

The chili might be my favorite thing ever. It’s SO fast. No need to sit here and make real chili—that’s too much work. This one cooks up in minutes and is way thicker than the normal soupier version. I think the thicker version works way better when we’re using it as a topping for a hot dog.

Chili Cheese Dogs Ingredients

What to pair with chili cheese dogs: 

  • Onions. Onions are a crucial topping for chili cheese hot dog. They add a bite in both flavor and texture.
  • Mustard. Also crucial topping. It adds a nice brightness that cuts through the richness of the chili.
  • For sides: I love potato or macaroni salad and potato chips. If you’re having a party serve some fries so people have the option of chili cheese fries!
  • For drinking: ice cold beer or a margarita come to mind for summer refreshing.

ChiliChili Cheese Dogs Ingredients

How to Make Chili Cheese Dogs:

  1. Start by making the chili. In a saucepan, cook down the onions until they’ve softened then add the beef along with the spices and cook until the beef has browned. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors come together.
  2. Heat up the hot dogs. You have options, whatever your preference is. I like to grill them for the additional flavor and the way the grill marks look.
  3. Toast the buns. This is important! You want the buns to not just be squishy soft all the way through, toasting them with not only add flavor but also help them stand up to the chili.
  4. Assemble! To assemble the chili dogs, place a hot dog in a bun, top with mustard, then finish with the chili, cheese, and onion.

Chili Cheese Dogs on Baking Sheet

How to Make this Vegetarian/Vegan:

  • Use Beyond or Impossible Ground Meat in the chili.
  • Replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.
  • Use vegan hot dogs. Field Roast brand is delicious!

Chili Cheese Dogs overhead shot

Tips and Tricks:

  • If you’re having an issue with the cheese melting, place it under the broiler or carefully on a grill not over direct heat and close the lid for a minute or so.
  • Serve the hot dogs with fries or corn chips so people can make frito pies or chili cheese fries!

Chili Cheese Dogs overhead shot


Did you make this recipe? Let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more summer recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Chili Cheese Dog Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 8
Calories: 474kcal
These chili cheese dogs are the best of all worlds, high quality hot dogs in toasted buns topped with cheese and a hearty homemade chili.


Quick Chili:

  • 1/2 white onion, diced and divided
  • 1 pound ground beef, 85% lean/15%fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

Hot Dog Assembly:

  • 6-8 hot dogs
  • 6-8 hot dog buns, (I like brioche buns)
  • Yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, or any other melty cheese you love
  • 1/4 white onion, minced
  • Pickled jalapeños , as garnish


To Make the Quick Chili:

  • In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, drop in half of the onions and cook until they're translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, salt, garlic clove and mix until the meat has browned, about 5 minutes. If you're using leaner ground beef than what's noted above, you may need to add a teaspoon or two of olive oil so it doesn't stick to the pan.
  • Add the tomato paste, beef broth, cumin and cayenne. Mix and cook for an additional minute or so. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot to keep warm while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To Cook and Assemble the Chili Dogs:

  • You have a couple options with the hot dogs: you can cook them on a grill (my personal favorite) or in a grill pan. Heat up whatever you're using to high. Cook the dogs on both sides until grill marks appear and the hot dogs are thoroughly cooked. Place them a 200 degree F oven so they stay warm.
  • Next, toast the hot dog buns. To get nice grill marks, add a teaspoon of butter to your grill pan. When the pan is really hot, add the buns, pressing them down for about 1 minute; toast on the opposite side for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat with the remaining buns.
  • To assemble, place the hot dogs in the buns. Add some mustard to eat hot dog, top with a generous spoonful of chili and then cheese. If the cheese isn't melty, place the hot dogs under a broiler for about a minute---that'll do the trick! Top with the remaining diced white onion and pickled jalapeños.


How to Make this Vegetarian/Vegan: 
  • Use Beyond or Impossible Ground Meat in the chili. 
  • Replace the beef broth with vegetable broth. 
  • Use vegan hot dogs. Field Roast brand is delicious! 
Cutting Board | Chef's Knife | Kitchen Towels | OXO Measuring Spoons | OXO Measuring Cups | Braiser Pan
KeywordBrioche Hot Dog Buns, Chili Cheese Dog
Serving: 6g | Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 947mg | Potassium: 457mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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Recipe Rating

  • Reply Sabrina September 14, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    sometimes I just have to drop the diet (at least on a Saturday, and have a hot dog, or better a chili dog, I’ve missed them so much, so thank you for my weekend inspiration, thank you!

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  • Reply Trixie July 5, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I think Kosher dogs only come 7 to the pack and they don’t seem to make buns to match. Regular hot dogs come in even numbers. But who wants to eat them?

  • Reply Courtney June 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Um yeah these look so good! Definitely going to make these for the summer

  • Reply Amanda June 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    “I’ll tell you what I’m doing. I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell twelve hot dog buns. So I end up paying for four buns I don’t need. So I am removing the superfluous buns. Yeah. And you want to know why? Because some big-shot over at the wiener company got together with some big-shot over at the bun company and decided to rip off the American public. Because they think the American public is a bunch of trusting nit-wits who will pay for everything they don’t need rather than make a stink. Well they’re not ripping of this nitwit anymore because I’m not paying for one more thing I don’t need. George Banks is saying NO!”
    -Father of the Bride

    • Reply Danielle September 7, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      You’re joking.. this is a place to comment on the recipe that you made! This isn’t where you tell us “what this nit wit isn’t going to do.” Not to mention EVERY store and hot dog manufacturer makes 8 hot dog buns, you’ve got to be kidding with this. Not interested in your personal “The Man” issue’s “ripping” you off, actually you’re Not, you’re just the nit wit I suppose.
      Great hot dog and friends enjoyed a lot!

  • Reply Sammi @Sammi Sunshine June 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I can’t even. This is the ultimate chili dog. LOVE!

  • Reply Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) June 20, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Totally obsessed with the styling of that first shot!!! These look ridiculously good!

  • Reply April @badgerkitchen June 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I love hot dogs and rarely eat them for your same reasons. These look delicious and I’m going to try making them asap!

  • Reply Millie l Add A Little June 20, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Wooo these look amazing! Hellooo summer barbecue ideas!

  • Reply Kinsey June 20, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Father of the bride!! Love it.

  • Reply Jeanette June 20, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Aww now you’ve got me hungry. 🙂

  • Reply Emily @ Life on Food June 20, 2014 at 3:45 am

    I don’t eat hot dogs often but when I do it is an all or nothing deal. Chili, peppers cheese. The works. These look fantastic.

  • Reply Marie @ Little Kitchie June 20, 2014 at 12:54 am

    This is all I could think of while reading this post!:

    These hot dogs look soooo good. Total summer necessity!