Take a moment to ponder chili dogs. Seriously. Whoever first thought to smother a hot dog with chili and strew it with cheese and proclaim it a chili dog and proceed to stuff one’s face with it? Whoever he or she is, we’re talking hero status. In the words of Ree Drummond, whose simply terrific chili dog recipe from her recently published cookbook can be found below, “Chili dogs are so crazy good, and so…well, crazy. But make no apologies! Eat that chili dog with abandon and pride!” Yeah. What she said. And her easy chili recipe, which we always keep a stash of in the freezer, makes a chili dog crazy easy to toss together, even on a weeknight.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Two chili dogs on a white plate with a fork and knife on the side.

Chili Dog

5 / 4 votes
This chili dog recipe is unthinkably easy to make from a hot dog, chili, cheese, and onion. A robust appetite also helps.
David Leite
Servings2 to 4 chili dogs
Calories668 kcal
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes


  • 2 to 4 good quality hot dog buns
  • 2 to 4 good quality beef hot dogs
  • 2 cups Easy Chili, thawed and warmed if frozen
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion


  • Preheat the broiler. Split open the hot dog buns, place them on a baking sheet, and slide the buns under the broiler until toasted to the desired degree of doneness. Don't turn your back on them as your buns could go from lightly toasted to ashes in seconds.
  • Place a small skillet over medium heat. Plop the hot dogs in the skillet and heat, turning as necessary, until browned on all sides and warmed completely through.
  • Situate a hot dog on each bun. Spoon a bunch of chili over each hot dog and then smother the chili and hot dog with cheese. If desired, slide the plate in the microwave or, if using an oven-safe plate, under the broiler and heat until the cheese melts, 25 to 35 seconds in the microwave or about 1 minute under the broiler. Be careful as the plate will be quite hot.
  • Sprinkle the chili dog with the onion and dive in. A fork and knife are recommended. Don't forget ample napkins.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime Cookbook

Adapted From

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 chili dogCalories: 668 kcalCarbohydrates: 54 gProtein: 31 gFat: 39 gSaturated Fat: 18 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 16 gCholesterol: 98 mgSodium: 2183 mgPotassium: 1089 mgFiber: 12 gSugar: 7 gVitamin A: 1146 IUVitamin C: 6 mgCalcium: 403 mgIron: 11 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Ree Drummond. Photo © 2015 Ree Drummond. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

As a native Detroiter, I grew up with a different idea of what a chili dog was, and it was called a “Coney.” A Coney is a hot dog topped with soupy chili, copious amounts of onion, and bright yellow French’s mustard. The two most famous restaurants that serve them are Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island in downtown Detroit, and a trip to Tiger Stadium always involved a visit to Coney. So I know my chili dogs, and I’d say that this recipe is a pretty good approximation. I am delighted to have this recipe in my repertoire and take pleasure in the knowledge that I have a stash of this chili in my freezer for those Coney or chili dog cravings!

I divided the chili into two batches, adding beans to one half and leaving the other half bean free. Because—in my humble opinion, beans just don’t belong in chili dog chili! For the chili dog, I adjusted mine to reflect the Coney-style I grew up with. I used the chili with no beans and diluted it even more before topping my hot dog.

Make sure to purchase hot dogs in natural casings, not skinless, as you really want that snap. And honestly, the best bun for the job is a regular white supermarket bun, just warmed up in the microwave. I adorned this beauty with plenty of chopped onions, and copious amounts of French’s mustard—that’s how they do it in Detroit! 1 cup chili per dog seemed like a lot; I only needed 1/2 cup per chili dog.

What’s not to like? If the chili can be made ahead, frozen, easily reheated, and used for a variety of other recipes, then you’re sure to have a winner.

The chili dogs themselves came together in 10 minutes. To thaw the frozen packets I simply used the defrost feature for weight on my microwave. Once thawed, I transferred the chili to a microwave-safe bowl and continued to use the microwave to heat it through. I used my second batch of chili to make “chili nachos,” which were a huge hit. (It’s worth noting that the recipe is for 2 dogs and calls for 2 cups of chili but you could easily make 4 dogs with this amount and still have a hearty portion.) I prepared my dogs according to the recipe, but I did add a little mustard, too.

If you are looking for the kid in you to come out, this naughty little treat is just the ticket. They are messy, decadent, and, I daresay, part of the forbidden foods group, so truly worth it for a “cheat day” splurge.

I made this recipe twice. Once with the chili fresh from the pot and the second time with the chili reheated from frozen. I used good-quality, all-beef hot dogs and a firmer type of bun, as it had to stand up to not only the dog but the chili as well. The chili did well being frozen and reheated. The taste and texture were as good as the day I made it. These are filling, nothing else needed. Well, knives and forks are definitely needed here. A big toasted bun, large beef hot dog, 1/2 cup chili, and lots of cheese. What more could a big kid want for dinner? It took 10 minutes to warm the chili, grate the cheese, chop some onion, and cook the dog. We used a toaster oven to toast the bun and melt the cheese.

These are a hit! I used all-beef hot dogs and bolillos for my buns. They look just like the picture of the recipe and are just the right size for the perfect dog to bun to chili ratio since they’re large enough for a very generous portion of chili.

I think a regular bun might be too small, and I couldn’t find good quality buns in my grocery store bakery. Before leaving for work, I took out a bag of frozen chili and placed it in the refrigerator to thaw. When I arrived home later that evening, the chili was still frozen, but a few minutes in the microwave got it nice and hot. The hot dogs were pan-fried in a dry nonstick pan till nice and very brown, 7 to 10 minutes on medium-low heat. I sliced the bolillos about halfway through and toasted in the oven. When I plated everything, I placed a heaping amount of chili on top of the dog that was nestled nicely in the toasted bun…oh wow! A generous sprinkle of cheese and onions made this dish perfect.

Hot dogs are not on my regular dinner list, but these are definitely worth a try. It’s a perfect meal with little prep time.

I made this recipe with my 6-year-old nephew, and every time we test a recipe together, he gives it a “10” because he made it! We made these ready-to-go chili packs for his family of 4.

This recipe took about 30 minutes of hands-on time (you probably could make it faster by making it alone and not with a 6-year old). We defrosted the chili packs in the refrigerator overnight, then put them in a pot and added water to reheat and voilà, homemade delicious chili dogs were on the table in no time. This is a great recipe for large parties and ready-to-go meals for families.

Easy and endlessly adaptable. That’s what I think of these chili dogs. The goldmine in this recipe is in the chili batch size. I used 1 packet of chili plus 1 cup water when reheating the chili to make 4 to 5 lightly dressed dogs. They hit the spot!

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. David,

    My first experience with fine dining outside of my home occurred at Nick’s Coney Island Hot Dogs in Fall River. Pure ambrosia! The original recipe must have been lost over the many years and changing ownership because they no longer have that appeal that I remembered at five years old. 63 years later I’m still trying every chili recipe I can find.

    Love the website and the store.

    Rick Lemay

    1. Thanks, Rick. I think I remember Nick’s. My family owned Tex Barry’s Coney Island Hot Dogs, so that’s what I was weaned on!

  2. 5 stars
    Made chili (with beans-the only way!) and had these chili dogs with cheese and chopped onion. I also added sliced green onion on mine (yes, I LOVE any onion). They were outstanding!! I did toast the buns first tho bc that’s how we like them. Soooo good. We don’t eat HD’s often, but when we do… must be a chili dog! Yummy! Thank you (and PW) for sharing this simple yummy recipe with us!

    1. Grammasue, it’s always a pleasure to hear from you! I’m happy the dogs worked out. Hugs to you all.