Cooking for a crowd and want to wow them? This Chili Cheese Dog Casserole is fully customizable to every taste and can be made spicy or less spicy depending on if you're making this for kids.
It is one of the top-requested and loved recipes in our family!
Why We Love This
- Delicious and fulfilling - cheesy and spicy chili cheese dogs are the ultimate comfort food!
- Can be easily adapted for a large crowd.
- Requires a little prep but in the end comes together in just one casserole for easier cleanup.
- Make it as spicy or mild as you want!
- Ground meat - I used beef and pork mix, I find it tastes better than just beef. Always go for lean meats so you don't have to drain a little or no at all excess fat and your chili won't end up greasy.
- Hot dogs - good high-quality dogs, check the label for "Uncured" or "No added nitrates."
- Spices - the more the merrier!
- Chili - follow the recipe to make a thick sweet and spicy chili or use your own recipe to save time.
- Cheese - Monterey jack, sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheeses will be your best options here.
- Toppings - here is where all the fun begins! Read below on my favorite recommendations.
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down where you'll find the recipe card.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the ground meat and cook over medium-high heat until well-browned.
Drain the excess fat and wipe down the skillet with paper towels if needed.
Stir in ketchup, dijon mustard, tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, paprika, chili, cumin, and cayenne. Stir to combine until the meat is fully covered.
Simmer on lower heat until the mixture thickens. The longer the better (15-30 minutes).
Meanwhile, grill the hot dogs and toast the buns. Then transfer the hot dogs to a prepared baking dish, and add a generous amount of chili to each.
Sprinkle with cheese all over and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Add toppings and serve while warm.
Makes about 7 hot dogs. Depending on how many toppings you want to add you may want to increase or decrease the hot dog amount and make even 8 for example.
I used a slightly smaller baking dish than 9x13 and hence it is only 5, the rest I baked separately later to keep them fresh. In a 9x13 dish, you should be able to squeeze in 7 easily.
- For better flavor, grill the hot dogs and get them a little charred. In a rush? No worries, you can pan-fry, microwave, or boil the dogs as well.
- Ready-made hot dogs don't freeze very well. But you can definitely freeze chili for up to 2-3 months and thaw in the fridge a day before.
- If you are used to having sweet chili, add a spoon of sugar, ketchup or barbecue sauce to the chili. Keep in mind that ketchup contains sugar anyway, so please taste the chili a few times and increase the sweetness if needed.
- After cooking the meat, don’t skip the next step and drain the excess fat. Failing to do so may result in slightly greasy chili which we do not want here. The ground meat fat content also depends on type of meat you can get, I usually choose lean ground beef and pork.
- If just in case you worry about the mess (and these chili cheese dogs are very messy to eat!), wrap each individual hot dog instead of placing them directly in the casserole and bake as instructed + easier clean up!
- Use different condiments – such as mustard, ketchup, spicy red sauce, barbeque, garlic chili sauce. These are optional but will give even more flavor. Drizzle a little sauce on top of the dogs before adding chili or serve separately on the table next to the chili cheese dogs.
- Want to go crazy? Add some chopped chorizo, pepperoni or crispy cooked bacon on top as well.
- Want even thicker chili with extra protein? Add one 15 oz can of dark beans towards the end of chili cooking. Yum!
- Toppings: I used Finely diced red onion, crumbled feta or cotija cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream and a little dried oregano. But you can also use sliced or diced fresh or pickled jalapenos, hot peppers, pickles, diced tomatoes, sauerkraut, diced tomatoes, coleslaw, diced sweet onions.
The best advice on how to thicken chili for hot dogs is to cook it longer and on slow heat. The more it simmers the thicker and flavorful it gets. If you followed the recipe instructions correctly the chili shouldn’t be runny. But if you still end up with runny chili you could fix it by adding cornstarch or flour. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to create a slurry. Pour it in towards the end of cooking after all the spices are added and make sure to stir well so the cornstarch is thoroughly combined with chili.
To make chili taste even more flavorful increase the number of spices or add additional spices of choice. Cinnamon, turmeric, dried herbs, dried cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, flavored salt, and black pepper - all of these will be a great addition to your chili.
Depending on your location there will be plenty of hot dog varieties. Check the ingredients on each package, only a few added ingredients, and go for more high-quality meat such as Angus hot dogs, for example. I’d also suggest trying beef or mixed meat franks and make sure that they are labeled as "Uncured" or "No added nitrates."
Easy One Pot and Casserole Recipes
- Baked Pasta With Pepperoni - kids favorite pasta!
- Creamy Tomato Tuna Pasta Bake
- Easy Chicken Pasta Bake With Alfredo Sauce - simple ingredients. The best recipe for creamy pasta bake that can be customized further to your liking.
Easy Dinner Recipes
Did you make this Chili Cheese Dog Casserole? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below. Thank you!
Chili Cheese Dog Casserole
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- A pinch of salt or to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 6 oz tomato paste
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup chicken or beef broth
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 7 Hot dogs
- 7 Hot dog buns
- 1 ½ cup Colby Jack cheese shredded
- Finely diced red onion, crumbled feta or cotija cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray the baking dish with cooking oil. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the ground meat and cook until well-browned breaking the meat apart.
- Drain the excess fat and wipe down the skilelt with paper towels if needed.
- Stir in ketchup, dijon mustard, tomato paste, broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, paprika, chili, cumin, and cayenne. Stir to combine until the meat is fully covered.
- Simmer on lower heat until the mixture thickens. The longer the better (15-30 minutes).
- Meanwhile, grill the hot dogs and toast the buns. Then transfer the hot dogs to a prepared baking dish, and add a generous amount of chili on each. Sprinkle with cheese all over and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Add toppings and serve while warm.
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