Cole Cooks: Chili Dog Chili

Chili Dog Chili


Chili is not a one size fits all dish.  At FunDiego Family we have at least 10 recipes for chili.  For our 4th of July neighborhood BBQ we wanted a chili that would work well with hot dogs and hamburgers.  Based on several years of tweaking we developed this Chili Dog Chili recipe which proved to be a huge hit.

Go To Recipe 

I adopted this recipe from our recipe for Cincinnati chili along with one of my basic chili recipes.  This is a chili without beans, but it is definitely not a Texas style chili.  From my Cincinnati chili I took the idea of simmering the meat before browning it.  This is actually a common technique. Serious Eats uses it in their somewhat more complicated recipe for hot dog chili.

The key feature of chili is the peppers you add and how many.  I have a pretty standard list of peppers that I use for chili.  These include New Mexico, Ancho and Arbol.  I do around 2 of each for 2 pounds of meat.  However, that is only a rough guide.  Chilis vary a great deal by name and availability.  You can substitute California for New Mexico, Pasilla for Ancho and Serrano or Cascabel for Arbol.  Use the Scoville heat guide as a measure to how hot you want your chili.  

Scoville Heat Guide:

California 500-1,500

New Mexico 750-1,250

Ancho 1,000-1,500

Pasilla 1,000-2,000

Guajillo 2,500-5,000

Arbol 20,000-30,000

Serrano 8,000-22,000

Cascabel 8,000-12,000

There are also lots of ways to prepare the dried chilis.  I like to heat them in a skillet with cumin and coriander seeds and then blend them in my Nutri Ninja to a powder.  From Serious Eats I got the idea of adding a whole star anise. For a detailed look at how we make chili powder see our recipe.

This is a recipe that can be done on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker.  I think the Instant Pot both cuts down on cooking time and adds intensity to the flavor.  The reception I got when I served the Instant Pot version to a crowd was very positive. 

This is a great topping for not only hot dogs, but also burgers, chili cheese fries and nachos. 2 pounds of beef will easily top 20 hot dogs or burgers.  Of course, the recipe can be adjusted for more or less as needed.



Chili Dog Chili

A beanless chili that is perfect for topping hot dogs, hamburgers or making chili cheese fries
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Author David Cole


  • 2- lbs ground beef
  • 6 dried chilis stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (2 New Mexico/California, 2 ancho/pasilla, 2 arbol)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 whole star anise optional
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce Franks, Texas Pete, Crystals etc
  • Masa harina optional


  1. Place dried chopped chilis, cumin, coriander and star anise in skillet and cook over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes until it just starts smoking. Place chili and spices in blender or spice grinder and blend.

  2. Heat oil in Dutch oven or instant pot. Add diced onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until light brown. Add ground spices/chili, oregano, soy sauce, sugar and cider vinegar. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, chicken stock and beef. Bring to simmer and cook on low heat for 2 hours on stovetop. If using Instant Pot cook on high pressure for 20 minutes and let natural release for 15 minutes.
  4. To thicken combine equal mixture of masa harina and water in bowl and add to chili. Start with 1 tablespoon of each and adjust as needed.

Recipe Notes

We have our own recipe for homemade chili powder.  You can also just use store bought chili powder.  In this case use about 1.5 tablespoons of chili powder.

Chili Dog Chili
I like to finely process the onion and garlic

Chili Dog Chili

Chili Dog Chili
I love the Instant Pot as it does it all

Chili Dog Chili
The spices are key to a savory, but not too hot flavor
Chili Dog Chili
The beef cooks in the liquid

Chili Dog Chili

Chili Dog Chili
Masa Harina thickens the sauce

Chili Dog Chili



Leave a Reply

Editor's choice
San Diego’s Best NY-Style Pizza
San Diego's Top 10 Attractions
San Diego's Top 10 Attractions
Biking San Diego Harbor
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Downtown La Jolla Village
Yosemite First-Time Visitor Tips
Africa Rocks at the San Diego Zoo
Sunset Cliffs Hike
whitewater rafting on the American River