Oven-Baked Chili Cheese Dogs For a Crowd

posted by Andrea | 03/14/2018

It’s not quite grilling season yet, but we’ve had a few nicer days where the temperatures ALMOST reached 50º, and we’ve taken advantage of the warmer weather by grilling brats, burgers, pork chops, chicken… and chili dogs!!

Chili dogs are one of those things I can’t eat very often, but every once in a while, they really hit the spot.

That ‘every once in a while’ happened to be for Simon’s birthday party a couple weekend ago. It was a Paw Patrol theme — so hot dogs fit well for our dinner menu. However, in an effort to make them slightly more appealing for the adults, we made chili cheese dogs… boy were they tasty!

Since I didn’t want to be in the kitchen during Simon’s party, I had everything 100% ready to go ahead of time, including making up all the chili dogs about 30 minutes before our family arrived.

They warmed in the oven while we opened gifts, and when it was time to eat, I simply pulled the pans of chili cheese dogs out of the oven, took the lid off the slow cooker full of cheesy potatoes, and pulled the plastic wrap off the various bowls of fruits, salads, etc.

Everything tasted great (in my opinion) and it was a SUPER easy way to instantly feed a crowd of hungry people.

Recipe for Chili Cheese Dogs

{print recipe}

makes enough chili for about 25 hot dogs

INGREDIENTS for the Chili

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • water
  • 2 small onions; finely diced
  • 1 T. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 2 c. ketchup or tomato sauce
  • 2 T. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce

INGREDIENTS for Chili Cheese Dogs

  • Hot dogs (we get the all-beef ones from Costco)
  • Buns
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Chopped onions and other hot dog condiments

DIRECTIONS for the Chili

Place ground beef in a bowl with enough water to cover it (I know this is weird, but it helps break down the beef)

Break up the beef with a large spoon or spatula until it is in really small bits (it looks gross!) Set aside.

In a medium-size stock pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until very soft.

Add ground beef AND water to the onion mixture and cook until meat is no longer pink.

Drain water and grease and return meat to pan.

Add salt, pepper, chili powder, ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to beef and stir until combined.

Use immediately to top hot dogs, put in a slow cooker for later in the day, or refrigerate until ready to use.

DIRECTIONS for the Chili Cheese Dogs

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Grill or boil hot dogs. Warm up chili if it’s not already warm.

Place hot dogs in buns and arrange in a baking dish (I line my baking dish with foil for easy clean-up)

Spoon warm chili over each hot dog and sprinkle with your favorite cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

**Note: for Simon’s party, I left the chili dogs in the oven for about 45 minutes, but turned the temp. way down to 175ºF so they could simply warm while he opened gifts. 

As I mentioned above, the “secret” for really good chili is to break down the ground beef into really small chunks — this creates really thick chili that will stay on your hot dog (no drippy mess at all!) Somehow, adding water to the ground beef helps to break it up, and then you can simply drain the water with the grease after the beef is cooked.

Also, I don’t use beans or any other extras in this recipe — it’s almost more like a chili-seasoned sloppy joe mix than it is like traditional chili you’d eat in a bowl.

However, it really is quite tasty every now and then — and definitely a fun thing for the kids to eat!

If you’re still waiting for grilling season to arrive, these oven-baked chili cheese dogs might just tide you over until the weather officially warms up!

What are your favorite hot dog toppings?

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Filed under: Food

Leave a comment


  1. Melissa D.


    Curious if you usually use ketchup or tomato sauce? They seem so differently flavored and I am wondering if you prefer one over the other? Thanks!


    Andrea Reply:

    I usually use ketchup — but most other recipes call for tomato sauce, which is why I mentioned either 🙂


  2. Avia


    You may have just changed my life with that ground beef trick. I can’t stand chunky ground beef and many times chop it up after it’s cooked. I will be trying this next time I cook it for sure!!


  3. Diane Gabrielson


    Looks delicious! I can’t find your recipe for those cheesy potatoes, which look very good too!


    Andrea Reply:

    really — bummer. My search engine must not be working well because my recipe is literally called “Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes”.
    Anyway, here’s the recipe… and they ARE very good! https://andreadekker.com/cheesy-hashbrown-potatoes/


    Sue Reply:

    Thanks for the recipe for the cheesy potatoes. One note, the potatoes on the picture do not match the potatoes in the cheesy potato recipe. The potatoes in the birthday picture look like potato wedges and I think they look super good. Do you have that recipe too?


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, one of the pictures has potato wedges — here you go –> https://andreadekker.com/herbed-potato-wedges/


    Sue Reply:

    Thank you, I think I’ll try them tomorrow for Sunday dinner.


    Andrea Reply:

    Hope you liked them 🙂


  4. Jen


    I like my ground beef very fine for chili and other dishes. I usually run mine through the food processor after browning, but I’ll have to try this next time!

    Also wondering if the buns got really soggy while they were warming in the oven? I can’t do soggy bread.


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, the water REALLY helps break down the ground beef! and NO, the buns are nicely toasted, not soggy at all! The chili is really thick and meaty, so it sits on top of the dog and doesn’t seep down into the bun 🙂


  5. Amy




  6. Lee Winemiller Cockrum


    I had never heard that ground beef trick! I’ll have to try it sometime! I love sauerkraut, mustard and onions, chili and cheese, or mustard, ketchup and onions. I can live with plain mustard if there is nothing else!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, the ground beef trick works wonderfully!