As an American who enjoys the simple pleasure of a good chili dog, I eat my fair share of hot dogs each year. About 200 billion hot dogs are consumed annually in the US, and I do my part to contribute to that staggering number! One of my favorite toppings for a hot dog is a hearty spoonful of chili. The combination of the savory hot dog with the rich, meaty chili sauce is utter perfection in my book. But with so many options for canned chili on grocery store shelves, how do you choose the best brand of canned chili for hotdogs? I ran into this dilemma far too often, standing puzzled in the canned food aisle trying to make the right choice.
The purpose of this article is to provide information on my top favorite canned chili brands perfect for serving atop juicy hot dogs. I compiled this list after extensive taste testing of numerous popular canned chili products. Keep reading for the rundown of the chili brands that made the cut, as well as why I recommend each one for crafting the ultimate chili dog experience.
Top 5 Best Canned Chili for Hotdogs
When I first started seeking the perfect canned chili to pair with hot dogs, I was overwhelmed by the options at my local grocery store. There were so many brands and varieties with different ingredients, spice levels, and textures. I wanted to find chili that had bold, savory flavor and hearty chunks of meat. But I also didn’t want it to be mouth-burning spicy. Some chilis had beans while others didn’t. With so many choices, how could I decide?
My goal with this article is to simplify the process of selecting the right canned chili brand for hot dogs. I tested out many of the popular options available at most grocery retailers and narrowed it down to my top five favorite chilis that satisfy my personal preferences. Whether you like your chili with no beans, extra spicy, or ultra meaty, there should be a brand in this list that fulfills your ideal chili dog toppings. Keep reading for the chilis that made the cut!
Wolf Brand Chili (No Beans)
The first canned chili brand that earns my glowing recommendation is Wolf Brand Chili. This Texas-style chili has bold, distinctly Southwestern flavors that complement the taste of hot dogs exceptionally well. Wolf Brand chili has a devoted following, myself included. I appreciate that this chili does not contain beans, as I prefer an all-meat chili when topping hot dogs.
Wolf Brand uses a special blend of seasonings and spices combined with chunks of beef to achieve an authentic chili flavor. While it has a moderate amount of heat, it’s not as mouth-scorching spicy as some other Texas chilis. In addition to hot dogs, this versatile chili works great served over rice, used in burritos, or enjoyed by the spoonful on its own. The hearty meatiness of Wolf Brand Chili makes it a stellar choice for topping juicy hot dogs. I highly recommend picking up a can to try it out if you haven’t already.
Chef-Mate HotDogs Chili
Next up is a canned chili specifically made by Chef-Mate for hot dogs – their aptly named HotDogs Chili. This bold, zesty chili has an authentic flavor that mimics homemade chili sauce. The ingredients are pressure cooked to bring out maximum taste. When I tried this chili, I was impressed with how similar it was to my own homemade chili recipe.
A major pro of Chef-Mate HotDogs Chili is that the generous 29 oz can provides plenty of portions. I often have chili leftover after topping hot dogs which I then use to make chili cheese fries or chili mac. The bold spices and visible chunks of meat make this an excellent chili dog topping. The authentic flavor really enhances the hot dog without overpowering it. I recommend trying out Chef-Mate for a canned chili that can almost pass for homemade.
Nalley Hotdog Chili Sauce
For a canned chili with award-winning taste, look no further than Nalley Hotdog Chili Sauce. Nalley chili has received accolades for its stand-out flavor and quality. This brand uses a special blend of savory spices combined with hearty ground beef. They also offer a vegetarian variety made with vegetable protein and malted barley flour.
Compared to some other chili brands, I find that Nalley chili has a noticeably smoother texture. The chili coats each bite of the hotdog instead of just sitting in chunks on top. But don’t mistake the smooth texture for lack of flavor. This chili sauce has a rich, meaty taste that satisfies. The addition of beans gives it a thicker, heartier texture and makes it more filling than bean-less chilis. Nalley Chili Sauce brings the flavors I want in the ideal chili dog topping.
Those familiar with Cincinnati will surely recognize Skyline Chili – it’s a staple in the area. This beloved chili brand has a nostalgic connection for people craving a taste of Cincinnati. What sets Skyline Chili apart is that it has a distinct spiciness profile. It packs a punch of flavor without being too overpowering.
This canned chili is made with an ample amount of ground beef and has a lower fat content than many competitors. I like that it satisfies my craving for a slightly spicy chili flavor without singeing my taste buds like some Texas-style chilis. Skyline Chili has an outstanding texture as well, with the perfect richness and savoriness. I’ll admit the thickness of the chili takes some getting used to. I sometimes thin it out a bit with hot dog juice or extra spices. Overall though, the taste of Skyline Chili on a hot dog brings me right back to Cincinnati. I recommend this brand for chili lovers who want some heat without going overboard.
Castleberry’s Hotdog Chili Sauce
Last but not least in my top canned chilis for hot dogs is Castleberry’s Hotdog Chili Sauce. Castleberry’s has been around for over 90 years, so they have certainly perfected their original chili recipe. This is a meaty chili made with finely ground beef and hearty kidney beans. Like the other chilis on this list, it has a bold flavor that stands up well to hot dogs without overshadowing them.
One thing I appreciate about Castleberry’s is that they offer a few different spice level options. I prefer the original recipe, but they make a spicier version as well as a more mild “sweet” recipe. This allows you to select the right chili taste to suit your personal preferences. The bottom line is that Castleberry’s makes a mighty fine canned chili topping for hot dogs. I recommend grabbing a can of their original or spicy recipe to try on your next backyard cookout.
Finding the right canned chili to pair with hot dogs ultimately comes down to individual preferences. This article outlined my personal top five favorite chili brands that I enthusiastically recommend for crafting the perfect chili dog. Key factors for me are bold flavor, meaty texture, and moderate but not overpowering spice levels. Many popular canned chili brands available at grocery stores fit the bill for topping hot dogs. With this list of my highest recommended chilis, I hope it makes choosing the perfect brand a little easier for fellow chili dog lovers. Give one of these flavor-packed canned chilis a try the next time you grill up a batch of hot dogs!