Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

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There has never been a casserole that is as equally loved by kids as it is by adults. Until now.

It may sound strange, but folks, this casserole will have the whole block talking. And except for the chili, we cook everything on the grill! The chili comes together in no time at all, and is really almost as yummy as our slow-cooked Texas red chili! Get ready for lots of “ooh’s” and “ah’s” when you serve this dish. It really is amazing!

An overhead view of a chili cheese dog casserole in a white baking dish sitting on a red checkered tablecloth.

How To Make Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

As mentioned, we love making most of this casserole out on our gas grill, but you can easily do every step on your stove and in your oven.

Besides being amazingly delicious, it is such a festive casserole, too!

 

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The Ingredients You Will Need

Let’s start off with the chili, here’s what you’ll need:

Olive oil – Or vegetable oil, or even butter. You’ll be sautéing the onions and garlic in it.
Chopped onion and minced garlic – Fresh is best.
Ground beef – Go with a nice lean beef (92%), and drain off excess grease.
Seasonings – Salt, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika.
Tomato paste – Classic chili taste and thickens the sauce a bit.
Fire-roasted tomatoes – Great flavor. If you can’t find them, go with regular diced tomatoes. No need to drain.
Beef stock – Homemade is great, but store-bought works perfectly fine. In a pinch, you could substitute it with water.

NOTE:
You may have extra chili, depending on the size of your dish. Don’t worry, it’s amazing on its own and will keep in the fridge for 5 to 7 days. It freezes beautifully for up to 2 months.

A close-up view of a large skillet filled with beef chili with a wooden spatula inserted into it.

For the casserole, here’s what you’ll need:

Bacon – Go with your favorite kind. We love center-cut, Applewood smoked.
Hot dogs – All beef, baby!
Cheese – You’ll want plenty of cheese for this casserole. We go with a least 2 cups of shredded cheddar, but have a little extra for good measure.
Crescent rolls – 1 can will cover 8 hot dogs.
Parsley – Fresh and chopped. This is optional, but it looks nice sprinkled on top.

EXPERT TIP: Cooking the bacon on your grill is a snap. Get a heat-proof pan and place 3 to 4 strips on it. Set up 2-zone heat on your grill, meaning one side has direct heat and the other side has no heat. Place the pan (we use our fajita pan) on the non-heat side, close the door, and in about 5 minutes, you’ll need to flip the bacon. Cook until crispy!

Four strips of bacon being cooked on a fajita pan on a gas grill

Tips For Making Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

Do ahead – You can make the chili and cook the bacon up to 3 days in advance. Keep in the fridge until ready to use. You can also assemble the entire casserole up to 1 hour in advance. Bake on a closed grill or in your oven about 15 minutes before serving.

Watch the Dough – If the rolled hot dogs are pressed against each other, you’ll need to make sure they get completely cooked. If they are brown on top, but still doughy on the sides, then cover with foil and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve Piping Hot – This casserole is delicious to nibble on even after it has cooled down. But it is at its very best when the chili is bubbling and the dogs are sizzling.

EXPERT TIP: Cook the dogs over direct heat. We love to cook them until they are slightly charred in a few places, but, that’s a matter of taste. Remove from the grill and let them cool before rolling them up with the crescent rolls.

Six hot dogs being grilled on the grates of a gas grill.

How To Serve

Have your bacon crumbled and ready to go when the casserole is done baking. Top it with the bacon and parsley and serve at once.

Serve with a large spatula and let guests dig the wrapped dogs and chili out for themselves. Two wrapped dogs with the chili is a nice serving for one adult.

This is perfect with classic BBQ side dishes, such as

Best-Ever Potato Salad
Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Zesty Black Bean and Corn Salad
Southern Baked Beans
Slow-Cooker Corn on the Cob
Avocado-Lime Slaw

Folks, this casserole takes your ordinary hot dog to culinary greatness!

A straight-on view of a chili cheese dog casserole with crumbled bacon and chopped parsley on top.

When we first started talking about creating a casserole with hot dogs, we weren’t sure if it would work.

Well, this casserole not only works, it literally hits it out of the park.

All the components come together to make one of the most satisfying dishes we’ve ever come up with. And that’s no joke!

A plate filled with two grilled hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls sitting on a bed of beef chili.

Ready to make the best kid and adult-friendly casserole of all time? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon.

A chili cheese dog casserole topped with crumbled bacon in a white baking dish.

Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

Chili Cheese Dog Casserole may sound odd, but wait until you make it. You can do most of it out on your grill, or you can use your stove and oven, too. The chili can be made days in advance.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch or Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili cheese dog casserole recipe, grilled hot dog casserole, how to make hot dog casserole
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 652kcal

Equipment

  • Outdoor grill with lid Or use your stove and oven to prepare the dish
  • 1 9"x13" casserole dish

Ingredients

For the Chili

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lbs ground beef lean beef is good
  • tsps Kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 14.5 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup water

For the Casserole

  • 4 slices Applewood smoked bacon
  • 8 hot dogs
  • cups cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 1 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped (optional)

Instructions

Make the Chili (Can be done in advance)

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring often.
  • Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain excess grease.
  • Stir in the salt, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste until fully incorporated.
  • Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, beef stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Set aside.

Prepare the Casserole

  • Heat your grill with 2-zones, one side with direct heat and the other side with no heat.
  • Place the bacon strips on a heat-proof pan (such as a cast-iron skillet or a fajita pan) and place the pan on the indirect heat side of the grill. Close the lid and let the bacon cook for about 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the bacon and continue cooking until crispy. Remove from the grill and drain the bacon on paper towels. Set aside.
  • Place the hot dog franks on the direct heat side of the grill and cook to your liking. Remove from the grill and let them cool off somewhat.
  • Roll out the crescent roll dough and separate the triangles from each other.
  • Place about 1 tbsp of the cheese on the widest part of each dough triangle. Place a hot dog at the large end of the dough triangle and roll the dog, as if you are making pigs in a blanket. Do this with all hot dogs.
  • Ladle chili into the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish. You'll want about ½-inch of chili in the dish. Save any leftover chili for eating later. Add the rest of the cheese down the middle of the dish, lengthwise, over the chili. Nestle each rolled hot dog into the cheese and chili.
  • Place the dish on the indirect heat side of the grill and close the door. Cook until the rolls are lightly browned and completely cooked. Check the sides of the dough, especially if the dogs are snug against each other. If the dough on top is getting brown, but the sides need to cook longer, cover with foil and cook for another 10 minutes. The total baking time should be in the range of 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, use a large knife (or your fingers) to crumble the bacon. Sprinkle the bacon and parsley over the top of the casserole and serve at once.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
The chili and bacon can be made up to 3 to 5 days in advance. Keep the chili in the fridge. It can be frozen for up to 2 months. 
Rather than the grill, you can cook the bacon on the stove or in your oven. The hot dogs can be boiled. And the entire casserole can be baked in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is fully cooked and lightly browned on top. 

Nutrition

Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 765mg | Potassium: 808mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2311IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 415mg | Iron: 7mg
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9 Comments

  • 5 stars
    OMGOSH!!!
    talk about a comfort food kid friendly dish..
    I have to try it. Doubt mine will be a 5 star but it’s got everything to be a success! Thanks!

  • 5 stars
    So here is the rating: bangin’!!! My son sat silently and consumed. Always a good sign! I made his girlfriend’s in a separate dish as she is dairy intolerant/limited/allergic/no real idea, so no cheese there. Yep, Mom knocked it out of the park again! Thanks for your invaluable assistance in making me look better as a cook than I really am!!

  • Hi Kris and Wesley! My first attempt at this casserole is currently in simmer phase so I don’t have a rating for you yet. However, in doing my due diligence in following your recipe to the letter, I got to simmer phase and realized that there were still 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes on the counter! I reread the recipe, did not see where they were to be incorporated, so just tossed them in. The recipe doesn’t seem fussy so it is doubtful that it’s an issue. I will leave you a rating within a day or two and have no doubt that it will be another Longwell triumph! BTW, I called my son this morning to see if this sounded like something he would enjoy, since he’s coming for dinner (at least NOW he is!). He said it sounded “really bangin’,” which is 20-yr old speak for “delicious!”

    • Hi Rhonda! Please forgive us! The addition of the tomatoes was mistakenly left out of the instructions. A couple of other folks let us know, too, so we’ve corrected the recipe. We really hope it turned out “bagin!”….LOVE IT! Please keep us posted! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • I would like to make this dish for my husband on July 4th. Your dough was nicely browned on top, BUT I am concerned that the dough underneath, which is in direct contact with the chili (and all of its liquid), will not cook properly and end up ‘soggy’. What was your observation as to whether the dough was properly cooked all around? Thanks!

    • Hi Linda! So sorry for the somewhat delayed response. If you squeeze the wrapped dogs next to each other, you’ll need to check to make sure the dough gets fully cooked on the sides. You can insert a fork or knife and get a good idea. If they are nice and brown on top but need to cook longer because of the sides of the dough, then simply cover the casserole with foil and then bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until fully cooked. Hope this helps and please let us know if you make the casserole and how it turns out! Happy 4th!!!

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