No backyard cookout is complete without plump vegan hot dogs sizzling away on the grill, shimmering beneath the summer sun. Tucked into a soft bun, that alone would be enough to power an afternoon of outdoor revelry, but the best was still yet to come.
Slathered with veggie chili and gooey melted plant-based cheese, suddenly that simple meal has transformed into these epic vegan chili cheese dogs—the stuff of childhood dreams. Equal parts indulgent and uncomplicated, you can’t beat that foolproof formula for a timeless comfort food staple.
Don’t save this classic bite of Americana just for summer barbecues. In fact, you don’t need to drag out the grill at all! Make the greatest chili cheese dogs whenever, wherever, with entirely plant-based ingredients!
You can cook them up over a campfire for a divine camping meal, or in your toaster oven or microwave for a quick-fix meal at home. Use canned or homemade chili and your favorite vegan cheese! Even skeptics will be won over by this irresistible entrée.
Vegan Hot Dogs: Meatless hot dogs are widely available in most mainstream supermarkets these days. You’ll find a wider selection at natural foods stores, such as Whole Foods or Sprouts, and don’t forget to check the freezer aisle as well as the fresh section, too. You can also try a more highly seasoned meatless sausage if you’d like to change things up.
Hot Dog Buns: White, whole wheat, pretzel, or gluten-free; top-sliced or side-sliced; it’s all fun on a bun! On rare occasion, you might find dairy, eggs, or honey in store-bought options, so always double check labels.
Vegan Chili: Make your own from scratch or crack open a can to get the spice right. While you have a huge number of choices from mild to extra-hot, err on the side of caution when serving a diverse audience. You can always spike yours with sriracha or jalapeño peppers to pump up the volume.
Vegan Cheese: Sharp cheddar-style shreds offer just the right amount of savory, gooey goodness here. We used Violife‘s Just Like Cheddar Shreds because it melts beautifully and tastes great in this dish. But you can use any vegan shredded cheese you can find near you!
If you’re in a hurry, the microwave can’t be beat. It’s great for anyone cooking with since it’s fast, safe, and works in an instant. Solo diners might enjoy using the air fryer or toaster oven a bit more, since it allows the bun to get lightly toasted instead of slightly chewy.
For a crowd though, it’s easier to assemble all eight dogs in a large casserole dish that you can just slide into the oven at once. In short, there’s no wrong answer; the best way to cook chili cheese dogs is the one that you prefer, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
The fun in making chili cheese dogs is dressing them up with wild and wonderful toppings. Add a lot or a little, switching it up to keep every meal exciting. Everyone can get exactly what they want from the same basic meal this way. Just a few topping ideas include:
Chili cheese dogs could be a complete meal in and of themselves. If you’d like to round out the meal with some additional sides, there are lots of complementary accompaniments. Here are a few favorites:
Sometimes, you just want a semi-homemade solution to speed through meal prep. Other times, it’s fun to turn dinner into a project and craft every single element from scratch. If you’d like to take a DIY approach, here’s where to start.
These vegan chili dogs were photographed by Purely Kaylie. Written with support from Hannah Kaminsky. Recipe and photos copyright of World of Vegan, all rights reserved.