12 Unexpected Ways to Top Hot Dogs

Up your hot dog game with these fun, creative and delicious topping ideas. 

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2015

Hot Doggin' It

There are probably a million possible hot dog combinations. First you’ve got your bun options: honey wheat, potato, bolillo, baguette. Then you’ve got your options for sauce, cheese, veggies and other toppings. Finally, you've got your choices for the dog itself: veggie, chicken, Ball Park Frank, organic grass-fed beef … and sausages, oh, the sausages! Actually, all hot dogs are sausages, but we tend to put the spicier variety in its own category.

 

Summer party spreads like picnics and potlucks are an excellent opportunity to put your creative snacking skills to use and experiment with inventing new and exciting hot dog combinations, or host a summer soiree with a preloaded DIY hot dog bar to get your guests' juices flowing.

My Mother's Baked Beans Dog

My mother slow-cooks her baked beans for hours in the oven with a layer of bacon over the top. My hot dog tribute to her “famous” recipe has applewood-smoked bacon wrapped around a jumbo beef dog, served on a toasted whole-grain bun with slow-cooked barbecue baked beans and ketchup.

Mexican Street Corn Hot Dog

Split a bolillo* roll across the top and stuff with the hot dog of your choice. Toss roasted corn kernels with a little mayo and lime juice, and spoon them over the hot dog, then top with oregano, chili powder, crumbly Mexican Cotija cheese and hot sauce. Decorate with a squirt of mayo.

 

*Note: Bolillos are a slightly sweet variation on baguettes that may have stemmed from the French invasion of Mexico.

Pimento Cheese Dog

Top a classic beef hot dog with a generous portion of pimento cheese spread and fresh red-pepper slices (for crunch), and serve on pretzel rolls.

French Onion Dip Dog

Load up a hot dog with French onion dip, crushed potato chips and diced red onion on a hearty French country roll.

The Italian Stallion

This is my tribute dog to Vinnie Barbarino. Spoon marinara sauce into a hot dog bun, then tuck in a couple of slices of provolone and top with a spicy Italian sausage and sauteed mushrooms. Place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, then garnish with giardiniera and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

Jalapeno Popper Hot Dog

Dip fresh jalapeno slices into a well-beaten egg, then dredge in panko breadcrumbs and pan-fry over medium heat. Slather a bun with cream cheese, top with the hot dog of your choice (I chose a veggie dog), crushed tortilla chips and the fried jalapenos.

Banana Dessert Dog

This one's perfect for kids, and for kids at heart. Spread a traditional white bun with peanut butter on both sides, substitute a banana for the hot dog, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and top with plenty of whipped cream, sprinkles and (of course) a cherry on top.

Caprese Dog

Cut a demi-baguette in half and slice it down the side. Tuck in sweet Italian chicken sausage and fresh basil leaves, then top with balsamic ketchup, fresh mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Breakfast Dog

Surprise your loved ones with hot dogs for breakfast! Spoon sausage gravy into a side-split toasted mini brioche roll, and top with breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs and chives.

Nacho Tater Tot Dog

Try Tater Tots, nacho cheese sauce and pickled jalapenos on a footlong veggie dog for a day-drinking-picnic mash-up.

Spicy Thai Chicken Dogs

Spread buns with a thick layer of Thai peanut sauce, then top with spicy chicken sausages. Spoon on Asian slaw, and garnish with cilantro and peanuts.