20 Top-Notch Ideas for Hot Dogs

Try a new twist on an old favorite with recipes for Chicago-style dogs, chili cheese dogs — and everything in between.

May 26, 2022

Bring on the Toppings

We can all agree that hot dogs are an essential part of any backyard barbecue — so why is it that burgers get all the glory? We’re sure that it’s due, in part, to the topping situation. Burgers get a layer of melty cheese, crisp lettuce, tomato and onion. Hot dogs, on the other hand, are often piled up on a plate (sans accompaniment) and left as a self-serve choice for kids. We’re here to change all that. Whether you pile them high with unexpected toppings or stick to classic combinations like chili and cheese, these recipes will take your dogs to the next level — and earn them their rightful place alongside all the other mouthwatering mains at your cookout. Wondering where to start? Keep it simple and whip up a batch of Bobby’s homemade pickle relish. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a salty, grilled frankfurter.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Link Hot Dogs with Homemade Pickle Relish

Ultimate Chili Dogs

Tyler makes an easy, beefy chili spiked with ketchup and mustard, then spoons it over grilled dogs. A topping of grated cheese makes the perfect finish.

Get the Recipe: Chili Dogs

Nacho Dog

Dress up your dog with chunky guacamole and Bobby's Grilled Tomato-Chipotle Salsa.

Get the Recipe: Nacho Dog

Pretzel Buns With Grilled Dogs

Sandwich King Jeff Mauro makes his own easy pretzel buns to fill with grilled dogs and a spicy cheese sauce.

Get the Recipe: Pretzel Buns with Grilled Dogs and Spicy Cheese Sauce

Texas Dog

For a Texas twist, add a touch of barbecue sauce and crunchy coleslaw.

Get the Recipe: Texas Dog

Bobby's Beer Brats

For his Milwaukee-style brats, Bobby braises the sausages in beer, then moves them to the grill to achieve a golden-brown crust.

Get the Recipe: Beer Brats

Wisconsin Beef-and-Cheddar Brats

Sandra grills beef-and-cheddar brats on the grill and then tops them with onions cooked with beer.

Get the Recipe: Wisconsin Beef-and-Cheddar Brats

Chicago Dogs

Now you don't have to make a trip to the Windy City to enjoy a version of the signature hot dogs smothered in classic condiments. A Chicago-Style Dog or Chicago Dog is usually boiled, but we chose to steam ours—it gives the hot dog a good snap, and the steamed buns are warm and squishy in the best way possible.

Get the Recipe: Chicago Dogs

Chipotle Chili Cheese Dogs

Foot-long hot dogs get a Southwestern kick from chili powder, cumin and chipotle hot sauce.

Get the Recipe: Chipotle Chili Cheese Dogs

Scott's Beef Hotdog with Gorgonzola, Marinated Tomatoes, Grilled Onion and Frisee

Put a sophisticated spin on classic cookout food by loading hot dogs with Gorgonzola, marinated tomatoes and delicate frisee lettuce.

Get the Recipe: Scott's Beef Hotdog with Gorgonzola, Marinated Tomatoes, Grilled Onion and Frisee

Malai Chicken Hot Dog

Get excited for summer heat with these spicy South Asian-inspired "hot dogs," made with ground chicken and lots of fresh herbs and chiles. For a cool finish, top them off with an easy mango mustard spiked with mint.

Get the Recipe: Malai Chicken Hot Dog


Justin uses a mix of scallops and skinless salmon or cod to make these tasty seafood dogs. You don't need to bother with casings — he simply wraps them tightly with plastic wrap and cooks them in boiling water. After they've cooled, unwrap the pescabrats and finish them off on the grill.

Get the Recipe: Pescabrat

Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade Relish

Jeff's hometown pride shines through in his classic Chicago dog topped with bread-and-butter relish and hand-cut fries with celery salt. "Eat on the towel-lined trunk of a car," he advises.

Get the Recipe: Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade Relish

Brooklyn's Corniest Hot Dogs

This New York City-inspired dog is topped with caramelized onions, bacon, corn and cheese.

Get the Recipe: Brooklyn's Corniest Hot Dogs

Maxwell Street Polish Sausage Sandwiches

Jeff Mauro uses just a few ingredients to top his Chicago-style sausages.

Get the Recipe: Maxwell Street Polish Sausage Sandwiches

Barbecue Bean Chili Dogs

Sandra Lee tops her hot dogs with a secret weapon: barbecue sauce.

Get the Recipe: Barbecue Bean Chili Dogs

Spicy Lamb and Mint Sausage

Michael Symon uses lamb shoulder and pork fatback to make these juicy sausages that are served with feta and roasted peppers for a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Lamb and Mint Sausage

Pork Green Chili Topped Hot Dogs

What’s better than a hot dog? One that’s topped with green chiles, tomatoes and pork. We recommend adding about 2 tablespoons of flour to help thicken your chili mixture.

Get the Recipe: Pork Green Chili Topped Hot Dogs

Lefse Hot Dogs with Fennel Slaw

Molly says, "These are inspired by the street hot dogs they serve in Norway, that come wrapped in a flatbread that is similar to lefse. Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread made with riced potatoes. They sell it here in the supermarket, but if you can't find it you can substitute your favorite flour tortillas".

Get the Recipe: Lefse Hot Dogs with Fennel Slaw

Hot Dogs with Summertime Slaw

Serve crunchy red and green cabbage slaw on top of the grilled hot dog of your choice.

Get the Recipe: Hot Dogs with Summertime Slaw