23 Wild and Crazy Hot Dog Ideas for Grilling Season

The sound of the sizzle, the satisfying snap when you take your first bite, the sweet, savory, smoky, salty goodness of condiments and grilled meat and toasted buns

This is what hot dog season is all about!

Take your hot dogs from plain to insane with Foodal's round-up of wild and crazy hot dog ideas. From regional specialties to new takes on old standbys, this collection of recipe ideas from our favorite bloggers is not to be missed! https://foodal.com/recipes/barbeque/crazy-hot-dogs/

But what about when that timeless and tasty tubed meat starts seeming a little bland?

Not to worry, it’s just time to shake up your grill game a little.

And with that, we bring you our roundup of wild and crazy topping suggestions, homemade sauces, and prep methods from some of our favorite bloggers around the web, to help you bring some excitement back to your barbecue repertoire.

In the market for a new grill? Foodal’s got you covered with our series of reviews for every budget and space, from charcoal backpacking grills to full-size gas grills with rotisseries and infrared burners.

Here’s a preview of the tasty selections ahead:

Super Cheesy or Saucy

1. Mac and Cheese

Deborah Harroun’s mac and cheese dogs are the real deal, topped with homemade cheesy pasta.

A hot dog in a bun topped with macaroni and cheese on a white plate, on top of a red and white checkered cloth, on a white wood surface with scattered uncooked elbow noodles and bread, next to a pressure cooker insert filled with the sauced pasta dish.
Photo credit: Taste and Tell

Grill the buns and dogs in the backyard, or just heat the hot dogs in a little simmering water on the stove before serving.

Get the recipe on Taste and Tell.

2. Dr. Pepper Barbecue

Sweet, savory, salty, and spicy, this one’s got it all, slathered with homemade Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce and topped with sliced fresh jalapenos.

Three hot dogs topped with barbecue sauce and sliced jalapenos, on a wood board topped with a paper towel, on a red, white, and blue striped cloth kitchen towel, with a bowl of cooked ears of corn in the background.
Photo credit: Spicy Southern Kitchen

Christin Mahrlig at Spicy Southern Kitchen is a Dr. Pepper lover, and you will be too when you try this recipe.

3. Chipotle Cheese Sauce and Bacon-Corn Relish

If you’re not craving sweet pickle relish, sweet summer corn is the answer. When that’s not available, feel free to use frozen. And a little bacon never hurts, right?

Overhead image of four grilled hot dogs in buns, topped with corn and melted cheese, with two small dishes of cooked corn and queso dip, on a piece of waxed paper on a wood surface.
Photo credit: Cooking and Beer

Drizzled with homemade spicy chipotle cheese sauce and topped with relish, you won’t even miss the ketchup and mustard.

Check out Justine Sulia’s recipe on Cooking and Beer.

South of the Border and Tex-Mex

4. Mexican Mole

In the mood for rich, chocolatey molé? It’s great with grilled meat!

Overhead vertical image of four hot dogs with chopped avocado, crumbled cheese, and a drizzle of mole sauce, with a glass and a bottle of beer, two bottle caps, and lime wedges on a metal baking sheet.
Photo credit: Country Cleaver

Avocado, juicy tomato, crumbled cotija cheese, and earthy, flavorful molé sauce top these grilled franks. You won’t be able to stop at just one!

You can find Megan Keno’s Mexican-inspired recipe on Country Cleaver.

5. Nacho

Make your favorite tasty party snack or game night appetizer into a meal, with this recipe from Sommer Collier at A Spicy Perspective.

Vertical head-on image of a hot dog topped with green sauce and a drizzle of white sauce, on a blue and white plate with a small pile of corn chips, with more plated sandwiches, a squeeze bottle of sauce, and a white bowl of ketchup in the background.
Photo credit: A Spicy Perspective

Topped with crushed tortilla chips for added crunch, you can make your guacamole, crema, and salsa at home, or grab some from the store for a quick and easy summertime weeknight dinner.

6. Fajita

Donna Kelly’s recipe for fajita-style hot dogs is definitely protein rich. Refried beans are mixed with shredded cheddar and salsa, heated until the cheese is melted, and spread onto a bun.

Grilled frankfurters in buns with bell peppers, on a white serving platter.
Photo credit: Apron Strings

Add grilled peppers and onions, a little bit of mustard, and you’re ready to go!

Well, almost – don’t forget the hot dog (though we’re thinking you actually could here… maybe skip the mustard too, and you’ve got a great option to serve vegetarian guests at your next barbecue).

Check out the recipe on Apron Strings.

Asian Flair

7. Bombay-Inspired with Mango Relish and Curried Mayo

Mayo flavored with Madras curry powder and honey is slathered on grilled hot dogs, then topped with a homemade relish of fresh jalapeno, cilantro, mango, and lime. Yum!

Fresh fruit chutney and Madras curry spiced mayo tops two wieners in buns, on a wood surface.
Photo credit: Feed Me Phoebe

Perhaps it’s a little ironic that beef dogs are called for in Phoebe Lapine’s recipe, as a large percentage of Indian eaters are vegetarian Hindus. Nonetheless, this is a tasty dog that’s big on Indian-style flavor. The toppings would make a great addition to veggie dogs as well!

Get the recipe on Feed Me Phoebe.

8. Kimchi

Whether you like to make your own kimchi at home or you buy it in a jar from the store, it makes an excellent topping for grilled frankfurters.

Two grilled franks in buns, with the one on the left topped with kimchi and a jar of the same in the background next to a pair of tongs, on a white surface.
Photo credit: Foody Schmoody Blog

At your next cookout, ditch the canned sauerkraut, and go for a spicier version of healthy fermented cabbage instead. Make it extra delicious by brushing the buns with melted butter before you grill them.

You’ll find Christine Hadden’s recipe on Foody Schmoody.

9. Sweet Chili Thai Peanut

Chop up some ripe mango and cucumber, fresh herbs, and shallots, add a drizzle of sweet chili sauce and some savory peanut sauce, and you’ve got an irresistible Thai-inspired dish.

Thai Peanut Hot Dogs with chopped vegetables on top, in a white oblong dish.
Photo credit: Country Cleaver

Its combination of flavor and textures hits all the right notes, a fresh and tasty way to serve your family and your guests something unexpected this grilling season. Megan Keno has the recipe on Country Cleaver.

Mediterranean

10. Greek Hummus and Tzatziki

Gyros and falafel aren’t the only dishes that taste great topped with a little hummus and a cool cucumber yogurt sauce.

Two grilled franks topped with vegetables and tzatziki, on newspaper on top of a blue and white checkered cloth, next to a small white dish of ketchup.
Photo credit: Neighborfood

Courtney Rowland has the recipe on NeighborFood, and she recommends garnishing these with diced bell pepper, cucumber, and onion for a fresh take on a grill time favorite.

11. Pizza

Love pizza? Adults and kids alike will come running for these dogs, topped with pepperoni, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, and Italian herbs.

Added bonus: it’s a big hit with the ketchup and mustard averse!

Pizza Hot Dogs topped with melted cheese and fresh herbs, on a white rectangular ceramic serving platter, on a brown wood surface.
Photo credit: Real Housemoms

Serve these with a big green salad topped with marinated artichokes, mushrooms, pickled, eggplant and pepperoncini (or your own favorite Italian-style salad fixings) and dinner’s ready!

Nicole White is creator of the blog The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie. Check out her recipe on Real Housemoms.

South American Style

12. Brazilian

Denise Browning’s recipe for Cachorro Quente is topped with saucy ground beef sauteed with garlic, onions, cumin, bell pepper, tomato, herbs, and melted cheese.

Brazilian Hot Dog topped with melted cheese, in a cardboard holder, on top of a red and white polka-dot paper napkin, on a yellow table with scattered french fries.
Photo credit: From Brazil To You

If you like chili dogs, you’ll love these! Get the recipe for this Brazilian-style deliciousness on From Brazil To You.

13. Colombian

Dogs heavy on the flavorful toppings are a tradition in Colombia, and Diana Lopez has the recipe for a basic version on Sweet y Salado.

Colombian Hot Dogs with chopped vegetable and sauce, on a white ceramic plate.
Photo credit: Sweet y Salado

Topped with mayo, ketchup, mustard, coleslaw, shredded mozzarella, and crushed potato chips, you’re guaranteed to get the full cookout experience with every bite!

Diana also offers suggestions for even more adventurous and flavorful toppings like garlic mayo, pineapple sauce, chimichurri, bacon, and even quail eggs.

There’s a how-to video to go with this recipe as well. Check it out here.

American Regional Favorites

14. LA Street Dog

If you’ve ever walked around Downtown Los Angeles in the afternoon when the weather’s warm (which is just about always), or been ejected onto the sidewalk after a stadium show to find yourself moving along with the crowd as if you and the thousands of other concert-goers were suddenly one (Hollywood Bowl, anybody?), you’ve probably noticed the many sidewalk vendors selling deliciously greasy bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

LA Street Dogs topped with peppers, onions, ketchup, and mustard.
Photo credit: The 99 Cent Chef

Sizzling on sheet pans on the side of the road or passed through the windows of mobile food carts, you need to be quick if you want to get one of these (and careful where you’re walking, if you want to avoid a nasty burn)!

Making your own bacon-wrapped Los Angeles-style street dogs at home – topped with a flavorful combo of mustard, mayo, and ketchup alongside grilled onions, bell pepper strips, and a jalapeno – is less risky. Billy Vasquez, aka The 99 Cent Chef, has the recipe. You’ll find it here.

Billy’s post also includes a helpful video describing the history of Tijuana Dogs as he walks around LA, and makes the local delicacy in his own kitchen.

15. Fancy Chicago Style

If you’re a fan of the Chicago-style dog you’ll love this recipe, topped with crispy onions, pickles, peppers, chopped tomato and – of course – mustard. No ketchup here!

Overhead shot of four Chicago-style hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and peppers, on a white plate on a brown table surrounded by various toppings in two small bowls and a jar.
Photo credit: A Beautiful Plate

Plus, there’s an added twist… quite literally. These dogs are spiralized, so they’ll be extra crispy.

You’ll find Laura Davidson’s recipe for Windy City Hot Dogs on A Beautiful Plate.

Go Bunless

16. Corn Dog Muffin

A corn dog might just be the perfect serving style to convey that juicy hot dog goodness from hand to mouth, beloved at state fairs and elementary schools around the country.

But what if you’re in the mood to enjoy this delicacy at home?

A hand dips a corn muffin with a hot dog in the center into a bowl of ketchup, with more muffins and a bowl of mustard in the background, on white plates topped with red and white checkered paper lines, on a gray surface.
Photo by Meghan Yager.

Skip the boxed options from the freezer section at the grocery store, skip the sticks, and make your own bite-sized nibbles of deliciousness from scratch.

As an added bonus, these bunless beauties are gluten-free, dairy-free, and they bake up quickly in a muffin tin!

We share the recipe on Foodal.

17. Cheesy Wonton

If you’re not all about the fluffy white bread bun, there are so many options out there, to please every palate.

Here’s another one: try wonton wrappers.

Three Cheese Hot Dog Wontons piled on a square white plate, on top of a yellow and white zig-zag striped folded cloth napkin with a white ramekin of sauce in the background, on a gray wood surface.
Photo credit: Cheap Recipe Blog

Filled with gooey cheese and baked until they’re crunchy and golden brown, this version from Haley Nelson at Cheap Recipe Blog is great for dipping.

18. Corn Dog Hamantaschen

Putting a Jewish spin on the whole hog dog thing, you’ll love Chanie Apfelbaum’s recipe for Corndog Hamantaschen.

In case you’re not already familiar with hamantaschen, they’re typically triangular cookies or pastries filled with dried fruit, poppy seeds, jam, chocolate, or even cheese. But this recipe takes them to a whole new level, corn dog style!

Corn Dog Hamantaschen in a pile on a piece of crumpled waxed paper, with sliced jalapenos and a small cup of mustard, on a round wooden serving platter.
Photo credit: Busy in Brooklyn

Sliced hot dogs are wrapped with cornmeal and then baked until lightly browned and crispy, ready for dipping in mustard or ketchup, or garnishing with your favorite toppings. Whereas the corn dog muffins described above have a more cakey texture, these are more firm and delightfully doughy for an entirely different textural experience!

How’d Chanie come up with the recipe? She says she has no idea. You’ll find it on Busy in Brooklyn.

19. Pringles Deep Fried

Nick Chipman at Dude Foods is all about experimentation, and creating new combinations in the kitchen. Oh, and junk food!

Three deep-fried Pringles-coated hot dogs on sticks rest on a striped wooden serving board in the background, with another being dipped into a small cup of ketchup in the foreground.
Photo credit: Dude Foods

If hot dogs on a stick are your dream come true, whip up this deep fried version at home, breaded with crushed Pringles potato chips. Nick’s helpful how-to video will (very quickly– like in 30 seconds or less) guide you through the process.

20. Fried Rice

Perhaps the perfect use for leftover grilled dogs, why not give fried rice a spin?

Fried rice with hot dogs, carrots, onion, ginger, garlic, and chopped green scallions, in a white bowl with a hand holding a ceramic spoon.
Photo by Felicia Lim.

This tasty version is made with plenty of ginger and garlic, and some savory soy sauce, plus a little egg and carrot.

Top it all off with a few chopped spring onions, and dinner is served!

Get the recipe on Foodal.

Alternative Meats and Vegetarian Options

21. Buffalo Chicken

Chicken tube meat is a thing, so why not make it Buffalo style?

Buffalo Chicken Hot Dog topped with crumbled blue cheese, chopped celery leaves, and hot sauce, on a white plate.
Photo credit: Simple Comfort Food

Just like your beloved wings, these are drizzled with classic Buffalo sauce, and topped with crumbled blue cheese and chopped celery.

Less messy to eat than wings, there are also no bones to deal with! Dax Phillips has the recipe on Simple Comfort Food.

22. Smoky Barbecue Carrot Dog with Creamy Chickpea Salad

If you haven’t checked out Estonian blogger Sandra Vungi’s vegan recipes yet, this is the perfect place to start.

Barbecue carrot dogs with lettuce and chickpea salad, in a basket in the foreground, with three grilled carrots on sticks on a napkin, three hot dog buns on a folded kitchen towel, and a bowl of garbanzo salad with a spoon, on a wood surface.
Photo credit: Sandra Vungi Vegan

Marinated and grilled carrots stand in for the meat, and the whole thing is topped with a creamy vegan chickpea salad.

You’ve probably eaten your fill of veggie burgers by now. So give these a try! The recipe is on Vegan Sandra.

23. Surf and Turf

Sometimes nothing beats the combination of seafood and meat – in wiener form, in this case.

Closely cropped Fried Shrimp Hot Dog Po' Boy Sandwich on a white plate.

From Foodal’s Kendall Vanderslice, we bring you the po’’boy hot dog sandwich, a grilled dog on a bun with mustard, mayo, lettuce, and tomato, topped with buttermilk batter-fried shrimp. You’ve got to try this thing.

Hot Dog Heaven

With all of these tasty options for spicing things up during grill season, using up leftovers, and even enjoying your favorite tube meat grill-free, your mouth must be watering by now.

The only question now is, which type will you try first?

Looking for a little light reading to enjoy in the backyard hammock while you’re chowing down?

Check out this article from Emily Contois, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame… And Eat 33,000 Hot Dogs.” It includes a bonus reading list that links to books and articles that detail the fascinating history of franks.

What’s your go-to topping selection? And what will you do to spice it up this season? Let us know in the comments!

And for even more delectable recipe options to try at home during grill season, try these next:

Photos in this article are owned and copyrighted by their respective owners as identified. Reprinted with permission by Ask the Experts, LLC. All rights reserved by all parties. Photos by Meghan Yager, Kendall Vanderslice, and Felicia Lim © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 2, 2016. Last updated: July 22, 2020 at 12:55 pm. With additional link contributions by Nan Schiller and Lori Hendrix.

About Allison Sidhu

Allison M. Sidhu is a foodie from Philly who is based in Los Angeles, where she loves exploring the local restaurant scene with her best buds. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College and an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up something tasty (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she does the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her keyboard, chilling in the garden, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a food-filled magazine at the beach.

23 Wild and Crazy Hot Dog Ideas for Grilling Season

15 thoughts on “23 Wild and Crazy Hot Dog Ideas for Grilling Season”

  1. Oh, how fun is all of this? The presentations are pretty great too. These make for some interesting flavor combinations and definitely jazz up the typical cookout. Nice.

    I’m a Chicago girl, so I miss that style but the LA one sounds pretty tasty too. You’ve certainly given us plenty of different types from which to choose. Nicely done.

    I’m going to have to try some of these, but I think I’ll be eating them with knife and fork (to avoid wearing them lol).

    Reply
    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Zyni. Eating with a knife and fork definitely seems like a good idea for some of the more heavily loaded options!

      Reply
  2. Hot dogs have become more vogue lately I’ve noticed. They aren’t just the cheap thing at everyone’s BBQ party that’s the only thing left over.

    There’s a great bar & grille in Pittsburgh, PA that serves tons of dogs done up different ways. It’s called D’s Six Pax & Dogz. Some of the toppings are pretty out there, but I have to say the ones I was most skeptical about have turned out to the be the most tasty! My favorite on their menu is their “Angry Tiki Dog” which features pineapple, bacon and hoison sauce.

    I recently started making a hot dog recipe where you line whole dogs up in a baking dish and pour cornbread batter around them, essentially baking the hot dogs in their own cornbread bun. Then, I make a great homemade chili sauce to go on top after the cornbread and dogs come out of the oven. It’s become quite a family favorite!

    Reply
    • As long as they are real meat not a bunch of fillers, I’m okay with the increased popularity. I still dont’ want the cheap ones though. They are pretty versatile, especially for feeding a number of people.

      I never knew there were so many ways to frankfurters. I’m thinking the hot wing style ones sound really good.

      Lisa, your chili cheese corndog casserole sounds interesting. I bet that’s something my kids would have liked when they were little. I wish I knew about it before.

      Reply
    • So true, Lisa. The Tiki dog sounds delicious! I’d love to try your chili corn dog casserole recipe too.

      Reply
  3. This one made my bookmarks. Hot dogs may not be the healthiest option, but they are cheap, easy, and fun. My kids love them. I can’t wait to try a few of these and see how my family likes them.

    Reply
  4. Thanks so much for including my Kimchi Dogs in this great collection. So many creative options. Good thing I have so much of summer left to try them out! Looking forward to tasting my way through the collection.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, Christine! So many days of grilling to come, over the next couple of months… enjoy!

      Reply
  5. I.. didn’t know there were so many hotdog combinations. I usually just do a regular one with sweet bread and ketchup, my favorite. Lately I’ve been adding vegetables as well which adds a lot to the taste, but that Chicago style one looks delicious!

    Reply
  6. Thank you so much for sharing my recipe for Colombian hot dogs! I love this compilation and I already see a couple that I would love to try. The fajita version look delicious!

    Reply
    • You’re so welcome, Diana! I’m definitely looking forward to trying as many of these as I can throughout the summer months.

      Reply
  7. Hot dogs are a great go-to food when you’re in a hurry and when you don’t have a lot of time to fix a meal. These are some great ideas to add some zip to a regular stand-by. I always eat cheese on my hot dogs anyway, because I’m a cheese hound, so I like the idea of the macaroni and cheese dog. I often mix the two together and eat it in a bowl as depicted in the summer-style recipe, but I never thought about putting in on the dog and eating it in the bun. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Reply
  8. There are literally so many variations of hot dogs! The fact that I only knew about the classic version makes me feel a little bit dumb, lol.
    As a Mexican, my personal favorites on this list were the nachos one, the molito one, and the kimchi, I want them all right now! The other variation that makes my mouth water was the hot dog flavored Pringles, I do need to give it a try, it seems to be heaven on a stick.

    Reply
  9. I just had plain old hotdogs for lunch today. So many variations I wish I had thought of here. That cheesy wonton one was very imaginative. I`m saving the recipies for several of these to try out with my 5 year old.

    Reply
    • Oh no! Not plain hot dogs! 😉 I hope you have fun spicing it up a bit next time, and that your child enjoys these as well. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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