What is a good combination with hot dogs?

Hot dogs are a classic American food, beloved for their convenience, versatility, and taste. While a plain hot dog on a bun is delicious in its own right, there are so many ways to enhance the hot dog eating experience by pairing it with complementary ingredients and toppings. With the right accoutrements, the humble hot dog can be elevated into a gourmet meal. This article will explore the wide variety of delicious options for what to serve with hot dogs.

The Best Condiments for Hot Dogs

When it comes to condiments, there are several classic choices that pair perfectly with hot dogs. These condiments add moisture, flavor, and visual appeal to elevate your hot dog experience.

  • Mustard – Yellow mustard is a quintessential hot dog topping. Its tangy flavor cuts through the richness of the hot dog. Mustard comes in many varieties ranging from yellow to spicy brown to dijon, so you can pick your favorite flavor profile.
  • Ketchup – The sweet and tangy tomato flavor of ketchup is a popular favorite. It also adds a colorful red hue to dress up a plain hot dog.
  • Relish – Green or red relish offers a sweet and sour crunch that contrasts nicely with soft hot dog. Chopped pickles, onions, peppers, and spices give it a more complex flavor than ketchup alone.
  • Sauerkraut – For a savory, salty kick opt for sauerkraut. The fermented cabbage pairs perfectly with the richness of many hot dog varieties.
  • Chili – Warm chili sauce, whether beef, turkey, or veggie, can really take your hot dog to the next level. The richness complements the hot dog’s seasoning.
  • Cheese sauce – For ultimate indulgence, nacho cheese or another creamy, melted cheese sauce is hard to resist on a hot dog.
  • Coleslaw – Cool, crunchy coleslaw with a creamy dressing makes for a refreshing contrasting topping for your dog.

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Serving with Hot Dogs

In addition to traditional condiments, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Many fruits and vegetables make amazing toppings and sides for hot dogs, adding color, flavor, and nutrients.

  • Onions – Chopped raw onions give a crunchy bite and savory flavor. Grilled onions are also delicious, adding caramelized sweetness.
  • Tomatoes – Sliced tomatoes will add a juicy freshness and color contrast to your hot dog.
  • Avocado – Buttery, nutty avocado slices or guacamole make a creamy topping for your dog.
  • Pineapple – Grilled pineapple slices lend a tropical vibe and delicious tanginess.
  • Relish – As mentioned, pickle, pepper, and onion relishes complement hot dogs fantastically.
  • Coleslaw – A crunchy, vinegary side of coleslaw is a classic pairing.
  • Apples – Sweet apple slices lend moisture and flavor and play well with hot dog richness.
  • Mango – Fresh, juicy mango makes an amazing hot dog topping when sliced or diced.
  • Bell peppers – The crisp crunch of colorful diced or sliced bell peppers on top with enhance your dog.
  • Jalapenos – For spice lovers, sliced or pickled jalapenos can bring the heat.

Best Cheeses for Complementing Hot Dogs

Melty, gooey cheese is a crowd-pleasing topper for hot dogs. Beyond nacho cheese sauce, there are many cheese varieties that pair well with hot dogs.

  • American cheese – Classic yellow, sliced American cheese is a traditional choice.
  • Cheddar cheese – Sharp cheddar adds a punch of flavor.
  • Swiss cheese – Nutty sliced Swiss will melt nicely over a piping hot dog.
  • Provolone cheese – Sliced provolone has a mild, creamy flavor that works well.
  • Mozzarella cheese – Fresh mozzarella baked or grilled on the dog is delicious.
  • Queso fresco – Mild Mexican crumbling cheese offers a tasty salty kick.
  • Monterey Jack cheese – Monterey Jack’s buttery flavor pairs perfectly with a hot dog.
  • Cotija cheese – A firm Mexican cheese that can be sliced or grated to top your dog.
  • Parmesan cheese – Grated parmesan gives a savory, nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
  • Blue cheese – For hot dog lovers who like bold flavors, crumbled blue cheese adds a punch.

Best Sauces and Dips for Hot Dogs

Beyond standard ketchup and mustard, think outside the box when it comes to hot dog sauces and dips. There are so many flavorful options that can often be made right at home.

  • BBQ sauce – Sweet, tangy, or spicy BBQ sauce is a fun alternative to ketchup.
  • Ranch dressing – Cool, creamy ranch makes an excellent dip for your bites of hot dog.
  • Honey mustard – For a slightly sweet twist, honey mustard is hard to beat.
  • Mayonnaise – Spread mayo on your bun for an extra touch of richness and moisture.
  • Tzatziki – Greek yogurt-based tzatziki sauce provides cooling cucumber and garlic flavors.
  • Chimichurri – This lively green sauce brings garlic, herbs, citrus, and spice to the party.
  • Buffalo sauce – Vinegary, buttery, and pleasantly spicy buffalo sauce is a fun option.
  • Cranberry sauce – Sweet and tart cranberry sauce can create an intriguing flavor combo.
  • Jalapeno sauce – For heat-lovers, a spicy jalapeno-based hot sauce can really deliver.
  • Pizza sauce – Laden with oregano, basil, garlic, and tomatoes, marinara pizza sauce is worth a try.

Best Breads and Buns for Serving Hot Dogs

The vehicle for your hot dog – the bun or bread – is an important factor as well. The right bun or bread choice can optimize the eating experience.

  • Brioche buns – Fluffy, slightly sweet brioche buns are a gourmet choice.
  • Pretzel buns – For a deliciously different twist, use chewy soft pretzel buns.
  • Potato buns – Malty, moist potato bread makes an amazing hot dog bun.
  • Hawaiian rolls – These fluffy, sweet island-style rolls pair great with a dog.
  • Cornbread – For rustic flair, wedge your dog into slices of fresh cornbread.
  • Biscuits – Buttery, flaky biscuits can hold a hot dog – and sausage gravy if you want to gild the lily.
  • Bagels – Using halved or quartered bagels in fun flavors like everything or jalapeno cheddar.
  • Naan/pita – Stuffed into warm naan or pita bread turns a hot dog into hand-held street food.
  • Waffles/pancakes – For breakfast or dessert dogs encased in flavored waffles or pancakes.
  • Tortillas – Wrapped in a tortilla with grated cheese as a quick dog quesadilla.

Best Toppings Combinations for Hot Dogs

Certain toppings just go better together, complementing each other’s textures and flavors. Here are some of the tastiest topping combinations to take your hot dog to the next level:

Topping Combination Description
Chili, cheese, onions Classic loaded dog
Slaw, Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese Reuben-style dog
Marinara, mozzarella, basil Pizza dog
Peanut butter, bacon, sriracha Thai-inspired dog
Guacamole, pico de gallo, cotija Mexican street dog
Cranberry sauce, cream cheese, candied pecans Festive holiday dog
BBQ sauce, cheddar, crispy onions Loaded BBQ dog

Filling and Healthy Hot Dog Side Dishes

To make your hot dog meal complete, pair it with some delicious and nutrient-dense side dishes. These sides add filling satisfaction as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

  • Potato salad – Creamy, cool potato salad is a quintessential hot dog side.
  • Baked beans – Sweet, smoky baked beans complement the hot dog’s flavor.
  • Macaroni and cheese – Cheesy, nostalgic comfort food.
  • Fruit salad – Fresh fruit salad with melon, berries, apple, citrus, etc for hydration.
  • Cucumber tomato salad – A refreshing veggie side with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, oil, and vinegar.
  • Coleslaw – Cool, crisp cabbage coleslaw with carrots and dressing.
  • Pasta salad – Chilled pasta with vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli.
  • Gazpacho – Cold tomato-vegetable gazpacho soup
  • Corn on the cob – Grilled sweet corn is a perfect hot dog side.
  • Fries – French fries, tater tots, and potato chips also complement hot dogs well.

Fun and Creative Ways to Serve Hot Dogs

In addition to toppings and sides, the way you serve and present hot dogs provides lots of room for creativity. Use these fun serving ideas to spice up your next hot dog meal:

  • Hot dog kabobs – Skewer bite-sized pieces of hot dog with vegetable chunks and grill.
  • Hot dog salad wraps – Dice hot dogs into lettuce wraps for a lower carb option.
  • Hot dogs in a blanket – Wrap dogs in crescent roll dough or puff pastry and bake.
  • Chili dog nachos – Top corn tortilla chips with hot dog slices, chili, and cheese for appetizers.
  • Hot dog sliders – Use mini hot dogs and buns for bite-sized party food.
  • Hot dog pizza – Use hot dogs as a pizza topping instead of pepperoni.
  • Walking tacos – Crush hot dog-topped chips or Fritos into taco salads.
  • Hot dog omelet – Dice hot dogs into your morning omelet or scrambles.
  • Hot dog fried rice – Quickly turn leftover rice into fried rice with hot dogs.
  • Loaded hot dog baked potatoes – Top baked potatoes with hot dogs, chili, and cheese.

Best Hot Dog Varieties

Not all hot dogs are created equal. Certain types of hot dogs will lend themselves better to different toppings and preparation methods. Consider these options:

  • Beef hot dogs – Classic all-beef hot dogs are juicy and widely available.
  • Pork and beef dogs – These combine pork and beef for a distinctive flavor.
  • All-pork hot dogs – Juicy, plump pork hot dogs have a slightly different taste than beef.
  • Turkey dogs – Pre-cooked turkey dogs are lower fat than their pork and beef counterparts.
  • Chicken dogs – Made from chicken, these are another leaner alternative to beef and pork dogs.
  • Veggie dogs – Soy-based vegetarian hot dogs are a tasty meatless option.
  • Kielbasa – Polish-style beef and pork smoked sausage has a garlicky robustness.
  • Brats/wurst – German-style veal and pork sausages bring a different meaty mix of flavors.
  • Kosher dogs – Kosher all-beef hot dogs have a distinctive spicy, smoky taste.

The type of hot dog can make a difference in terms of flavor combinations. For example, spicy toppings like chili and jalapenos pair better with hearty beef hot dogs. Sweet fruits and sauces complement the lighter flavors of turkey or chicken dogs. Veggie dogs are ideal for creative, vegetable-focused combinations. Consider the hot dog base when deciding on toppings.


Hot dogs may seem simple, but there are limitless options for taking them to the next level through creative toppings, sides, and preparation. While condiments like mustard and ketchup are classics, don’t be afraid to try fruit, veggie, and cheese toppings. Chili, coleslaw, baked beans, and mac and cheese are traditional sides, but also think outside the box with options like fruit salad. Skewering, wrapping, or baking your hot dogs gives fun presentation options. And different types of hot dogs like beef, turkey, and veggie will complement different flavor combinations better. With the right accoutrements and imagination, the humble hot dog can be a gourmet meal.

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