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Chris Cooks

Best Hot Dog Toppings – The Ultimate Hot Dog Bar

May 26, 2024

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For someone who loves to cook things from scratch, you might be surprised to learn that hot dogs are my favorite food. There, I said it. And I stand by it. What really makes hot dogs fun are the toppings you can add to them – endless combinations, and a great way to serve a whole crowd.

Wood Serving Board | Marble Lazy Susan | Wooden Tongs | Dish Towel

That’s why I decided to throw down a hot dog bar this month for our whole CLJ team. The thing I love about doing a food bar of any kind is that you can offer options for food restrictions. This means everyone can enjoy the experience all together from the same spread of food. (Note: We did make veggie burgers as a meat alternative for some vegetarian guests!)

Chip Bin | Cake Stand (similar) | Two-Tier Stand (similar) | Wooden Pedestal (similar) | White Bowls | Mason Jars | Green Footed Bowls | Ruffled Terracotta Planter | Potted Fern | Boos Cutting Board

When it comes to setting out a spread, I like having a variety of containers, heights, and flavors. I create a few toppings from scratch and then set out a curated assortment of my favorite sourced products. Just make sure you have mustard and pickled toppings — those two are non-negotiable for me. And don’t forget the sides! Watch the video to see how to make some great slaws and my favorite elote corn salad (based on the famous Mexican grilled street corn). Plus, we always have a basket of chip varieties on hand.

Here is my assortment of toppings fit for a hot dog bar. Some of these may be a little unexpected, but I encourage you to go for it. What is life for if not to try new things?

Wood Serving Board | Oval Platter | Wooden Tongs | Boos Cutting Board

Mustard toppings for hot dogs

  • Mr. Mustard Hot Mustard
  • Dijon mustard
  • Yellow mustard
  • Homemade honey mustard (1/3 cup spicy brown mustard mixed with 2 T honey)

Pickled toppings for hot dogs

  • Green cabbage slaw (jump to recipe below)
  • Red cabbage slaw (jump to recipe below)
  • Grillow’s Pickle de Gallo
  • Mango pineapple pico de gallo
  • Sweet relish salad cubes
  • Dicked pickled jalapenos
  • Pickled red onion
  • Sauerkraut (I love the garlic pickle from Cultured Traditions if you can find it)
  • Banana peppers of your preferred spice level
  • Kimchi (unexpected? yes, but it’s a great spice level up if you like sauerkraut)

Fresh toppings for hot dogs

  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Chopped serranos
  • Chopped vidalia onion
  • Green lettuce leaves (these make a great wrap for those who are gluten-free)
  • Elote (jump to recipe below)

Finishing condiments for hot dogs

  • Truff Green Hot Sauce
  • Sriracha mayo
  • Chili crisp (recipe here)
  • Yellow Bird Sriracha
  • CW Dressing Sweet Date Hot Sauce
  • Fly by Jing Zhong Sauce (pairs great with kimchi)
  • Bone-Sucking Wing Sauce in Honey Habanero
  • Celery salt (just a great flavor enhancer)

Elote-Inspired Grilled Corn Salad

Recipe by Chris Marcum
Course: Sides, SaladsCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


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  • 3 ears corn, grilled, husk removed, cut from the cob and cob discarded.

  • For the Dressing
  • 1/3 cup mayonaise

  • 1 lime, zested and juiced

  • 1-2 tsp honey

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

  • 2-3 tsp Tajin seasoning

  • 2-3 tbsp cotija cheese, crumbled


  • Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Once the corn is finished cooking, add it to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • Serve at room temperature.


  • Great as a topping or a side dish.

Simple Classic Coleslaw

Recipe by Chris Marcum
Course: SidesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



This is my go-to coleslaw for barbecue, hot dogs and more that's perfectly balanced between creamy, sweet and tangy.

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  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed (half a large lemon)

  • 1/3 cup cane sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

  • 1 bag angel hair coleslaw mix (I use the Fresh Express brand)


  • Whisk the mayonnaise, lemon juice, cane sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour in the bag of coleslaw cabbage mix and gently toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve cold or room temperature.

Sweet & Sour Slaw

Recipe by Chris Marcum
Course: SidesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



This is a perfect summer side for hot dogs, barbecue or grilled seafood.

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  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar (see notes)

  • 1/3 cup cane sugar

  • 1/2 small head red cabbage

  • 1 t sesame seeds

  • black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


  • In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  • Cut away the core from the red cabbage, and slice the head into small shreds.
  • Add the cabbage to the bowl and gently toss to coat.
  • Season with salt, pepper and sesame seeds. Serve cold or at room temperature.


  • You can use a mixture of white vinegar and lemon juice to equal the same measurement.

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What do you think?

  1. Haley says:

    I suggest adding cream cheese to your list. Cream cheese and banana peppers on a toasty bun, and a hotdog. The best.

  2. Nancy Frank says:

    I think it sounds delicious! We love We love hot dogs and I will definitely try some of your toppings. Being from West Virginia, chili is our favorite topping along with slaw or shredded cheddar cheese.

  3. Gretchen says:

    I love this! So many good new ideas. Mentally planning a fun summer feast…

  4. Caroline says:

    Chris, I love this idea — The Ultimate Hot Dog Bar. I’m going to take/steal your creative spread for a family reunion I will be hosting. Unfortunately, your Elote recipe is not showing the whole recipe. The first time I read it, it was complete. Also, the Honey-Mustard and Slaw recipes are missing. I hope this is something you can fix.

  5. Christie says:

    Hello, your corn salad recipe is not showing the complete recipe on your site. What to do? Thank you.

  6. Saesha says:

    I also love hot dogs! This could be my favorite Chis Cooks!

  7. H Rogers says:

    What’s your favorite hot dog brand itself?

  8. Rachel O. says:

    You missed international hot dog toppings! In Chile they use avocado, mayo, and chopped tomatoes. In Colombia they use mayo, ketchup, crushed potato chips, and grated coconut. You should try them out!

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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