Hooray for National Hot Dog Day! Even though their origins trace back to Europe, hot dogs have become as American as apple pie. They are a staple snack at sporting events, a must-have at cookouts, an iconic street food across the country and the go-to food for competitive eating contests.
But, to get frank about franks, it's not all good times and games when it comes to the savory sausages. There have been long-standing, red-hot disputes over many aspects of the beloved links. Is a hot dog considered a sandwich? Is it OK to put ketchup on them? Is New York or Chicago-style better? Boiled or grilled? Plain or covered in condiments?
Contentious dog debates aside, it's no wonder why they are such a wildly popular food. They are affordable on any budget, incredibly easy to cook, family-friendly and a classic nostalgic comfort food. Anthony Bourdain once said, "Man does not live by foie gras alone. It's a noble thing to make a damn good hot dog." The humble hot dog may lack flair or refinement, but it is a delicious canvas for making all kinds of flavorful creations. And basic condiments are just the tip of the iceberg. These wonderful wiener recipes push the limits of topping combos, feature a variety of cooking techniques and add creative twists that make franks even more amazing. It's pure fun on a bun!
This recipe combines some of the best things about summer recipes: guacamole, hot dogs and Mexican street corn. This is a quick guac, so don't stress about making it perfect, and the corn relish doubles as a stand-alone salad. You'll eat it by the spoonful.
These dogs just scream game day! The combo of briny bonito flakes, cool cream cheese and everything spice makes this frank taste like a wildly wonderful mashup of a bagel with lox and a hot dog in one. Pro tip: Level-up your hot dog game by loading your condiments into squeeze bottles. Very professional.
Sunny Anderson loves all things grilled, but especially hot dogs. "Grilled hot dogs are so good served simply with mustard, but they're also excellent canvas for a wide variety of different toppings and flavor combos," she says. "Here, I've added smoky bacon, crisp lettuce, creamy mayo and cool tomatoes to give delicious dogs the classic flavors of a BLT sandwich."
Anthony Contrino adds his signature Italian twist to hot dogs in this zesty recipe. "Nothing says summer quite like a good hot dog. I'm a minimalist when it comes to serving up the grilled classic, but there's something magical about this version," he says. "The combination of sharp cheese, salty beef and sweet yet tangy Italian relish creates the perfect balance of flavors enjoyed best on a warm day."
Griddling hot dogs — a trick Michael Puma learned from Walter's Hot Dogs — adds so much flavor and texture. The trick is to split them about 3/4 of the way through and butterfly them open before placing them in a pan or on a griddle. This doubles the surface area and gets a crisp, golden sear all over.
This is an Italian take on a chili dog. It's a great entertaining dish because guests can add their own toppings and use as little or as much as they want. The marinated peppers, creamy burrata and hearty ragu turn these dogs into a truly satisfying meal.
These hot dog flower buns are a popular item in Chinese bakeries. Adults and children will love the whimsical design and sweet and salty flavor of these buns. Hot dogs are the traditional filling, but you can swap them out for your favorite chicken or pork sausages or use veggie dogs for a vegetarian version.
Hot dogs get an Arizona-style makeover. The dogs get wrapped in bacon and topped with pinto beans, yellow mustard, jalapeño salsa, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, grilled banana peppers and grilled scallions. The result is an explosion of fresh, spicy and smoky flavors.
Anthony Contrino works his saucy magic on hot dogs again with a homemade savory jam. "Does anything say "summer" more than hot dogs?" he says. "I like to kick them up a notch, dressing them with gooey Dijon-cheddar sauce and a scattering of my salty and sweet Bacon and Caramelized Onion topping!"
What makes these dogs different is the combo of spicy chiles and cool cream cheese. They're like jalapeño poppers and stadium-style hot dogs rolled up into one tasty bite. Pro tip: Split the dogs down the middle for fast grilling and more char.
Dress up hot dogs with crispy bacon, nutty Gruyere cheese and melty cheddar for a fancy flavor boost. The rich cheeses and salty bacon make this a truly indulgent dish. Play around with the choice of cheeses to customize them to you taste.
This recipe is great for entertaining because it can be prepped ahead and it's super easy to make. It also makes something as simple as a hot dog look and taste unbelievable. The pickled vegetables add a bright, refreshing crunch that lightens up the whole dish.
Here, pigs in a blanket get a grown-up twist with everything bagel seasoning and a cranberry-spiked mustard dipping sauce. This is a great recipe for family snacks any time of year but is especially fun for the holidays to counter the abundance of sweet snacks. The cranberry mustard is also great served with roasted or grilled meats and added to turkey sandwiches.
Donatella Arpaia combines two ballpark favorites into one tasty bite with these nacho-topped hot dogs. "You'll get that perfect snap of a grilled hot dog with the spicy, cheesy crunch of nachos," she says. "When you place the hot dogs over the heat, don't walk away! Keep turning them to get grill marks all around and watch them carefully. When they start to expand — but before they start sputtering — they're done."
Joanna Gaines makes hot dogs even more comforting and nostalgic with this childhood favorite. "This is a recipe my mom leaned on when we were on a tight budget," she says. "It's not exactly authentic, but she infused the dish with Korean spices and my kids love it."
This is a more refined version of the bacon-wrapped hot dog — but just slightly! This recipe uses prosciutto and staples from your favorite Italian market, like roasted red peppers and mozzarella. Pro tip: Cook the dogs slightly before adding the ham, allowing the hot dog and ham to crisp and cook evenly.
Siri Daly loves entertaining with DIY food stations. "I'm a big fan of setting up topping bars so that guests can help themselves," she says. "In the summer, nothing is more fun or festive than a hot dog bar ... except maybe grilling those toppings in foil, making clean-up a breeze!"
Los Angeles' iconic hotdog restaurant, Pink's, created a hot dog named after Giada De Laurentiis. "They topped it with peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. This is my riff on it," she says. "Grilling the hot dog gives an extra layer of flavor to this dog, If you don't have a grill or grill pan you can also just sear them in a pan with a little oil."
This recipe brings a fun Caribbean twist to a tailgating party. The hot dogs are simple and fun, and the Creole potato salad is super tasty. This is football food, NOLA-style! Pro tip: Mix the salsa ahead of time.
This recipe pays homage to the classic Chicago-style hot dog but turns it into sandwich form using most of the traditional toppings to create a delectable relish. It also proves that sliced bread is a perfectly suitable substitute for buns in a pinch — or on purpose. Spread relish and mustard on both sides of bread for maximum flavor.
Make the most of leftover hot dogs after a cookout with this spin on a classic breakfast. Onions, peppers and potatoes make this a stick-to-your ribs dish. Add a few sunny-side-up eggs for a perfect and complete meal.
Nothing beats a classic ballpark-style hot dog on a summer day. If you can't get to the stadium, this is the next best option. It has all the field-side flavor of a frank you'd buy at the game, but you get to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. Pro tip: Boil hot dogs in beer or use a beef bouillon cube in the water for more flavor.
In this recipe, Gina Marinelli takes something that is so common and traditional, yet no one ever makes at home, and gives it a tasty twist with polenta, harissa and sausages. The assortment of sauces and toppings really can create a bar-like feel at your own personal tailgate.
True Midwesterners will tell you to first plunge the brats in a mixture of beer and onions, poaching them over the fire until just cooked through — a technique that helps them soak up more delicious flavor while keeping them juicy. After that, it's all about getting that crispy char on the exterior, something you'll easily achieve over direct heat. Serve the sliders with plenty of tangy mustard and a cold beer, of course.
Give plain old franks a fun and flavorful Tex-Mex makeover by wrapping franks in tortillas and smothering them in an indulgent cheese sauce. Just imagine if hot dogs and quesadillas had one delicious baby.
These Twinkie "hot dogs" are a classic favorite re-imagined and they always get a great response! These dessert dogs are a classic favorite re-imagined and they always get a great response. Kids and grown-ups alike will love seeing — and eating — these fun treats.