Ultimate Hot Dog Bar Ideas List with Toppings

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With this Ultimate guide to a Hot Dog Bar you’ll be able to create a delicious and creative DIY spread for your next summer party, birthday party, or any other occasion! With tons of hot dog topping ideas, tasty recommended combos, and other helpful hints, learning how to make a hot dog bar will be fun and easy.

condiments and hot dogs grilled then assembled into gourmet hot dogs

I’m all about quality, from scratch food, but I’ll openly admit I love a good hot dog (something I haven’t mastered making myself). Of course, I’m talking gourmet dogs, with fun and tasty toppings piled onto sausages and frankfurters that are flavorful too. Which is why when it comes to things like birthday parties or summer bbqs, I’m always up to creating a fantastic hot dog bar.

It’s fun, kid-friendly, and easy. You can provide unique and varied toppings so your guests can create inventive dogs suited just to their tastes. 

Since the options are endless, I’ve created this Ultimate Hot Dog Bar Ideas List, complete with toppings, condiments, bun and link suggestions, serving sizes and much more. Planning will be a fun and tasty experience.

The Hot Dogs

Since these are the main components to a hot dog bar, it makes sense to start here. I recommend choosing 2-3 varieties, including one familiar option, and a veggie option 

It’s certainly a personal opinion, but I choose quality every time. All beef, uncured franks are my go to, but the jumbo pack of inexpensive turkey dogs are great if you’re serving a crowd of 6 year old’s at a birthday party.

hot dogs on a grill.
Use a grill or hot pan on the stove to caramelize the hot dogs, links, and sausages for best flavor.
  • Beef hot dogs
  • Turkey dogs
  • Linguica
  • Hot Links
  • Bratwursts (and all the fun flavors they come in)
  • Italian Sausage (Sweet, mild, or spicy)
  • Polish Sausage
  • Chicken Sausage (These also have tons of options these days)
  • Veggie Dogs (Or go with the Impossible sausage or other vegan options)

Cooking method tip: I prefer a grilled or pan seared dog, but you can also use the microwave, boiling water, or even the air fryer to get your options cooked.

The Buns

Don’t overlook the importance of the buns! In order for all those fabulous hot dog toppings to make it from the plate to your mouth, you’ll need a sturdy (and preferably delicious) bun to deliver it. There are also lots of creative options you can use too.

homemade hot dog buns in a bowl.
Make your own or buy creative buns to make your hot dog bar extra special.
  • Regular or Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
  • Homemade Hot Dog Buns
  • Brioche Hot Dog Buns
  • Pretzel Buns
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Baguettes
  • Tortillas
  • Pita

The Toppings!

Here’s where the real fun begins! I’ve shared some really fun combos later in the post that can help you decide what types of toppings you’ll want, but here is an example of just how limitless it can be. There are many more than I’ve been able to think of I’m sure!

  • Meat: bacon, chili, shredded chicken, chorizo, Spam.
  • Veggies: corn, tomato, jalapeno, bell pepper, kimchi, coleslaw, pickles, onions (raw, pickled, or caramelized), sauerkraut, relish, avocado, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, cucumber, lettuce, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, roasted red peppers.
  • Cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, cotija, queso fresco, goat cheese, feta, nacho cheese sauce, bleu cheese crumbles.
  • Fruit: Pineapple, mango, passion fruit, guava, kiwi, apple.
     
  • Other: baked beans, gravy, chips, cilantro, parsley, dill, mac and cheese, ramen noodles, eggs.
bowls of condiments and toppings used for a hot dog bar like ketchup, relish, bbq sauce, and mustards.

Condiments to Finish it Off

When the toppings are assembled all that’s left is that perfect finishing touch – the condiments. There’s the classic three, but also a huge variety of other options that can make each bite heavenly.

5 different hot dog combinations assembled.
The options are endless! These are just a few ways to combine toppings and condiments.

Key Tips for Creating Your Hot Dog Buffet

When it comes to setting up the hot dog assembly station I have some tips to help it go as smoothly as possible. My approach to feeding a crowd is to have a little extra, rather than run out. Unless you have big eaters: 

  • Choose 2-3 hot dog styles, then 1 or 2 buns that will go with them ALL.
  • Average about 1 ½ hot dogs per person. Obviously not everyone will eat ½ a hot dog, but it will make sure there are just enough extras for those who want two.
  • Most toppings are used in about 1-2 tablespoon portions per hot dog. Not everyone will use every topping. Prep more of the popular ones like cheese or chili, and less of things like shredded lettuce which you don’t use much off.
  • Most condiments are used in 1/2-1 tablespoon amounts per dog. Estimate the amount you need by portioning a 1/2 tablespoon per hot dog. Not everyone will use every condiment!
  • Prep ahead! Anything that can be chopped ahead of time is a win. All you have to do is set it out and cook dogs to get going.

Take Inspiration from Gourmet Hot Dogs

One great way to figure out what toppings and condiments you’ll need is to pick 2-3 classic or creative combos. Provide the ingredients to make each, and guests will naturally create their own combos too!

These tasty options come from bloggers like myself, check each link out to get their helpful tips on making the gourmet dogs perfect and how to prep the toppings!

gourmet hot dogs topped with sauces, veggies, and fruit.
Let these gourmet dogs inspire your hot dog bar! Match the number on the image to the list below and follow the link to get more info on creating them!
  1. BLT Dogs – A fun spin on the classic sandwich. Toppings you’ll need: Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
  2. Banh Mi Turkey Dogs – Everything you love about the Vietnamese classic, on a turkey hot dog! Toppings you’ll need: Cucumber, mint, cilantro, red onion, limes.
  3. Chili Dog – Why mess with a classic? Cheddar cheese and homemade ground beef chili top these dogs. Toppings you’ll need: Chili, cheddar cheese, green onions
  4. Mango Hot Dogs – Sweet and spicy flavors combine with a smoky grilled hot dog in this tropical spin. Toppings you’ll need: coleslaw, jalapeno, mango, avocado, sriracha, mayo.
  5. Hawaiian Hot Dogs – The classic pineapple and teriyaki combo is delicious on a hot dog too! Toppings you’ll need: Teriyaki, mayo, pineapple, red onions, cilantro, jalapenos.
  6. Mexican Hot Dogs – Corn salsa and spicy sauce make this an irresistible combination of Mexican flavors on a grilled dog. Toppings you’ll need: Corn, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, limes, avocado, chipotle crema.
  7. Seattle Hot Dogs – This classic Seattle dog has the addition of roasted red peppers for an extra tasty bite. Toppings you’ll need: Cream cheese, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, jalapeno

Make it a Meal with Sides

Once you have the grill preheating, and the toppings set out, add a few sides to make your hot dog bar complete. My favorites are make ahead or slow cooking ones that are hands off when it comes time to socialize with guests.

With that you’ll definitely have created the ultimate hot dog bar! I hope these ideas have inspired you and you’re imagining which toppings would taste best together. It’s an easy party idea that will please adults and kids alike, just remember to have fun with it!

5 from 4 votes

Ultimate Hot Dog Bar Ideas List with Toppings

Print Recipe
Combine toppings, condiments, hot dogs, and buns to create a creative and fun buffet at any party or bbq! These tips make creating a gourmet hot dog bar easy!
Prep Time:20 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Total Time:30 mins

Ingredients

  • 18* hot dogs or your chosen combination of links/sausages
  • 18 Hot dog buns or the bread you choose

Toppings – Choose as many as you like, about 1-1.5 cups of each! Here are some examples…

  • Cheese
  • Onions
  • Chili
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Relish
  • Bacon
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Sauerkraut
  • Roasted red pepper
  • Coleslaw
  • Jalapenoes

Condiments – As many as you like, provide about 1/2-3/4 cup of each, here are some examples

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayo
  • Sour Cream
  • Ranch
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Teriyaki
  • 1000 island
  • Bleu Cheese dressing

Instructions

  • Prep all the toppings, and store up to 24 hours ahead.
  • Arrange all your toppings, condiments, and buns on a table. Provide a few combination suggestions!
  • Grill or sauté the hot dogs.
  • Let your guests build they're favorite combinations and enjoy!

Notes

*I like to estimate 1.5 hot dogs per person at a party so that I account for the few that will want more than one (I always have plenty of sides too!). But this depends on your group and the size of the links. If you’re serving very large hot dogs, feel free to estimate 1 to 1 1/4 per person. If you’re not serving many sides, provide 2 per guest.
Estimate 1-2 tablespoons of each topping per hot dog, and 1/2-1 tablespoon of condiments per hot dog.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5g | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 777mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilling, hot dog, summer
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 345kcal
Author: Mikayla M

Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I set your hot dog bar up at my bbq this weekend and it was a huge success! Thankfully I had extra hot dogs and rolls and let my guests go back for seconds and thirds!

    1. So wonderful to hear that the hot dog bar was a success for your gathering of friends. When guests want seconds is is always a good thing!

  2. 5 stars
    This hot dog bar is right up my alley! What a creative and fun way to serve this perfect picnic treat. We love grilling out for Labor Day and this bar, where they can choose their own toppings, will be on the menu. Tried it tonight with the fam and it was a huge hit!

    1. I’m happy your family enjoyed the hot dog bar, I would love to hear how it went for your Labor day gathering. I love that your find the presentation fun and creative!

  3. 5 stars
    I saw your post and decided to surprise the family with a hot dog bar yesterday. They absolutely loved it and asked when we could have it again. What a great idea!

    1. I’m so glad the loved it, a surprise, that sounds like such a fun way to present it. I love that they want to have it again. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This was a fun, and different, idea for my daughter’s birthday last weekend. I added mini hot dogs for the kids with the basic dips like mustard and ketchup and they got a kick out of the buffet style set up. Even adults thought it was a fun dinner for a party!

    1. I’m so happy it made your daughters birthday meal so fun. I love that kids and adults enjoyed it equally. Mini hot dogs is a great idea too!