Updated 6/26/22

Here’s a fun grill-out idea for you: Set up a DIY hot dog bar with plenty of toppings.

Set up a DIY hot dog bar: Click through for dozens of topping ideas!

Grilling season is here, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Last weekend, I set up a DIY hot dog bar for my family. I set out a plate of hot dogs and buns, and small bowls of several unique hot dog toppings. It ended up being a fun, interactive and delicious meal that didn’t cost a lot of money.

If you’ve never experimented beyond the typical hot dog with ketchup, mustard, and relish, you’re missing out. Hot dog toppings can be as versatile as hamburger toppings.

Build your own hot dog bar

The country of Chile has its own take on the hot dog – the “completo” – with mayonnaise, avocado, and chopped tomato.

Chicago dogs contain raw onions, pickle spears, relish, and a spot pepper on a poppy seed bun

Other cities and regions have their unique take on the classic dog.

DIY hot dog bar: Learn how to set up a DIY hot dog toppings bar.

DIY Hot Dog Bar Topping Ideas

The sky is the limit when choosing toppings to put on a hot dog. Here are some options for your DIY hot dog bar. Set out toppings in individual dishes with spoons for easy serving:

  • Chopped jalapeño peppers
  • Grated cheese (cheddar, bleu, mozzarella, gruyere, fontina, pepper jack – anything!)
  • Chopped black olives
  • Avocado
  • Shoe string potatoes
  • French fried onions
  • Crispy fried jalapeño peppers (purchased at Trader Joe’s)
  • Pickles
  • Watermelon rind pickles
  • Sweet relish
  • Sauerkraut
  • Slaw
  • Corn relish
  • Chopped tomato
  • Chopped bell peppers
  • Onion (chopped raw or caramelized)
  • Banana peppers
  • Pepperoncini
  • Bacon bits
  • Chili
  • Potato chips

Make your own gourmet hot dog bar

Hot Dog Sauces

The sauce can make the dog! Try these ideas:

Mixing And Matching Toppings

The idea of setting up a DIY hot dog bar is that each guest can top their own hot dog. That way, everyone is happy.

But sometimes, it’s good to suggest some good topping combination options, like these:

  • Chili cheese dogs: Topped with chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped onions
  • BBQ hot dogs: Bacon, cheddar cheese, and BBQ sauce
  • German-style: Sauerkraut, brown mustard, and cooked onions
  • Avocado, tomatoes, and shoestring potatoes
  • French onion-style hot dogs: Topped with caramelized onions, shredded fontina cheese, and French fried onions

Need more inspiration? Get 50+ hot dog recipes!

Healthier Hot Dog Options

Grocery stores stock healthier versions of the hot dog, so there’s no need to feel guilty after indulging. Most grocery stores have options such as nitrate-free hot dogs, organic hot dogs, chicken or turkey sausages, etc.

The healthier hot dogs cost more, but they’re still quite affordable when you figure out cost per hot dog. All in all, hot dogs are a very affordable meal option, and there are ways to make them healthier.

DIY hot dog bar: Everyone gets to choose their hot dog toppings!