French Onion Hot Dogs
Here’s some inspiration to take summer’s best affordable no-fuss food and make it into something great: French onion hot dogs.
I love taking a simple food – in this case, hot dogs – and turning it into something unique and delicious.
Hot dogs are affordable, versatile, and great for a summer picnic, grill-out or quick meal. But you don’t have to settle for the same old traditional hot dog. Instead, get creative and make it into something flavorful and unique.
These gourmet French onion hot dogs beautifully combine sweet, salty, cheesy, and creamy. They’re inspired by the flavors of French onion soup. (Seriously, these were delicious and I personally can’t wait to make them again!)
What You’ll Need To Make French Onion Hot Dogs
- Hot dog buns, buttered and toasted:
- Good: Regular hot dog buns
- Better: Hawaiian hot dog or sub rolls
- Best: Brioche hot dog buns
- Hot dogs: Use whatever kind of hot dog you prefer, making sure it fits the bun.
- Caramelized onions: The absolute best part of these hot dogs. To make the tastiest homemade caramelized onions, plan for at least an hour.
- Cheese: Gruyère cheese is delicious, but expensive. I opted for finely shredded fontina cheese instead, which melted beautifully. In a pinch, shredded mozzarella will do. The heat from the toasted buns and hot dogs should melt the cheese, but if not, place on the grill for a minute or under the broiler for 15 to 30 seconds.
- French fried onions: They’re not just for Thanksgiving! These add great crunch to your hot dogs.
- Bread and butter pickles: These add a bit of sweet and sour flavor to the hot dogs.
How To Make Caramelized Onions
There’s no way around it: Making delicious, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth caramelized onions takes time.
It typically takes an hour or more on the stove top to turn raw, sliced onions into the best tasting caramelized onions.
Because it takes so long, I recommend making extra and storing them in the freezer so they’re ready to add to recipes. Here’s the process, in a nutshell:
- Take large onions, peel, cut in half and slice into half moons
- Add onions and butter in a large frying pan
- Cook on medium for 30 minutes, stirring
- Add a pinch of salt and sugar
- Continue cooking for 30 more minutes, stirring, until onions are sweet and caramelized
Scroll down for detailed recipe.
Save Money By Eating More Hot Dogs?
With grocery prices soaring, it’s a good time to start coming up with creative ways of incorporating more cheap foods into your meal rotation – like hot dogs.
But I get it: For many people, hot dogs are a sometimes food – not something you want to eat very often. After all, they are processed, high in sodium and fat.
But here are some ideas that may make you reconsider the humble hot dog:
- Buy healthier hot dogs: There are lots of options. Consider buying nitrate-free, uncured, grass-fed and/or organic hot dogs. Consider trying turkey hot dogs for a lower-fat option. Or buy them from your local butcher. Bonus: Even the healthier, more expensive hot dogs are quite cheap.
- Buy gluten-free buns: If you’re avoiding gluten, there are many bread options available.
- Make hot dog bowls: My favorite option of all: Instead of the traditional hot-dog-in-a-bun, consider making a hot dog bowl by slicing hot dogs in half, piling on your fresh toppings, and adding some salad or coleslaw on the side.
- Set up a DIY hot dog bar: When you set up a hot dog toppings station with lots of healthy options, everyone’s happy and gets to pick their own toppings. Or try these Chilean-style hot dogs (completos).
- 4 brioche hot dog buns
- 4 hot dogs
- 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (or gruyere)
- 1/2 cup French fried onions
- Sweet bread and butter pickles
For caramelized onions
- 2 large white onions
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- To make caramelized onions: Peel onions, cut in half, and thinly slice into half-moons. Place onions and butter in a large frying pan. Turn on heat to medium, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, add sugar and salt. Continue cooking for 30 or more minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are nicely caramelized.
- Butter hot dog buns and toast in a frying pan or on the grill. Prepare hot dogs, either by pan frying or grilling.
- Top each hot dog with warm caramelized onions, shredded cheese, French fried onions, and sweet pickles on the side. The heat from the toasted buns and hot dogs should melt the cheese. If not, place under the broiler for a few seconds.