Chicago Hot Dogs
Chicago Hot Dogs

Make this classic Chicago-style hot dog at home! It’s loaded with yellow mustard, sweet cucumber relish, tomato, onion, dill pickles, sport peppers and topped off with celery salt.

Named for the city where this iconic dish was created, the Chicago Hot Dog is a crispy, juicy bite of an all-beef hot dog.

It’s “hauled through the garden,” meaning it’s made with yellow mustard, sweet cucumber relish, fresh tomatoes and onions, a dill pickle skewer, spicy, pickled chilies called sport peppers, and a sprinkling of celery salt. It’s a meal and almost a salad in a soft hot dog bun (preferably with poppy seeds).

These hot dogs offer a little sweetness from the relish, a salty crunch from the cucumber, hints of mustard and sport peppers, and freshness from the tomato and onion.

Whether you’re making these for a weeknight family dinner or for a barbecue crowd, they’re quick to make and the prep work for the toppings is minimal. Plus, everyone has fun building their own when the hot dogs come off the grill, making it even easier for you.

Serve them with a potato salad, grilled summer corn, or just pop open a bag of chips!

The all-beef hot dog is a Chicago dog must

The hot dog must be pure beef with a natural casing, which gives it a nice bite when you bite into it. If you are in Chicago, you will most likely be served the famous Vienna Beef. At my local grocery store in New Jersey, I buy a quality brand of beef and natural casing hot dogs (mostly Boar’s Head).

I think the smoky flavor gained on the grill only makes it better. I don’t take it as far as blackening the skin or getting any kind of crust; You want the dog to remain relatively soft so the casing will still tear.

Chicago Dogs—boiled or grilled—are good anytime, so don’t let the season dictate when you serve them.

The best hot dog bun

Traditionally, the Chicago dog is served in a poppy seed bun because an enterprising Polish baker learned his trade in Germany before ending up in Chicago in the early 1900s.

He served German and Polish immigrants looking for home in his rye bread, but the poppy seed buns quickly became popular. Today, hot dog vendors steam the buns to make them soft and pillowy.

What is a sport pepper?

Often hard to find outside of Chicago and some parts of the South, the sporting pepper is the Chicago dog’s official pepper. They are a small light green pickled chili with a medium heat (like a serrano pepper) and a spicy flavor.

Thankfully, for those of us who live outside of the Windy City, they’re available online. I prefer to shred mine to spread the heat better than biting into a whole chili.

The sweet cucumber relish

In Chicago, you’ll find a neon green sweet pickle relish that purists swear elevates the hot dog eating experience. Or maybe they just like the radioactive glow. But this relish doesn’t taste any different than the others on the market, it’s just been modified with food coloring to give it that shocking color.

Swaps and Substitutions

A Chicago hot dog is pretty specific with its ingredients, but not everyone has access to these Midwestern specialties. Here are a few substitutions to help you get as close to reality as possible.

  • Swap out the poppy seed hot dog buns for potato buns.
  • Swap out the neon green cucumber relish for regular sweet cucumber relish.
  • Pickled jalapeño slices or peperoncini can be swapped for sport peppers.
  • If you don’t like the idea of ​​whole peppers, cucumbers, or tomato wedges, you can always dice them to make them a little easier to eat.

Can’t get enough hot dogs?

  • Hot dogs with spicy kimchi slaw
  • Chili Dog
  • Italian dog from New Jersey
  • Cheesy Baked Hot Dog
  • Hot Dogs with Sriracha and Asian Coleslaw

Chicago hot dogs

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
8 minutes

total time
18 minutes

4 servings

8 hot dogs

Traditionally, the sport peppers are served whole and the tomatoes are cut into wedges or slices. Feel free to roll both for easier consumption if you prefer.


  • 8th Pure natural beef casing hot dogs

  • 8th poppy seed hot dog buns potato bread

  • Yellow Mustard to top

  • Cute cucumber delight to top

  • 2 Middle tomatoescut into 8 wedges

  • 1 small yellow onionrolled

  • 8th dill pickles

  • 16 Sports pepper or peperoncini, whole or diced

  • celery salt to top


  1. Prepare the grill:

    Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium heat, 350°F. You should be able to hold your hand over the grill for about 3 seconds before it gets too hot.

  2. Grill the hot dogs:

    Place the hot dogs on the grill. Turn them over with tongs while they cook, about 8 minutes total. You want a good amount of color on them. Transferred to a plate.

  3. Build the Chicago Dogs:

    Place a grilled hot dog in a bun. Garnish with yellow mustard, sweet cucumber relish, 2 tomato wedges, onions, 1 dill pickle and 2 sport peppers.

    The celery salt is strong, so all you have to do is sprinkle a little over the dog to set it up. Assemble the remaining hot dogs. Eat immediately!

nutritional information (per serving)
419 calories
12g Fat
66g carbohydrates
15g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!