How Do I Choose the Best Hot Dog Sauce?

D. Coodin

Hot dog sauce is a condiment that is used to give flavor to hot dogs, which are customarily eaten with a variety of toppings. There are many varieties of sauce for purchase provided by hot dog vendors, including standard, spicy, and sweet sauces. In addition, hot dog lovers can make their own hot dog sauce at home using a combination of different ingredients; regardless, it is best to choose a type of sauce that suits the diner's personal tastes.

Hot dogs.
Hot dogs.

It is customary for hot dogs to be eaten with a few standard condiments. One of the most common sauces for hot dogs is ketchup, a sweet tomato-based condiment. Mustard is also a popular hot dog sauce that comes in a wide variety of styles including regular yellow mustard, Dijon, sweet, and honey mustard. It is also common for hot dogs to be covered in relish before being eaten, which is a sweet, tangy sauce made of pickles; usually, a person will cover a hot dog with some combination of these three sauces.

A hot dog with mustard.
A hot dog with mustard.

A spicy sauce can add some bite to a hot dog, but is only appropriate if the diner can tolerate spicy foods. In addition to spicy varieties of ketchup and mustard, hot barbecue sauces are available both in stores and from hot dog vendors. Hot chili sauce is another kind of spice hot dog condiment, as is a Louisiana-style hot sauce. Any condiment can be made spicier if the diner simply adds a small amount of chili sauce or chili garlic sauce to an existing condiment.

Some hot dog eaters like to spice up their meal with some hot sauce.
Some hot dog eaters like to spice up their meal with some hot sauce.

Some diners prefer a sweeter hot dog sauce, which can add a mellower flavor to a hot dog. In addition to ketchup and sweet barbecue sauces, sweet onion sauce is a popular option. Some hot dog vendors will also offer sweet mayonnaise or a sweet corn sauce to add to a hot dog, while another option for a sweet hot dog sauce is a sweet salad dressing, such as ranch or Caesar.

While there are plenty of store-bought options for hot dog sauce, diners can also make custom condiments at home. Chili sauce can be made using tomato sauce, onions, ground beef and spices. Some cooks choose to make a Greek-style sauce, which can include mustard, garlic, tzatziki and a variety of spices and other flavors. Another popular home-made sauce for hot dogs is Coney Island sauce, which contains ground beef, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and spices.

Some people like to top their hot dogs with yellow, Dijon,  or another type of prepared mustard.
Some people like to top their hot dogs with yellow, Dijon, or another type of prepared mustard.

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Discussion Comments


I used to know a guy that ate mayo on top of his hotdogs.

I thought it was disgusting but he swore by it. He would even take little mayo packets with him to baseball games so that he could dress his dog the way he wanted it.

To each their own I guess. In the end I don't really care much what other people are putting on their hot dogs.


I make my own pickle relish and it is amazing on top of a really high quality frank. My relish tends to be spicier than a lot of pickle relishes. I think the sweeter relishes kind of miss what is good about pickling which is that sharp vinegary flavor.


It really all comes down to personal preference. I know some people that like ketchup on their dogs and others who absolutely hate it. I am one of the latter. I like mine with spicy mustard.

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