Casual Cookout Party Ideas and Recipes

Today I’m sharing cookout party ideas with hot dogs and easy recipes. When the weather heats up it’s time for summer parties. A casual cookout is always a good idea for families and guests of all ages. Get our delicious recipes, side dish menu ideas, and a casual table setting to pull it all together. 

casual cookout party ideas, outdoor table setting

Casual Cookout Party Ideas

Summer season means parties are hosted almost every weekend. And with grilling season upon us, everyone is craving an all-American hot dog. Today I’m bringing you casual cookout party ideas that include a hot dog roast. This is a great idea for summer grilling and entertaining.

It never fails that we include hot dogs on the menu when we grill out with friends, so I’m sharing three unique topping recipes that will will spice them up! I created a corn and avocado relish, a spicy jalapeno slaw, and curry ketchup as part of the hot dog toppings bar.

PARTY TIP: There are a variety of hot dogs to choose from: classic all beef hot dogs, kosher hot dogs, turkey hot dogs, even vegan hot dogs. There’s something for everyone!

The menu is simple, the table is simple, and the vibe is laid back and care free. 

hostess setting casual outdoor table
hot dog toppings bar

Cookout Side Dishes

If you’re hosting a party with a hot dog bar, you’ll want your side dishes to be just as delicious and easy to make. Here are some tried and true recipes for cookout side dishes for hot dogs.

  1. Our sweet & spicy baked beans are a real crowd pleaser. There’s never a cookout without baked beans!
  2. Put some grilled corn slathered with Parmesan butter on this easy menu.
  3. This is one of the best classic potato salad recipes. It’s creamy and crunchy, and salty and tangy!
  4. Here’s another southern favorite; our classic pasta salad recipe
  5. It’s a good idea to add something green and healthy(ish) to the table. This savory & sweet broccoli salad is great for that.
  6. You ALWAYS add chips to an outdoor party. Why not dress them up like these blue cheese & balsamic kettle chips!
  7. The classic treat for summer is no-churn easy ice cream recipe for dessert.
mini lemonade bottle in mini ice bucket for casual cookout party ideas

Desserts for a Cookout

For a casual cookout you want to make dessert an easy treat to eat. Here are some of our all time favorites that friends and family love.

casual table setting ideas

Casual Table Setting Ideas

You’ll want to set up a simple table where guests can sit and eat. Keeping it minimal keeps it casual.

  • Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers for a simple centerpiece. The colors range from blue to purple to pink and white. You’re sure to find one to suit your color scheme.
  • Use a burlap runner for a rustic and casual feel. You can find them pre-made or simply cut a piece from the fabric store.
  • One of the adorable details we added to the table is individual bottles on ice in mini buckets. It’s certainly an unexpected touch and the pails have chalkboard labels where you can write names for place settings. While name cards are not needed at a casual cookout they can take the style up a notch.
  • Add a hint of color with napkins, dishes or flowers.

PARTY TIP: If you entertain on the regular, invest in a set of plain white melamine plates to use over and over. This cuts down on waste in the environment and is actually cheaper than using paper plates, in the long run.

cookout party ideas with hot dog bar

Hot Dog Toppings Recipes

If you’re setting up a casual hot dog bar, dress it up with these creative topping ideas. They can really elevate the menu.

We included these recipes for curried ketchup, roasted corn and avocado relish, and jalapeno slaw. We rounded out with spicy brown mustard from the store.

  • Curry ketchup is popular right now and it’s delicious on hot dogs, french fries, and burgers.
  • The corn relish was out of this world and makes a yummy ‘dip’ for tortilla chips too.
  • Finally, the jalapeno slaw is creamy and crunchy with a kick. It can be served as a side dish as well.
cookout party ideas, hot dog cookout toppings

Curry Ketchup

  • 1/3 cup Hunts Ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons ground curry powder

Combine ingredients together and serve.

Serve with hot dogs, burgers, french fries, or roasted potatoes.

roasted corn and avocado relish

Roasted Corn & Avocado Relish

  • 1 cup corn {frozen, canned or fresh}
  • 1/2 of an Avocado, diced
  • 1 medium Tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 of a Lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Spray a small pan lightly with non-stick spray, and saute corn over medium heat until it begins to caramelize slightly. Remove from heat and cool.

In a medium sized bowl, combine corn, avocado, tomato, and cilantro.

Squeeze the juice from 1/2 of a lime into combination and stir.

Add cumin and salt. Stir, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Serve as a relish for hot dogs or scoop with tortilla chips.

jalapeno slaw

Spicy Jalapeno Slaw 

  • 2 1/2 cups slaw mix (use regular cabbage slaw for a softer crunch, or broccoli slaw for a firmer crunch)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced very thin
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup pineapple tidbits from small can
  • 1 Tablespoon pineapple juice from the can of tidbits

Combine all ingredients together, cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve on hot dogs or as a side dish.

Cilantro Slaw

  • 1 ¼ cup bagged cabbage slaw mix
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Lime wedge, squeezed

Combine ingredients together in a medium bowl and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve on hot dogs or tacos.

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16 Comments

  1. As everyone else that posted, those little chalkboard buckets are fabulous! Do you mind sharing where you found those? Those would even be great for picnics! Love the simplicity of this party!

  2. beautiful tablescape, and so simple recipes! brilliant! I’m so trying that avocado and corn relish!

  3. Such a beautiful set up. Looks like a great place to sit and chat the night away!

  4. Wow Chris! It looks beautiful and the recipes easy and yummy! I want to come right now and taste that avocado and corn relish! Great job and tips. Thanks for sharing. I will for sure be trying these recipes at our next cookout.

  5. Individual ice buckets! So cute and practical to keep the drinks cool and not dilute them! This is a lovely little casual get-together!

  6. I love the little buckets for the drinks, such a great idea! We always have Hebrew National dogs in our fridge, they are great for last minute get together’s and next time I’ll have to give some of these ideas a try!

  7. This all turned out so beautifully! I love the added touch of the ruffles on the burlap runners.

    1. Cheryl, can you believe I found that at Hobby Lobby. So cute, and it’s nice and long too.

  8. I LOVE this, Chris! The curry ketchup reminds me of Germany. Love these ideas!

    1. Oh, I didn’t know they did that in Germany. Would love to travel there one day and check it out 😉

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