Ultimate Hot Dog Bar Ideas for a Party

What do you need for a hot dog bar? Find out here with this ultimate hot dog party buffet with toppings for every taste from gourmet to traditional. It’s the perfect food idea for summer bbq’s, birthday parties, graduation, or football and game day parties.

This post is in partnership with North American Meat Institute, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.

hot dog bar party buffet table with toppings and sides

Easy Hot dog bar ideas

If you’re still looking for summer party ideas, these tips for the ultimate hot dog bar are great for adults, teens, or kids. Most people agree that hot dogs are essential for a summer cookout, and they’re one of the easiest things you can serve to a lot of people.

I’ve teamed up with the North American Meat Institute to bring you all the best ideas to set up a festive food buffet for a hot dog party with all the toppings. Plus, we’ve got a FREE downloadable party guide for you, that’s got lots of extra tips and recipes included!

We want you to be beef-prepared by choosing from an array of all-beef hot dogs ranging from kosher, organic, grass-fed, or uncured.

Add this diy buffet to any bbq party ideas from Memorial Day, to 4th of July, to Labor Day. It even works for graduation parties and game day parties. See all the ideas for how to dress up a hot dog, below.

party table with hot dogs on wire stand and hot dog sign

Best party table ideas

The best thing about hosting a hot dog party with a toppings bar is that you do all the work ahead of time so you’re carefree during the party. Other than cooking the wieners on the grill, everything has already been set up.

Set up a food table with simple decorations and easy access to everything. Here, we used blue as the main color, which works well for any occasion.

Display the hot dogs and buns in a fun unique way. Place them on a stand or box riser so they’re easy to get.

And don’t forget the paper holders to set them in. They’re a convenient way to keep your dogs from falling open with all those toppings on them.

Add a sign to the table for a festive touch. Use a letterboard or printable sign to make it simple.

outside party table with jars of bean, corn, and flowers

Corn on the cob is a terrific side item to serve. You can cook it on the grill with the hot dogs.

Serve baked beans in 4-ounce jars so guests can grab one and keep things moving. Add coordinating fabric squares on top for a retro touch.

corn on the cob under white food umbrella, for a party

Use food umbrellas to keep bugs away and set up a party tent or patio umbrellas for shade, if you can.

potato chips in garden urn

Garden urns can be used for more than just flowers and plants. Use one to serve potato chips out of, and make sure to lay down a napkin or parchment paper underneath to keep it food safe.

Related: Host an easy hot dog roast for families, children, or teenagers for a carefree party.

hot dog toppings in jars and bottles, on party table

Place hot dog toppings in jars along with tongs and spoons. Use a cabinet spice riser to set them on so they’re easy to see. Sauces can be transferred to small flip top bottles or squeeze bottles.

overhead view of hot dogs and all the toppings in jars

Traditional toppings

Here’s a list of items you’ll need to add to the list if you want to create a classic dog.

  • Chili
  • Diced onion
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Sauerkraut
  • Slaw
toppings in clear jars, on blue table

Gourmet toppings

Once you have the basics covered, you can add interesting ingredients to create fancy gourmet hot dogs. Each one is as unique as the individual who makes it.

  • Shredded carrots (tossed with simple vinaigrette)
  • Slice cucumber
  • Cut tomatoes
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Dill pickle spears
  • Sautéed onions and peppers
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (blue cheese crumbles optional)
  • Cooked and crumbled bacon
  • Corn relish
  • Pork & beans (or baked beans)
  • Pineapple chunks (or grilled slices)

PARTY TIP: Add fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil to garnish the hot dogs and add flavor.

condiments in bottles

Condiments

Don’t forget the condiments. They add moisture and flavor to complement the toppings.

  • Ketchup
  • Yellow mustard
  • Brown or grainy mustard
  • BBQ sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce

Garnishes

Add fresh herbs to your hot dogs adds extra flavor and a finishing touch. Here are our favorites.

  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh basil
hot dogs topped 4 ways

What toppings go on hot dogs?

With a hot dog bar, everyone can build their own unique topping combinations. Here are some combos to get you started, but follow your taste buds and get creative.

  1. Chili dog – hot dog chili, shredded cheddar, onions
  2. Traditional – chili, slaw, diced onion, mustard
  3. Classic – yellow mustard, ketchup, dill pickle spear
  4. BBQ hot dog – barbecue sauce, diced onions, slaw
  5. Beanie weenies (or pork & beans) – baked beans, bacon, shredded cheddar
  6. Banh mi style – shredded carrots, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro
  7. Philly style – sautéed peppers and onions, sauerkraut, brown mustard, shredded cheddar
  8. Chicago style – yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, chopped onion, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear, sautéed peppers
  9. Mexican style – corn relish, jalapeno, tomato slices, cilantro
  10. Hawaiian style – teriyaki sauce or bbq sauce, pineapple chunks, diced onion, jalapeno
4 hot dogs on a pan, topped in different ways

Make-ahead tips

As I said above, you can do most of the prep work a day in advance. Here’s a breakdown of steps to take.

  • Cook bacon and crumble it.
  • Cut and sauté the peppers and onions.
  • Prepare the corn relish.
  • Cook the hot dog chili in the slow cooker.
  • If you’re making your own coleslaw, mix it up.
  • Cut up ingredients like cucumber, jalapeno, onion, tomato, and pickle.
  • Put toppings in serving bowls, jars, squeeze bottles, or other serving vessel, cover and refrigerate.

When the party’s underway you can cook the hot dogs on the grill for about 5 minutes (turning every few minutes) until grill marks appear as you like them. Place them in buns on paper holders for guests to grab and top.

All-beef hot dogs are convenient for outdoor parties, and great for on-the-go meals like tailgating and camping.

You can be beef-prepared with other products too, like deli meats which are perfect for roast beef mini party sandwiches.

There’s something for everyone, depending on taste, budget, or personal preference.

cookout or bbq party buffet full of food, outside

Side dishes for a hot dog bar

The hot dog toppings are the main attraction, but you can round out your party menu with these summer side dishes, and some simple pairings.

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hot dogs topped 4 ways

Ultimate Hot Dog Bar

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Create the ultimate hot dog bar for parties with this list of toppings, condiments, and garnishes. Perfect idea for cookouts, bbq's, graduation parties, and football parties.

Ingredients

  • Hot dogs
  • Buns

Toppings

  • Chili
  • Diced onion
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Sauerkraut
  • Slaw (make your own or buy prepared)
  • Shredded carrots (tossed with simple vinaigrette)
  • Slice cucumber
  • Cut tomatoes
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Dill pickle spears
  • Sautéed onions and peppers
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (blue cheese crumbles optional)
  • Cooked and crumbled bacon
  • Corn relish
  • Pork & beans (or baked beans)
  • Pineapple chunks (or grilled slices)

Condiments

  • Ketchup
  • Yellow mustard
  • Brown or grainy mustard
  • BBQ sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce

Garnishes

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Chop, cook, and prep toppings a day ahead. Put them in serving containers, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Get recipes to my slow cooker chili, and roasted corn relish in our FREE downloadable party guide, linked above.
  3. Cook chili up to 2 days ahead. Store in refrigerator and reheat before serving.
  4. When the party is underway, cook hot dogs on hot grill for about 5 minutes, turning 1/4 turn every minute or so to get grill marks.
  5. Place hot dogs in buns and let guests top them however they like.

Notes

To make EASY SLAW, combine 2 cups bagged slaw mix (shredded cabbage & carrots), 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, 4 tablespoons light mayonnaise, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

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