Chicago Style Hot Dogs

July is National Hot Dog Month and July 23rd is National Hot Dog Day. To celebrate, let’s make these delicious Authentic Chicago Style Hot Dogs.

chicago style

Visit Chicago

Living in Wisconsin, I have been to Chicago many, many times. Bob and Kim, my son and his beautiful wife recently spent the weekend in Chicago with friends visiting from Seattle. They enjoyed the sights and sounds of Chicago and took some amazing pictures. Chicago has food and I mean some serious, darn good food! Chicago also has some of the best food festivals around!

chicago style

Get the “Real” on the Chicago Dog

One thing I love to eat in Chicago, is of course the Chicago-style hot dog. You can pick up a “dog” just about anywhere and everywhere you go! I have eaten my fair share of Chicago Dogs. I’ve made dogs at home many times but we’ve never shared the recipe here on Turnips 2 Tangerines. In order to do that, I wanted to make sure I was following protocol and to give the  “Authentic” Chicago Style Hot Dog directions.

I found a great website dedicated to the Chicago Style Hot Dog along with all things Chicago. To get the “real” on the Hot Dog Chicago Style. It’s not only fun to make your own Chicago-style Hot Dog, it’s a lot easier than you might think. You need very few ingredients to make an “authentic” style dog but there is a certain science you need to follow and a few Do’s and Don’ts when making an Authentic Chicago-style Hot Dog.

chicago style

 Chicago Dog

A Chicago Dog is a blending of all the toppings and no single ingredient should overpower the others. The toppings are just as important as the order they are applied to the dog. As I said, there is a science to making an Authentic Chicago style dog. Chicagoan’s love their dogs and are offended if the ingredients and construction of a Chicago Dog isn’t taken seriously. The goal is to evenly distribute the toppings, so you get a taste of each ingredient with every bite. Remember: Dress the Dog, not the Bun!!

Chicago Style Hot Dog {Per Person}



  • 1
    all beef hot dog
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons
    bright green relish
  • 1 teaspoon
    yellow mustard
  • 1
    pickle spear
  • 1 tablespoon
    onion, diced
  • 1
    tomato, sliced
  • 2 to 4
    sport peppers
  • dash of
    celery salt
  • 1
    poppy seed bun

Cooking Directions

  1. Steam hot dog, place in warmed bun, top with remaining ingredients *see below*


Authentic Chicago Style Hot Dog

1. The Dog-

All Beef– contains no fillers. Don’t even think about using a dog made from turkey, chicken or pork. Best Brands: Vienna Beef or Red Hot Chicago Brand Dogs. We use Nathan’s

2. Relish-

Classic Chicago Dogs are famous for their sweet, bright neon green relish. Any sweet relish will work. Best Brands: Vienna Relish, Rolf’s “Deli Style” Sweet Pickle Relish and Super Sweet Green Pickle Relish from Puckered Pickle Co. We use Vienna Relish.

3. Mustard- 

Any Brand of Yellow Mustard will do. Don’t ever use Brown or Dijon. Best Brands: French’s or Plochman’s. We use French’s.

4. The Pickle-

The classic Chicago Dog will either have a pickle spear or pickle slice. The pickle should have a nice crunch and a mild flavor. Refrigerated pickles are the best. Don’t use mushy pickles or pickles that are sour and/or spicy. Best Brands: Claussen Kosher Dill or Kosher Dill Puckered Pickle Co. We use Claussen.

5. Onion-

Any minced white onion will be fine. We use Vidalia sweet onions.

6. Tomato-

A vine ripe red tomato from your garden is ideal or buy a nice quality red tomato. Cut the tomato into thin wedges. Don’t chop or slice your tomato. A fresh, vine-ripen tomato is best.

7. Sport Peppers-

An essential topping for a Chicago Dog is the Sport Pepper. Sport Peppers should always remain whole. Don’t slice or chop the sport peppers. Don’t use peppers that are too hot. Best Brands: Vienna Brand Sport Peppers. We use Vienna Brand Sport Peppers.

8. Celery Salt-

Celery salt, also known as the “secret ingredient.” Celery Salt is often described as the defining ingredient of an “Authentic” Chicago Hot Dog.
Best Brands: celery salt can be found at any grocery store.

9. Poppy Seed Bun-

An authentic Chicago dog has to be on a poppy seed bun. Chicago Style Hot Dogs are traditionally served on a steamed poppy seed bun. Poppy seed buns are often hard to find outside the Chicago area but can be purchased online. Best Brands: S Rosen’s Mary Ann Hot Dog Buns. We found S Rosen’s Mary Ann poppy seed hot dog buns at Woodmans in Green Bay WI.

chicago style

How to Assemble Your Dog

How to assemble your dog. Oh yes! There is even a correct order in which to assemble your Chicago Hot Dog. You will notice from my pictures that I didn’t assemble my dog correctly. I didn’t know the proper order until after I took my pictures. By the time I read the correct way to assemble my Chicago dog, I had already eaten 2 dogs and my hubby ate 3. Needless to say, I was out of ingredients and very full, so please excuse the error on my part. Burp.

Here Goes

Place Heated Hot Dog on Steamed Poppyseed Bun.
Add the toppings in order given:

1. Yellow Mustard- squirt mustard directly on the dog.
2. Bright Green Relish- add a generous amount
3. Fresh Chopped Onion- place on dog.
4. Two Tomato Wedges- the tomatoes should be placed along the crevice between the top of the bun and the hot dog.
5 Pickle Spear or Slice- The pickle should be placed in the crevice between the bottom of the bun and the hot dog.
6. Two Sport Peppers- Traditionally 2 sport peppers are added on top of a Chicago Dog.
7. Celery Salt- Sprinkle a dash of celery salt all over the dog.

Heating your dogs and buns

Chicago style dogs are usually grilled, steamed or boiled. Poppy Seed Buns are usually steamed. Both dogs and buns can be steamed using a bamboo steamer. We boiled our dogs in a saucepan of boiling water. To steam our buns, we wrapped the buns in foil, placed a rack over the boiling water, and placed the foil wrapped buns on the rack to allow them to steam. For complete directions stop by: Chicago Style Hot Dog

Well there you have it! The Chicago Style Hot Dog.
Delicious anytime, anywhere.  Enjoy your “Dogs” and Happy Hot Dog Day.
chicago style

Get the “Real” on the Chicago Dog at: Hot Dog Chicago Style and The Paupered Chef. Try this recipe for another Chicago favorite: Chicago Style Popcorn

*On a more solemn note, today Wednesday July 23, 2014 we will be celebrating the life of Linda Kramer, who passed away on Friday July 18, 2014 after a courageous 2 1/2 year battle with brain cancer.