Chicago Style Hot Dogs

Dinner, Holiday, Snacks

These Chicago Style Hot Dogs are as close as you’re going to get without having to buy a ticket to Chicago. I’m going to go through all the specific toppings and show you how to D.I.Y. a poppyseed bun.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

Last year I went on my first trip to Chicago and had da best time evrrr! It’s definitely one of my favorite cities in the country. Josh and I actually thought about moving to Chicago after that trip but the winters…oof.

I began to envision myself walking down the street in January with two handfuls of groceries, with wind and snow and more wind all up in my face and it sort of stressed me out. So, for now, I’m just gonna make Chicago dogs.

Fourth of July is this weekend and I figured it was the perfect time to make one! If you’ve never had one, man, you’re in for a treat. On that trip to Chicago, I had my first Chicago dog and it was so memorable.

Chicago Dogs

What is a Chicago Dog?

  • The Hot Dog: Most Chicago dogs are boiled, which is usually against everything that I believe in but I love these boiled. But, if you find yourself near a grill because, well, 4th of July, put them on the grill! I say put the tomatoes and peppers on the grill too. I say get wild, get weird.
  • There are a few things that have to go on a Chicago dog, and they are as follows:
  • tomatoes (sliced into a wedge)
  • sweet relish, sport peppers or pepperoncini
  • diced white onion or yellow onion
  • a dash of celery salt
  • and lots and lots of mustard

This combo seems a little strange, not gonna lie, but it all makes sense when you bite into it. The buns MUST be soft, with poppy seeds. Most hot dog buns don’t have poppy seeds on them, but don’t worry, I have a solution down below in the recipe.

Chicago Dogs

How to Make a Chicago Style Hot Dog:

  1. Cook the Hot Dogs. The main thing about Chicago Style Hot Dogs is that they’re boiled. I’m usually not on team boiled hot dog, but for this I like it because all the toppings need to shine.
  2. Prep the toppings. While the hot dogs boil, slice and dice all the vegetables.
  3. Assemble! When you’re ready to serve, assemble the hot dogs and top with the tomatoes, relish, celery salt, white onion, and mustard in a poppyseed bun.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

How to make a Poppyseed Bun:

Chicago Style Hot Dog Buns are specific in that they need to be eaten in a poppyseed bun. These can be kind of hard to find outside of Chicago so I went ahead and figured out a way to doctor up a regular hot dog bun.

  1. Brush the buns with an egg wash. Place the buns on a baking sheet and brush the tops and sides with a beaten egg.
  2. After that, Sprinkle. Add poppy seeds to all the parts of the bun that were brushed.
  3. Bake. Bake in the oven to help set the egg wash and warm up the buns.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

Chicago Dogs

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Serving Size: 6 to 8 hot dogs
Calories: 147kcal
These Chicago Style Hot Dogs are as close as you're going to get without having to buy a ticket to Chicago. I'm going to go through all the specific toppings and show you how to D.I.Y. a poppyseed bun.


  • 6 hot dog buns
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 6 all-beef hot dogs 
  • Yellow mustard
  • 3 dill pickles, cut into wedges
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges 
  • 1/2 small yellow or white onion, peeled and diced
  • 6 sport peppers or pepperoncini peppers
  • 3 tablespoons sweet relish
  • Celery salt 


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the hot dog buns side by side on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, beat together the 1 egg. Brush the top sides of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle on the poppy seeds. Transfer to the oven to bake for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. 
  • Bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil. Drop the hot dogs into the water and then immediately cover, turn off the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Place the hot dogs inside each of the hot dog buns. Top each hot dog with a squiggle of yellow mustard. Then, add a handful of diced onion, a teaspoon of sweet relish, a few pepperoncini, tomatoes and a dill pickle. Add a pinch of celery salt to each hot dog. Eat and serve immediately. 


KeywordBBQ, Chicago Style Hot Dogs
Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 560mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 492IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating

  • Reply Steve August 25, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    5 stars
    Well written, and thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Shannon January 18, 2019 at 5:08 am

    I just moved to Chicago last week! Move here too! 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Kate July 9, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    You are making me so hungry right now! I’ve never heard of sport peppers, must search those out. Also, Hebrew Nationals por vida!!!

  • Reply Katie Stanley July 1, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Fun! The whole thing was good, despite the fact I didn’t have any hot peppers to throw on. Just want to throw it out there that I used a flax egg to adhere the poppy seeds and it worked just fine. It was less vegan inspiration, and more not wanting to waste an egg in the oven 🙂

  • Reply ReaderRita June 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Yay! I’m glad you weren’t offended by my comment; you really did a great job!
    But I wouldn’t be a Chicagoan if I didn’t also point out that both you and I left something out: Chicago serves largely “Vienna Beef” hot dogs. Vienna began selling them at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, so they are really ingrained in our history.
    (and full disclosure: I have to admit that I go for all beef, organic, no nitrate ones when we do dogs on the grill at home…and that admission will probably revoke my Chicago Dog License, hahaha)

  • Reply ReaderRita June 29, 2016 at 10:29 am

    As a life long Chicagoan, I appreciate your attention to detail! Most people miss the sweet relish/ dill pickle spear nuance and the poppy seed/ celery salt necessities! A+++ to you! Though I have never been anywhere in Chicago that puts pepperoncini on a dog instead of sport peppers (which are sacred), I’m sure there are some newfangled places here that do that now; and many places will happily grill your dog instead of just serving it boiled if they have the ability. As I was growing up, graduating from boiled to grilled was a rite of passage- it showed you were grown up. But, it also depended on the capabilities of your local hotdog stand.
    The only thing I found lacking in your piece was that you neglected to mention our celebrated: “Obesessive Loathing Of Ketchup On (or anywhere near) A Hotdog”…
    (and you are right about the winters…ugh)

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme June 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Hahaha…your enthusiasm is awesome. I actually couldn’t find sport peppers. It was such a bummer. And actually, when I went to Chicago I had a grilled one because I LOVE grilled hot dogs. I love all these tiny details you’re telling me–I love how people from Chicago are so passionate about them! It’s awesome.

    • Reply Helen in CA September 16, 2016 at 2:35 am

      I suspect the pepperoncini may well be for those of us who don’t know what sport peppers are…..let alone where to get them (aside from flying to Chicago, of course).

      Looking forward to trying this….sadly w/the substitute since I’m in Northern California

  • Reply Kathy June 29, 2016 at 10:19 am

    We went to Chicago a few years back during the Chicago Blues Festival. We loved the city, the music and the hot dogs! Your post brought back great memories. Thanks and Happy 4th

  • Reply Michelle || Hummingbird High June 29, 2016 at 9:47 am

    not gonna lie im hungover rn and this is everything i want atm

  • Reply Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire June 29, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I love ALDI, they always stock really great products. I haven’t had a hot dog in ages, and I really wish I had one or two of these in front of me right now!