Side Dishes

What to Serve with Hot Dogs: 20 Picnic Classics

Load up the picnic table with these tasty, classic side dishes!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
Learn more about me
Updated January 9, 2023

Need some ideas for what to serve with hot dogs? I’ve collected some of my all-time favorite classic and original recipes that are perfect for summer days!

what to serve with hot dogs

Hot dogs are an American staple often found at barbecues, baseball games, and even street corners. A classic hot dog is steamed or grilled and served inside a sliced hot dog bun.

Although they’ve become popular in America, hot dogs actually came from Germany. They were first served by German immigrants from carts in New York City, and exploded in popularity from there!

Given its German history, certain condiments like mustard and sauerkraut are ubiquitous with hotdogs. Finger snack foods like onion rings and french fries have also become classics over time.

If you’re serving savory hot dogs at a picnic, cold side dishes like pasta salad and coleslaw are perfect for sharing. Even healthy options like grilled corn and fruit skewers are a hit with the kids!

Keep your picnic classy by serving hot dogs with some of these timeless side dishes!

what to serve with hot dogs recipe

01. Potato Salad

The perfect grab-and-go side dish for a potluck or baseball game!

This classic potato salad is creamy, tangy, and filling all at once. This recipe includes chopped dill pickles to provide that satisfying crunch and a pop of acidity.

You can make this southern-style potato salad in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until your picnic. The potatoes will soak up even more flavor over time!

02. Pasta Salad

This dill-spiced salad is filled with your favorite summer flavors!

Bowtie pasta gives this pasta salad the perfect amount of bite to keep it from getting soggy. Fresh vegetables like juicy cucumber, grape tomatoes, and onion add freshness and a summery taste.

But the lemon dill dressing is the real star of the show and ties all the ingredients together. You can even substitute the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt to make this pasta salad healthier.

03. Baked Beans

It’s tricky to find a good vegetarian baked bean recipe, but this one is a guaranteed hit.

You won’t even miss the bacon because these baked beans are rich and smoky all on their own. A unique bourbon BBQ sauce gives these beans their authentic southwestern flavor.

Savory ingredients like garlic and onion help balance the overall sweetness. It’s the perfect hot dog topper, appetizer or side dish!

04. Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy, sweet, AND savory? This side dish has it all!

These sweet potato fries have a unique earthy, smoky flavor that regular french fries just can’t beat. The chipotle and brown sugar coating helps bring out the potato’s natural sweetness and helps crisp up the edges.

Since these sweet potatoes are cooked in the oven, they have much less fat than deep-fried fries. To cut down on the fat even more, you can even cook these fries in the air fryer.

05. Fruit Salad

Sometimes the simplest side dishes are also the best!

Fruit salad is one of my favorite ways to use up fresh summer fruits from the garden. Sliced tart strawberries, sweet blueberries, and red grapes make this salad irresistibly juicy and tangy.

A squeeze of lemon helps brighten the individual flavors of the fruits. To balance the sweetness and add even more freshness, mix your fruit salad with chopped mint leaves.

06. French Fries

Once you realize how simple this recipe is, you’ll never make frozen fries again!

These baked fries have a perfectly crispy outside and soft and tender inside. Help your fries crisp up by soaking them first to get rid of excess starch.

Herbs and spices like chili, cumin, and basil give these fries a unique twist. You can even add grated parmesan once the fries are out of the oven if you want some cheesiness!

07. Potato Chips

You’ll be surprised at how superior the flavor is compared to bagged potato chips!

These salt and vinegar chips use real vinegar, not that powdered stuff that tears up your mouth! Russet potatoes are lovely and dense and give these chips the perfect rustic flavor and crispiness.

Salt and vinegar are a classic combination, but feel free to add dry dill or even parmesan cheese. No matter the flavor, these homemade potato chips are bound to be gone in a flash.

08. Grilled Corn

A fun summer classic you can’t go wrong with.

Charred grilled corn has an unbeatable smoky flavor that boiled corn just can’t recreate. A savory garlic butter dressing takes this juicy corn to the next level.

I like to sprinkle a little paprika at the end to bring out more of that smokiness. Chopped parsley and parmesan are optional, but excellent additions as well!

09. Grilled Asparagus

There are so many ways to cook asparagus, but grilling is the most flavorful!

Grilling on the barbecue helps the asparagus spears crisp up beautifully. The skins get bubbly and charred and are chock-full of smoky flavor.

I always add a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to cut through the bitterness of the stalks. Add a sprinkle of flake salt and you have an elegant but easy side.

10. Fried Dill Pickles

Surprise your picnic guests by serving hot dogs with this unique southern fried treat.

Fulfill that tangy craving with these zesty dill pickle fries. They’re battered with a crispy egg and flour coating that provides that addictive crispy and juicy contrast.

These fries contain a lot of moisture, so they’re best served right after frying. I like to enjoy them with an equally tangy cool ranch dressing for dipping!

11. Grilled Onions

All the flavor of onion rings, without all the carbs!

Onions contain natural sweetness, which is accentuated when you grill them. Grilling also helps cook off the sharpness of the onions so they’re easier to eat.

Skewer your onions before grilling them to keep them from falling apart. Sweeter varieties like Vidalia or red onions will give your grilled onions even more caramelization!

12. Fruit Skewers

The best way to serve individual fruit portions! Keep sticky kid fingers at bay by serving fruit on these skewers.

I like to use fruit with a skin like strawberries and grapes which help keep these skewers from getting too juicy. Instead of just fruit, try adding cubes of orange cheddar to your skewers as well.

For adults, these skewers work great as a cocktail garnish! A perfect treat to fancy up your next hot dog cookout with friends.

13. Classic Coleslaw

Serve it as a side, or a hot dog topper!

This crispy salad combines shredded carrots and cabbage in a creamy mayonnaise dressing. A touch of sour cream and vinegar helps give the dressing just the right amount of tang.

I like to add a sweet element like honey to my coleslaw to keep it from being bitter. Once the flavors soak in, you have the perfect crunchy sauerkraut alternative for your hot dogs.

14. Sauerkraut

Try making this fermented condiment from scratch!

With its tangy and sour flavor, sauerkraut is the perfect condiment to compliment a salty hot dog. The sauerkraut also makes each bite juicy and adds a crunchy texture.

Sauerkraut is a fermented product, so it’s full of vitamins and minerals. It is also known to improve gut health, much like yogurt.

15. Onion Rings

Perfect for when you’re craving that umami taste! This is one of those side dishes that works great as a hot dog topper too.

Perfectly crispy onion rings are an art form, and using thick-cut onions is the secret! White onions are the best variety to use because they are firm but juicy.

Bread crumbs give these battered onion rings an extra layer of crispiness. You can even add spices to your batter, like paprika or pepper for even more flavor.

16. Chili

The very definition of comfort food.

This extra chunky chili is filled with ground beef, spicy sausage, and two kinds of beans. The tangy sweet sauce combines honey, barbecue sauce, and tomato for an unforgettable taste.

What’s great about chili is that even though it’s a comfort food, it’s healthy! Swap out the ground beef for tofu or beans and have a practically fat-free meal.

17. Mac and Cheese

When you’re craving cheese, this mac delivers!

Four different kinds of cheese give this mac and cheese unmatched decadence and creaminess. To elevate those cheesy flavors, the sauce is seasoned with savory garlic and onion powder.

This recipe has a whipping cream base, so it’s extra thick and velvety. Bake this mixture until it’s hot and bubbling and add a breadcrumb topping if you want some crunch!

18. Cornbread

Superior to dinner rolls in both flavor and texture.

This super moist cornbread has a subtly sweetness from the corn that pairs excellently with grilled foods. The unique gritty texture from the cornmeal gives the edges a lovely crisp texture as it bakes.

If you want even more sweetness, try drizzling a bit of honey on top of your freshly baked cornbread. Serve alongside other southern classics like baked beans and chili!

19. Corn on the Cob

Get delicious grilled corn on the cob, even without a barbecue!

Baking corn in the oven brings out the natural sugars and helps them caramelize. The result is a crisp sweetness that makes these baked cobs taste like they’re right off the barbecue!

Season your corn with garlic powder before baking to give it that sweet and savory taste. I like to add grated parmesan once they’re out of the oven for just a touch of umami.

20. Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

These addictive smoky brussel sprouts are bound to be your new favorite veggie!

These brussel sprouts are sauteed with ingredients like bacon and garlic to create richness and depth of flavor. That intense savory taste is balanced by a tangy balsamic glaze that also helps caramelize the edges.

The trick to the most tender brussel sprouts is to sear them, then cook them slowly to develop the flavors. The long cooking time also helps get rid of any bitterness!

What to Serve with Hot Dogs: 20 Picnic Classics


  1. Choose your favorite hot dog side dish recipe from this list.

  2. Go shopping for your picnic ingredients.

  3. Pump up the summer music and start grilling those hot dogs!

  4. Have a fun picnic enjoying delicious recipes with friends and family.

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