On the Fourth of July, this loaded twisty hot dog recipe takes center stage. If you’re from the Midwest like me, you know Chicago takes its hot dogs very seriously. The Chicago-style hot dog is an absolute phenomenon of American cuisine. It’s a tradition that started during the Great Depression and is still going strong. Take this advice from a local: NO KETCHUP ALLOWED! I grew up on Gene & Jude's hot dogs and trust me, you cannot find a bottle of ketchup in the place. I hope you enjoy my fun take on this summer favorite!

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Wait, what do you mean, “No ketchup?”

When it comes to hot dogs in Chicago, there’s only one real rule: No ketchup! This might come as a surprise to visitors, but for locals, it's a matter of culinary tradition and pride. In fact, suggesting ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago is like uttering a “four-letter word.” You just don’t do it!

The classic Chicago-style hot dog is an all-beef frankfurter served in a bun and topped with specific ingredients: yellow mustard, chopped white onions, tomato slices, pickled peppers, sweet pickle relish, and if you’re lucky, a dill pickle spear too. This combination of flavors and textures is what makes a Chicago hot dog so distinct and beloved.

Loaded Twisty Hot Dogs Recipe
Loaded Twisty Hot Dogs Recipe

So, why the aversion to ketchup? Some say it overpowers the other toppings, while others argue that the sweetness of ketchup doesn’t complement the savory, tangy notes of the other toppings. Others say that in old times, ketchup was used to mask the taste of meat that was low-quality or starting to go off.

Whatever the reason, it’s a tradition that’s been passionately upheld for generations.
Whether you're a local or a visitor, embracing the no-ketchup rule is a way to experience a piece of Chicago's unique food culture. Next time you find yourself ordering a hot dog in the Windy City, stick to the traditional toppings and enjoy a true taste of Chicago!

A Chicago tradition with a twist—literally!

The secret to perfectly grilled hot dogs? Spiralize them. This grilled hot dog recipe is unique because of the spiralized cut I make in the dogs before grilling them up. Adding a spiral cut will result in a deliciously crispy hot dog with lots of crevices for the toppings to settle into. Yum!

Wondering how long to grill hot dogs? Typically, it takes about 5-7 minutes on medium heat, turning them occasionally to ensure even grilling.

Toppings Galore: How to Make Loaded Hot Dogs

The toppings I chose for this recipe are a nod to the classic Chicago dog. Diced tomato made the cut, along with pepperoncini for an Italian twist, cornichons for that satisfying pickle flavor, and homemade crispy onions. These loaded hot dogs are bursting with flavors and textures that make each bite an adventure. This makes the loaded twisty hot dog the perfect summer recipe, especially for festive gatherings like the Fourth of July!

Perfect for Summer Gatherings

Grilled hot dogs are a summer staple, and this loaded twisty hot dog recipe elevates the classic to a whole new level. Whether you're hosting a backyard barbecue or a family picnic, these hot dogs are sure to impress your guests. They’re easy to prepare and even easier to enjoy, making them a go-to for summer recipes. Serve them with a side of your favorite chips or a fresh summer salad for a complete meal that celebrates the season.

Loaded Twisty Hot Dogs Recipe
Loaded Twisty Hot Dogs Recipe
Yield: Makes 6 servings

Loaded Twisty Hot Dogs Recipe

Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 7 MinTotal time: 27 Min
This grilled Chicago-style hot dog recipe has an actual twist—a spiralized hot dog. If you love grilling out, this recipe makes a perfect Fourth of July treat!


  • 6 all-beef hot dogs
  • One 8-inch wooden or metal skewer
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
  • Cornichons, drained and sliced lengthwise
  • Pepperoncini, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1 recipe of my Crispy Salty Onions
  • 6 hot dog buns
For the Crispy Salty Onions
  • 1 large sweet onion like a Vidalia or Maui
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Sea salt or seasoned salt, to taste


  1. Start by spiralizing the hot dogs. You can do this a day ahead and keep them wrapped loosely in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Using a wooden or metal skewer, skewer one hot dog evenly through the middle. You will want to do this slowly so that the skewer goes evenly through the middle of the hot dog. You only need one wooden or metal skewer as you will reuse it for each hot dog. The hot dogs are not grilled on a skewer.
  2. Using a sharp paring knife and starting at one end of the hot dog, slice the hot dog on an angle. As you are cutting, slowly roll it away from you as you slice the hot dog in a circular motion down to the other end. Slide the hot dog off the skewer and you will have a spiralized hot dog! Continue with this process until all the hot dogs have been spiralized. If using a wooden skewer, discard it. If using a metal skewer, simply wash it so you can use it for another recipe.
  3. Peel the onion and slice it in half. Using a mandoline slicer or a chef’s knife, slice the onions very thinly, about ⅛-inch thick, and place in a mixing bowl. Cover with cold water and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain the onions in a strainer over the sink.
  4. Place the cornstarch in a separate bowl. Line 2 baking sheets with paper towels. One will be used to pat the onions dry after being drained from the water and the other will be used to place the onions on after they have been fried.
  5. Place the drained onions on one of the pans lined with a paper towel. Use the paper towel to dry off the onions. Try to get them as dry as possible.
  6. Fill a deep, heavy saucepan with oil so the oil is about 2 inches deep. Now, heat the oil until it reaches 365 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to test the temperature.
  7. When hot, start dredging the sliced onions in the cornstarch. Drain the onions in a strainer over your sink. Dredge the onions in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Fry the onions in batches, being careful not to overcrowd them. Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the onions and place them on the paper towel-lined pan. Toss the fried onions gently in sea salt or seasoned salt to taste. Keep the fried onions at room temperature. You can prepare these a few hours ahead although they are best served with 30 minutes of preparing them. To reheat the onions, place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and reheat in a 300 degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. When you’re ready to prepare and serve the hot dogs, heat your outdoor grill and lightly toast the buns on the grill.
  9. Next, place the spiralized hot dogs on your hot grill and cook, turning frequently to keep them evenly grilled.
  10. Place the hot dogs on the grilled buns. Top with the chopped tomato, cornichons, and pickled peppers followed by a drizzle of mustard. Now, top off those dogs with the fried salty onions. Your loaded twisty hot dogs are ready to serve!
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @mary.disomma on instagram and hashtag it #LoadedTwistyHotDogs
June 26, 2024 — Mary DiSomma