These Are the Most Hated Hot Dog Toppings

There are few foods as down-to-earth as the humble hot dog. Yet bring the topic up at any summer barbecue and you’ll realize that hot dog toppings are very controversial (perhaps just as controversial as pizza toppings). Fortunately, you don’t have to share a hot dog like you do a pizza.

While you can put anything you want on your hot dog, these are the hot dog toppings that many Americans think will take the indulgence from delicious to disgusting.

15. Lettuce and tomato

Lettuce and tomatos on white background
Lettuce and tomato | luhuanqi/iStock/Getty Images

Thrillist notes that a hot dog isn’t a burger. So why would you consider lettuce and tomato as serious hot dog toppings? Neither one has a strong enough flavor that they’re likely to detract from the flavor of a freshly-grilled hot dog. But if your toppings aren’t adding much in the way of flavor, then why bother with them in the first place?

Next: You can do better than this condiment. 

14. Sriracha

Hot Spicy Red Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha |

There are plenty of condiments that you can add to a hot dog, some more controversial than others. But many people would advise against adding Sriracha. “We do agree that hot dogs can use a bit of spice,” Thrillist warns. “But Sriracha is the vanilla ice cream of hot sauce — better than nothing, but you can do better.”

Next: Some people just hate this topping in all its forms. 

13. Onions

Fresh onions, just picked, on wooden table. There are 3 onions freshly harvested, they are yellow orange in color.
Yellow onions |

Onions, both fresh and grilled, remain very popular hot dog toppings. But that doesn’t save them from having numerous detractors, too. Critics think that raw onions overpower the flavor of the hot dog with their tangy taste and pungent odor. But, instead of settling for the mellower flavor of grilled or sauteed onions, they complain that those are too limp and soggy to stay in the bun.

Next: Some hot dog fans love this topping, but others hate it. 

12. Chili

bowl of chili
Chili | iStock

Another popular hot dog topping that has its detractors? Chili. We’d venture to guess that most criticism of this topping comes about as a result of barbecue hosts setting out bland canned chili instead of a version with some flavor or spice. It may not be as controversial as some other hot dog toppings, but chili is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of addition to the topping lineup.

Next: People criticize this topping for its distinctive flavor. 

11. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut soup in brown bowl
Sauerkraut | Volgutova

Thrillist reports that few hot dog toppings are as divisive as sauerkraut. In fact, the publication argues that no other topping is as effective at delivering the vinegary crunch that perfectly offsets a hot dog. Whether you love it or hate it, you probably understand why sauerkraut is controversial — but its popularity saves it from landing higher on the list of the most hated hot dog toppings.

Next: This is probably one of the weirder hot dog toppings. 

10. Baked beans

Baked beans
Baked beans |

Thrillist reports that “Nothing quite says ‘backyard barbecue’ like syrupy-sweet baked beans.” Many Americans love baked beans as a side. But how many actually pile those baked beans on top of a hot dog? Not that many, we’d guess, since that pairing would make not only for messy eating but also for an unpleasantly soggy hot dog bun.

Next: Most people wouldn’t put these on a hot dog. 

9. Peppers

Bell peppers
Red peppers |

Most people want their hot dog to just be a hot dog, not to pretend to be something fancier. So when Thrillist promises that a “sweet, roasted bell pepper turns your average dog into an artisanal sausage,” many people probably start running the other way. Some people will tell you that there’s nothing wrong with peppers on a hot dog, per se. But many people get suspicious when you start adding vegetables to a hot dog.

Next: Few people think this topping is a good idea. 

8. Potatoes

Two hands holding freshly harvested potatoes.
Potatoes | stocksnapper/iStock/Getty Images

Many people probably don’t have an opinion on potatoes as hot dog toppings, since lots of people haven’t tried it. Thrillist notes that while the Newark-style Italian dog is a classic, you should never put potatoes on a hot dog without the addition of peppers or onions. Not only do potatoes make one of the most boring hot dog toppings, but they also add extra carbs that nobody needs.

Next: People really love to hate this topping. 

7. Jalapeños

Jalapeno peppers sit on a counter top
Jalapeno peppers | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jalapeños as hot dog toppings certainly have some devotees. But it’s a well-documented phenomenon that plenty of people just can’t handle spicy foods, and hate seeing them show up on iconic American classics like a hot dog. So it comes as no surprise that jalapeños make some people’s lists of the most hated hot dog toppings. Even for people who can take the heat, is that what you want on a hot day at a summer barbecue? We’ll let you be the judge.

Next: Most people wouldn’t put this on a hot dog. 

6. Guacamole

mango guacamole with corn chips
Guacamole |

Thrillist reports that many people reach for guacamole as a counterpoint to a hot dog on a sweltering summer day. But many critics are tired of the trend of putting an avocado on anything and everything. As Thrillist notes, “This is a hot dog, after all, not toast.”

Next: This may be the most controversial of all hot dog toppings. 

5. Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup
Ketchup | Grafner/iStock/Getty Images

One of the most ubiquitous hot dog toppings is also one of the most controversial. It’s a classic pairing — but one that critics think you should leave behind as you grow up. As Wired reports, many foodies agree that ketchup is just too sugary. “Hot dogs come in different varieties but usually share some general taste profiles: umami, saltiness, sweetness. Sure, you could put more sweetness on top of that if you’re, I don’t know, a child, but if you’re an adult with an adult’s palate, you probably want to complement that flavor.”

Next: Some people love this topping, but more hate it. 

4. Coleslaw

A bowl of delicious creamy homemade coleslaw
Coleslaw | Fudio/iStock/Getty Images

As Thrillist points out, coleslaw certainly has its place at your barbecue. “But that place is far, far away from your hot dog.” A slaw dog may be a classic in some parts of the country. But critics point out that coleslaw is too sweet and too messy to make a proper topping. And unlike superior hot dog toppings, it doesn’t improve once it takes on some of the heat of the hot dog — which should serve as a red flag all on its own.

Next: This choice is controversial, too. 

3. Relish

A bowl of relish
Relish |

Thrillist places relish at the bottom of the pack in terms of hot dog toppings. “It’s neon green, mushy, and cucumbers fermenting in high-fructose corn syrup don’t pass as vegetables,” the publication explains. A few people probably like relish on their hot dogs. But for most people, it’s one of the most hated hot dog toppings. As one Sports Illustrated writer theorizes, it’s only the “unenlightened” who spread relish on their hot dogs.

Next: Most people wouldn’t put this on a hot dog. 

2. Mayonaisse

Mayonnaise | ValentynVolkov/iStock/Getty Images

There may not be any hot dog toppings more controversial than ketchup. But mayonnaise seems to be one of the rare condiments that’s more universally reviled as a hot dog topping than ketchup. Two writers at The Takeout debated the merits of spreading mayo on a hot dog, with one noting that mayonnaise typically adds creaminess and fattiness to a texturally dry dish — something that’s completely unnecessary for a good hot dog.

Next: Few people would say that this should go on a hot dog. 

1. Cream cheese

Cream cheese
Cream cheese | irimglow/iStock/Getty Images

Some people love a Seattle-style hot dog — topped with cream cheese and grilled onions — but plenty of others wonder how anyone could ruin a good hot dog with cream cheese. As with other regional hot dog styles, this one has an interesting story behind it. But that doesn’t excuse anyone from wasting perfectly good cream cheese on a hot dog.

Read more: 7 Healthier Alternatives to Your Favorite Cookout Foods

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!