French Onion Hot Dogs

French onion hot dogs for the summer dinner win! Hot dogs topped with caramelized onions, melted Gruyere cheese, and a super simple sauce are a great way to give your average hot dog a gourmet makeover.

close-up photo of a a hot dog topped with cheese and onions

I’m going to give it to you straight: Like most dishes made with caramelized onions, these French onion hot dogs aren’t an ideal weeknight dinner. But, they are an excellent weekend dinner especially if you have a few friends and a few drinks on hand to keep you company while you wait for them to cook.

They are worth the time if you love French onion soup because these hot dogs are basically it except instead of soup the onions are piled on all-beef hot dogs along with plenty of Gruyere cheese. It’s sort of an America-meets-France-at-the-BBQ situation and I think it might be my most favorite recipe from this summer.

And, as I said to my friend when I made them the first time, what else do we have to do? Sitting around chatting and sipping drinks while waiting for the onions to cook is a very pleasant experience. I mean, it’s 2020. There’s nothing to do but wait, right?

So, add these to your summer weekend cooking list. The jammy, sweet onions with a super simple sauce and plenty of cheese are a great way to give your hot dogs a gourmet upgrade.

photo collage showing three stages of caramelizing onions in a skillet

Caramelized Onions

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about caramelizing onions and you should definitely check it out for lots of tips. The short version is that it will take up to an hour to an hour and half to get beautiful golden sweet onions. I recommend using a 12″ pan, but you can get away with using a 10″ one but it will take a little longer.

You can do this on the stove or the grill. I’ve tried it both ways, but prefer the stove because it goes a little faster. You can also cook the onions a day in advance so they’re ready to go since the rest of the recipe doesn’t take any time at all. Just keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.

All you do is slice two pounds of white onions and then cook them in a pan with butter. Stir them occasionally until they’ve released their moisture, softened and taken on a golden caramelized color.

I add a splash of apple cider vinegar right at the end. I love a hit of acid.

overhead photo of caramelized onions in a pan

Assemble the Hot Dogs

Once you have your onions the rest is a quick operation:

  • Make a sauce with mayo, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and fresh parsley.
  • Place your cooked hot dogs (I prefer beef ones) on buns, slather on some sauce, and pile on the onions
  • Top it all with some shredded Gruyere cheese and pop them under the broiler until the cheese is melted.

I highly recommend brioche hot dog buns if you can find them because they’re buttery, sweet and so good. Also, top-sliced buns work best.

photo collage showing how to assemble the hot dogs

So, get your fancy on and caramelize some onions. I think you’re going to love these French onion hot dogs.

Happy cooking,

overhead photo of a french onion hot dog

More Recipes To Try


French Onion Hot Dogs

photo of hot dogs with cheese and caramelized onions

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

These French onion hot dogs are a great way to give a summer classic a gourmet twist. The hardest part is waiting for the onions to caramelize but it is so worth the wait. If you love French onion soup I think you will love this recipe.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds white onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 6 hot dog buns
  • 6 beef hot dogs 
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded


  1. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat them in the melted butter. Cook the onions for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until they are soft, golden in color and caramelized. Stir them occasionally while they cook and lower the heat if they are browning too fast. If they start to dry out you can add a tablespoon or so of water to the pan. Just before they are done, add the vinegar and stir until it’s mostly evaporated.
  2. While the onions cook, make the sauce by combining the mayo, mustard, parsley, and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Keep it cold in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the hot dogs.
  3. Once the onions are done, transfer them to a bowl. Place the hot dogs in the same pan and cook them over medium heat until the skins crisp and they brown in spots. 
  4. Place the hot dogs in the buns. Top them with the mayo sauce and pile the caramelized onions on top. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the onions. Broil the hot dogs in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.


You can also do all of this on the grill. Cook the onions in a grill-safe pan over indirect heat. I like to keep the grill lid closed while they cook. Stir them occasionally. You may need to add 15 to 30 minutes of cooking time if you cook them on the grill.

Once the onions are done, you can grill the hot dogs, assemble them in the buns and then place them back on the grill with the lid closed until the cheese is melted. Just make sure they aren’t sitting on direct heat otherwise the buns will burn.

You can cook the onions up to a day in advance and keep them in the refrigerator.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 553
  • Sugar: 10.2g
  • Sodium: 858.4mg
  • Fat: 34.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 14.6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 17.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.4g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Protein: 20.1g
  • Cholesterol: 80.3mg

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  1. I like the idea of using some sweet onions for this dish. My brother is trying to get a new recipe for hot dogs this week. He wants to try a local restaurant and see what they do.

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