The Surprising Ingredient I Always Top on Hot Dogs (It Wows at Every Cookout!)

published Jul 9, 2024
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Close up of grilled hotdogs on grill
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It’s not summer if I haven’t had a hot dog cookout with a bar full of toppings. Don’t get me wrong — I love juicy cheeseburgers, but hot dogs are delicious, so much easier, and let me focus on my real passion: the toppings.

Obviously you have to put out the classics — ketchup, mustard, relish, etc. — but my favorite surprise topping? Crumbled and toasted store-bought cornbread. If that sounds weird to you, hear me out. 

These toasty crumbles give instant corn dog vibes without a single second of frying. Sure, you can make cornbread yourself (it’s a great way to use up leftovers), but I like to grab some from the bakery section of the grocery store just to keep things easier. I love to eat this topping the same way I would a corndog: With a squeeze of yellow mustard and ketchup on top.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Ingredients in Toasted Cornbread Crumble

  • Cornbread. Grab some pre-made from the grocery store; even a few cornbread muffins will do the trick! Or make a batch of Jiffy.
  • Fat. You can use butter, bacon fat, olive oil — any fat will do!
  • Salt. Depending on the salt level in your cornbread, you may want to add a little salt at the end.

How to Make Toasted Cornbread Crumble

  1. Crumble the cornbread. Use your hands to crumble cornbread to a breadcrumb consistency. You can leave some slightly larger chunks or keep everything finely ground depending on your preference.
  2. Toast the cornbread. Heat a few tablespoons of fat in a skillet over medium heat. You can eyeball this, but about 1 tablespoon fat per 1/4 cup crumbs is a good ratio. Add the cornbread and cook, stirring frequently, until golden-brown and crunchy. If it’s toasting too quickly, you can adjust the heat lower. Season with a pinch of salt if needed.

Other Dishes That Deserve the Corn Dog Treatment

This topping is great on more than just hot dogs! Sprinkle a little over these recipes or just go with what feels right. They make a great stand-in for toasted breadcrumbs.

More Topping Ideas

The options are endless! You can create a theme, or simply set out a bunch of bowls filled with ingredients you think sound delicious. Even better: Make each of your friends bring something exciting, while you supply the dogs and classic condiments. Below are some of my personal favorite one-ingredient upgrades. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

This article originally published on The Kitchn. See it there: The Surprising Ingredient I Always Top on Hot Dogs (It Wows at Every Cookout!)