Portillo’s Chicago-Style Hot Dog Recipe

Once you’ve had a taste of Portillo’s Chicago-style hot dog, you’ll never have hot dogs the same way ever again. That’s why in this recipe, we recreate their classic hot dog dish. Chicagoans are very proud of this local delicacy, and with good reason. It’s unlike any hot dog on bun served anywhere. For one, there’s a specific way of arranging its toppings. Two, they don’t use ketchup since it overpowers the other ingredients’ flavors. Three, there’s a whole culture surrounding this very dish! Terms like ‘depression dog’ and ‘dragged through the garden’ are all related to this delicacy.

Preparing the Portillo’s Chicago-Style Hot Dog Recipe

So, it’s no wonder that it also has a very long history. Food historians can’t seem to pinpoint the first creator of this dish. Although, many claim that its roots go all the way back to German immigrants, known for their sausage-making skills, and Jewish immigrants, who produced the all-beef hot dog used for this dish. All-beef hot dogs are famed for their “snap”. It’s the resistance you experience when you bite into the hot dog and the casing doesn’t give in immediately. All-beef hot dogs are as essential to this dish as the other ingredients are. Even the order of adding the ingredients is also important. Because when done right, each bite will let you taste every topping: Its flavors, and how they all blend together in the best way possible.

What first started in hot dog stands has now found a home in popular restaurants all across the U.S., including Portillo’s. So with our recipe, you won’t have to fly all the way to Chicago or visit a Portillo’s just to eat this iconic food. And while you’re at it, have yourself some Corn on the Cob with Garlic-Chives Butter, a classic companion to Chicago-style hot dog.

Portillo’s Chicago-Style Hot Dog Recipe

How To Make Portillo's Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Firm all-beef hotdog and various toppings give this hot dog an explosion of intricate flavors. Portillo’s Chicago-style Hot Dog is a classic local food that’s made in a special way, with equally special ingredients. Follow our recipe and you’ll understand why this dish became such a classic in Chicago.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins


  • 1 all-beef hot dog
  • 1 hot dog bun
  • 1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tbsp sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 tomato wedges
  • 1 dill pickle spear
  • 2 piquillo peppers
  • tbsp celery salt
  • yellow mustard, for serving


  1. Fill a pot with water, then bring it to a boil.
  2. Do not cook the hot dog in boiling water. Lower the heat to low first, then transfer the hot dog into water.
  3. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove hot dog from pot then set aside.
  4. Place a steamer basket inside the pot. Put hot dog bun inside the steamer basket.
  5. Steam for 2 minutes.
  6. Place hot dog inside of the warm hot dog bun.
  7. Add toppings in this order: mustard, relish, onion, tomatoes, pickle, peppers, and celery salt.
  8. Tomatoes should be between the hot dog and bun on one side, while pickles should be on the other side.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Portillo’s uses sports peppers for its original Chicago-style hot dogs recipe. However, in this recipe we used piquillo peppers, which are milder in spiciness and sweeter in taste.


  • Sugar: 13g
  • :
  • Calcium: 112mg
  • Calories: 330kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Cholesterol: 25mg
  • Fat: 16g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Iron: 3mg
  • Potassium: 428mg
  • Protein: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Sodium: 2352mg
  • Vitamin A: 1601IU
  • Vitamin C: 39mg
Nutrition Disclaimer

Commonly Asked Questions

Why shouldn’t I put ketchup on a hot dog?

A lot of people say that ketchup’s strong, sweet taste will overwhelm the balance of other toppings’ intricate flavors. On the other hand, mustard was specifically made for sausages. They’re not too sweet, not too spicy, and just tangy enough to give taste buds the right amount of excitement. However, it’s worth mentioning that hot dog stands selling this dish still give ketchup when customers ask for it. We recommend you first try this recipe without the condiment to stay truthful to Portillo’s version. But if you find that ketchup will give you a better eating experience, then you should go ahead and experiment!

What should I serve with hot dogs?

Portillo’s classic hot dogs are a great dish on its own. But if you’re serving for a bigger crowd, we suggest sticking to some of the classic side dishes that complement hot dog on buns well. These include coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, and even fries. We recommend our Copycat KFC Coleslaw Recipe or our Golden Corral Copycat Potato Salad. You can also give our Bojangles Copycat French Fries Recipe a try.

Hot Dog


You won’t have to fly all the way to Chicago to enjoy this Portillo’s classic. It’s quick and easy to make, and absolutely delicious to have for lunch or even dinner. It’s also a great way to have hot dogs when you’re tired of having them the same way over and over again. Your cravings for a classic Portillo's hot dog will surely be satisfied with our wonderful recipe.
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