Alternatives to Hot Dogs

The humble hot dog is America’s most popular pork product — and no wonder! It’s cheap, easily made into a tasty meat snack, and readily available at just about every street fair and baseball game.

But hot dogs’ ubiquity has also led to their downfall as a health food. Although they’re a low-fat source of protein, many Americans overindulge on them — and when you eat too many, even the cheapest hot dog can add up. So what’s a hot dog lover to do? Read on for six of the most delicious hot dog alternatives around.


If you love beans, you’ll be happy to know that many varieties are low in fat, high in protein, and inexpensive to prepare. You can easily substitute beans for hot dogs in any recipe, or eat them on their own as a high-protein snack.

Baked Beans

Baked beans are another inexpensive, high-fiber legume that can easily be substituted for hot dogs. They taste delicious when eaten plain, but are even better flavored with your favorite spices.


A falafel is a savory ball made from chickpea flour that’s fried in oil and served as a snack or appetizer. It has a similar texture to a hot dog, making it an excellent replacement.

Veggie Dogs

If you’re looking for a healthier option, consider making veggie dogs at home. Many common vegetable varieties are suitable for making hot dog substitutes, including broccoli, bell peppers, and cauliflower.

Savory Sausages

Sliced, cured sausages are a classic lunchbox standby. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to make, and make a great alternative to hot dogs.

Latin American Corn dogs

Corn dogs are the Americanized version of the Mexican delicacy, tamal. Unlike hot dogs, corn dogs are seen as a snack, rather than a meal. They can be eaten with your hands, making them ideal for the summer months.

Wraps and Roll-ups

Wraps and roll-ups are another low-fat, low-calorie option. They’re easy to make and take just a few basic ingredients to prepare. You can use them as a sandwich or as a snack by themselves.

Dried Beef

Dried beef is a classic snack that can easily be transformed into a hot dog. Simply soak sliced beef in water for a few hours before cooking. You can also try out other cuts of beef, including brisket and corned beef.

Other Meat Snacks

If you’re looking for something more exotic, try out other meat snacks, including veggie burgers and plant-based meat substitutes. These can be used as hot dog alternatives in just about any recipe.


Hot dogs are an American classic and an affordable meat snack, but their prominence has also led to health problems. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious hot dog alternatives — even some you can make yourself.

Whether you’re partial to steamed buns, corn dogs, or beans and rice, there’s a hot dog or alternative for every palate and budget.