16 Ways To Elevate Corn Dogs

Corn dogs are a delicious easy-to-eat food. Whether you make them from scratch, purchase them as a snack at the fair, or buy them frozen, there are plenty of ways to elevate corn dogs. From customizing the batter with a spicy boost or using pancake batter to turn it into a brunch item, there are many ways to switch up your corn dogs simply with the batter. Other methods include the hot dog itself, whether you grill it or use a different type of sausage altogether. You can even plate the corn dogs, so they seem like a chic dish to serve at a party.

We'll share why you'll want to try these methods and what makes them so tasty. Luckily, there are plenty of ways not only to enjoy but improve corn dogs, so it's not something you only think about as fair food — although that is a perfectly delicious place to eat them. Most of these tips are for when you make corn dogs from scratch, but we'll specify if the upgrade applies to store-bought, fair fare, or frozen corn dogs.

1. Switch up your sausage

Corn dogs are usually made with a regular hot dog, but this way to elevate corn dogs involves using different types of sausage altogether. Hot dogs are an approachable option that you can find at just about any grocery store but there are many types of sausage that you can use in place of hot dogs. This is a fantastic choice if you're looking to turn your corn dog into something you haven't had before.

Make corn dogs a brunch staple by using breakfast sausages instead of hot dogs. Usually, they're made out of pork, but you can find chicken or turkey sausage at the store. Andouille sausage often comes spiced with seasoning, such as pepper and cayenne, so they're a little more flavorsome than your average hot dog. This can be a simple way to integrate more flavor into your corn dogs without having to season them additionally yourself.

2. Forget the stick and enjoy your corn dog in other forms

Although the stick seems like an integral part of what makes a corn dog a corn dog, you can serve it in other ways as well. Shake up the way you eat corn dogs with just a muffin tin as a spin on the hands-on aspect, or make them into mini muffins. This smaller version is a great grab-and-go snack, breakfast, or lunch for kids. Just pop out a couple of the mini muffins and serve with some fruit or yogurt.

Turn a corn dog into a meal by making a corn dog casserole and serving it in a casserole dish. It certainly strays away from eating it on a stick and makes it seem more like a meal, especially since you can add things like jalapeños, cheese, bacon, corn, or scallions into the batter. Cook the casserole like you would any cornbread, or according to the directions, and just add the hot dogs.

3. Spiral cut the hot dogs for a fun shape

Give your hot dog a spiral cut before dunking it in the batter. It's a cool way to have a corn dog since it's something you're not likely to see at the fair. The corkscrew shape mixes up your average hot dog and can look cool once you coat it in the batter. To get the look, skewer your hot dog, and then lay the hot dog on the cutting board. Start by slowly rotating the hot dog as you make the cut to naturally form the spiral shape. This could turn into a child's favorite since it strays from the average look of a hot dog corn dog.

After cutting, spread it out a little bit on the skewer so it maintains its shape, and then dip it into the batter. The spiral-cut hot dogs have a visual aspect that isn't something you'd likely see when you go to the store so it makes for an intriguing way to serve a corn dog. It can switch up its looks and texture since the corn batter gets crunchier thanks to the thinness of the hot dog.

4. Add sriracha honey to the corn dog batter

Give the corn dog batter extra flavor with sriracha and honey. This method mixes spicy with sweet to create a mouthwatering combination that might not be obvious until you take a couple of bites. You'll get hints of sweetness from the honey and that delicious kick from the sriracha. This incredible contrast can transform an average corn dog with minimal effort.

You simply incorporate the ingredients into the batter, then dip the corn dogs accordingly. To complete the corn dog, drizzle sriracha and honey on top to amp up the flavor of each bite. It's spicy, but not overwhelmingly so with the honey to mellow everything out. These deliciously sweet and spicy corn dogs aren't noticeable when you look at them. It's not like the hot dog batter turns a bright red, so the flavor comes through once you take a bite.

5. Douse it in chili for chili cheese corn dogs

Adding chili to your corn dog can turn it into a hearty meal. You can utilize this tip whether you have a frozen hot dog, you're at the fair, or you're making your corn dogs start to finish at home. Home-made chili or canned chili will do the trick, and it not only adds a lot of flavor, but it turns it from a snack to a full meal. The chili can also vary on your recipe, whether it has some sort of meat like ground beef or it's purely bean-based. But you can choose to follow a recipe for chili cheese dogs to gather inspiration.

This will be a bit messy, so have a bunch of napkins ready and maybe a spoon to get all the chili. Pour the chili on top and then add shredded cheese. Sometimes this is predetermined if you're out and about at the fair but if you're at home you can pick a different cheese. Cheddar is a go-to for chili but you could white cheddar or aged cheddar for more flavor.

6. Use blue corn meal instead of standard corn meal

Give corn dogs a slight color change with blue cornmeal, which, compared to yellow cornmeal, is sweeter and has a slightly nutty flavor. It's a natural blue hue and since it comes from nature, don't expect a bright and bold color. It's subtle but it's there since it's also mixed with all-purpose flour and other ingredients. It changes the color and brings a bit of novelty to your corn dog while offering unique flavor profiles to your dish.

Substitute the blue cornmeal for your standard cornmeal in the recipe; there's no math involved. This is a great way to elevate your corn dog with a different ingredient. It has a complexity you likely wouldn't find at the grocery store or fair. Since this is on the nuttier and sweeter side, you could add a touch of honey to the batter to give it a light sweetness.

7. Dip it into something other than mustard and ketchup

Mustard, ketchup, and relish are staples for hot dogs and corn dogs, but if you're seeking ways to elevate corn dogs, switching up the dip or condiment of choice is the easiest way to do so. You can do this whether you're at the fair, making corn dogs fresh at home, or heating a frozen one. It allows for quite a lot of versatility without messing with the batter itself, which is a fantastic option if you're making corn dogs for the family and everyone has their opinion on what goes best with it.

There are many dip recipes that you can follow, such as a whipped feta dip that blends feta with cream cheese for a bright and tangy dip. Zesty queso cheese dip is fun to drizzle all over your corn dog, but you could also find ready-made dips at the store such as French onion dip, jarred queso, buffalo chicken dip, or a vegan ranch. Place your dips into a small bowl to physically dip your corn dog in or drizzle it all over the corn dog itself.

8. Gather inspiration from Korean corn dogs

Korean corn dogs are filled with wonder and imagination. They stray from your standard ketchup and mustard versions and come with many toppings and textures. If you visit your local Korean corn dog establishment, it might have options like dipping the corn dog in sugar, a squid ink batter, or covering it with diced potatoes. The batter itself might even be made with rice as opposed to a flour-based corn dog.

Whether you make it at home or go to your local business, there are a lot of toppings, sauces, and options to savor. The range of textures can be chewy or crispy so you can find a combination that you truly love. If you want to replicate the experience at home, try dicing and frying up some potatoes. Dip your hot dog in the batter, then roll it in the fried potatoes, fry the corn dog, and dig in.

9. Put a spicy element into the batter

You might find some corn dogs topped with Hot Cheetos or a spicy element added via the toppings, but if you want to feel the spice, add it to the batter itself. Chipotle powder, chili powder, cayenne, or red chili pepper flakes can be sprinkled into the batter for a pop of spiciness for those who want a little heat on their tongue. Chipotle powder has both spiciness and smokiness for a more balanced option whereas cayenne powder brings in the heat.

Mix chili powders to customize the heat level to your preference. A powder will seamlessly integrate into the batter without any lumps and bumps, but you could finely dice fresh jalapeño to put into the batter or sprinkle in red chili pepper flakes. Double up on the spiciness by using a spicy Frankfurter, beef frank, or sausage, so the spice comes from multiple directions.

10. Use pancake batter for the ultimate brunch

Put a fresh spin on how you think of brunch by integrating corn dogs into your mid-day menu. You might think of corn dogs as something for lunch or to eat when you're feeling starved at the local fair but if you batter your corn dogs in pancake mix, it can make a delicious breakfast or brunch option. Just pick your favorite sausage and cook it as directed. Make a homemade pancake batter or keep things quick and simple with a box mix where you can just add the liquid components.

Put your hot dog on the skewer, dip it in the pancake batter, and then fry it, but you could skip the hot dog and use breakfast sausage instead. Pancake-battered corn dogs are tasty and allow you to eat a pancake in a completely new format. Drizzle it in maple syrup, add your favorite nut butter, or sprinkle mini chocolate chips into the batter. It opens the doors to how you think of eating a corn dog. Have fun with the pancake batter, whether you use a gluten-free batter or high-protein batter, or flavor it by spooning in lemon curd.

11. Enjoy mini corn dogs for a bite-sized option

When you're searching for fun ways to elevate corn dogs, turning them into mini corn dogs is one of the easier methods. You can do this by chopping up your standard hot dogs into smaller pieces or using something like Vienna sausage to get the look. Follow the directions of your favorite corn dog recipe but with smaller bite-size pieces. This is an amusing appetizer to make for a party or when the kids are begging for something different as an afternoon snack.

The bite-size version is a tasty option for all ages. Plus, they are mini enough that you can use toothpicks rather than a standard skewer. Even if you're using a cocktail sausage, you could cut it into smaller pieces. There's no rule on how big your mini corn dogs have to be, they could be one little bite. Since they are miniature, you can get creative with the batter, the topping, or the condiments by making different batches. This would be an exciting choice to place on a grazing board along with small bowls of condiments and toppings since it makes a convenient appetizer.

12. Grill the hot dogs for a smoky upgrade

Pop your hot dogs on the grill to give them a smokiness that can offer depth to any corn dog. The great thing about hot dogs is that they don't need a lot of cooking time. You're not stuck there for 30 minutes to make sure it cooks properly; you only need a few minutes. If you're having a barbecue, throw your hot dogs on the grill to get nice and toasty and blistered, then dip them in the batter. The blend of the smokiness with a slightly crunchy hot dog exterior is incredible.

There are other ways to cook hot dogs if you don't have a grill. Pan-fry them or use a grill pan with built-in lines that can give a similar look to putting them on a grill. It gives it a bit of brown without having to set up and turn on a barbecue, which is particularly helpful on a hot day when you just want to streamline the process. You don't have to grill it long since it'll cook during the frying process.

13. Give the batter a boost in seasoning

Most corn dogs stay basic since they act as a blank slate for condiments. But if you're looking to ensure the batter itself has a lot of flavor, you can be generous with the seasonings. Cajun spice mix can bring something fresh to the table without being too potent. Homemade smoky taco seasoning with smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cumin, and other ingredients can breathe life into your batter. You could easily open a taco seasoning packet from the store to plop in your batter if you don't want to go the handmade route.

Everything bagel seasoning can be a great brunch option; you could even serve your corn dogs with a bit of cream cheese. Homemade za'atar has a delicious intensity with ingredients such as nutty sesame seeds, slightly sour sumac, thyme, oregano, and marjoram. It's certainly an unexpected addition to corn dogs, but it can give it a lot of flavor and life that you wouldn't necessarily expect.

14. Make elote-inspired corn dogs

Transform your corn dogs by topping them with items you'd usually find on elote or grilled Mexican street corn. Use ingredients like mayo, Mexican crema, lime juice, cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, and chili powder to give it a rise in seasoning. You could even roast some corn to put on top so you essentially have esquites (Mexican street corn salad) on your corn dog. This is a fun activity to have at home when you can place all the toppings on the side and then each person can dress their corn dog.

It can be a bit messy if you include corn kernels so rather than simply holding your corn dog, you'll want to serve it in a plate or a bowl with cutlery to eat it with. This mixes creamy, sour, and spicy components into one dish. You can use frozen or homemade corn dogs for this. Serve this at a party and set the ingredients up in bowls, so people can add the toppings as they want.

15. Get fancy with it and personalize the plating

Corn dogs are notorious for being a quick food. It's what makes them so appealing because there are those inevitable moments in life when you want to easily microwave your meal and sit down to relax — rather than cooking for an hour. Keep corn dogs as a fast meal, but transform it into something fancier simply by the way you serve it. Consider applying a couple of plating tricks to add personality to your meals, including corn dogs, such as using your favorite plates or tableware to serve your corn dogs.

Instead of keeping any condiments or toppings on the side or squirting them haphazardly on the corn dog, strategically place them on the plate. Turn it into a design by squeezing mustard and ketchup on the plate, then spreading it with a spoon. Create dots or swirls to make it visually captivating. Break up the brownness of corn dogs by plating it with other colors, such as a bit of relish, sauerkraut, and grilled peppers. The way you plate it can make a big difference in how you enjoy your meal. You could delicately place pickled red onion as a garnish or carefully space out chopped onions on the corn dog.

16. Air fry frozen corn dogs

Air fryers are a popular home appliance because they simplify the cooking process; you don't have to sit around and keep an eye on the stove or stir as you fry stuff on a pan. Set a temperature and a time for the corn dogs and cook them in the air fryer. Have you ever microwaved a frozen corn dog, and felt displeased with how it turned out? Some of it is soggy with the batter sticking to the plate, while the hot dog is chewy and almost inedible.

Air frying creates an even cooking rate and crisps up the exterior, so it practically tastes like you made it yourself. Preheat the air fryer and then put the corn dogs in the basket. Make sure everything is evenly dispersed in a single layer. You don't want to stack them against each other, which prevents them from cooking evenly. Start cooking it for eight minutes and then check to see if it's at your desired crispiness level. You could also choose to flip them at the halfway point.