New York Hot Dog Cart Onion Sauce

"Born in the Bronx, raised in Queens. My father worked for Pan Am in the day (data Control), drove a New York Cab at night, and on the weekends he owned a New York Hot Dog Cart. Before he passed away in February of 2004, he did give me the recipe to the Onion Sauce. When everybody else is saying to use pasta sauce, and this and that, the truth is there are only six ingredients. Bobby Flay is about the only one who got it close. In New York a true New York Hot Dog ordered from a cart is, Nathan Hot Dogs, Mustard, Onion Sauce, and topped with Sauerkraut. I wanted to write this recipe for a long time but after seeing so many Onion Sauce recipes, and hearing how so many people are from New York, it is time to post the original recipe."
photo by Frugal Fifer photo by Frugal Fifer
photo by Frugal Fifer
photo by Frugal Fifer photo by Frugal Fifer
photo by Chef_KaL photo by Chef_KaL
Ready In:




  • In a small sauce pan place vegetable oil, and onions.
  • Cook over medium heat; saute until onion is soft; don't burn it.
  • Quickly add ketchup, water, stir.
  • Stir for at least 20 minutes or until the water is reduced about 1/2.
  • Note: I had to mention a measurement in order for this recipe to go through. The truth is to use a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
  • This is the true recipe for Onion Sauce for New York Hot dogs.
  • When I use the sauerkraut I boil it with added water to make it softer.

Questions & Replies

  1. Hi just have to say your doing a great honor for your dad thumbs up I'm wanting to purchase a hot dog cart and wanna only serve the best so gonna use your recipe in honor of your dad wanted too see if he added vinger too his water and if so red or white and how long being in water are they still eateable thank you for your time peterv63
  2. I am 71 years old, this recipe came out perfect. Reminds me of the times where I would have lunch at 10 Rock at the pushcarts. Best ever dirty water xogs, cheap as all hell,kept my belly full all afternoon. Way more authentic than Nathsn'sj jarred onion sauce. Cool beans, you nailed it!n


  1. Thank you. I've been searching for this recipe for literally 30 years - since I left New York City back when I relied on the benevolence of a hot-dog vendor for sustenance. We didn't share a common language and were ages apart but every day I would queue-up at his "dirty-water hot-dog cart." He knew I liked my dogs with onion relish and mustard. And he would squeeze two together in the foil wrap as to appear as one, which is all I could afford to purchase, unbeknownst to everyone else in line. This is the real deal.
  2. Perfect, a true classic you can't miss with. Thanks!
  3. This tastes great! Having never been to New York, can't compare, but had to try this after years of listening to friends from Brooklyn complain about the hot dogs in the Northwest... Not too sweet, but not overpowering on the onion intensity either. Would give 5 stars, but the directions need a little work. Never says where to add the spices, so I put them in after the water reduced... and it says to stir for 20 minutes... Should that be simmer? Anyway, great balance of flavor and I'll make it again. Thanks for sharing.
  4. I have been searching for a recipe like this! Many years ago my grandparents owned a hot dog cart on the Jersey shore and this sauce tastes exactly like the onion sauce they served. I think they served the Sabrett's Onion Sauce on the cart. I often crave this sauce and I can't find anything like this living in the midwest area. Thank you so much for this recipe, it brings back so many wonderful childhood memories for me.
  5. Never had a New York style hot dog before yesterday, but after making the recipe I will only be eating NY hotdogs! So yummy! Thanks for sharing!


  1. Unfortunately that is not authentic New York recipe we never had any ketchup made sauce with the onions with our street Frank's It's more is a light tomato sauce


I have been cooking since I was a little girl, I owned a restaurant in San Diego, and plan to open up a Sub SHop next year. I love to cook.I can cook just about anything,
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