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Authentic West Virginia Hot Dogs

You haven’t had a real hot dog until you’ve had a West Virginia hot dog! Piled high with chili and slaw, it’s simple, unique, and downright delicious!

two hot dogs topped with chili and slaw, text overlay "West Virginia Hot Dogs".

West Virginia Hot Dogs

I was raised in a small West Virginia town near Charleston. Hot dog stands – small restaurants that specialize in serving hotdogs – were and still are a thing. It seems like every town has a handful of hot dog restaurants!

One of our favorite hot dog joints is Hillbilly Hotdogs. That is a hotdog destination worth the visit!

The flavor and texture of West Virginia hotdogs will be evident in the first bite. These really are the best hot dogs I’ve ever had.

While there are more famous hotdogs out there (so far), these hotdogs are our family favorites and also seem to be getting popular around the country.

Every time I go visit Granny, she asks if I want to go get a West Virginia hotdog. This is funny because, you would think that any hotdog you get in West Virginia would be a West Virginia hotdog.

Not so!

A West Virginia hotdog is one with chili and coleslaw on top. The combination of a rich meaty chili combined with the tangy crispy coleslaw is magical. It turns the humble hotdog into a culinary delight. If you order a hot dog with “everything” you will get chili and slaw, as well as onions, ketchup, and mustard, if you are in my home state.

I can’t imagine eating a hotdog any other way! If you grew up with this, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t enjoyed this combination before, I encourage you to give it a try.

This is regional comfort food at its best!

holding a plate with two West Virginia hot dogs topped with coleslaw and chili.

What Goes On A West Virginia Hot Dog?

To be a true West Virginia hot dog, there are 4 main ingredients:

  • Plain hot dog buns
  • Hot dog franks
  • Chili (also known in WV as “hot dog sauce”)
  • Coleslaw

There are also a few other acceptable toppings that you can add (or not) to your own taste:

  • Diced onions
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Ketchup

In my experience, there are five toppings: ketchup, mustard, onions, chili, and coleslaw. That’s your choices folks. Relish, cheese, or any other toppings are not part of our traditional West Virginia hotdog toppings.

I don’t make the rules.

I’ve seen other recipes that include jalapeños or leave off the ketchup. Of course you can do what you want. But I’ve been eating the real thing for over 50 years, so I stand by my list of ingredients.

How To Make A West Virginia Hot Dog

West Virginia hotdogs aren’t fancy. They usually have your basic white bread buns and a basic hot dog. You can serve them on a paper plate. It’s all about the flavor!

You’re welcome to layer them however you like, but we generally build our WV hot dogs in this order: bun, hot dog, chili, coleslaw, condiments.

4 step photo collage showing how to make a West Virginia hot dog.

Here’s a little more about the ingredients:

  • Buns – Soft smaller sized buns are perfect. Every time I order a hot dog in WV, I am surprised that they are kind of small. That’s how they are and it makes the perfect set up for the hot dog and toppings. You definitely don’t want the bun to overwhelm the other flavors.
  • Chili – Also known as “hot dog sauce,” the chili used in a West Virginia hot dog is chili con carne (chili with meat, no beans). There are probably hundreds of chili recipes you could use or buy already prepared. However, this is the authentic West Virginia hot dog sauce recipe that I grew up eating.
  • Cole Slaw – Probably the ingredient that sets a WV hotdog apart from other hotdogs is the use of coleslaw. For coleslaw you can use any kind that you enjoy the taste of. But if you want a coleslaw that is as delicious on its own as on a hotdog, give ours a try. It is a copycat KFC coleslaw recipe that is exactly what you’d find on an authentic West Virginia hot dog.
  • Onions – This is another common component of a WV hot dog, but it is also one that is probably omitted the most because not everyone is a fan of onions. You can use diced yellow onions or white onions.
  • Hot Dogs – Most West Virginia hotdogs you buy our boiled or steamed. At home, feel free to grill them as well.
  • Condiments – I might be pushing things, but I would also go so far to say that our ketchup and mustard choices are almost always two major brands. At the very least, the mustard is a basic yellow kind and that’s hard to mess up.
  • Sides – Since WV hotdogs are usually on the small side, I can easily eat two in a sitting. Most of the hotdog stands serve French fries, onion rings, or chips on the side.

two West Virginia hot dogs on a paper plate, topped with chili and coleslaw.

Use These Recipes To Build The Perfect West Virginia-Style Hot Dog:


West Virginia Hot Dog Recipe (Printable Copy)

If you tried this recipe and liked it too, please rate it!

holding a plate with two West Virginia hot dogs topped with coleslaw and chili.

How to Make Authentic West Virginia Hot Dogs

You haven't had a real hot dog until you've had a West Virginia hot dog! Piled high with chili and slaw, it's simple, unique, and downright delicious!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword hot dogs, West Virginia
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sara Garska
Cost $10


  • 8 hot dogs
  • 1-2 cups chili we use chili without beans
  • 1-2 cups coleslaw
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • yellow mustard
  • ketchup
  • 8 hot dog buns


  • Heat hot dogs per package instructions: boil, steam, or grill.
  • Warm the chili up. Not boiling but a little warmer than room temperature.
  • Buns are fine right out of the package. Your warm hot dog will steam them a little.
  • Place one hot dog in each bun.
  • Top with chili, coleslaw, mustard, ketchup, and chopped onions.

Pin our WV Hot Dogs on Pinterest:

2 photo vertical Pinterest collage showing hot dogs with chili and slaw, text overlay "West Virginia Hot Dogs".

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