Detroit Style Coney Dogs

Detroit style coney dogs: are simply a hot dog (natural casing) topped with chili, mustard and onions. But truthfully, it’s all in the chili!

Flint or Detroit style?

Detroit Style Coney Dogs

You may be saying flin-det-style-wha-WHAT? But if you’re from the Metro-Detroit area you know what I’m talking about. [high-five]!


Flint and Detroit are obviously cities here in the mitten state, but those are also different ways you can order your coney dog. Flint is more of a loose beef topped hot dog [and forbidden in our house] while Detroit-style is a chili dog with mustard and onion, now that is my jam. I’ve read that both types originated right here in Michigan [woot!] and not in Coney Island, NY [who knew?!] and depending on what you prefer, you can usually order both at any diner or coney island around town. And in Michigan, we have LOTS of those.

Personally, I’ll take two steamed hotdogs topped with the creamy-tomato-based-no-bean chili, mustard and finely minced onions please. Oh and a side of chili cheese fries. Because really why the heck not? If you’re gluten free or avoiding carbs, ohhh let me just tell you, a couple weekends ago my sister Julie and her husband Jeff and I made these same coneys [only bun-less] and topped them with Fritos, diced jalapenos and cheddar cheese. It wasn’t technically a coney (coney bowl?) but rather a amazingly delicious experience.

A lot of people have their opinion on how to make the no-bean chili. Some may argue that these are not “true Detroit Style Coney Dogs” or that you need beef heart [ whatttttt? ] – if you read the comments you’ll see what I mean. But I’m a home cook who doesn’t have access to things like beef heart and a family that would look at me crazily if I tried to feed them that.

This is the recipe for how I make my Detroit Style Chili Dogs.  Which are pretty darn delicious.

onion collage

Grab a large white onion. Trim, halve, slice horizontally and vertically and give it all a small dice.


Divide the pile of onions into two. 1/3 is for the coney dog and the remaining is for the chili.

finely mince the rest

The 1/3-pile of onions that are going ON the coney dogs, I like to give it a good mincing so they’re small. Then I wipe my tear-stained cheeks and set them off to the side.

minced garlic

Next smash, peel and mince two large cloves of garlic.

add ground chuckcooked


Heat a small Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot over medium heat and the onions, garlic and 1 pound of lean ground beef.  Cook until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are tender. About 10 to 12 mintues.

the spices

Now’s the time to add all the spices. Measure and add in 1 tablespoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon of cumin, 3/4 teaspoon of paprika plus 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of onion and garlic powder, a few shakes of cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon ground black black pepper.

(since updating this recipe, I’ve omitted celery salt and changed the amounts of the other spices)

tomato sauce

Stir and add in 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato puree – not tomato sauce. Measure and add in 1 heaping tablespoon of prepared yellow mustard and 1/4 cup of water.

stir and simmer

Stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove the lid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes so it can thicken a tad.

Detroit Style Coney Dogs

Top your Detroit Style Coney Dog with as much or as little chili as you want, a few stripes of mustard and that finely minced white onion I cried over earlier.

Detroit Coney Dog

Who needs to go to a coney island when you can experience the whole messy thing in the privacy of your own home?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m goin’ in.

Enjoy! And if you give these Detroit Style Coney Dogs a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Detroit Style Coney Dog bite

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Detroit-Style Coney Dogs

Detroit Coney's are simply a steamed hot dog [natural casing] topped with no-bean chili, mustard and onions. But truthfully it's all in the chili!

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 40 minutes

Total Time: about 50 minutes


1/2 cup finely diced white onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pounds lean ground beef

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

a few shakes of cayenne pepper

1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree

1 heaping tablespoon yellow, prepared mustard

1 package (of 8) hot dogs with natural casing(for these I used a Michigan based company, but you can use your favorite)

1 package (of 8) hot dog buns

yellow mustard, for serving

finely diced white onion, for serving


To a medium dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot, add the diced onion, garlic and ground beef. Use a wooden spoon to break it up into very small crumbles.

Next add in the spices, tomato puree and mustard. Cover and reduce the heat to low, simmering for 30 minutes and stirring occasionally. Uncover, stir and simmer for an additional 10 minutes to thicken.

Boil, grill, microwave or pan-sear the eight hot dogs until warmed through-out. Serve the hot dogs in warmed hotdog buns, top with desired amount of chili, yellow mustard and minced white onion.

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65 Responses to “Detroit Style Coney Dogs”

  1. #
    Anne @The Cooking Campaign — March 13, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I love when food is associated with a city or place because whenever you meet someone from a place like that you can always reminisce about great food.

  2. #
    Mandie @ Oh So Decadent — March 13, 2013 at 7:50 am

    It’s funny, I love chili and I love hot dogs, but I’ve never put them together. I’ve seen it done on so many occasions and never thought twice about it (I’m a bit of a hot dog purist, ketchup only), but these look phenominal and now I’m wondering when I can get my hands on one of these babies! I may never go back!

    • Juju replied: — February 10th, 2018 @ 10:29 am

      You call yourself a purist but then say you only put ketchup on your dogs. What kina monsters raised you!? It’s mustard on dogs, ketchup on burgers :p

  3. #
    Justin — March 13, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Flint Style all the way! Whenever I am back home I stop at Angelos and buy a whole bunch of coney sauce to take back home. Delicious.

    Detroit style is a close second though.

  4. #
    Tieghan Gerard — March 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

    wow, my meat loving brothers would love this!

  5. #
    Rachel Gurk — March 13, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Love it!!!

  6. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — March 13, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I crave chili dogs from time to time. I love this!

  7. #
    Linda — March 13, 2013 at 9:25 am

    While visiting a beau in NY, he took me to a restaurant that featured
    “Michigan Dogs”! I was so surprised, because I assumed that our Coney Dogs originated in NY!!!!!

  8. #
    melissa {persnickety plates} — March 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I don’t eat coney dogs but yayay Detroit!! =)

  9. #
    Kathy F. — March 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

    This right here is why your blog is the best! Thanks Laurie!

  10. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — March 13, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Yea, it’s official. My husband would do just about anything for me if I made him these. Totally mouthwatering, Laurie!

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 13th, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

      Thanks Georgia!

  11. #
    Kathy — March 13, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Looks delicious! I’m from Cincinnati and we have our own version of a coney dog as well! We put shredded cheese on top and the chili is not tomato based.

    • Juju replied: — February 10th, 2018 @ 10:33 am

      Kathy please share the recipe for the Cincinnati style chili.

  12. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — March 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I LOVE this HAWT dog! The chili definitely makes this an 11/10 situation!!

  13. #
    Bekah — March 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    OMG!!!!! Yah!! I am from Detroit and it was very exciting to see this today. Not that I am home sick or anything, considering that the weather and social life in LA is a tad bit more intriguing–I still miss Coney Island—and well four seasons, believe it or not. Great job, looking forward to trying these!

    Yah Laurie!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 13th, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

      Don’t worry… I would miss the season change too… and the cider mills… and the coneys 🙂

    • Juju replied: — February 10th, 2018 @ 10:43 am

      Oh yes! I definitely miss the cider mills, four seasons, Hart Plaza, quick and easy access to Canada (and Canadian beer!) And so much more about Detroit and Michigan. I’ve lived in the mountains so long now, Montana and New Mexico, that I can’t imagine living somewhere flat. I feel like my soul is tied to the mountains now. I live in high mountain desert on a mesa in the shadow of the Sandias. We’ve gotten zero snow on the mesa this year and barely any on this side of the “Watermelon mountains” so I expect fire season will be even worse this year

  14. #
    Brittany | Life of a Bama Girl — March 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I love chili dogs and yours look amazing! I will have to try making them.

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 13th, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

      Thanks Brittany!

  15. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — March 13, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    I’ve never wanted a dog more in my LIFE than I do right now. This has slayed me to the Nth degree.

  16. #
    Aly Mashrah — March 14, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I’m from Detroit and I’ve *hate to say this* never had a coney dog before. I know, I know! But, I think I’m going to try making these myself instead of buying one because we make our chili the same way~ hooray!

  17. #
    Amber {Sprinkled With Flour} — March 14, 2013 at 9:58 am

    It’s exactly 8:57am and now I’m craving a juicy hot dog. Makes my breakfast look pathetic. On the upside, I now have another delicious meal on the menu! 🙂

  18. #
    Aparna B. — March 14, 2013 at 10:17 am

    HIGH FIVE FOR THE MITTEN!! I don’t eat meat, but I know my FIL prefers Flint Coneys (but that’s where he and his family is from!). I make a vegetarian version of it, which I should probably share at some point LOL. Anyway, love that posted this!!

    FYI: In New York, they call them “Michigan Hot Dogs” 😉

    My hubby grew up in Syrcacuse and let me know of that haha. It’s amazing how similar upstate NY is to Michigan! They have counties named Genesee and Monroe and have city names that are same there as here! Crazy 🙂

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 14th, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

      Get out of here Aparna! I knew of NY calling them Michigan Dogs… but that’s totally crazy about the counties!

      I’d love to know your vegetarian version and I’ll even link it in the post!


    • Juju replied: — February 10th, 2018 @ 11:03 am

      It’s not so unusual, the place names I mean. You’d be surprised how many states have county, city/town, and even road names in common. I think there are at least a half dozen states that have a Clark county for example and of course we have loads of places names taken from European place names. I prefer the place names that kept the original native American names. I was so chuffed when they finally dropped McKinley and went back to calling the mountains Denali. McKinley never saw them or even stepped foot in Alaska so it was a great dishonor, imo, to change the name in the 1st place, afterall the 1st peoples have been here for over 10,000 years and frankly Denali (though quite literal in translation,) is a much prettier sounding name, dont you agree?

  19. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — March 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve never been to Detroit and the dogs alone are reason enough to visit! I’m fascinated by the coney dog….and need to learn more about it by shoving it in my face! 🙂

  20. #
    a farmer in the dell — March 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    my husband would fall in love with me all over again if I made this!

  21. #
    Shelby — March 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Add slaw a

    • Juju replied: — February 10th, 2018 @ 11:11 am

      My father used to make slaw dogs when we were kids but I was the only one that didn’t like them. I’m number 10 of 11 kids and yes all from the same ma and pop. He’d dip a natural skin casing dog into onion ring batter and deep fry it. He’d serve them on a bun with his homemade coleslaw. The family would them add whatever they wanted from a toppings bar. Friends, family, neighbors all loved them but me so I got salad.

  22. #
    Shelby — March 14, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Add slaw and it becomes a Southern “all the way” hot dog.

  23. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — March 15, 2013 at 3:13 am

    There’s nothing better than chili in a hot dog!

  24. #
    dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt — March 15, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Detroit Girl loving Detroit coneys…BUT…I now live 10 minutes outside of Flint for the past 12 years and have grown to love The Flint Style also. Heck I think I just love good coneys;-)

  25. #
    Jackie @ The Beeroness — March 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I’m a West Coaster and had no idea about this until I ended up at a hot dog party a friend was throwing, where he served a “hot dog sauce” that was pretty much just ground beef. We got in a discussion about how I thought it should be “saucier” and he went on about Flint Vs. Detroit and clearly I was Detroit-er and he would no longer be eating hot dogs with me, but we could still drink beer together. That conversation now makes more sense to me 😉 and now I want a saucy hot dog 🙂

  26. #
    Manny"the health nut" — March 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    We just discovered an amazing thing – corn tortillas from scratch. They are sooo different than store bought and the beauty of it is you just add water to the flour mix.
    Have you tried this?

  27. #
    Erin@whathefork — March 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    It so great to see this recipe! My husband (from the Flint area) and I always disagree about how to serve a proper coney dog. I (being from a metro-Detroit area) think this is the only way to go.

  28. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

    my entire family is from Michigan. They will faint when I show them this! They look mouthwatering Laurie 🙂

  29. #
    Julie — March 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Yum! American Coney in DEtroit has the best!

  30. #
    Kristin — April 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Koegel’s hot dogs are the best!

  31. #
    Dana D — April 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I made these for dinner tonight with a greek salad, the boys of the house were beyond thrilled! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  32. #
    fun recipe blog — November 25, 2013 at 1:35 am

    I am genuinely thankful to the owner oof thijs web page who has shared this great piece of writing at at this time.

  33. #
    Jason — March 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Great job here! After being in Texas for 3 years this really brings a big part of home to our kitchen

  34. #
    Chris Lacey — June 1, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Valient effort but after spending $7.00 on the ingredients, it is not the sauce that we are craving. Luckily there is a coney island restaurant in every strip center. I shall stop trying to duplicate the recipe.

  35. #
    Jessica Bellew — February 2, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    The coney was originated in Jackson. Not Detroit. Or Flint. Just saying. And we have the best coneys. Period. Made traditional

  36. #
    Danielle — May 12, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    LOL @ Jessica Bellew — Thank goodness! You took the words right out of my mouth! I read comment after comment of Flint – Detroit – Flint – Detroit – Hellooo! Todoroff’s Coney Island in Jackson, MI opened in 1914! Way before your time Detroit.. which was 1919!!! 🙂 Proud Jackson Michigander 😉

  37. #
    Pam S. — December 18, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Your Michigan based hot dogs would, of course, be the infamous Kogels. Truly, there’s nothing better!

  38. #
    Karmen — January 29, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Agreed Danielle and Jessica! Jackson native here, too – Flint and Detroit have nothing on a Jackson coney. Also, you use double ground beef heart for a true Michigan coney.

    Try Tommy’s Hot Dog stand in the summer – you’ll never go anywhere else. Except maybe Gail’s in Parma:)

    • Juju replied: — February 10th, 2018 @ 11:45 am

      I worked most of my teens in a Detroit Coney island. Yes, I was one of those waitresses that could carry plates effortlessly balanced from shoulder to wrist laden with food.
      I’ve been telling my family for years that the secret to true traditional Detroit Coney chili is in adding beef heart. When I lived in Montana and had access to game I’d use elk heart instead. Elk heart, btw, is something you really must try. Fresh elk heart sauteed in Irish butter with fresh minced garlic and mushrooms is a treat

  39. #
    Go Green — March 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Authentic coney chili has a roux base made with beef suet to get the gravy like texture that your recipe is lacking, it’s also made with mustard and without garlic. There are NO tomatoes in the base, either. Ask around Detroit, a beef heart is almost always added to the base, and sometimes cracker crumbs are used instead of flour in the roux.

  40. #
    Fred — June 17, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Coneys from Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, or Jackson do not use tomato sauce. Also, the traditional, original chili used, and still uses beef hearts, and not grown chuck. The trick to getting the fine grained consistency is to use the fine disc with your grinder. The spice recipe is, however, up for conjecture. I’m not sure about the blend, but I would be surprised if cumin was in it, as some recipes state. I would look towards Ancho chilis for the heat(not so hot), and remember the color of the chili. More rust than red, but not really close to brown.

  41. #
    Jason Laufenberg — July 14, 2016 at 2:43 am

    I made this shit dam the sauce is killer but it would be better on spagetti i loving it thought the chile cheese fries

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 22nd, 2016 @ 9:56 am

      That’s awesome Jason!

  42. #
    Ed — October 21, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe. This is the perfect starter recipe for “chili/coney sauce”. Take it from there and the sky is the limit. I’m surprised nobody has ever written a recipe book on the subject. I live in the Ohio valley and its heavy allspice seasoned. Seems like wherever you go in this country, they have their own twist on it. People love coneys and chili sauce. Some use beef heart and some use ground hot dogs. It’s all good though, right?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 24th, 2016 @ 10:44 am

      Right! We all have our own version 🙂

  43. #
    Richard — March 5, 2017 at 2:01 am

    I am from Los Angeles so Pinks chili dogs are the best, I make mine without beans because they remind me of the past!

  44. #
    Linda — January 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    You can order Koegels online with skin on (a must have for coneys) and All American Coney kits online. I order them at least 5 times a year. The kit comes with everything you need, even the buns.

  45. #
    Shelly — February 25, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I live in Houston and am a Michigan native. I have been making this recipe for myself and my boyfriend for about a year now. We get our Koegels shipped or from their road tour. I’m going to try this new recipe tonight! We loved the original so much we are skeptical that any changes were necessary but I’m going to give it a shot! I can’t find the old recipe in my notes. I’m wondering if there is somewhere the old one is posted anywhere so I can compare them?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 10th, 2018 @ 9:16 am

      Hi Shelly! Sorry! I never even thought to save the old one because this updated recipe is 100 times better (in my opinion). I hope you think so too!

  46. #
    John — June 30, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Loved the recipe… added a little extra cayenne and a little worchester sauce…. your picture shows tomato sauce.. I used purée like recipe called for… really enjoyed it

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 2nd, 2018 @ 9:13 am

      That’s great, John! If I recall, when I first “blogged” this recipe, I thought I had tomato purée on hand, but in fact only had tomato sauce. So yes, you were accurate to use purée. I do have plans to reshoot this recipe and bring it up to date soon, but summer is getting the best of me . Thanks for taking the time to make this recipe and leave a review! I appreciate it!


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