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 they’re also different ways you can order your coney dog. Flint is more of a loose beef topped hot dog  but the Detroit style, now that’s my jam. I 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? But if you’re gluten free, ohhh lemme 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 was a totally amazing experience and I’m not even gluten free.

Now some may argue that these are “true Detroit Style Coney Dogs” and 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. So this is how I get my fix when I can’t hit up our local coney.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

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 2/3’s 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 to, wipe my tear-stained cheeks and set them off to the side.

minced garlic

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

olive oil

Heat a small Dutch oven or pot over medium heat and add in a tablespoon-ish of olive oil.

add to pot

Drop in the onions and sweat those until they are soft.

add garlic

Add the two minced garlic cloves and cook for a minute or two.

add ground chuck

Drop in the pound and a quarter of ground beef chuck.


Give it a stir occasionally until fully cooked.

the spices

Now’s the time to add all the spices. Those would be a half tablespoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of kosher salt, half teaspoon of cumin, a pinch of cayenne and two pinches of celery salt.

tomato sauce

Stir and add in a 14 ounce can of tomato sauce.

stir and simmer

Stir and simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid off 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: 15-20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


1 large white onion, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-1/4 pounds ground beef chuck

1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 pinch cayenne pepper

2 pinches celery salt

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

1 pkg (of 8) hot dog buns



Dice up the large white onion. Reserve 1/3 of it and mince it up really fine for topping the coney dogs. Add the remaining two-thirds diced onion to a pot with a tablespoon of olive oil and sweat those until soft. Throw in the two cloves of minced garlic and cook for a minute.

Add the ground beef, break it up pretty good so it's in very small pieces. Stir occasionally until fully cooked. Add in the spices, the can of tomato sauce, stir and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

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


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54 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!

  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.

  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 🙂

  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!


  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

  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:)

  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!


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