Sabrett Onion Sauce

NYC_Hotdog_cartSpend any time in NYC and surrounding areas and you will recognize the Sabrett name.  Hot Dog carts, trucks, and pretty much anywhere they can keep the dirty water dogs warm become a source of nourishment for even the busiest New Yorker.  One of the perks of getting a Sabrett hot dog from these vendors is the onion sauce that you can smother your dog with.

While I am sure that the recipes used by these hot dog vendors are closely guarded secrets helping to ensure their success in the hot dog vendor world, many people have tried to emulate the recipe for the onion sauce.  Below is a recipe that we have used the past few years and I am sharing it with you in the hopes that someone will be able to try it out and let me know how it stacks up to what they have experienced on the streets of NY.

I guess I should mention that I have spent my fair share of time waiting in line to get my sabrett hot dog, so while I may alter my recipe slightly throughout the cooking process based on taste tests while cooking, this is a pretty good recipe for the online sauce made in your own kitchen.

Here is what you need:

  • 4 cups of sweet onion diced
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablesppons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes


 Here is what you need to do:

Add a little oil to a frying pan.  You can use vegetable or olive oil.  I tend to use olive oil because I like the flavor.  Sautee the onions in a frying pan until the have sweated.  you don’t want them caramelized, but you want them start cooking a little before you add in the other ingredients listed in the steps below.

With the heat on low to medium, add the brown sugar, tomato paste, crushed red pepper and kosher salt  into the pan with the onions and stir to mix it in.  Continue to simmer the onions for a few minutes before adding in the water to the mixture.

Add water and simmer for a few hours or until the onion sauce has reduced down some and the onions are starting to look clear.

You are now ready to thicken the onion sauce by adding in some cornstarch.  Take the cornstarch and mi it in with a tablespoon or a little more of water.  Make sure that the cornstarch is thoroughly dissolved.  This will help to keep it from clumping when you add it to the  onion sauce.

Slowly add the cornstarch / water mixture to the onions, ensuring that you mix continuosly to make sure that the cornstarch dos not clump up and is evenly distributed throughout the onions.

Continue to simmer the onion sauce until it thickens so it can be scooped out onto the hotdogs.  You want to make sure the onion sauce does not burn in the pan, so adjust the temperature and stir as required.

If you do not have sabrett’s hotdogs in your area, oscar meyer sells a “New York Style” hot dog which will taste better than a regular hot dog with these onions.  Place the hot dog in a bun, add some onion sauce on top and follow with a little mustard to taste.

For some reason I never took photos of the onions that I made, but I found a good photo of hotdogs with onions for those that have never seen what the end product should look like on a dog.  Thanks to for the photo.  They also have a slightly different recipe for onions on their page that you may want to check out.


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