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Master the Icelandic Hot Dog Recipe: The Perfect Snack

Welcome to the fascinating world of Icelandic hot dogs, also known as Pylsur, a beloved street food that has become synonymous with Icelandic culture. In this journey, we’ll explore the rich history and origins of this delicious treat while acquainting ourselves with the traditional ingredients and techniques that make it stand out from its American counterparts. So, let’s embark on this culinary adventure and learn how to bring the flavors of Iceland right to our own kitchens.

History and Origin

History and Origin of the Icelandic Hot Dog:

The Icelandic hot dog, also known as Pylsur, is a popular street food that has been enjoyed by natives and tourists alike since the 1940s. It is not just any ordinary hot dog – it holds a special place in Iceland’s culinary tradition and stands out from its counterparts around the world.

The Pylsur has its roots in a time when resources were limited in Iceland. After World War II, the availability of meat increased, allowing locals to experiment with different meat products. It was during this time that the Icelandic hot dog was born, and it quickly gained popularity due to its unique taste, high-quality ingredients, and simple preparation method.

Icelandic hot dogs are primarily made from a combination of free-range lamb, beef, and pork. This blend of meats is one of the reasons the Pylsur is so distinctive. Icelandic sheep are free to roam the countryside, grazing on natural plants and vegetation. This results in a delicious, lean lamb meat that is rich in flavor. Additionally, the use of natural casings gives the Pylsur its signature snap when bitten into.


What sets the Icelandic Pylsur apart from other hot dog varieties around the world is not just its ingredients, but also its toppings. A traditional Pylsur is commonly served with a series of unique toppings, including:

  1. Ketchup: While ketchup may be a common hot dog topping, the Icelandic version is often made with apples, rather than tomatoes, giving it a slightly different, sweeter flavor.
  2. Remoulade: This creamy sauce is made from a combination of mayonnaise, capers, chopped pickles, and mustard, offering a tangy and savory taste.
  3. Crispy fried onions: Adding a layer of crispy fried onions provides an extra bit of crunch to each bite.
  4. Raw onions: For a bit more punch, finely chopped raw onions are also layered onto the Pylsur.
  5. Sweet brown mustard (Pylsusinnep): Perhaps the most critical component of the traditional Icelandic hot dog is the sweet brown mustard, known as Pylsusinnep. This unique condiment is both sweet and spicy, making it the perfect addition to the meaty Pylsur.


Over the years, the Icelandic hot dog has become a beloved part of the country’s food culture. Visitors to Iceland can find Pylsur stands throughout Reykjavik and other towns, with Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a famous hot dog stand in Reykjavik, being the most well-known. Many locals and tourists consider a trip to Iceland incomplete without indulging in an iconic Pylsur topped with all the classic accompaniments.

An image of an Icelandic hot dog with all of its unique toppings, served in a long bun on a bed of crispy fried onions.


Icelandic Hot Dog Recipe

Serves: 4


  • 4 Icelandic lamb sausages (also known as pylsur)
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 1/2 cup remoulade sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Icelandic mustard (or substitute with Dijon mustard)
  • 1/2 cup crispy fried onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped raw onions
  • Butter (to toast the buns)


  1. Prepare the ingredients: Make sure you have all the ingredients ready before starting the cooking process. Thinly slice the raw onions and set aside. You can buy ready-made crispy fried onions or make them at home by frying thin onion slices in oil until they are golden brown and crispy. Set aside and allow them to cool.
  2. Cook the Icelandic lamb sausages: Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water and bring it to a gentle simmer. Add the Icelandic lamb sausages and cook for 8-10 minutes. Make sure the water doesn’t boil, as this may cause the sausages to split. Once cooked, remove the sausages from the pot and set aside.
  3. Toast the hot dog buns: Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the hot dog buns open, but do not slice them completely in half. Spread a thin layer of butter on the insides of the hot dog buns and place them, buttered-side down, onto the skillet. Toast the buns for 1-2 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy.
  4. Assemble the hot dog: Place the cooked Icelandic lamb sausage into the toasted hot dog bun. Generously spread remoulade sauce on one side of the sausage and Icelandic mustard on the other side. Top the sausage with a line of ketchup.
  5. Add the onions: Layer the chopped raw onions on top of the sausage first, followed by a generous handful of crispy fried onions. Make sure the toppings are evenly distributed.
  6. Serve and enjoy: serve the Icelandic hot dogs immediately while they are still warm. You can also serve them with traditional Icelandic beverages or sides, such as cold sodas or potato salad.

Enjoy your taste of Icelandic cuisine in the form of a delicious and unique hot dog!

A delicious and unique Icelandic hot dog loaded with crispy fried onions and Icelandic mustard on a toasted hot dog bun


Icelandic Hot Dogs

To create an authentic Icelandic hot dog, you’ll need to understand the key differences between Icelandic lamb sausages and typical American hot dog sausages. Here’s a guide on the differences between the two types of sausages and how to source or make Icelandic lamb sausages for your recipe.

Differences between Icelandic lamb sausages and American hot dog sausages:

  1. Meat composition: The key difference between the Icelandic and American sausages is the type of meat used. Icelandic sausages, also known as pylsur, are primarily made from lamb, with a mixture of pork or beef. American hot dog sausages are usually made from a combination of beef and pork or solely from one of the two meats. The use of lamb in Icelandic sausages offers a distinct flavor.
  2. Spicing: Icelandic sausages are seasoned with a blend of spices, which may include garlic, onion, paprika, and cayenne pepper. This gives them a unique and flavorful taste, compared to the milder American hot dog sausages.
  3. Casing: While both types of sausages use a natural or artificial casing, Icelandic sausages tend to have a firmer and snappier casing than their American counterparts, giving them a more distinctive texture.

How to source or make Icelandic Lamb Sausages:

Sourcing Icelandic lamb sausages:

  1. Look for specialized or European food markets near you that carry imported goods from Iceland or Scandinavia. They might have authentic Icelandic sausages available for purchase.
  2. Order online: If you don’t have access to a local store with Icelandic goods, you can try searching for an online retailer that sells authentic Icelandic sausages. Be sure to look for reviews to ensure you’re buying a quality product.

Making your own Icelandic lamb sausages:

  1. Gather your ingredients: You will need:
    • 2 lbs ground lamb
    • 1 lb ground pork or beef
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • Natural sausage casings, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  2. Mix the meat and seasonings: In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb, pork or beef, onion, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix until everything is well incorporated and evenly distributed.
  3. Stuff the casings: Using a sausage stuffer or a clean and sanitized piping bag, carefully stuff the meat mixture into the soaked casings, making sure there are no air bubbles. Form the sausages into links of your desired size.
  4. Cook the sausages: Once your sausages are stuffed, you can either grill, boil, or pan-fry them to your liking. Be sure to cook them thoroughly to ensure the meat is safely cooked.

As an alternative, you can cook the seasoned meat mixture in the form of patties or meatballs if you don’t have access to sausage casings.


By understanding the differences between American and Icelandic sausages and following the sourcing or recipe steps above, you’ll be able to create and enjoy an authentic Icelandic hot dog. Order or make Icelandic lamb sausages and serve them with the traditional toppings, including fried onions, raw onions, ketchup, mustard, and remoulade sauce.

An image featuring an Icelandic hot dog with various toppings, including fried onions, raw onions, ketchup, mustard, and remoulade sauce.


Icelandic Hot Dog Condiments Recipe

Icelandic hot dogs, or pylsur, are famous for their unique and delicious combination of condiments. The traditional toppings include Icelandic ketchup, remoulade, sweet brown mustard, crispy fried onions, and raw onions. In this guide, you will learn how to prepare these condiments at home, as well as suggested substitutes to create an authentic Icelandic hot dog experience.



  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, chopped capers, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Stir the mixture until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust any individual ingredient quantities according to personal preference.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together.

Icelandic Ketchup:


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and ground allspice.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, transfer the ketchup to a jar or squeeze bottle, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sweet Brown Mustard:


  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the brown and yellow mustard seeds, apple cider vinegar, and water. Stir well, cover with plastic wrap, and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  2. After the soaking period, pour the mustard seed mixture into a food processor or blender. Add the honey and salt, and blend until you reach the desired consistency (Icelandic mustard is usually on the smoother side).
  3. Transfer the mustard to an airtight jar and refrigerate for at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Crispy Fried Onions & Raw Onions:


  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt, to taste


  1. For the raw onions, simply finely chop half of the yellow onion and set it aside.
  2. To make the crispy fried onions, thinly slice the remaining half of the onion.
  3. In a shallow dish, place the flour. In a separate dish, pour the milk. In a third dish, place the breadcrumbs.
  4. Dredge the sliced onions first in the flour, then in the milk, and finally in the breadcrumbs, making sure they are well coated at each step.
  5. In a large frying pan, heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil reaches around 350°F (175°C), carefully add the coated onion slices in batches, frying for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crispy onions from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Now that your traditional Icelandic hot dog condiments are prepared, you can assemble your Icelandic hot dogs by placing a grilled hot dog in a warm bun and generously applying the remoulade, ketchup, mustard, crispy fried onions, and raw onions. Be sure to use a quality hot dog, such as a lamb or beef frank, to get the most authentic taste. Enjoy!

A grilled hot dog topped with remoulade, Icelandic ketchup, sweet brown mustard, crispy fried onions, and raw onions with a side of fries


Icelandic Hot Dog Recipe: Toppings

The Icelandic hot dog, or “Pylsur,” is a popular street food in Iceland and a must-try for any food enthusiast or hobbyist. One of the secrets to the delicious taste of Icelandic hot dogs is the combination of toppings, particularly the crispy onions and raw onions. In this guide, we’ll teach you the importance of these onion toppings, and how to prepare and use them to achieve the authentic Icelandic hot dog taste.

Importance of Crispy Onions and Raw Onions

The combination of crispy onions and raw onions as toppings for Icelandic hot dogs creates a perfect harmony of textures and flavors. Raw onions provide a sharp, tangy taste that balances the savory flavor of the hot dog, while the crispy fried onions add a rich, crunchy contrast. Together, these onion toppings elevate the hot dog into something extraordinary.

Preparing Crispy Onions:


  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Oil for frying


  1. Peel the onion and slice it into very thin rings using a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Place the onion rings into the flour mixture, and toss gently to coat each ring evenly.
  4. In a deep skillet or heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat about 2 inches of oil to 375°F (190°C).
  5. Carefully place a small handful of flour-coated onion rings into the hot oil, avoiding overcrowding, as this would cause the rings to stick together and not cook evenly.
  6. Fry the onion rings for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the oil temperature.
  7. Use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy onions from the oil, and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate or tray to drain off any excess oil.
  8. Continue frying the remaining onion rings in batches until all are cooked and crispy.

Preparing Raw Onion Topping:


  • 1 large onion


  1. Peel the onion and slice it into very thin rings or finely dice, depending on your preference.

Assembling the Icelandic Hot Dog:


  • Grilled or boiled hot dogs (Icelandic hot dogs are typically made from a blend of beef, pork, and lamb, but you can use any type of hot dog you prefer)
  • Soft hot dog buns
  • Ketchup
  • Remoulade or mayonnaise mixed with sweet mustard and finely chopped pickles
  • Crispy onions (as prepared above)
  • Raw onions (as prepared above)


  1. Place a cooked hot dog in a soft bun.
  2. Add a generous amount of ketchup on one side of the hot dog.
  3. Spread the remoulade or mayonnaise-mustard-pickle mixture on the other side of the hot dog.
  4. Top the hot dog with a layer of raw onions.
  5. Finish by adding a generous heap of crispy onions on top.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy the delicious taste of an authentic Icelandic hot dog!

Icelandic hot dog with toppings

Cooking and Assembly

Icelandic Hot Dog Recipe: Cooking and Assembly Instructions


  • Icelandic style lamb hot dogs (or substitute with regular beef or pork hot dogs, if unavailable)
  • Hot dog buns
  • Icelandic mustard (Pylsusinnep) or Dijon mustard
  • Icelandic ketchup or regular ketchup
  • Icelandic mayonnaise (Remouladi) or regular mayonnaise
  • Raw white onion, finely chopped
  • Fried onions (crispy)
  • Sweet relish

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Prepare your ingredients: Finely chop the white onion and set aside. Make sure you have the sauces (mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise) and fried onions ready.
  2. Cooking the hot dogs: In a pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the hot dogs to the pot and let them cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can grill the hot dogs over medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Warming the buns: While the hot dogs are cooking, you can warm the buns. Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and place them in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until warmed through. Be careful not to overcook, as this will make the buns hard and crispy.

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Remove the hot dog buns from the oven and carefully unwrap the aluminum foil. Place each bun on a plate.
  2. Using tongs or a fork, carefully remove the cooked hot dogs from the pot or grill and place them inside the warm buns.
  3. Apply a thin layer of mayonnaise to one side of the hot dog, followed by a thin layer of mustard on the other side.
  4. Drizzle ketchup on top of the hot dog in a zigzag pattern.
  5. Sprinkle a generous amount of raw, chopped white onion over the hot dog, followed by a layer of sweet relish (if desired).
  6. Top the hot dog with a layer of crispy fried onions.
  7. Serve immediately with a side of Icelandic potato salad or French fries, and enjoy the delicious taste of an Icelandic hot dog!


  • For an authentic Icelandic experience, try to source the Icelandic style lamb hot dogs and the traditional Icelandic condiments (Pylsusinnep and Remouladi). You can find these online or at specialty food stores.
  • Adding sweet relish is optional, but it adds another layer of flavor and texture to the hot dog.
  • Don’t overcook the buns, as this will make them hard and difficult to eat.

An Icelandic hot dog in a bun with various condiments on top. Onion, relish, and crispy onions are arranged in a zigzag pattern on top of the hot dog. There is a side of fries and a dipping sauce in the background.


Icelandic Hot Dogs or Pylsur Recipe

Icelandic hot dogs, also known as pylsur, are quite unique and treasured in Iceland due to their delicious flavors and toppings. Below, you’ll find instructions for making an Icelandic hot dog along with some fun variations to try, including alternative sauces, toppings, and vegan/vegetarian options.

Classic Icelandic Hot Dog Recipe:


  • 4 Icelandic hot dogs (can be found at specialty stores or substituted with any high-quality, all-natural hot dog)
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 1/2 cup Icelandic brown hot dog sauce (you can use Dijon mustard as a substitute)
  • 1/2 cup Icelandic ketchup (you can use regular ketchup as a substitute)
  • 1/2 cup Icelandic remoulade sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup crispy fried onions


  1. Boil the hot dogs in a pot of water for about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Heat the hot dog buns in an oven, toaster, or on a grill for about 2 minutes.
  3. Place the cooked hot dogs inside the warmed buns.
  4. Spread a layer of brown hot dog sauce, ketchup, and remoulade sauce on each hot dog.
  5. Top with chopped onions and crispy fried onions.

Remoulade sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp sweet relish
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.


Alternative Sauces:

  • Try using chipotle mayo, sriracha mayo, or another flavored mayonnaise instead of the remoulade sauce.
  • Use barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce in place of ketchup for a different flavor profile.

Alternative Toppings:

  • Experiment with different types of onions, such as red onions or pickled onions.
  • Add some avocado slices or guacamole on top of the hot dog for a creamy touch.
  • Go fusion-style with toppings like kimchi, sauerkraut, or jalapeños.

Vegan/Vegetarian Options:

  • Replace the classic hot dog with a high-quality vegan or vegetarian sausage, such as Beyond Meat or Lightlife.
  • Make remoulade sauce using vegan mayonnaise, or use other plant-based sauces, such as hummus or tahini.

Feel free to get creative with your Icelandic hot dog recipe and enjoy exploring various flavor combinations!

A grilled hot dog topped with brown hot dog sauce, ketchup, remoulade sauce, chopped onions and crispy fried onions

Now that we’ve delved into the history, ingredients, and techniques that make Icelandic hot dogs truly unique, you’re well-equipped to prepare and enjoy your very own Pylsur right at home. As you experiment with different variations, remember that the key to a perfect Icelandic hot dog lies in the balance of flavors and textures. So go ahead and impress your friends and family with your newfound culinary skills, and indulge in the delicious world of Icelandic hot dogs.

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