Hi, friends! How’s your summer going? I’ve been in a bathing suit more times than I’d hoped. As my sister said recently, I got sand where I didn’t want sand. But honestly, playing in the water with my kiddos makes me pretty darn happy. Along with water fun, it’s the time for picnics, and cookouts, and eating outside in general. So, naturally, you are thinking about carrot dogs now.
Hold the phone, Beth. CARROT DOGS? You’ve gone too far this time.
First of all, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I have no idea what I’m referring to, but I’m sure I’ll top this craziness at some point. But first, let’s explore the craziness that is the carrot dog.
The basic idea is, cook carrots, flavor them up to taste smoky and salty, and serve them in a hot dog bun. They’re actually a thing that has been around for a while, and some of you may have actually tried them before. I’d dare say that that some of you have, like me, became carrot dog converts. They are one of the tastiest surprises I’ve experienced on this plant-based journey so far. Especially when the toppings get involved. Here’s a quick little video to break it down for you.
How to Make Easy Carrot Dogs – Video
So, now that you are finding yourself with a carrot dog craving, and wondering how this came to be, let’s talk about how to make carrot dogs. It’s easy, promise! Have I failed you yet? Don’t answer that.
How to make carrot dogs, in words and pictures.
- Locate some carrots. Try to find the thickest ones, because you’ll be carving them into hot dog shapes and there will be some excess material. Remember when I said this is easy? Carrot whittling, for beginners.
- Line up a hot dog bun next to the carrot, and cut the carrot to the length of the bun. If you want it to stick out on each end, by all means, cut it longer. You’re in charge.
- Peel the carrot into a hot dog shape, rounding the edges with the peeler if you’d like. This part is strangely fun. Don’t worry if your carrots aren’t the perfect shape. They will still not taste like hot dogs.
- Mix up the marinade, and pour it over the carrots in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, until just fork-tender. Better a carrot dog that is firm than one that is mushy. Carrot dog proverb.
Wondering what the marinade is all about? It’s how the carrots get their hot dog flavor. The cast of characters are water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, ketchup (or tomato paste), and steak sauce or vegan worcestershire sauce. Did you know that A1 steak sauce is vegan? Talk about an oxymoron – I eat plant-based, pass the steak sauce. By the way, if that marinade sounds familiar, you have probably made easy tofu bacon.
Anyway…these are called easy carrot dogs for an important reason. 1, they’re easy. But what I really mean is that they’re EASIER than most other recipes I’ve seen. Typically the instructions call for boiling or baking the carrots, and then soaking them in a marinade overnight or for several hours at a minimum. Now, I’m all for soaking time when there’s a darn good reason, like soaking chickpeas for falafel, but in this case the pre-cook and overnight soak is just not necessary.
So now, you can have carrot dogs in 30 minutes, because you will cook the carrots in the marinade. I like making your life easier.
Beth, I still think you’re crazy. But those carrot dogs sure do look good.
I KNOW, RIGHT?
The most fun part about eating carrot dogs? The toppings, baby! I like to go simple with a big fat drizzle of mustard, or fancy things up with some of these ideas.
~ Coleslaw! I recently discovered a super cool method to make coleslaw with the perfect texture, and you won’t believe what it is. This is my favorite topping, it’s just such a good combination of flavors and textures.
~ Vegan Chili, of course. In the pictures below I put cashew cream on the chili, which is delicious, but in the video above I used this protein-packed vegan cheese sauce and it’s whoa so good.
~ Vegan Mac and Cheese. Yes, I went there. That cheese sauce I just told you about? It’s so involved.
There’s still plenty of summer left, folks, so get out there and make some carrot dogs for the grill! My question to you is, what topping(s) will you choose? Leave a comment here or tag @eatwithinyourmeans on Instagram when you make em’. I’ll be waiting with baited carrot dog breath. 😉
P.S. You should make that tofu bacon. It’s really good.
Easy Carrot Dogs
- 8 carrots, peeled and trimmed to hot dog bun length
- 8 hot dog buns
- 1 cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons steak sauce or vegan worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- How to make Carrot Dogs on the Stovetop
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together liquid ingredients.
- Add peeled carrots and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook carrots until barely fork-tender, 8-10 minutes depending on thickness.
- Remove from the heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the cooking liquid and serve with desired toppings.
- How to make Carrot Dogs in the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
- All all liquid ingredients into the Instant Pot insert, and whisk to combine.
- Add carrots and lock the lid.
- Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes, then release pressure manually.
- Let sit in the marinade for 15-20 minutes, simmering in the liquid if not all the way cooked.
Topping ideas for carrot dogs:
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Kirstin Troyer says
Hmmmmm….I might have to try just to say I tried it…lol. Who knows I might be surprised.
Live a little! 🙂 I was totally surprised myself, and now I love them.
I have to admit I was skeptical when I first heard about carrot dogs. But these are delicious! I had mine garnished with mustard, tomato and chopped onion. Carrot dogs are my new favorite! Thanks for posting.
Can you save the marinade for another use….or is all the “flavor” out of it.
Hi Nancy! Absolutely, you can use the marinade for another use, I do it all the time. There is plenty of flavor left. May I suggest this easy tofu bacon? 🙂
Amanda Leigh says
Love the video per usual!! Always amazed by your ideas and expertise. We should try these on Jaxson.
Also, the sand is still there.
Art from My Table says
I’ve heard of many things, but this is a new one for me! I don’t know that I could convince my kids to try these, but the toppings look amazing!
I love all of the topping options!
“Peel the carrot into a hot dog shape, rounding the edges with the peeler if you’d like. This part is strangely fun. Don’t worry if your carrots aren’t the perfect shape. They will still not taste like hot dogs.”
I’m totally making these tonight!
You don’t know how happy it makes me to know that someone actually reads my commentary AND finds it funny. Made my day, Jen. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you think of the carrot dogs! 🙂
Stacy N says
I’m a nerd. I loved the commentary too!
I’ll try and remember to come back and give your recipe a review when I try it… I think my inability to preplan means that I haven’t had the premarinated ones yet.
Cheers. – thanks for the recipe!
Jennifer Hd says
This cracked me up, too =0)
Michelle Robertson says
Do they taste like hot dogs at all or just sassy carrots?
Thanks Beth for this recipe for the kids breakfast. It was a hit! I didn’t use liquid smoke and used honey instead of maple syrup, topped with sauted (oil free) onions 🙂 🙂
Has anyone tried freezing these?
PS I love this entire site, so much.
Hi Ruth! I haven’t tried freezing them, but now I’m curious! I’m guessing the texture will end up pretty mushy because the water cells in the carrots will expand and then contract. But it’s worth a try, so I’ll try to experiment this week and let you know. P.S. Your P.S. made me teary-eyed, in a good way. THANK YOU! <3
Amy Gruszewski says
Can you make these without liquid smoke? Maybe smoked paprika.
Hi Amy! Yes, you can. I would add two teaspoons of smoked paprika to the marinade. Or sub two tablespoons of a smoky barbecue sauce, that would be yummy! Or if you want them spicy, maybe some chipotle puree or powder, because chipotles are smoked jalapenos. Hope that helps! 🙂
George Eisele (EYES-lee) says
Wow! This 70 year old vegan man just discovered your hot dog recipe, Beth. Can’t wait to try ’em out. Your sense of humor is the best, too. Really fun to read!
These are AWESOME!
I should start by saying that, like pretty much everyone who heard the phrase “carrot hotdog” for the first time, I was skeptical. I’d told my husband I was going to try making carrot dogs and he laughed and I laughed and we thought it would be a hilarious disaster. I carved the carrots so that they were hotdog sized with rounded ends and got all the normal toppings. When he saw the finished product he thought I’d just given up and made regular hotdogs–because they look exactly the same!
On a bun with ketchup/mayo/mustard they have a taste and texture that resembles hotdogs, but IMO they taste WAY better. I never would have craved regular hotdogs for dinner. These are a different story. So delicious, and I can eat twice as many because it’s just a carrot. Yippee! 🙂
The only down side is that while they’re cooking it makes the whole house smell like a campfire. I have to open up the windows and let it air out for 20 minutes or so before we eat, but that’s a small price to pay for such deliciousness. I’m going to try boiling them outside on a hotplate this summer.
Thank you for the recipe!
Wow! I just heard of carrot hotdogs on another food blog but I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I went looking for other recipes. Yours had the best ingredient of all–Instant Pot! I love your approach of making it simpler and quicker. These were really easy and so yummy! Not exactly like a hotdog, but not unlike, either. 🙂 Thank you!
I know im coming late to the party, but you just made me laugh right out loud! “ I’m vegan, pass the steak sauce” that is so funny! And I bet Mac and cheese is really good in this. My Mac and cheese sauce has carrots in it, so i bet it matches perfectly. The first time I made carrot dogs a couple weeks ago was pretty involved (with juniper berries I had to order from amazon). We will definitely try your method this weekend since it is much earlier. Thank you!
My daughter is vegan and I try to support her in every way,myself meat and taters. This recipe actually looks really good so I’m going to try it for her.The things you do for your kids. I’ll keep you posted
I just made this for dinner. Thank you for the recipe. It was surprisingly good and easy.
Denise Rostar says
I want to Thank You for this recipe being so simple. The others, soak for two days, bake in the oven, oh yeah that’s what I want to do in the middle of the summer when we decide to have a BBQ. It is amazing how much this tastes like a regular hot dog! It is a big sigh of relief that my 3 1/2 years old Daughter can have what looks exactly like what everyone else has. She has Tyrosinemia Type 1 which is a very rare liver disorder. (Liver doesn’t break down protein) No meat & very low (10 grams protein) protein per day. Just big hugs to you from this happy Mama!
Hi Denise! Wow, what a wonderful comment to get. My heart goes out to you as raising kids is hard enough, let alone having to worry about what food they can safely eat. I am beyond thrilled that this recipe and method worked so well for you. I still can’t get over how much a carrot can look and taste like a hot dog myself! And funny enough, I’m making these for dinner tonight. 🙂 Big hugs right back to you!
Lauren Billings says
Reading through the comments here and saw your daughter has Tyrosinemia. I have PKU and have a very low protein tolerance as well. You’re not alone! I love carrot dogs and it really is such a blessing to find easy recipes we can eat. I’m sure you’re daughter was so excited to eat “the same” as everyone else!! Such a good mama to create these special moments for your girl!
Hi Beth Just nit picking here but in your commentary you have said (when talking about shaping) that they will still *not* taste like hot dogs 🙂
And I seriously think that it was meant to be funny, Chris! Love her humor.
Wow! I just cook this in my Instant Pot. This taste soooo good! I not have BBQ for years since turn vegetarian and I miss BBQ flavour and taste like onions, mustard, ketchup etc in roll. This carrot dogs remind me all that wonderful taste again.
Defo will cook this again future for sure!!
So super excited to try these carrotdogs! I am trying to eat less and less meat as time goes on but I LOVE hotdogs, so hopefully this will make me give them up!!! I will give an update and let you know how it worked out for me;) Thanks for awesome site Beth:)
So good and (unlike all the other recipes out there) SO EASY! Thanks!
Linda Chudej says
The sodium in this recipe is too much for me to have 🙁 but it looks like a good recipe! I’ll experiment a bit with the idea though to see what I can come up with that won’t blow my low sodium goal.
I hear you, Linda! It’s really hard to estimate how much marinade goes into the carrot and therefore how much sodium is involved. You could try using less soy sauce in the marinade or dilute with additional water.
For sodium control, you can substitute soy sauce with amino acids, readily available in supermarkets. I have been using amino acids for past 3 years since strokes and low sodium diet. Works great!
I used liquid aminos the first time I made these and they came out WAY too salty. I am trying again now and only used about 5 tbsp as opposed to 1 c. I hope they come out better!
A. B. Shouppe says
The sodium is insane but it taste great. Really love these!
These were very good, I used low sodium soy sauce and honey instead of maple syrup. I hope they don’t really have as many calories as you say lol
I added Bacon and it was amazing!
Pure Cionnaith says
I’ve made carrot dogs a few times using different recipes on the Internet and they keep tasting better. You have some great ideas here. Thanks a bunch (carrots).
Haha, you’re welcome a bunch (carrots)! I hope you’ll give these a try and let me know how you like them!
I cannot for the life of me figure out why nobody has suggested the obvious topping: steamed homemade sauerkraut, rich in probiotics, prebiotics, and a good source of Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Before I even saw Dusty’s comment, I put sauerkraut on ours. I told my husband they were veggie dogs; he didn’t guess they were just carrots. Next time, I’m going to put kim-chee on them.
ooooh, kimchi would be perfect!!!!
Whaaat! I love hot dogs, but I don’t love all the additives that come in the packs at the grocery store. I’m not vegan but I do love being creative with veggies, and this is honestly the most creative thing I’ve seen yet. I can’t wait until I make these!!
I was looking for a recipe for carrot dogs and found your website. So happy to have found it. I, too, enjoy your commentary. You are so funny. I usually just like to jump to the recipe but not here!
I just made the carrot dogs and they are delicious! I’m going to go have another one!
Thank you so much!
I have never liked frankfurters. My “hot dogs” were always a bun with mustard, chili, onions and slaw. I’ve been whole food plant based for about 25 years and my “go to” chili is Amy’s black bean chili. So today I made your carrot dogs with my toppings in a Trader Joe’s whole wheat bun. Oh my gosh they were good. And my husband is crazy about them! Love the simplicity of your recipe.
Haven’t tried them yet, but I doubt (kinda) that they have 10g of protein. Is that possible for a carrot and bun? Just wondering. I’ll have to give it a try. I love cauliflower “steak” so why not a carrot dog?
Andrea Eisenberg says
Can we get everyone else to remove their carrot hot dog recipe from the interwebs!?! You can marinate til the cows come home (and they will because we don’t kill them) and a carrot isn’t going to suck up all the flavor. These are amazing. I’ve made them a few times now, even for a reluctant 6 year old, and they are brilliant. Yes, you forgot to mention the obvious sauerkraut, but you did clue people in to putting cole slaw on hot dogs which is so good. Kudos!!
I didn’t expect these to taste like hot dogs but I also didn’t expect they would taste like carrots braised in soy sauce ????????
Maybe I did something wrong? They were also really salty…..
Are they supposed to still have a bite or should they be cooked longer (&be really soft)?
My supermarket actually has carrotdogs, I’ll buy those and see what flavor/texture I ought to be aiming for.
Willing to give it another attempt…..
Love this recipe! It’s so much easier cooking them in entirety from start to finish instead of leaving them marinate overnight! Mine are almost done and smell divine! And I must say, I love your humor! I cracked up when you said be nice or you’ll get deleted, LOL!
Thanks for the recipe and the laugh, from one plant-based Beth to another! ❤
Hey Beth! 🙂 So nice to meet another PBB, ha. Thank you for appreciating my efforts at efficiency and humor! <3
I haven’t made these yet, but I’m excited to try them. I’m wondering if anyone has tried cooking them on the bbq grill?
I don’t have any soy sauce can I use extra Worcestershire sauce in place of the soy sauce?
Hi Rachel! I’ve never tried that substitution, so I can’t say for sure. But the liquid smoke is a more crucial ingredient than the soy, so it’s worth a try! Will you let me know how it goes if you try it?
Where do the 10g of protein listed in the nutrition facts come from exactly?? There’s like nothing in this that has all that much protein from what I can tell. Nonetheless, it sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it… I’m just a bit mystified by that protein stat…lol!
Carmelita Ivy-Jones says
I’m making the carrot hot dog for the first time a d it smells DELISH!!!!. Quick question, Can the remaining sauce be used for something else or does it need to be discard the remaining. Love your cooking ideas! Thanks for sharing.
Yum! Wow, who knew!!! I hate regular hot dogs and Iam becoming more plant based these days! Thank you!
Made for my husband and I for lunch and we are very pleased to have another meal that keeps us from feeling loss since we started our WFPB lifestyle! Thank-you! So glad to have found you online!
christina gaffney says
yes, making these 2day for Memorial day they should be interesting and after a run thru the instant pot we’ll grill just a little thank you beth, have a wonderful day
Ok so days ago I actually came across another site for the carrot dogs and made them but stumbled across your site today because I wondered if these could be cooked on the stove top and per your website –yes! With that said I would like to say, we tried the carrot dogs and they were a hit with my family. My youngest daughter was not a fan, nor was my youngest son ( I have 4 kiddos). My husband, who is very picky with foods, and my two oldest children destroyed them – as did I! Hubby said he could have easily eaten five without thinking about it! Ok, so here is the deal for those wondering if they taste good, honestly you should just jump out there and try them; definitely worth the risk! My personal review: They were surprisingly good. The combination of spices and flavors in the marinade topped off with the liquid smoke – wow!!!! – You do want to make sure the carrot is tender enough to really mimic a regular smokey hotdog as far as texture goes but if they aren’t as tender as meat hotdogs it wont matter – they are still good! Just poke the carrots to determine their tenderness. My husband said, “I think we just found our new hotdog – not even joking! Plus it is a healthier alternative to meat – We love carrot dogs!
Jj Stanza says
Totally surprised as the others were. Can’t say enough good things about them. Just make them and see for yourself!!
Debbie Kwiecinski says
WOW!! I made these for Independence Day dinner, along with potato salad and your cole slaw, and even the non-vegans loved them! They even smelled great while cooking.
I am definitely going to try this! Could the carrots be grilled after they’re cooked?
Mike Delaney says
I’m sorry!! I wanted to love these. Anybody that thinks this tastes like a hot dog has either never eaten a hot dog, or hasn’t had one in so long they don’t remember what they taste like.
No worries, Mike! I’m sorry they didn’t appeal to you. I agree that they don’t taste like a hot dog, I don’t remember saying that they would, but I will check the post again to make sure I don’t make that claim. They are a fun substitute that tastes smoky and savory and can be shaped to fit in a hot dog bun, without coming from an animal. But I totally understand, people either seem to love these or hate them. 🙂
I’m a diabetic and have to keep a tight count on the carbs. I just can’t believe that one carrot dog has 40grams of carbs. If you’re adding all the ingredients from the marinade back in, please don’t. Remember to measure the marinade before you put the ‘dogs’ in and then again after the ‘dogs’ are done and subtract that amount from the total to carbs that the carrots soaked up. Then divide that by however many ‘dogs’ you made. A medium carrot only has 4 grams of carbs. When I made your recipe, I used an artificial sweeter. In the end – I only came up with 5 grams of carbs total per ‘dog’. Let’s make these dogs diabetic-friendly also!!! Thank you so much for inspiring me to keep one of my favorite meals on my menu. It’s folks like you that make folks like me life’s so much more enjoyable!!!
Elicia J Nolan says
How do they hold up if you grill them after cooking in the marinade?
They hold up well as long as they’re not overcooked in the marinade to begin with. 🙂
I have made the carrot dogs and they were delicious. Honey mustard is also a good topping.
Matthew Ciuccio says
They taste like and feel like biting into a hot dog. WILD! I was highly skeptical, but, well, I am sold. Thank you for sharing this game changer!
Sorry I missed this comment, Matthew! So excited to hear that your skepticism was transformed to surprise! I haven’t made these in a long time and need to correct that. Thanks for the reminder!
Eric L says
Mmmm . . .delicious! I waited 5 years after hearing about carrot dogs to try them — your recipe just made it so easy I had to do it!
I will cook them a little longer next time, because mine were a little too firm to the tooth (I did not let them sit in the sauce after cooking). But after the initial bite, it tasted like a hot dog while chewing. And smelled like a hot dog while they were cooking LOL.
We doubled the recipe and it took me and one of my daughters only 8 or 9 minutes to prepare the carrots. Well worth it.
Thank you for making this recipe so quick and easy!