These Carrot Hot Dogs are marinated in a smoky, sweet, and savory sauce giving them a classic hot dog taste. Top this grillable vegan alternative with your favorite condiments for the perfect summer BBQ meal.
The first time I made carrot hot dogs I was a bit skeptical.
I wasn’t sure how they would come out, if they would taste good, or if my family would even eat them.
But once the grilled carrots were placed in a bun and topped with mustard and ketchup, my tastebuds were fooled.
It was delicious!
The vegan carrot dog had the right amount of smoky, savory, and sweet flavor I was after.
In fact, they were so good I was inspired to make vegan pigs in a blanket using marinated baby carrots.
So leave the packaged vegan hot dogs at the store and slide a healthier carrot hot dog between those buns!
Below are the 8 ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.
Ingredient notes and substitutes
Carrots – Use hotdog-sized carrots or slightly bigger ones. Also, be sure to use similar-sized carrots so the cooking time stays the same.
Tamari – I used tamari to keep the marinade gluten-free. Use soy sauce as a replacement.
Liquid Smoke – This really gives the marinade a smoky hot dog flavor. I recommend it for the best taste, but if you need to substitute, smoked paprika is a good replacement.
Maple Syrup – The maple syrup neutralizes the saltiness. Or, use any liquid sweetener you have on hand.
Seasonings – Paprika, Dry Mustard Powder, and Garlic Powder complete the hot dog flavors in the marinade. If you don’t have mustard powder (also called ground mustard) you can leave it out or replace it with a bit of yellow mustard.
This recipe is quick and easy to make. Follow the simple instructions below to enjoy carrot dogs at your next summer BBQ.
Prep the Carrots
Start by picking out the medium-sized carrots in the bag. You want to select the most uniform-sized carrots that aren’t too big or too small on either end. Also, they should be about the width of a hot dog or slightly bigger.
Step 1: Cut off the ends of each carrot leaving them about 1 inch longer than the size of the bun. This will ensure there is enough room to shape the ends.
Step 2: Now, peel the carrots shaping and rounding the ends with the peeler for a “hot dog” look. To shape the ends, hold the carrot in one hand peeling the end furthest away from you. Use small downward strokes turning the carrot while you peel to round the end.
Tip: You can also skip rounding the ends and leave them with straight cuts for quicker prep with less waste.
Cook and Marinate the Carrots
Now, it’s time to simmer them in the marinade for a smoky hot dog taste.
Step 1: Add the carrots and marinade ingredients to a large pan and gently stir everything around to mix.
Step 2: Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the carrots for about 20-30 minutes. They are done when a fork poked in goes in with little resistance. The carrots should look similar to the above image after cooking.
Step 3: When the carrots are done cooking, remove the pan from the heat keeping it covered. Allow the carrots to rest in the marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling (1-2 hours is ideal for more of a smoky hot dog flavor). Periodically give the pan a slight shake to roll the carrots around in the marinade.
Grilling the carrots
After you’ve cooked your carrots in the marinade it’s time to grill them!
- Remove the carrots from the marinade.
- Set the grill to medium heat. Once the grill is hot, brush the grates with oil.
- Place the carrots on the grill and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until grill lines appear. Flip and cook the other side for another 2-4 minutes.
Tip: Baste the carrots with the extra marinade a few times throughout the cooking process to keep them from drying out too much. Also, keep an eye on them as they cook so they don’t burn.
Or, cook the carrot dogs on a skillet or in the oven. See the recipe card for complete cooking instructions.
Serve these vegan carrot dogs at any outdoor BBQ, summertime picnic, or 4th of July party. Pair them with a condiments bar using any of the options below.
Or, top them with the classics like mustard and ketchup for a simple dinner at home.
- vegan mayo
- vegan chili
- diced onion
- pickled onions
- pickle slices
- jalapeño slices
- tomato slices
The possibilities are endless!
Storing Carrot Dogs
If you’re not ready to grill the marinated carrots right away or you have leftover grilled dogs store them in the fridge.
To store marinated carrots: Add the carrots along with the marinade to a ziplock bag or airtight container large enough to fit them.
Store in the fridge for up to 24 hours then grill on the BBQ, cook on the stovetop or bake in the oven.
To store grilled carrot dogs: Place the grilled dogs in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t think a meat eater could be fooled by the texture of a carrot. But, I do think the taste is spot on. Once they are marinated, grilled, placed in a bun, and topped with condiments your tastebuds can easily be fooled.
Give them a try. You'll be impressed with how delicious a carrot in a bun can be.
If you have an Instant Pot this is a quick and easy way to marinate carrot dogs. Follow the simple instructions below.
Add the peeled carrots and the marinade ingredients to your Instant Pot.
Using the manual or pressure setting, set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes high pressure.
Once they are done cooking, turn the steam valve to release the steam.
Allow the carrots to sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
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- 8-10 medium carrots, peeled and cut to bun size
Prep the Carrots
Start by picking out the medium-sized carrots in the bag. You want to select uniform-sized carrots that aren’t too big or too small on either end. Also, they should be about the width of a hot dog or slightly bigger.
- Cut the ends off of each carrot. Leave them about 1 inch longer than the size of the bun to have room to shape the ends.
- Then, peel the carrots shaping and rounding the ends with the peeler for a uniform “hot dog” look. To shape the ends, hold the carrot in one hand peeling the end furthest away from you. Use small downward strokes turning the carrot while you peel to round the end. You can also skip rounding the ends and leave them with straight cuts for quicker prep.
Marinate the Carrots
- Pour the marinade into a large skillet with a lid and mix, then add the carrots. The pan should be large enough that the carrots lay flat on the bottom.
- Cover the pan with the lid and bring the marinade to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the carrots for about 20-30 minutes. The carrots are done when a fork can be poked into them with little resistance.
- When the carrots are done, remove the pan from the heat. Allow the carrots to rest in the marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling, but 1-2 hours is best for more flavor.
See notes to marinate them in the Instant Pot, and instructions for storing the marinated carrots if you're not ready to grill them.
Now, choose one of the three methods below to cook the carrot hot dogs after marinating.
- Preheat your grill to medium heat. Once the grill is hot hot, brush the grates with oil.
- Grill the carrots on on the bottom rack for about 5-8 minutes or until heated through and the grill marks have formed. The carrots should easily release from the grill.
- Flip and heat for another 2-3 minutes to add grill marks to the other side.
- Optional: Brush the carrots with the extra marinade after grilling for more flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Place carrot dogs on a cast iron grill or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the carrots with a bit of extra marinade.
- Bake for 10-15 min, then flip each carrot and brush with more marinade. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.
- In a skillet or grill pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
- Carefully place the carrots in your skillet.
- Heat on each side for about 5 minutes or until heated through. While the carrots cook, brush them with the extra marinade.
Now, dress those carrot dogs any way you like!
To marinate the carrots in the Instant Pot
- Add the marinade ingredients and the peeled carrots to your Instant Pot.
- Using the manual or pressure setting, set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes high pressure.
- Once the cooking time is done, turn the steam valve to release the steam.
- Allow the carrots to sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes for more flavor.
To store vegan carrot dogs
If you’re not ready to grill the carrots right away, or you have leftover grilled dogs they can be stored in the fridge.
- To store marinated carrots: Add the carrots along with the marinade to a ziplock bag or airtight container large enough to fit them. Store in the fridge for up to 24 hours then grill on the BBQ, cook on the stovetop, or bake in the oven.
- To store grilled carrot dogs: Place the grilled dogs in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Tamari sauce/soy sauce: Use low-sodium sauce if needed.
Mustard powder: This can be left out or replaced with ¼ teaspoon of yellow mustard.
Liquid smoke: I recommend using liquid smoke for the best flavor. If you need to substitute, use 1-2 Tablespoons of smoked paprika.
Leftovers: Any leftover carrots can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Grill marks: For grill lines on the carrots, cook them on a hot grill or on the stovetop using a grill pan.
NEW! This recipe was originally posted in August 2017. It has since been updated with extra tips, step-by-step photos, a quicker marinating method, and the ingredients have been adjusted accordingly. If you’re a fan of the original recipe, it’s below.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 carrot hot dog
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 35Sodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g
**Nutritional info is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients I used and for convenience and as a courtesy only.**
More Summer Favorites
The original recipe is below. In that recipe, the carrots are boiled in water and then marinated overnight.
The new recipe above has been simplified with the same great taste. I suggest giving it a try if you're in a hurry!
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