Hot dogs are an American staple. People love to bring them to barbecues, eat them at baseball games, and cook them over a campfire.
Hot dogs are great for a large crowd and super cost-effective, as you can get large quantities of hot dogs for a small price.
However, no matter how many people you plan on feeding, it always feels like there are some hot dogs left over at the end of the event. This means you may have to store the extra hot dogs to ensure you do not waste any food.
So, can you freeze hotdogs? Fortunately, you can freeze hot dogs for up to three months as long as they are properly stored, which means draining the moisture from the package, wrapping them separately, and storing them in an airtight container near the back of the freezer.
Keep reading for the best way to freeze your hot dogs (both cooked and uncooked), how long they last in the refrigerator, how to reheat frozen hot dogs, the best way to cook them, and more!
Freezing Hot Dogs
Say you have made enough hot dogs for everyone and you still have a few left. Can you freeze them for later?
Fortunately, you can freeze uncooked hot dogs for up to 2-3 months. Specifically, you can freeze an unopened pack of hot dogs for up to 3 months.
You can freeze the whole pack of unopened hot dogs together, however, when you defrost them you will have to plan on cooking the entire batch.
The hot dogs come in a liquid, so when the liquid freezes, it has to unfreeze to let the hot dogs pull apart from one another.
So, if you plan on using the whole pack when you defrost them, then you are good to go. However, if you want to be able to just pull a few out at a time, it is best to store them separately.
One thing to look for before freezing the hot dogs is their expiration date. Make sure before you put them in the freezer that they are not about to expire.
How To Freeze Hot Dogs
Like we just mentioned, unless you are going to use an entire pack of hot dogs after you have defrosted them, it is best to store them separately. However, there are a few steps to follow to keep the integrity of the hot dog intact.
The first thing you want to do is drain all of the moisture out of the packaging. Then with a paper towel dry off the hot dogs of any excess water. If you do not drain it, all of the hot dogs will stick together and have the potential to create a mess when defrosting.
The second step can be done in two ways: you can put all of the hot dogs in a sealable container together or you can individually wrap them with freezer paper and put them in a freezer bag or container.
If you wrap them up individually, it will be easier to pull out the individual hot dogs as you need them where keeping them in a container may prove a bit more difficult when trying to pull them apart. It is up to you and your preference.
Once they are in a bag or container, make sure to seal it extremely well. Any holes or open spots may cause oxidation or give your hot dogs freezer burn.
The last step before putting them in the freezer is to label them with a date. This will prevent you from consuming hot dogs that have gone bad.
Can You Freeze Hot Dogs After Opening?
Fortunately, you can freeze hotdogs after the package has been opened. Like unpackaged hot dogs, it is just important to follow the above steps for freezing any hot dog that is a part of an open package.
You want to make sure that you freeze these hot dogs as soon as possible, as they also have a certain shelf life in the fridge.
Once you know you will not be cooking the remaining hot dogs in the package, throw them in the freezer ASAP. Always make sure to date the container before putting the hot dogs in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Hot Dogs After They’ve Been Cooked?
Hot dogs that have been cooked can also be stored and saved in the freezer.
Cooked hot dogs can actually last a bit longer in the freezer than uncooked hotdogs. Where uncooked hot dogs can last about 2-3 months, cooked hot dogs can last 3-4 months.
Just make sure to get the cooked hot dogs in the freezer ASAP. The longer they are left out, the higher chance they have of building bacteria.
Try not to put them in the freezer after they have been in the fridge for a few days as well. This also can cause them to build up bacteria, but also will diminish their flavor and texture.
Like always, do not forget to date the package before freezing to avoid food borne illness or freezer burned hot dogs.
How Long Can You Freeze Hot Dogs (Uncooked and Cooked)?
Like any other foods, hot dogs have a very specific shelf life in the freezer.
Uncooked hot dogs can last about 2-3 months in the freezer before they go bad. After this time, they lose their texture and flavor and have the potential to get covered in freezer burn.
Cooked hot dogs have a similar shelf life of about 3-4 months in the freezer. Make sure to follow the above mentioned steps (minus the draining of liquid) when freezing cooked hot dogs.
Do not attempt to eat either frozen or unfrozen hot dogs after 3-4 months. You risk not only poorly tasting meat, but also contracting a food borne illness.
How Long Can An Unopened Package Of Hot Dogs Be Stored In The Fridge?
Unopened hot dogs can last in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
However, that is simply a rule of thumb. The safest way to determine how long to leave the package in the fridge is by checking the expiration date on the package. Go by that before going by the two week rule.
How Long Can An Opened Package of Hot Dogs Be Stored in The Refrigerator?
After opening a package of hot dogs, you want to leave them in the refrigerator for no more than a week.
Make sure to have them sealed extremely well in either a freezer style bag or a container. They also can be stored with or without the liquid they come in.
If you plan on taking hot dogs that have been in your fridge and putting them in the freezer, do not wait until that week mark; put them in the freezer as soon as possible.
With each day, they start to lose their texture and taste and you want to freeze the hot dogs when they are at the highest quality.
How to Defrost Frozen Uncooked Hot Dogs
There are a few ways to defrost frozen uncooked hotdogs. The first and best way is to let them thaw out in the fridge.
Simply put the package on a plate in the fridge to catch any liquid and allow them to defrost on their own. This takes time so make sure to put them in the fridge about 24 hours before you plan on cooking.
Another way to defrost hot dogs is in the microwave. The hot dogs will lose some of their flavor, but if you are in a hurry this method will suffice. Use your microwave’s defrost button and go for 40-50 second increments until the meat is defrosted.
If you want to cook the hotdogs while defrosting, the best method is the instant pot. Put the hot dogs in with a little bit of water and pressure cook for about 5 minutes.
Do not leave your hot dogs on the counter to defrost, as this ups your chance of the hot dogs going bad and growing some bacteria.
Same goes for putting them in or near the sun. Even if you are in a hurry, never do this when trying to defrost hot dogs. Bacteria can build up and you can become extremely sick.
Remember they are already cooked through, so do not fret about eating raw meat, as that is not the case for hot dogs.
How To Defrost Frozen Cooked Hot Dogs
Because these frozen hotdogs are already cooked, you have a few more options. First, you can let them defrost overnight in the fridge like you would do for uncooked hotdogs.
You also can microwave them until they are completely defrosted by using the defrost method on your microwave. Do so in 40-50 second increments.
You could cook them for a bit longer in the microwave than you would an uncooked one to reheat it to an edible temperature.
How To Reheat Frozen Hot Dogs
After the hot dog is defrosted, you have a few options on how to cook them. Of course, the best possible way is to grill them, but that’s not always an option.
The quickest method is to re-microwave them at 40-50 second increments until they reach your desired temperature.
You can heat them up in the oven at 400°F for about 5-7 minutes or until they start sizzling. You can also pop them in the air fryer at 390°F for about 3-5 minutes.
Finally, you can grill them on the stove or cut them up and put them in a pan with a bit of oil until they are reheated to your desired temperature.
Can You Refreeze Hot Dogs?
To avoid bacteria, it is best to not refreeze frozen hotdogs. This goes for both cooked and uncooked hot dogs. Once you have defrosted it, it should not go back in the freezer.
Once in the freezer, the hot dog has already deteriorated in quality and the risk of refreezing is not worth it. Not only will the hot dogs not taste good, but they also have the potential to be bacteria ridden.
This is why it may be smart to freeze those hot dogs individually instead of in the whole package. This way you can pull them out as you need them instead of possibly having to throw hot dogs away because they did not get consumed.
Where Do Hot Dogs Come From?
As crazy as this may seem, hot dogs date all the way back to almost 700 BCE when the first sausage was recorded.
However, where it became what we now know as a hot dog dates back to Germany in the 1600’s. Created by a butcher named Johann Georghehner in Frankfurt Germany, the “frankfurter” (the hot dogs original name) was born.
Since then, the popularity of hot dogs has continued to grow. With German immigrants bringing the delicacy over to the US, the first known hotdog stand was born in 1870 by a German man named Charles Feltman.
Then, in 1893, hotdogs were introduced to baseball stadiums in America and since then they have been an American staple.
With famous hot dog restaurants like Nathan’s in New York and Pink’s in Los Angeles, hot dogs have continued to be a prominent food group in US culture, remaining popular delicacies across the country.
They have evolved and now come cheese filled, bacon wrapped, chili topped, and even made with tofu so vegans and vegetarians can enjoy this infamous treat.
How Do You Cook A Hot Dog Properly?
Most hot dogs come precooked so you do not have to worry about making sure they are cooked all the way through. In theory, you could eat a hot dog right out of the package (but you probably do not want to).
Because they come precooked, you just want to make sure they are hot enough all the way through to eat. A few popular ways to do this:
- Boil the hot dogs in water. Simply place them in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Microwave the hotdogs. You want to cover it in a moist paper towel and cook it in 40-50 second increments until it reaches your desired temperature.
- Put the hot dog in a skillet with either water or oil and continue to turn it until it is cooked all the way through.
- For the oven, preheat it to 400°F and line the hot dogs on a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Cook them for about 10-15 minutes or until they start to sizzle.
- If you have an air fryer, preheat it to 390°F and cook the hot dogs for about 3-4 minutes.
- When at a bonfire or camping, you can cook the hotdogs over an open flame. Put it on a skewer and slowly rotate the hot dog. Do so for about 5-7 minutes being careful not to burn over the open flame.
- The best way to cook a hot dog is on a grill, but we know they are not always accessible and that is why we have laid out these other options.
- Get the grill really hot and cook the hot dog on all sides for about 1-2 minutes.
- When your hot dog is ready add your favorite toppings: ketchup, mustard, relish, grilled onions and peppers, chili and cheese, etc.
Can You Freeze A Cheese–Filled Hot Dog?
Because both hot dogs and cheese freeze well, you can most definitely freeze a cheese hot dog. Consume the cheese hot dog in 2-3 months.
Can you Freeze Hot Dog Buns?
Though some bread does well in the freezer, hot dogs buns are not in that category. When defrosting, the bun becomes extremely soggy and inedible.
Where other breads can be toasted and crisp, hot dogs buns are meant to be on the softer side, so freezing will not work for them.
Up Next: The Best Canned Chili For Hot Dogs