Can You Freeze Hot Dogs? Freezer Storage Guide

If it’s a store-bought hot dog or a gourmet hot dog, there is always a burning question, and no, it’s not. Should you put ketchup on a hot dog? How long can a hot dog last? Can they be frozen, and does it affect the quality if they can? There are so many questions that need correct answers when it comes to the humble hot dog.

Did you know that in peak Weiner season, 7,000,000,000 hot dogs will be sold? Yes, that’s 7 billion. If you think that’s incredible, then did you know that Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore at Pink’s hot dog stand in Hollywood? To prevent you from making a Frank faux pas, only put toppings on the hot dog and not under.

This article uncovers the ubiquitous hot dog and finds out how to store the Weiner for longer. We answer many frequently asked questions, providing factual answers to extend your culinary horizons.

Let’s take a big bite.

Do hotdogs expire?

Yes, they do, but they have a reasonable shelf life. According to the USDA store’s official website, hot dogs are packaged for 2 weeks unopened and then a week once the pack is opened if stored at 40℉.

Is there a difference between hot dogs and sausages? Conventional hot dogs are slimmer than sausages, which is a noticeable difference. On the other hand, Sausage is frequently described as plumper and still has its crisp outside shell. 

Hot dogs are skinny, whereas ground meat is used to make parboiled sausage (usually pork, beef, or sometimes hot dogs). But in actuality, hot dogs are a sort of sausage! They may also be referred to as Vienna frankfurters or frankfurters. 

Even though hot dogs originated in Europe, they are often associated with American food because of how widely they are consumed in North America.

When defining sausages, one may use the phrase as a catch-all for a particular meat product consisting of seasonings, ground meat (often pork), and breadcrumbs as filling. 

Additionally, sausages are firmly enclosed within the intestines and further prepared through curing or smoking. Wherever you go in the world, you can find many types of sausage that are specific to that region’s cuisine.

Regarding the hot dog that many people know and adore today, many people think that Johann Georghehner, a butcher who resided in Coburg, Germany, in the 1600s, is responsible for its invention. Johann allegedly set off for Frankfurt to promote his brand-new creation, the “small Dachshund” sausage. 

Furthermore, according to others, Johann and some butchers from other nations who moved to North America are responsible for the classic American hot dog.

Do hot dogs need to be refrigerated?

Yes, it is essential to keep hot dogs in the fridge. If the packaging is open, place them in a sealed container to help contain the bacteria.

Are hot dogs precooked?

They are pre-cooked, but that doesn’t mean they can be eaten raw. Guidance from the FDA states.

Hot dogs should actually be heated through to the point of being steaming hot. Hot dogs are one example of a ready-to-eat item that might develop Listeria monocytogenes contamination after being prepared and packed at the plant. 

So, now we know that hot dogs can contain potentially harmful bacteria from the manufacturing plant post-cooking. 

Do hot dogs need to be covered in the fridge?

It is not necessary. Hot dogs are full of preservatives and have a decent shelf life. However, we know from the USDA that hot dogs last longer if covered, and taking their advice, it’s recommended that you keep your hot dogs in an airtight container.

The container may help contain any bacteria on the hot dogs and prevent hot dog aromas from attaching to other foods stirred in the fridge.

Can you put warm hot dogs in the fridge?

It is not advisable, but sometimes you may not have a choice.

If you read online that you can’t put a warm hot dog in the fridge because of condensation coalescing into water droplets that will drip and make your hot dogs soggy and less appealing at best is why you can’t put the warm hot dog in the fridge, you are being misled.

Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing a warm hot dog in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.

Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your hot dog. It is the contents of the entire fridge.

Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.

Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.

Furthermore, the hot dogs should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!

What happens if you have no choice, you need to be out of your home for a few hours? Separate the hot dogs. This will let the heat dissipate, and the hot dogs cool faster. Place the hot dog in an airtight container.

If you are out of time, wrap the hot dog container in a towel to act as insulation to prevent the fridge from heating dramatically.

How long can warm-cooked hot dogs sit out?

Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.

The bacteria load on hot dogs within two hours can accelerate to dangerous levels.

Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.

Do unopened hot dogs go bad?

Fresh packaged hot dogs have a limited shelf life stirred in the fridge. After two weeks, they will have reached the end of their life and should be discarded.

On the other hand, the canned hot dog has an incredibly long shelf life. It can last years past the expiry date and should be okay to eat in five years.

There is a caveat with any canned or tinned goods; the can should be in good condition. No dents, leakage, swelling, rust, or signs of general deterioration.

When you open a can of hot dogs, the liquid should not spurt, and there should not be any bubbles or funky smells. If there is, throw them in the garbage.

How long do hot dogs last in the fridge?

If the packages are not damaged or have been opened, they will last for two weeks following USDA guidelines. Beyond two weeks, you should discard the package of hot dogs and buy fresh ones.

Once the hot dogs have been opened, you will have to eat them within one week to prevent them from spoiling.

Do frozen hot dogs go bad?

In theory, frozen hot dogs stored at 0℉ and below should have an indefinite shelf life in the freezer. However, hot dogs are more delicate than you may imagine, and the shelf life is much shorter.

The good news is they will last for 10 weeks in the freezer.

How to freeze store-bought hot dogs

If the hot dogs are in their original packaging that is not open, they can go straight to the freezer. If you have loose hot dogs, you can follow this procedure.

  • Ensure the hot dogs are free from moisture. This will help to prevent freezer burn.
  • Wrap each hot dog in saran wrap. Double wrapping is best.
  • Place the hot dogs into an airtight container. A ziplock freezer bag style is recommended. This method will enable you to retrieve hot dogs that are not frozen in a block, which is convenient.
  • Once the hot dogs are in the freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and seal it tightly.
  • Mark the bag with the contents and freezing date.
  • Place the bag in the freezer for up to 10 weeks.

This freezing procedure works for chicken, beef, and pork hot dogs.

If you have canned hot dogs, follow the same procedure, paying attention to removing the moisture from the canned hot dogs with a kitchen towel.

How do you thaw hot dogs?

In the fridge overnight is the best way, but if you need to use them, place them in a bowl of warm water faster.

You can also use a defrost setting on the microwave. Microwaved hot dogs taste the same as if they are boiled but can become tough and even burst, so defrost them in bursts of energy, say 20 seconds.

Final thoughts

Hot dogs are not only versatile, but they have a decent shelf life in the fridge of up to two weeks and in the freezer for 10 weeks.

Beyond the ten weeks in the freezer, the hot dog will slowly degrade, losing its texture and flavor profile, so eat them in good time for the perfect fast meal.

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