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Best Way to Defrost Frozen Hot Dogs

Do you keep hot dogs in the freezer? Here’s a guide on how to defrost frozen hot dogs to safely cook and eat them for dinner!

I am constantly looking for good deals. And when I find something I like, I tend to buy quite a few and stick in the freezer for later.

Hot dogs are one of those things! I particularly like the Nathan’s brand (No sponsored content here), and I know those are expensive so I stock up when I can. They’re really good quality and SUPER delicious.

Once you freeze them, you obviously need to defrost them at some point. So how do you do it?

A package of hot dogs in a bowl of water, with text "How to defrost frozen hot dogs"

The short answer: The best way to defrost frozen hot dogs is to place them in the fridge overnight. They’ll thaw evenly and thoroughly, and most importantly: SAFELY.

In this blog post, I’ll go over the other main ways to defrost hot dogs as well as other tips on what to look out for!

A package of Nathan's hot dogs

How do you freeze hot dogs?

The shelf life of hot dogs is pretty long anyway. But you can keep them in the freezer to extend their freshness.

If the hot dogs are still in their original packaging, just stick them right in the freezer.

If you’ve opened up a large pack and have a number of hot dogs just laying around, put them all in a sealed freezer bag and make sure there’s no excess air inside. Just make sure you label the bag with the date that you froze it!

How long are hot dogs good for in the freezer?

If they’re stored properly, hot dogs will stay fresh in the freezer up to 3 months. They’re still safe to eat after that, but you risk them getting freezer burn. For the best quality, I recommend eating them within 3 months.

How can you tell if hot dogs have gone bad?

When in doubt, just throw them away. No need to risk getting sick. But here are some things to look out for:


If the hot dogs have a slimy texture after they’ve been thawed, that’s a sign you shouldn’t use them.


Sometimes they’ll have a sour or “off-smell” to them.

Best ways to defrost hot dogs

The following methods are ways I’ve defrosted hot dogs, and they’ve all worked well for me.

A package of frozen hot dogs in a refrigerator

In the refrigerator (The safest way)

Food needs to safely stay at 40 degrees F or below. The refrigerator is, in my opinion, the safest way to defrost any kind of food and produces the best results. It takes extra time, but it’s worth the safety!

For unopened hot dogs still in their original package, just place the package on a plate and put in the fridge. The plate will help catch any condensation.

For already-opened hot dogs, put them in a sealed bag or airtight container and place in the fridge overnight.

If you put hot dogs in the fridge the night before, they’ll be thawed and ready to cook by dinnertime the next day.

A package of frozen hot dogs in a bowl of water

In cool water (The easiest way)

This method can take up to a couple hours, but is good in a pinch when you suddenly realize you forgot to get them out the night before.

Fill a bowl with cool water (NOT hot). If the hot dogs are still in their original package, submerge the whole package. If the hot dogs are separated, place them all in a sealed bag before putting them in the bowl of cool water. Get out as much air as you can to keep the bag from just floating on top of the water!

Check back every 30 minutes or so to see if they’ve thawed enough to cook. This is an easy way to thaw, although you need to be around constantly to check on them.

In the microwave (The quickest way)

Honestly, you have to be careful with the microwave method. If you start defrosting for too long, you may actually start cooking the hot dogs and the risk of bacterial growth goes up significantly.

To safely thaw them, take the hot dogs out of any packaging and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Use the defrost setting on the microwave in 30-40 second increments and keep checking them.

When hot dogs are thawed, they’ll be cool to the touch and slightly bendy.

Do NOT use these methods!

There are two methods I definitely DO NOT recommend. These can cause bacteria to grow rapidly and could make you sick.

Kitchen counter

Typically, if a food is left out for 2 hours and comes to room temperature, it needs to be thrown away. This is where food poisoning happens, unfortunately.

This usually isn’t enough time to defrost hot dogs, so I recommend just keeping them in the fridge.

Hot water

Placing the sausages in hot water can start the cooking process early, which promotes bacterial growth. This is why I mentioned cool water, like above.

Can you cook frozen hot dogs?

You can absolutely cook still-frozen hot dogs! These are two ways I do it while making sure the hot dogs get fully cooked. In either case, make sure that the cooked hot dogs reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.

Boiling on the stovetop

Boiling hot dogs is a little boring, but it’s a great method for cooking a lot at once. And it helps cook the hot dogs evenly.

Simply bring a pot of water to a boil and add the hot dogs, cooking for 5-10 minutes.

Pan cooking

I place frozen hot dogs on a heated skillet and cook them, rotating them every minute or so to fully cook all sides.

If I notice that the pan is starting to burn a little, I’ll place a small amount of water inside to help the hot dogs cook better.

Hot dogs on a grill

Final thoughts

Overall, my preferred method is thawing hot dogs in the fridge. My second preference is the bowl of cool water, because my ADHD brain forgets about dinner a lot.

These different ways of defrosting hot dogs can help get dinner on the table quickly. Next time you’re at the store and see these on sale, don’t be afraid to buy a few extra packs of hot dogs and stick in the freezer!

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