Hot dogs are convenient to prepare and always a crowd-pleaser, but we’ve all had those days where we overshoot and make too many.
So perhaps you’re wondering if you can save leftover hot dogs and reheat them the following day?
You’re in luck.
I’ve tried over half a dozen different reheating methods to find out what one delivers the softest buns and juiciest, most tender hot dog.
(even after a couple of days in the fridge!).
I’ve also got a few tips on how to store and preserve them to keep them fresh for as long as possible.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
A note on my experiment
I often make way too many hot dogs and end up with leftovers.
Over the years, I’ve started to wonder about the best way to preserve the freshness of the buns and the texture and flavor of the sausages.
And this very challenge is what led to my extensive experiment on how best to reheat them.
The techniques I tested included:
- Reheating hot dogs in the microwave (good results, fast and convenient)
- Reheating hot dogs on the stove (best results overall)
- Reheating hot dogs in the oven (ideal for large quantities of hot dogs)
I also explored a few other methods, albeit in slightly less detail, namely:
- Air frying
- And keeping them warm in a thermos
The microwave method produced good results, and I can’t fault it for its convenience. I ended up with a tasty, moist hot dog.
The stove-heated hot dog was my favorite. It resulted in a nice, toasty bun and a smokey but soft sausage.
The oven method turned them just a little papery, but not enough to deter me from recommending it for reheating lots of hot dogs at once.
The other techniques I tried each had their pros and cons too.
Reheating hot dogs in the microwave
Disassemble your hot dog and scrape off any condiments. Set the bun aside. Wrap the sausage in a damp paper towel and warm it (on a microwave-safe plate) in 15-second intervals. Wrap the bun separately in a damp paper towel and do the same. Reassemble the hot dog, refresh the condiments, and serve.
It’s best to heat the sausage and the bun separately, as the latter heats up much faster – likely within the first 15 to 30 seconds.
How to reheat hot dogs in the microwave:
- Remove the sausage from the bun and scrape off any condiments.
- Set the bun aside.
- Wrap the sausage in a piece of damp paper towel and set it on a microwave-safe plate.
- Heat on medium power in 15-second intervals until hot.
- Wrap the bun in a piece of damp paper towel.
- Microwave it in 15-second intervals until hot.
- Reassemble the hot dog.
- Optional: add new fresh condiments to your taste.
- Serve immediately.
Wrapping your sausage in a damp paper towel locks in moisture, keeping it juicy and tender.
With regards to the bun, it creates a steaming effect, which is excellent for bread that’s gone a bit stale.
But be mindful not to heat your sausages to the point of bursting, as this will leave them overcooked and jeopardize their taste and texture.
This method is very convenient, which makes it a winner in my eyes.
If you’re reheating one portion and you’re in a hurry, this is the way to go.
My sausage was moist and hot and still tasted perfect, and the steamed bun was soft and fresh.
Reheating hot dogs on the stove
Disassemble your hot dog. On medium heat, heat some oil or butter in a frying pan on the stove. Place the sausage in the pan and fry until it browns, turning it frequently. For your bun, place it cut-side down on the pan and warm for a few seconds until crispy. Reassemble your hot dog and serve.
Alternatively, ditch the oil or butter in favor of water. Cover the sausage with a lid, allowing it to steam for 2 to 3 minutes (or until hot).
You can steam the bun in the same fashion.
How to reheat hot dogs on the stove:
- Disassemble your hot dog by removing the sausage from the bun and scraping off any condiments.
- Set your stove to medium heat and warm some oil or butter in a frying pan.
- Fry your sausage, turning it frequently until browned (approximately 5 minutes).
- Next, fry your bun, cut-side down, for a minute or two until toasty.
- Reassemble your hot dog and refresh the condiments before serving.
- Place a thin layer of water in a frying pan and set it on medium heat on the stove.
- Place your sausage in the frying pan and heat it (covered) for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Once hot, add your bun to the pan and steam it for a few seconds until warm.
- Reassemble your hot dog and serve immediately.
Keeping your heat to medium will ensure you don’t burst or split the sausage before it’s had a chance to warm through.
Refrying my hot dog in a bit of oil produced my favorite results. I loved how crispy the skin of the sausage was and how toasty and warm it made my bun.
This method elevated the hotdog rather than just reheating it.
The steaming method also produced excellent results (think deliciously juicy sausage) and was a bit faster too.
Reheating hot dogs in the oven
Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Disassemble your hot dogs. Place the sausages in foil, sprinkle with water, wrap them tightly, and warm for 5 to 10 minutes. Do the same for your hot dog buns but check on them at the halfway mark. Once both components are hot, reassemble and serve.
To crisp or brown your sausages, place them under the broiler, uncovered, until they start to change color.
How to reheat hot dogs in the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Disassemble your hot dogs and scrape off any condiments.
- Sprinkle the sausages and buns with water, and wrap them in foil, separately.
- Warm them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes*.
- Reassemble, refresh your condiments, and serve.
*Note: The buns will heat faster than the sausages, so you should check on their progress at the halfway mark.
If you want dryer hot dogs, place your sausages in the oven without a foil covering.
This method is excellent for larger quantities of hot dogs, but it does take longer than the other techniques I tested.
Nevertheless, my hotdogs were soft, moist, and tender (and retained all their flavor).
I also tested this method without foil and found that it made the sausages slightly papery and dry.
In both cases, the sausages didn’t burst, and the hotdogs were evenly warmed.
Other ways to reheat hot dogs
While I personally didn’t test all of the methods below, I’ve done extensive research into other ways to reheat hot dogs and what results to expect.
You have plenty of options when it comes to hot dogs.
In each case, you should begin by disassembling your hot dog.
Reheating hot dogs by steaming them
Set up a steamer and place your sausages in the basket over a few inches of simmering water. Heat the sausages for 3 to 5 minutes or until warm to your satisfaction. The results of this method are a juicy, soft sausage, similar to when I steamed my hotdog in a covered skillet with water.
Reheating hot dogs by grilling them
For a delicious taste and those signature grill marks, reheat your hot dogs on a gas or charcoal grill. For this method, it’s essential that you don’t subject your sausages to direct heat, or you’ll burn them. A few minutes, frequently turned, on a cooler spot of the grill will do the trick.
Reheating hot dogs by air frying them
Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (180°C), and place your sausages, not touching, in the basket. Heat them for 3 to 4 minutes, turning them once or twice in between. Once warm, you can pop your buns in the air fryer for a few seconds too. This method can turn hot dogs a bit papery and dry.
Reheating hot dogs by boiling them
Place your hotdogs in a pot of lightly boiling water on the stove. Heat them for 4 to 6 minutes or until evenly warm. While this does the trick in terms of temperature, I wouldn’t recommend this method as it makes the sausages watery and drains out most of the flavor.
Keeping hot dogs warm in a thermos
Are you packing hot dogs for lunch or a trip? Keep the sausages warm by placing them in a thermos and submerging them in boiling water. Sealed tightly, this should keep your sausages warm (and their taste and texture intact) until you’re ready to assemble your hot dogs.
Reheating hot dog buns
A hot dog is only as good as its bun, so it’s essential that we learn all about how to warm these up. You can steam your hot dog buns in the microwave, on the stove, in the oven, or on the grill. Alternatively, you can toast them in a skillet, on the grill, or in the oven for a crispy crunch.
Steaming your buns does a lot in terms of rescuing them from a bit of staleness and gives them a nice, soft bite.
While toasting them adds a delicious crunch, it’s best for fresher buns, or you’ll end up with dry bread.
Ways to steam hot dog buns:
- To steam a hot dog bun in the microwave, wrap it in a moistened paper towel and heat it on medium for 15 to 20 seconds.
- To steam a hot dog bun on the stove, hold it over boiling water with a pair of tongs for 30 to 60 seconds, or until evenly warm.
- To steam a hot dog bun in the oven, sprinkle it lightly with water and wrap it tightly in foil. Place it in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 3 to 5 minutes.
- To steam a hot dog bun on the grill, mist it (lightly) with water and wrap it tightly in foil. Place it on the grill’s indirect heating section for a minute or two.
Ways to toast hot dog buns:
- To toast a hog dog bun in a skillet, place it cut-side down in a pan on medium heat for 30 to 60 seconds. For added flavor, melt a bit of butter in the pan first.
- To toast a hot dog bun on the grill, wait until your sausages are nearly cooked, and then grill your buns on both sides for 30 to 60 seconds or until mildly charred.
- To toast a hot dog bun in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and warm your sliced bun on both sides for 5 minutes or until lightly crispy.
How to store hot dogs
To store hot dogs, remove the sausages from the buns and scrape off any condiments. Wrap the sausages in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Keep your buns in airtight packaging at room temperature. Reheat them within five days.
Wrapping your sausages tightly in plastic wrap will prevent them from drying out.
Similarly, keeping your hot dog buns sealed in an airtight container will reduce the risk of bacteria and keep them fresher for longer.
Can you freeze hot dogs?
To freeze hot dogs, begin by spreading them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, not touching, and placing them in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours. Once hard, transfer them to a heavy-duty zip-lock bag, removing as much air as possible. Seal the bag and store them for 1 to 2 months.
You can wrap your hot dog buns up individually in plastic wrap or foil and then transfer them to a zip-lock bag with the air removed too.
How to freeze hot dogs:
- Disassemble your hot dogs and scrape off any condiments.
- Place your sausages, spread out, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Freeze them for 2 to 3 hours or until hard.
- Transfer your sausages to a zip-lock freezer bag, removing any excess air.
- Wrap your buns individually in plastic wrap (or foil).
- Place the buns in a zip-lock freezer bag with the air removed.
- Store in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.
Individually freezing your sausages first prevents them from sticking together.
Wrapping your buns in foil alleviates the risk of freezer burns and helps maintain the integrity of their texture.
To remove air from your freezer bags, suck it out with a straw or press down on the bags firmly as you seal them.
How to reheat frozen hot dogs
You should always reheat hot dogs from room temperature, as reheating them from frozen can result in a jeopardized texture or a frozen center. To thaw hot dogs, leave them in the fridge overnight, or defrost them in your microwave by blasting them on medium heat in 15-second intervals until soft.
Alternatively, you can submerge the sausages (in a heavy-duty freezer bag) in hot water until they are thawed.
For hot dog buns, defrost them by holding one in a pair of tongs over a steaming pot of boiling water, or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
Following this, you can reheat your hot dogs using any of the methods listed in this article.
How long do hot dogs last?
To keep your hot dogs tasting great for as long as possible, use the following guidelines for how long you can safely store them.
- Room temperature: Hot dog buns stored in an airtight container will last at room temperature for up to 5 days, although they will start to turn stale. Hot dog sausages should be stored within 2 hours of being cooked to prevent the development of harmful bacteria.
- Refrigerated: You can safely store your hot dog sausages in the fridge for up to five days.
- Frozen: To best maintain the taste and texture of both your buns and your sausages, use them within 1 to 2 months of freezing.
Can you eat cold hot dogs?
Many types of hot dogs are only partially cooked when you purchase them and should not be eaten cold. Instead, opt to cook them before consumption. Heat will help to alleviate the risk of bacteria and foodborne nasties.
In terms of leftover hot dogs that you have already cooked, they are safe to eat cold if that is your preference, but they definitely taste better hot.
The Best Way To Reheat Hot Dogs
I’ve tried countless methods to find out the very best way to reheat a leftover hot dog.
- 1 portion hot dog sausage
- 1 portion hot dog bun
Disassemble your hot dog by removing the sausage from the bun and scraping off any condiments.
Set your stove to medium heat and warm some oil or butter in a frying pan.
Fry your sausage, turning it frequently until browned (approximately 5 minutes).
Next, fry your bun, cut-side down, for a minute or two until toasty.
Reassemble your hot dog and refresh the condiments before serving.
Serving: 100gCalories: 290kcal