It’s true: some people can resist eating hot dogs for so long that they even keep them in the freezer! But it takes more than just throwing the dogs in the freezer to keep them safe for long.
Let’s dig into how you can freeze hot dogs, buns, and even ketchup and mustard.
We won’t leave you hanging. We’ll teach you how to thaw hot dogs too!
How do I freeze hot dogs?
To maximize the shelf life of unopened hot dogs, wrap the original plastic bag in airtight heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic wrap, freezer paper, or place it in the packaging into a heavy-duty freezer bag. That will prevent freezer burn.
Freezer burn is when frozen food is damaged by dehydration and oxidation. It’s caused by air reaching the food, which is why securely wrapping your unopened hot dogs in something air-tight is so essential.
You could even use a vacuum sealer!
How do I freeze hot dog buns?
When it comes to freezing hot dog buns, whether they’re leftover hot dog buns or unopened ones, you just need to keep them air-tight.
It’s recommended to wrap each hot dog bun individually in foil before storing them in a larger bag to prevent freezer burn. It’s best to use hot dog buns within three months of freezing them.
You can freeze both leftover hot dog buns and unopened ones.
How do I thaw frozen hot dog buns?
To thaw frozen hot dog buns (or hamburger buns), just put them on the kitchen counter. Don’t thaw frozen buns in the fridge because that may promote mold growth.
Leaving buns at room temperature will speed up the thawing and also let them absorb some moisture to soften them up.
You can also try microwaving them for 30 seconds, although the results may vary.
How long can you keep hot dogs in the freezer?
Hot dogs packaged can be kept in your fridge for upwards of two weeks before they’re opened. After they’re opened, hot dogs can be held in the freezer for a week (so long as it’s 40 °F/4.4 °C or less).
For best quality, hot dogs can be frozen for 1 to 2 months. Although, frozen foods, in general, are safe to eat indefinitely, even past the expiration date so long as they’re kept at 0°F.
Do hot dogs get worse if you freeze them long enough?
Hot dogs are better when they’re eaten by their “best by” date. The longer you store them, the greater the risk that they’ll get freezer burn and end up dried out and lose some flavor.
Is it better to keep hot dogs in the fridge or the freezer?
It all depends on how long you want to keep your hot dogs! If you plan on cooking them soon, there’s no need to freeze them.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen hot dogs?
The safest option is to thaw them in your fridge for at least 24 hours. If you’re in a real hurry, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave.
Although you have an hour, it’s better to cover them in cool water and give them about an hour to defrost. You should change the water every 30 minutes.
You can do this for up to an hour.
Should I thaw frozen hot dogs before cooking them?
You can boil hot dogs even if they’re frozen. You will just have to double the cooking time. If you’re grilling hot dogs, it’s best to thaw them first because it will otherwise be more challenging to grill them evenly.
Some people worry that in the time that it takes to thaw a hot dog before cooking that harmful bacteria can form, which is true, but the heat of the cooking process will kill any bacteria.
Is it okay to eat uncooked hot dogs?
No, you should never eat uncooked hot dogs or hot dogs that have been left out for too long because Listeria monocytogene can form. Listeria can cause severe symptoms.
- Muscle ache
If listeria monocytogene gets to your nervous system, you can develop other symptoms.
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
Cook those dogs!
Should I wash hot dogs before cooking them?
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service advises against washing raw meat before cooking it.
How long can cooked food be left out?
The USDA refers to temperatures between 40°F and 140°F as the “Danger Zone” because it’s at these temperatures that bacteria can quickly grow and make food unsafe. So, don’t leave food out for more than two hours.
How long after cooking a hot dog is it okay to freeze it?
It’s best to cool cooked food before freezing it. Putting still hot or even warm food in the freezer can raise the freezer’s temperature, which may thaw and refreeze nearby items.
That could change the taste and texture of those items for the worst.
Can I freeze toppings and condiments, like ketchup and mustard?
Ketchup and Mustard
Some people use mustard or ketchup quickly; others use them sparingly. So, that may impact how you want to store them.
If you store ketchup or mustard at room temperature, they will only be suitable for about a month. If you keep opened mustard in the fridge, it can stay good for upwards of a year, although opened ketchup is only good for about six months. Storing mustard in the freezer can add another 3 or 4 months to its overall shelf life. Frozen ketchup will last in the freezer indefinitely.
To freeze mustard or ketchup, put them into ice trays or something that can divide them into similarly small servings. It will take about 1 to 3 days for the mustard to freeze. Ketchup can freeze in two hours because it has more water than mustard. Eventually, you’ll want to move the frozen mustard and ketchup into either a freezer bag or an airtight container. Frozen mustard cubes are usually good for 14 to 16 months!
To thaw the mustard or ketchup, you can put them in the fridge. Or, you can put the cubes in a container and run that container under hot water. If you attempt to thaw the mustard or ketchup in the microwave, you risk burning and ruining it. If your condiments are high in water, they may separate during the freezing process, so make sure to stir them.
Sauerkraut, when tightly sealed, can keep for 4 to 6 months in the fridge. It can be frozen, but it’s not advised. The health-promoting bacteria (the active cultures) in frozen sauerkraut lie dormant, but some get killed off when frozen.
Freezing may also turn the crunchy texture of sauerkraut into mush because freezing the liquid in sauerkraut can make fermented cabbage cells burst.
Chili, chili sauce, and meat sauce (don’t get us started on this debate!) are in the refrigerator for up to three days. They may even get spicier! If you want to keep them longer than that, you should move the chili into the freezer, where it will be good for upwards of four to six months.
Bottom line on freezing hot dogs
Freezing your hot dogs and buns can prolong their shelf-life and test your willpower! It’s not a matter of how long your dogs can survive in the freezer; it’s more about how long you can go without enjoying a delicious hot dog!