It’s virtually impossible to avoid hot dogs. Virtually every human being in the civilized world has been exposed at one point to its enticing flavor or aroma. It’s also dreaded by health-concerned individuals due to the amount of “bad fats” that they’re made of, earning them a bad reputation among nutritionists. As much as you like hot dogs, you may have overstocked hot dogs from your recent grocery shopping. And these questions start hovering over your head. Can you freeze hot dogs? How long does hot dogs last in the fridge?
You can freeze hot dogs. But there are different procedures for freezing them depending on the circumstances. Also, home-cooked hot dogs usually last longer in the freezer than raw hot dogs, since they contain less water. And, thus, they have less chance to develop ice crystals responsible for the texture degradation of many foods.
Technically, hot dogs are pre-cooked, but for practical purposes, we’ll use the term “raw” to distinguish them from home-cooked hot dogs.
To freeze unopened “raw” hot dogs (provided that they have not spoiled), you only need to place the package in the freezer without needing to apply a special procedure.
Opened hot dog packages have to be treated differently. They need to be placed in a different airtight container to avoid freezer burn and odors from other items getting into them. It’s also recommended to drain the excess moisture and dry them with a paper towel, as it helps preserve their overall texture better and allows you to separate them before thawing.
In the case of home-cooked hot dogs, they are to be treated in the same manner as other processed meats. Let them cool down to room temperature (avoid their exposure to room temperature for more than two hours) and place them in airtight containers. You can additionally wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic. Place the containers in a freezer bag, extracting all the air before sealing. Finally, stow in the freezer.
Just like any other type of meat such as chicken, beef and ham, hot dogs react well to the freezer and you shouldn’t notice any discernible difference, provided that you eat them within their safe period and follow the correct procedure for freezing them.
Technically, you can. But thawing and refreezing constantly can lead to the formation of mold and bacteria responsible for spoilage and foodborne illnesses. So if you have to refreeze the hot dogs, I recommend that you only do this once. Also, keep in mind that refreezing thawed food may decrease its quality due to the loss of moisture during defrosting. It’s always preferable to thaw the quantity that is going to be consumed for that day and leave the rest in the freezer.
In the case of home-cooked hot dogs, you should cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 165º F or higher. That way, the bacteria that was deactivated while in the freezer dies and you protect them from further bacterial growth. Then, follow the usual procedure for freezing home-cooked food.
Unopened hot dogs can last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40º F or below, while opened hot dog packages usually last 1 week. Home cooked hot dogs have a more reduced lifespan of 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
In the freezer, raw hot dogs (both opened and unopened) retain their freshness for a period of 1 to 2 months , even though freezing will technically allow them to remain safe to eat after that time.
In principle, there is no need to thaw “raw” hot dogs since they’re pre-cooked. Nevertheless, bacteria can grow in cooked meat as well. Therefore, it’s always safer to thaw them in the fridge and leave them resting there overnight. However, if you forgot to put them in the fridge and your friends are on the way to the barbecue, you have the additional option of submerging them in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes while checking to see if they’ve defrosted completely.
The best way is to cook frozen hot dogs in an air fryer. It’s the best cooking method to get the hot dogs back to the same crispiness if you want to have crispy hot dogs. You can just directly put the hot dogs in the air fryer without defrosting, though it will take a bit longer. Just make sure to cook those hot dogs well!