Nobody wants to see leftover food tossed away, but the method of preservation isn’t always obvious, which is especially true for foods like hot dogs. So whether you’ve prepared many hot dogs that have gone uneaten or found that the hot dogs in the fridge are expiring soon, you may want to know if you can freeze cooked and uncooked hot dogs?
You can easily freeze hot dogs (raw or cooked) for several months without losing much of their quality. Storing the hot dogs in an airtight container for up to three months will ensure they retain as much flavor as possible.
Freezing hot dogs seems like a simple task, but there are a handful of dos and don’ts. Keep reading the rest of the article as I discuss some best practices for freezing hot dogs and tips for thawing them out.
How to Freeze Hot Dogs: Raw vs. Cooked
There are no real rules for freezing hot dogs, but there are some things you can do to make unthawing them a bit easier. You can easily freeze both raw and cooked hot dogs, but the process for each will be a little different.
Be Careful When Freezing Raw Hot Dogs as They’re Full of Liquid
If you notice that the package of hot dogs in the fridge is approaching its expiration date, you can stick these in the freezer to preserve them for later. This method is suitable for both opened and unopened packages.
However, raw hot dogs are a bit tricky because the package is often full of liquid. When frozen, the liquid will freeze the hot dogs together, potentially making them more difficult to unthaw. That also increases the hot dogs’ chances of having a freezer-burnt taste after reheating.
Follow these steps to freeze hot dogs correctly:
- Drain the liquid from the package and remove the hot dogs.
- Place the hot dogs in an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Use freezer paper or wax paper.
- Store the hot dogs in layers in between the wax paper to keep them separated.
Keeping the raw hot dogs separated with freezer paper ensures that they don’t stick together. You’ll be able to easily pull hot dogs from the container as you need them, as opposed to breaking them apart or being forced to unthaw all the hot dogs at once.
Freeze Cooked Hot Dogs as Quickly as Possible
You can also freeze cooked hot dogs, and with these, you don’t have to worry about any liquid freezing the hot dogs together.
However, you still want to make sure you’re freezing them in a sealed container or bag. Alternatively, you could wrap the hot dogs tightly in aluminum foil, and they’ll safely freeze that way as well.
What’s important is that you freeze them as quickly as possible. If you leave the cooked hot dogs out or store them in the refrigerator first, you risk bacteria buildup on the food. It’s typically best to keep them covered until they’re ready to be frozen and put them in the freezer as soon as possible.
How Long Can You Store Hot Dogs in the Freezer?
While freezing foods prevents the growth of bacteria, hot dogs will begin to lose quality the longer they stay in the freezer.
You can safely freeze raw and cooked hot dogs for 2 to 3 months while still retaining maximum quality. While you can freeze the hot dogs for longer, they’ll begin to lose some of their flavors and suffer from freezer burn, even when properly stored in tightly sealed containers.
Hot dogs left in the freezer for long periods tend to become rubbery and less palatable as time goes on.
How to Properly Thaw and Cook Frozen Hot Dogs
The good news is that hot dogs are relatively small, so it won’t take too long to thaw them out. However, there are a couple of things that you want to avoid.
For example, you don’t want to leave the hot dogs out on the counter to thaw, nor do you want to place them into direct sunlight. Like any food, bacteria begins to develop the longer it sits out at room temperature.
Generally, the best way to thaw out your hot dogs is by placing them in the refrigerator or by thawing them and reheating them at the same time.
Frozen hot dogs can be placed directly into the microwave and heated until cooked. Alternatively, you can also boil the frozen weiners in a pan of water on the stovetop.
Avoid Refreezing Hot Dogs After Thawing
Generally, you won’t want to refreeze your hot dogs after thawing them out. The time between thawing and freezing again allows time for bacteria to grow. In addition, repeated thawing and freezing will definitely affect the taste and texture of your hot dog.
That’s why it can be helpful to make sure to freeze your hot dogs separated by wax paper. You can then pull them from the freezer individually, making it easier to take out the exact number you need rather than thawing too many at once and needing to refreeze.
If you find yourself with an abundance of hot dogs with no way of eating them before they go bad, don’t worry. You can safely freeze your raw or cooked hot dogs for 2 to 3 months, and they won’t lose a tremendous amount of quality.
Consider using plastic Tupperware, freezer bags, or any other freezer-safe container that’s airtight. As long as you keep the hot dogs separated in the container, you can easily remove them as needed.
While it’s often unwise to refreeze the hot dogs after they’ve been heated, proper storage ensures that you waste as little as possible.