Hot dogs are made with nitrites (or sodium nitrite) as an antimicrobial preservative.
This chemical reacts with the naturally occurring amines that are present in meat to form carcinogens like N-nitroso compounds.
These chemicals may cause cancer in humans.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all hot dogs sold in the United States contain at least 51 mg of sodium nitrite per pound of raw or cooked product.
Sodium nitrite is usually added during processing by adding a solution of salt and water to the meat.
How long are hotdogs good after opening them?
The FDA recommends that hot dogs be consumed within 24 hours after opening.
If they’re opened on a Friday, they should be eaten no later than Monday.
However, this recommendation doesn’t apply to any hot dog products that have been frozen.
In general, there are three main types of hot dog products:
Fresh hot dogs, which are made using fresh beef, pork, or lamb, are best when eaten immediately after purchase.
Cured hot dogs, which are made using cured meats like ham or bacon, are best when eaten within two days of purchase.
Cooked hot dogs, which are made using cooked meats like ground beef or turkey, are good for up to five days after purchase.
The amount of time that a hot dog lasts will vary depending on the type of meat used.
For example, fresh hot dogs will last longer than cured hot dogs, which will last longer than cooked hot dogs.
What to do if your hot dog has gone bad
If you buy a hot dog that hasn’t expired, but you notice that it isn’t looking right, here are some tips to help you determine whether it’s still edible.
Look for signs of spoilage such as discoloration and odor.
The color of hot dogs can change depending on the type of meat used in the preparation.
A white hot dog is probably not going to taste very good.
The meat should smell like cooked meat rather than spoiled meat.
You’ll also want to check for signs of mold growth.
Hot dogs that develop mold will often have a foul smell and won’t look appealing.
If you’ve purchased a hot dog that smells rotten, you should throw it out.
If you see mold growing on the hot dog, you should discard it immediately.
Some people store their hot dogs in the refrigerator, so it’s important to know that refrigeration will slow down the growth of bacteria.
How long do hotdogs last in the fridge?
If you buy hot dogs from a grocery store, they’re stored in the refrigerator section for up to five days.
However, most hot dogs will spoil faster than that if not refrigerated properly.
The best way to ensure your hot dogs stay fresh is to purchase them from a grocery store that stores their wares in a temperature controlled environment.
For example, many small grocery stores will keep their hot dogs on ice until someone comes in and buys one.
Hot dogs also last longer when frozen.
It’s important to remember that while hot dogs can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, they won’t last forever.
They’ll start to smell bad and become unappetizing pretty quickly.
Even though they’ve been sitting around for awhile, they still need to be eaten within two weeks.
You don’t want to throw away food that’s still edible.
But before you start eating a hot dog that has sat in the fridge for more than a week, read on to find out how long they really last.
How long do hotdogs last in the freezer?
If you buy your hot dogs frozen, they should stay fresh for up to six months.
However, if you purchase them already thawed, they will only keep for two weeks under normal conditions.
You can freeze your hot dogs using a method similar to how you would freeze other foods.
You’ll need to wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, then place them into a ziploc bag.
The FDA recommends putting the hot dogs in the freezer immediately after cooking.
What about microwaving hotdogs?
Microwaving hotdogs is not recommended because the heat can lead to bacterial growth, which could make you sick.
However, you can use a microwave to defrost hotdogs.
Just put the hotdog on a plate and cover it with a paper towel.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes until fully defrosted.
Can hotdogs be reheated?
While there isn’t any scientific evidence that eating a hot dog reheated for more than two hours will increase your risk of cancer, there is some concern about the amount of time that sodium nitrite remains active after being heated up.
One study found that reheating a hot dog to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour resulted in an average loss of 30% of its original potency.
Another study found that reheating a hot dog to 145 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour resulted in a loss of 25% of its original potency.
So, if you’re concerned about your hotdog’s safety, it’s best to avoid heating them beyond this point.
However, these studies only look at the effect of temperature on the amount of sodium nitrite remaining in a hot dog.
They don’t take into account other factors that affect quality like whether the hot dog was stored properly, how much air was trapped inside the package, or the amount of moisture in the food.
Since the FDA doesn’t regulate how hot dogs are packaged before they arrive at the store, we cannot recommend that you discard a hot dog because it tastes bad.
We also don’t recommend that you throw out a hot dog because it’s been sitting around in your fridge for too long.
It’s simply not worth the risk.
How do you know when hotdogs have gone bad?
If you purchased your hotdog from a grocery store, chances are they were not made fresh, but rather came from a factory that packages them up for sale.
Hot dogs are generally packaged and shipped frozen, so the time before they go bad starts right there.
In general, hot dogs will stay good for about three weeks if they’re kept in the refrigerator and will last a month if stored on the counter.
They’re best eaten within two days of purchase.
However, there are several factors that determine how long they’ll keep.
Some of these are more important than others.
The most important things to look out for include:
the temperature where they are being stored
If they’ve been thawed
whether they’ve been opened
how many times they’ve been opened
Their expiration date
For example, if you buy a hot dog from a deli and put it directly into your fridge, it could start to go bad in a matter of hours.
However, if you take it home, let it sit out for a few minutes, then put it back in the fridge, it’ll probably last a few days.
If you want to make sure your hot dogs don’t go bad, you can freeze them first.
As long as the container is tightly sealed, you should be able to freeze hot dogs for four months or longer without any ill effects.
However, once you open the package, the hot dogs inside won’t last very long.
What are the signs of spoiled hotdogs?
If you buy hot dogs that look and smell rotten, they probably aren’t safe for consumption.
The first sign of spoilage is the color of the hot dog casing itself.
When meat spoils, it turns brown and starts emitting an unpleasant odor.
Hot dogs also begin to release ammonia, which will start to make your nose run if you don’t already have allergies.
Another sign of spoiled food is if it has visible mold growing on its surface.
Once the bacteria gets started, it grows quickly.
You’ll want to throw out any food that looks or smells spoiled.
In addition, avoid eating any food that has turned green or black because this means the meat inside is no longer safe to eat.
When buying hot dogs, check the expiration date.
It’s not unusual for a hot dog to stay fresh for three days.
However, once it reaches four days past its sell-by date, it becomes unsafe to consume.
Avoid hot dogs that have been open for more than seven days.
What is the best way to store hotdogs?
You can store hotdogs for up to five days if they are vacuum packed or properly stored.
You can also freeze hotdogs in plastic bags and keep them frozen until you’re ready to use them.
Hotdogs will stay fresh in the fridge for about three days, but they’ll start to lose their crispness and flavor after two weeks.
If you want to keep hotdogs longer than five days, you’ll need to find ways to preserve their quality.
The easiest way to do this is to freeze them, which will slow down the process of spoilage bacteria growing on them.
If you don’t have time to defrost your hotdogs before eating them, you can cook them right away.
There are other options available, though, depending on how much you care about keeping your hotdogs fresh.
For example, there are some methods you can use to prolong the lifespan of your hotdogs that we’ll discuss below.
Freeze Your Hotdogs
For best results, you should freeze your hotdogs within one day of purchasing them.
Once you thaw your hotdogs, you’ll need to cook them immediately.
Defrosting your hotdogs in the microwave will only take around 15 minutes.
However, if you put them in the refrigerator instead of the freezer, they will spend more time in the danger zone between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
While you’re waiting to cook your hotdogs, you can reheat any leftovers that you didn’t finish.
If you’re worried about the texture of your hotdogs after freezing, try putting them into a bag with a little bit of water so that they don’t dry out while they’re defrosting.
Then, once they’re fully defrosted, you can transfer them to a new container without drying them out.
Reheat Frozen Hotdogs
You can also defrost your hotdogs in the microwave.
To avoid drying them out, add a small amount of water to the bottom of the container in which you plan to heat your hotdogs.
Alternatively, you can wrap your hotdogs in aluminum foil to prevent moisture loss.
Cook Frozen Hotdogs
Another option is to defrost your hotdogs in the fridge overnight.
Just make sure that you don’t leave them sitting in the fridge too long because that will accelerate the rate of bacterial growth.
When you’re ready to cook your hotdogs, drain off excess liquid and then place them in a pan over medium-low heat.
Cook them until they reach a temperature of 165 degrees F (74 C).
Once your hotdogs are cooked, you can serve them with mustard, ketchup, relish, sauerkraut, or even pickle juice.
How can you extend the shelf life of hotdogs?
If your hotdog is unopened, there’s no need to worry about its shelf life.
However, if it has been opened, then you have to decide whether to consume it immediately or throw it out.
If you do open the package, you can use the following tips to keep hotdogs fresh until they go bad:
Keep hotdogs in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Do not freeze hotdogs.
Keep hotdogs in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Keep hotdogs in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Keep hotdogs in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
Use hotdogs within 2 days of purchase.
If you don’t want to consume the hotdog right away, you can still prolong its lifespan by freezing it.
Freezing will slow down bacterial growth. You can freeze hotdogs for up to 3 months.
You can also add toppings to your hotdogs to make them more appealing.
What are some tips for keeping hotdogs fresh?
Keep them refrigerated.
The bacteria that causes botulism will not grow well above 40º F / 4° C.
Hot dogs will keep for up to four days if kept in the refrigerator.
However, they do not freeze well. They’ll last only one week when frozen.
Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a ziploc bag.
Keep them in the fridge or freezer until needed.
Can I save money by buying hotdogs without buns?
Yes, but you might want to consider whether you really need to buy hotdogs at all.
You can make your own hotdog recipe using a lot less ingredients!
How can you make hotdogs last longer?
As long as your hotdog isn’t exposed to air, it will keep up to three days if stored properly.
The best way to store your hotdog is in its original packaging.
If you don’t have any packaging, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
This method works well as long as the package doesn’t come into contact with other foods.
For example, wrapping a hotdog in wax paper and placing it in the fridge won’t work because the wax paper will absorb moisture from the hotdog and allow bacteria to grow on the surface.
You also shouldn’t leave a hotdog out on countertops or refrigerators.
It could become contaminated with mold and mildew over time.
If you are concerned about food safety, you can use a vacuum sealer to help preserve your hotdog.
Vacuum sealing helps prevent the growth of bacteria by creating an airtight environment around the hotdog.
You can purchase a vacuum sealer online or from kitchen supply stores.
A vacuum sealer seals a hotdog in a plastic bag.
You then remove the air from inside the bag using a vacuum pump.
Once the air has been removed, there is no oxygen left to support bacterial growth.
This process removes any potential contamination and extends the shelf life of your hotdog.
Vacuum sealing is ideal when you want to consume your hotdog within a few weeks.
However, you can still use a vacuum sealer to extend the shelf life of your hotdog for a few months if you just need to toss it out.
The Pioneer Woman’s Famous Hot Dog Chili Recipe
- 1 pound hot dogs sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- 2 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- Using a Dutch oven or a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the sliced hot dogs, and cook until browned.
- Once the hot dogs are ready, add the ground beef, onions, chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, diced tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste, flour, beef broth, cumin, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until everything combines well.
- Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Serve with shredded cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, etc.