How Long Do Hot Dogs Last?

Some secrets regarding the hot dogs’ shelf life

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on How Long Do Hot Dogs Last

Grabbing a hotdog on the way to work can save time and reduce hunger, some of us also often make them at home. Regarding this, a question often occurs: how long are hot dogs good for?

Below, we will tell a lot of useful facts about this food and reveal some secrets regarding the hot dogs’ shelf life.

How To Tell If Hot Dogs Are Bad?

Hot dogs are mostly sold fresh and recently cooked. But what if you bought them in a store and you are not quite sure whether they are still OK or not? We can name you several significant signs of a hot dog being or getting rancid:

  1. Surface changes. If the outside of your hot dog is slimy, discard it since it’s no longer edible.
  2. Color changes. If the hot dog changed from slightly reddish to dull brown or even grey, it’s not good anymore.
  3. Sour odor. When smelling it, throw hot dogs away without hesitation.
  4. Mold. When noticing any traces of it, get rid of spoiled food immediately!
  5. Freezer burns, though not being dangerous to your health, will make a hot dog unpleasant to eat.
  6. Milky liquid. Such a liquid can be simply fat, but it may also be a bacterial overgrowth.

Since rancid hot dogs are not safe to eat because they are potentially very hazardous, check their quality before buying them.

How Long Can Hot Dogs Sit Out?

Living any food outside of the fridge is a risky affair. Bacteria tend to grow even in the fridge, and of course, it will happen much faster when your food is not being exposed to cold and if you missed best-by-date terms as USDA Food Product Dating Recommendations says.

So if you left your hot dogs to sit out for more than two hours at the normal room temperature, better throw them away. And if the temperature was around 90F or higher, discard the foodstuff after an hour of being not refrigerated.

How Long Do Hot Dogs Last After They Are Cooked?

Everything depends on where you are storing them in this case. If your cooked hot dogs are refrigerated, then they will remain of proper quality for three or even four days after you cook them. And if you need to keep them even longer, the only way out is to freeze them.

For freezing, make use of airtight frost-resistant tanks or heavy-duty freezer packets. However, an ordinary aluminum foil will also work well.

How long can you keep hot dogs

How Long Are Hot Dogs Good After the Expiration Date?

This is the biggest point of concern for so many of us! How long can hot dogs live after the expiration date? Well, if you refrigerate them right after purchasing in their original package unopened, then your goodies will stay edible for about a week after the sell-by date printed on the pack.

But if you opened them or cooked them, the shelf life will decrease to a couple of hours no matter what the package sell-by date says.

Related: How Long Does Deli Meat Last? Fresh Shelf life Tips

How Long Are Hot Dogs Good After the Expiration Date
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Hot Dogs Nutrition Facts

Everyone eats hot dogs but do all of us know their nutrition qualities?

According to the latest research, one hot dog without condiments is very high in sodium and fat. One hot dog with a bun contains twenty-three grams of fat! 

Also, this food is rich in calories – 290 kcal per bun – which makes it stand far away from dietary eating.

Compared to the statistics given above, zero content of fiber and quite a low content of protein and carbs (only nine and thirteen grams respectively) makes hot dogs rather heavy food.

That is why it is always advised to consume them with fresh veggies, use as little condiment as possible and prefer whole-grain buns instead of those of white bread.

Related: Can You Freeze Tortillas?

Hot Dogs Nutrition Facts
Hot Dogs Nutrition Facts
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Are Hotdogs Healthy? Pros and Cons

Let’s agree that hot dogs can hardly be called truly healthy food.

They are fat, high in calories, and they contain certain elements that can be harmful to our health.

What kind of fast food do you prefer?
Hot Dog

From this point, let’s be more precise.

how long are hot dogs good for
Photo by Yuheng Chen on Unsplash

As we already know, one hot dog is very rich in sodium. When we intake too much of it it can become a cause of some types of cancer (under certain conditions, of course). Does it mean that one hot dog a week will make us end up in a hospital?

That’s hardly so. However, if you are a huge hot dog lover and consume a lot of these buns with a sausage inside, you should probably think about what you are doing to your health better.

How often do you eat hot dogs?
Almost every day
I do not eat hot dogs

As for the fat content, it’s OK to eat one hot dog after the intense training in a gym but stuffing your stomach with them every day or even every other day may lead to gaining weight significantly, especially if you lack regular and intense physical training or activity.

Besides, such a “diet” will definitely boost the cholesterol level which is not great.

Since hot dogs are made of processed meat and white bread, they can hardly be called nutritious in the literal meaning of this word. 

hot dogs’ shelf life
Photo by MARK S. on Unsplash

Instead of consuming food that doesn’t bring much use, why not to try healthier veggie hot dogs with soy meat and greens? They are low-fat and low-calorie foods with the same reduced cholesterol level. And still surprisingly tasty!

Related: Can You Freeze Ham? Main Rules

Hot Dog Shelf Life. Tips and Nuances

Hot Dog Shelf Life
Photo by Andy Wang on Unsplash

However, we assume that there will always be those who are devoted fans of a hot dog!

And of course, you guys would prefer to keep your favorite edible to its most since – let’s consider this – hot dogs are a great match for a garden party!

To be sure that hot dogs are stored correctly, check out this list of the basic storage tips.

  • For keeping them consumable, refrigerate or freeze hot dogs right after purchasing.
  • Never leave them at room temperature for more than two hours
  • Never keep a hot dog at 90 F for more than one hour
  • If you have a predisposition to the foodborne diseases, reheat the hot dog before consuming it until it’s steaming hot. It will protect you from the possible listeriosis.
Freeze Hot Dogs
Photo by Pam Menegakis on Unsplash

Finally, to have more precise info regarding the storage of this kind of food that we all love so much, make sure that you are aware of the following nuances. 

How long are hot dogs good for in the fridge? 

An unopened packet with a fresh hot dog will last up to two weeks if stored under proper conditions.

How long are hotdogs good for after opening? 

In this case, the expiration date shifts to seven days in the fridge no matter whether it is cooked or fresh product.

Nothing complicated as you can see, so make sure that you follow these tips to protect yourself from consuming spoiled food that can cause quite an unpleasant aftermath.

How to Freeze Hot Dogs?

freezing hot dogs
Photo by Rich Smith on Unsplash

What if one bought a packet of hot dogs for a party and wants to preserve them for more than a couple of weeks?

At that point, freezing is the optimal choice.

Despite the widespread worries, freezing hot dogs is very simple and won’t require any special skills or conditions, except for the freezing camera, of course.

  • Open the original package and take out all the hot dogs
  • Cover a baking sheet with a parchment paper sheet and place hot dogs there leaving a little space between them to prevent them from sticking 
  • Put the tray to the freezing camera until the hot dogs are hard
  • Now it’s OK to remove them to a frost-resistant bag and return back to the freezer 

How long can you freeze hotdogs? For extending their lifespan to its maximum, expose hot dogs to frost for one or two months but not longer.

For defrosting, heat them in a microwave using a defrosting setting or put them to the fridge for twenty-four hours which a safer way since some buns become wet after heating.

Do Hot Dogs Go Bad?

The Best And Worst Hot Dogs To Buy At The Grocery StoreThe Best And Worst Hot Dogs To Buy At The Grocery Store

Everyone knows that consuming spoiled food is harmful to our health.

How to tell if hot dogs are bad to avoid food poisoning? 

The basic signs are:

  • Sour smell
  • Dull and slimy flesh of the sausage
  • Freezer burns (if they are kept frozen)

When noticing any of these, discard the damaged food instantly and don’t even try to reanimate it.

Hot Dogs FAQ. All You Ever Wanted to Know And a Bit More 

How long can you freeze hotdogs
Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

To make our survey complete, let’s go through several most popular questions asked about the specifics of hot dogs consumption.

Are hotdogs fully cooked? 

Most of the store-bought hot dogs are cooked or precooked. Anyway, it is important to always reheat hot dogs until they’re steaming hot to avoid the risk of Listeria monocytogenes contamination when packed at the plant. To check if hotdogs are fully cooked you should check the label.

Yes, all the hot dogs that are sold in stores are already cooked and ready to eat.

Can you eat raw hot dogs?

Even though they are cooked, it is highly recommended to reheat them right before eating to prevent foodborne diseases.

Can hotdogs be frozen?

Definitely, and it is very simple to do since hot dogs freeze very well.

Can you eat hot dogs cold?

You can eat hot dogs cold if the label on the package says they are cooked. You should avoid eating partially cooked or raw hot dogs and sausages, as they may contain bacterias, causing poisoning of food and illness. You can eat only cooked hot dogs cold.

Well, though this sort of food is ready-to-eat food, it must be reheated before consumption to prevent any bacteria from spreading and protect yourself from foodborne diseases.

Are all hot dogs fully cooked?

Yes, all the hot dogs are ready to consume, only remember to heat them up before you take a bite!


Hot dogs are ideal for both a quick meal on the go and for enjoying them at home. However, to taste them without any bad consequences, we recommend everyone to check the expiration date carefully and store your hot dogs properly. Like that, you will avoid lots of troubles!

Read next: How Long Does Steak Last In The Fridge?

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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