How to Boil Hot Dogs

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  • There is more than one way to boil a hot dog and you will be blown away by the delicious and most importantly, easy options there are. It is all about flavor optimization and then, of course, your favorite toppings.

    And just like boiling corn, you might be surprised at how good it tastes!

    Dressed boiled hot dogs

    Cooking Hot Dogs

    This might be an inflammatory statement, but there is a case to be made for Boiling Hot Dogs. I know what you are thinking and I will start off by saying, yes, they are in fact delicious. I guess that is a matter of personal preference, but you at least have to give them a try.

    And I know this because all of New York City can’t be wrong. They are boiling people!

    They are a great alternative when you don’t have the time to grill or if you simply don’t have a grill to work with. And while it doesn’t make them any healthier, think of the liquid as a vehicle to get even more flavor into your dogs. 

    all beef hot dogs in a saucepan

    How to Boil Hot Dog

    Hot dogs are almost always fully cooked when you purchase them at the store. What you need to do at home is warm them up for optimal tastiness.

    This process is more about heating them through and adding a little flavor along the way. Be careful not to cook them too long or they will get mushy.

    A long hot dog on a bun covered in toppings

    When using this method, never split your dog or poke holes in it. You want to keep it sealed to the meat inside doesn’t dry out or lose its texture. You can use frozen hot dogs, just add a few minutes to the cooking time.

    You have two options when it comes to your vessel. You can fill a large, wide and deep saute pan with an inch or two of liquid. This method can make it hard to flavor your liquid however, so I go a different route. 

    overhead shot of hot dogs in boiling water

    I find the best thing to do is use a 4-quart saucepan about halfway. I am partial to a large pot or saucepan because it is easier to fit your seasonings while not crowding your dogs in the liquid.

    Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until steaming hot. Remove the hot dogs(about 8-10 minutes) and dab dry with a paper towel. You don’t want the water to sog up the bun.

    Then dress them how you see fit.

    Flavored Boiling Water

    You have to flavor that liquid! Don’t get me wrong, water will work, but if you can layer on the flavor, why wouldn’t you?!

    Here’s the reasoning. Hot dogs aren’t watertight. The casing they are in is actually permeable meaning flavor can go in.

    close up of boiled hot dogs with toppings

    Think of it as a stock. You wouldn’t just use plain water for soup now, would you? I didn’t think so. Translation, flavor that water. 

    Heat up some water with a bit of bouillon. Chicken or beef are both great, but vegetable bouillon will work in a pinch too. If you want a more adult flavor, you can substitute the water for beer or make Bacon and Beer Sauerkraut.

    You will boil off the alcohol so it will still be kid-friendly. Either option is delicious. 

    how to boil hot dogs for pinterest


    I like to add a few aromatics and herbs to keep things lively – think an onion, or some garlic, fresh parsley, and whole spices like cumin seeds. If you want a more beer hall flavor profile, add one or two whole star anise instead of the cumin.

    Past that, it is all about the toppings. Whether you are a purist who thinks that a dog should only come with mustard or someone who is a fan of maximizing their toppings with chili, cheese, and frizzled onions, you won’t ever stop to think, “Wow, I wish I had grilled these.”

    Hot Dog Toppings:

    Hot Dogs in Crock Pot

    Making hot dogs in the crockpot is also a good option. It is super easy, but takes a little more time. The benefits are that it is good for parties and to keep your dogs hot.

    Set your slow cooker to the low settings and combine the same ingredient in the bowl, stirring to blend. Add hot dogs and cook on low for 1 hour, or until dogs are warm.

    Change to the “keep warm” setting and they will be good for hours! Set up your hot dog bar toppings right next to the slow cooker and you are good to go!

    More easy meals:

    Franks and Beans
    This Franks and Beans recipe, aka Beanie Weenies, is made with real beef hot dogs and less sugar than the canned version. Perfect as a quick and easy lunch or a classic camping food! #franksandbeans #homemadebeanieweenies
    This Franks and Beans recipe is made with real beef hot dogs and less sugar than the canned version. Perfect as a quick and easy lunch or a classic camping food! 
    Popcorn Chicken
    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch! #popcornchicken #howtomakepopcornchicken
    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch!
    Old Bay Steamed Shrimp Recipe
    platter of steamed shrimp with beer and old bay
    Steamed shrimp with seasoned onions, potatoes and good ole Maryland seasonings of Old Bay, garlic and BEER! Great for a cookout!

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    A long hot dog on a bun covered in toppings
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    4.62 from 18 votes

    How to Boil Hot Dogs

    Boiling hot dogs is a fun and simple way to make a delicious meal for the family without having to fire up the grill. You won’t believe how flavorful they are!
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time10 mins
    Total Time15 mins
    Course: Main Course, Main Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: gourmet hot dogs, how to boil hot dogs
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 237kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola


    • 2 quarts water or 4 12oz cans of beer
    • 2-4 bouillon cubes , beef or chicken flavor
    • 1 head of garlic , cut in half crosswise, skin on
    • 1 small yellow onion cut in half , skin on
    • small bunch parsley
    • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds OR 1 or 2 whole star anise
    • 8 package your favorite hot dogs
    • 8 hot dog buns
    • favorite toppings


    • Heat the liquid and dissolve the bouillon cubes into it. Add the garlic through the cumin seeds and heat on medium-high until you reach a rolling boil. Drop the heat down to a simmer and allow the flavors to meld. This will also boil off the alcohol in the beer if you are using that as your liquid.
    • Turn the heat off and add your hot dogs gently into the pot. Allow them to warm through. This should take 2-4 minutes depending on how cold they are when they go in.
    • Pull them out of the water and allow them to drain briefly on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve on toasted buns with your favorite toppings.
    • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!



    Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 773mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3mg
    image of jessica formicola

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