How to Boil Hotdogs: 6 Different Methods for Delicious Results

Do you like your hotdogs juicy, or crunchy and chewy? 

There are many different ways to cook hotdogs, and each yields different, delicious outcomes!

With this guide, you can choose from the 6 cooking methods below to suit your taste, the number of people you are cooking for, and the amount of time that you have.

How To Boil Your Hotdogs: 6 Different Ways

Stovetop Sear 

With this method, the hotdogs will have a combination of juiciness and crunchiness. The butter is absorbed into the flavor, and the hotdogs will be beautifully browned!

  1. Heat 1-2 T of butter over medium heat in a frying pan
  2. Add the hotdogs into the pan and cook them, turning them as they brown (about 3-4 minutes in total)
  3. Remove hotdogs with tongs, and drain on a paper towel

Stovetop Steam & Sear

The stovetop steam and sear method produces a juicy and flavorsome hotdog:

  1. Fill a frying pan with water (enough to half-cover the hotdogs)
  2. Bring the water to the boil
  3. Gently lower the hotdogs into the water with tongs
  4. Herbs, butter, or garlic can be added to the water for more flavor
  5. Cook until crispy
  6. Remove hotdogs with tongs, and drain them on a paper towel


This is a perfect method if you like your hotdogs juicy and plump. Boiling gives the hotdogs a more subtle flavor!

  1. Heat water in a pot on the stove. You need enough water to cover the hotdogs and then another few inches
  2. Using tongs, gently lower the hotdogs into the pot
  3. Cook them for about 6 minutes, adding another two minutes if cooking them from frozen
  4. Remove hotdogs with tongs and drain them on paper towels, or alternatively, you can tip the hotdogs and water into a sieve

Boil in Beer

This method is the most popular because it plumps up the hotdogs, and the beer makes them incredibly tasty. 

This is similar to the above boil method, with the difference that you replace 1 ½ cups of water with beer instead! As you might imagine, the flavor will be quite different. 

The alcoholic content of the beer evaporates during the cooking process, leaving you with a fantastic taste!

  1. Heat water and 1 ½ cups of beer in a pot on the stove. You need enough liquid to cover the hotdogs and then another few inches
  2. Using tongs, gently lower the hotdogs into the pot
  3. Cook them for about 6 minutes, adding another two or so minutes if cooking them from frozen
  4. Remove hotdogs with tongs and drain them on paper towels, or alternatively, you can tip the hotdogs and water into a sieve


This is the quickest of all the methods of cooking hotdogs. Perfect for when you are in a hurry or too tired to cook! The hotdogs will be plump and retain some juiciness.

Microwave cooking times vary according to the size and capacity of the microwave, so the times given below are general.

  1. Cut each hotdog in half lengthwise. This is to stop the skins bursting when you cook them
  2. Put the hotdogs into a heat-proof microwave dish and half-fill it with water. Add more water if needed to cover the hotdogs
  3. Cook the hotdogs on high for 75 seconds
  4. If the hotdogs are cooked, the skins will darken and wrinkle. If the hotdogs are still not cooked, cook again on high for another 30 seconds
  5. You will need to pick up the bowl with an oven mitt, as it will be hot!
  6. Pour off the water, and serve the hotdogs

Slow Cook

This method is advised if you are cooking for a number of people (in which case, you can also stand the hotdogs up in the slow cooker instead of laying them on their sides). 

Because the hotdogs are cooked by steam, they will be juicy and plump.

  1. Arrange the hotdogs around the base of the slow cooker. Do not add water
  2. Set the heat to LOW and cook for 3 hours
  3. Remove, and serve

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Ways To Cut Hotdogs

Naturally, uncut hotdogs yield better juiciness and flavor. 

However, cut hotdogs are very attractive. There are several ways to cut or slice hotdogs before cooking to enhance their appearance.


Making slits in the hotdogs promotes even cooking and prevents the skins from splitting.

Simply make 4-5 cuts on the sides of each hotdog, then fan them out slightly before cooking.


Spiral-cut hotdogs look great, and so this is an impressive cooking method for when you have guests. 

The spiral cut makes the hotdogs crispy and able to hold sauces well. This cut goes best with the stovetop sear method.

  1. To make this cut, push the uncooked hotdog onto a skewer
  2. Then cut on an angle down to the skewer, rotating the hotdog at the same time
  3. After that, simply remove the skewer and cook the hotdog using your chosen method

Related >> How to Keep Pulled Pork Warm and Moist Before Serving

How Long Should You Boil Your Hotdogs? 

Hotdogs need to be boiled for around 6 minutes or longer if you are cooking a large quantity of them or cooking from frozen.

How To Prevent Hotdog Skins from Splitting 

The ways in which to prevent hotdog skins from splitting depends on the cooking method that you are using. 

If you’re boiling the hotdogs, then simply pierce a few holes into the hotdogs with a fork before boiling.

If you are microwaving them, slice the hotdogs lengthwise before cooking.

Alternatively, you can use some of the fancy cutting techniques described above as well!

How Do You Know When Boiled Hot Dogs Are Done?

You know that boiled hotdogs are cooked when the skins darken and start to wrinkle.

If you want to ensure your hotdogs are fully cooked, you can use a thermometer to check their temperature. 

Your hotdogs should be 160°F or higher to be safe to eat.

How To Keep Hotdogs Warm

Whichever method you use, the hotdogs should not be left out for more than two hours. Otherwise, they may develop bacteria once they cool!

  • If the hotdogs are being served at a party, you can simply leave them in the slow cooker set to the “keep warm” function.
  • If you are serving at a hotdog stand, it is best to wrap the hotdogs (in their buns) in aluminum foil. 

From there, if the hotdogs are not being eaten straight away, they can be put in a thermal pack.

  • If you are just cooking the hotdogs for yourself or to take to work for example, then pop them in a thermos after heating the thermos first with hot water for ten minutes. 

Just remember to pour the water out first, and to screw the lid on the thermos!


The bun is just as crucial as the hotdog. There are several points to take into consideration including:

What should the flavor be like?

It is best to choose a bun that complements the hotdog without overpowering it. 

To get the best possible flavor, make sure that the buns are:

  • Fresh – so that they are moist and soft.
  • Heated – so that they have the perfect texture and aroma.
  • Slightly sweet, to balance salty and/or pickled fillings and toppings.

What Should the Texture Be Like?

Hotdogs are usually served in soft, long, white buns. 

The advantage of this type of bun is that it is the perfect size for hotdogs and the right texture for soaking up toppings and sauces.

Variations include: 

  • Whole wheat or seeded buns, which are chewier and less sweet than the traditional ones.
  • New England buns are ideal for hotdogs because they are split across the top rather than at the side. 

This helps to prevent the hotdog and the various toppings from spilling out.

Tips for Heating Buns

If you don’t have a fancy steamer, there are several other ways you can heat hotdog buns:

  • Heat the oven to 350°F and simply bake for 5 minutes
  • For more authentic steamed buns, spray the buns with water, and cover with aluminum foil. Then. cook for 10 minutes

Can you Heat the Hotdog Buns in the Microwave? 

Yes, you can microwave them so long as you make sure to heat them until they are only just warm- not hot.

Simply place a damp paper towel or dry tea towel over them, and heat for about 30-45 seconds in the microwave.

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Don’t feel restricted to ketchup and mustard for your hotdog toppings. Try combinations of the following condiments and fresh ingredients. 

Here are our best picks:

  • Fried or caramelized onions
  • Cooked or raw capsicum slices
  • Avocado
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickle
  • Chili
  • Bacon
  • Coleslaw
  • Fresh or sundried tomato
  • Mayonnaise
  • BBQ sauce
  • Melted cheese

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How To Properly Store Hotdogs

For Unopened Hotdogs

These can be stored in their packaging in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Alternatively, you can keep them in the freezer until you need them.

For Leftover Hotdogs

Cooked hotdogs can be kept in a closed container in the fridge for up to a week. 

They can be frozen after cooking. After cooling and chilling them, put them in zipper bags or a sealed container to freeze.

Leftover hotdogs can be kept for one to two months in the freezer.

Related >> Perfectly Toasted Hamburger Buns: Mastering the Art of Bun Prep

The Bottom Line

Hotdogs are a tasty, convenient, and economic meal that instantly reminds you of holiday time!

They’re so versatile that you can really tailor your cooking method to your tastes and preferences. 

There are a few safety measures that you need to take to ensure the best taste and freshness.

Beyond that, they are easy to prepare , and great for feeding a crowd!

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Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

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