Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: May 17, 2023

Hot dogs are a staple food in my home. Anniversaries, BBQ parties, birthday celebrations, or any other kind of gathering can’t pass without hot dogs.

That’s why I make sure to always have hot dogs in the fridge ready to be tossed on the grill. This also means I need to know how long hot dogs last in the fridge.

I checked what the USDA says, talked with my butcher, and closely followed the state of raw and cooked hot dogs in my fridge over several weeks.

Here’s exactly how long can your hot dogs stay in the fridge, as well as my tips on extending their freshness.

Quick Summary

  • How long hot dogs last in the fridge depends on whether the package is open or not.
  • You should store opened hot dogs in a container or tightly wrap them to prolong their life.
  • Frozen hot dogs best preserve their quality in a freezer bag.

How Long Do Raw Hot Dogs Last in the Fridge

A top view of raw frozen hotdogs in the fridge

Raw hot dogs can last in the fridge for up to two weeks if the package is unopened. Raw hot dogs can last in the fridge for one week if the package is open.

Keep opened raw hot dogs in a ziplock bag, remove any excess air, and seal it for maximum freshness.

Even if the sell-by date on the package expires during the storing period, hot dogs will remain safe to use if properly stored [1].

Generally, hot dogs last longer in the fridge than other kinds of meat because they contain preservatives and chemicals, which extend how long a hot dog stays fresh [2].

Pro tip: Check that the hot dog package is airtight because openings let the air in, and hot dogs can become dry and spoiled after one week.

Always check the expiration date on the hot dog package before storing them in the fridge. This also lets you know how long you can keep them in the fridge.

Note: You can also freeze uncooked unopened hot dogs. They’ll hold the same quality for two months. An opened package of hot dogs can be frozen for one month.

Keep in mind these timeframes are guidelines. Proper storing and a fridge temperature of 40 degrees or below are crucial for keeping uncooked hot dogs fresh.

“Packaged hot dogs can be stored in the refrigerator 2 weeks before opening. After opening a package of hot dogs, you can keep them for a week in the refrigerator (40 °F/4.4 °C or less).”
- U.S. Department of Agriculture

How Long Do Cooked Hot Dogs Last in the Fridge

A top view of cooked hotdogs ready to be stored in the fridge

Cooked hot dogs last for four to seven days in the fridge. We cook hot dogs at high temperatures, which removes some preservatives added to hot dogs, so they can’t hold up for a long time as uncooked ones.

The longer the leftover cooked hot dogs are stored, the worse their flavor and texture, so it’s always best to consume them immediately after cooking.

Also, you can’t leave cooked or fresh hot dogs at room temperature for more than two hours because bacteria develop at this temperature.

Pro tip: You can freeze cooked hot dogs. They’ll keep the quality in the freezer for up to two months.

Note: Hot dogs are fully cooked when they leave the factory, which means you can safely eat them out of the package.

Essentially, when you cook them at home, you’re actually warming them up. Still, I don’t recommend eating hot dogs straight out of the package, as they’ll taste better if you cook them again at home.

3 Ways On How to Tell If Hot Dogs Have Gone Bad

A woman holding her nose due to hotdogs that have gone bad

You can tell if hot dogs have gone bad by checking their smell, color, and texture.

Listeria monocytogenes is the most common type of bacteria you can find in hot dogs [3]. It’s also commonly found in other cold cuts and deli counter meats.

It causes diarrhea, stomach pains, fevers, and other symptoms. People who are at the highest risk of this bacteria are pregnant women, elders, newborns, and people with weak immune systems.

Ensure food safety by fully heating hot dogs before serving them.

Here’s how to know if bacteria has gotten hold of your meat.

1. Smell

Sniff the hot dogs when you open the package. Fresh hot dogs should have an appetizing, smokey smell. But, if they smell sour or have a vinegar aroma, it means bacteria have started to spoil them.

The same goes for cooked hot dogs. If they smell sour, they’ll taste sour, so you should throw them out.

2. Texture

Most hot dogs have some liquid in the package, so they can be slippery. Fresh hot dog liquid has a water consistency and is slightly pink. However, if you notice any slime or milky liquid, they have gone bad.

3. Color

All natural hot dogs are pink when in the package. If you see they’ve started to turn brown or gray, you have spoiled hot dogs.

Keep in mind some hot dogs are naturally darker at first. This is why you should check the color when you first buy them, so you’ll know if it has drastically changed since you bought them.

Apart from changes in color, a cooked hot dog commonly develops mold when it goes bad.

Related Articles:

The Best Way to Store Hot Dogs

Hotdogs in its original packaging placed on a white background

Store hot dogs in their original packaging in the fridge. It’s always best to keep them in an unopened package until you plan to cook them.

If you open the package, there’s no need to remove the hot dogs from it. Place the package in a resealable plastic bag or wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to ensure you maximize freshness and have a delicious hot dog.

Always store leftover hot dogs separately from raw ones. Ideally, keep them in different areas of the fridge.

In case you want to freeze hot dogs, you can do it in their original packaging because it’s airtight. You can also place the package in a freezer-safe bag, especially if the package is open, for extra protection.

Always squeeze out as much air as possible from the package to avoid freezer burn, as it can damage the texture and taste of leftover cooked hot dogs.

4 Tips on Extending the Shelf Life of Hot Dogs

Hotdogs on a white plate with some ketchup

Here’s how to extend the shelf life of raw and cooked hot dogs:

  • Keep hot dogs at proper temperatures — Keep the fridge temperature at 40 degrees or below and the freezer temperature at 0 degrees or below.
  • Dry out hot dogs — Drying hot dogs extends their shelf life. Dried hot dogs can last for six to twelve months. Slice your hot dog thinly and cook on low heat until it’s dry through. Let it cool, and place it in an airtight container.
  • Keep hot dogs in original packaging — Store hot dogs in original packaging for as long as possible.
  • Don’t microwave — Cook hot dog burnt ends on a grill, or heat them on the stove to stay flavorful for longer.

Also Read: Vacuum-Sealed Meat Shelf Life


How Do You Store Hot Dogs in the Fridge?

You store hot dogs in their original packaging in the fridge if it’s unopened. If it’s opened, store them in a container.

How Fast Do Hot Dogs Go Bad in the Fridge?

Hot dogs go bad in the fridge after two weeks if kept in an unopened package or up to one week if opened.

How Long Can You Keep Your Hot Dogs in the Fridge?

Hot dogs remain fresh for up to two weeks in the fridge if you properly store them and don’t open the package.

Frozen hot dogs remain fresh for longer — up to two months. You should always check the hot dogs’ smell, color, and texture to determine if it’s safe to eat, regardless of how long they’ve been in your fridge.

For those seeking high-quality hot dogs made from hormone and antibiotic-free meat, I highly recommend ButcherBox, a reputable meat delivery service I’ve been using for the past two years.

With their commitment to sourcing ethically raised animals and delivering fresh and flavorful meats straight to your doorstep, ButcherBox is an excellent choice for indulging in delicious, guilt-free hot dogs.

Make sure to check out our ButcherBox review and see why it stands out as a top choice for sourcing organic meat.


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