How To Defrost Hot Dogs

It was a great idea to freeze those extra hot dogs for another day. The only problem? Now it’s dinner time and you’re out of time to cook. This article will share the best and fastest ways to defrost frozen hot dogs so you can have a quick and delicious dinner in no time. 

The quickest way to defrost hot dogs is in the microwave. Microwave on defrost or low for 30 seconds at a time. Check and rotate every 30 seconds until hot dogs are cool and flexible. This could take up to 10-12 minutes depending on the number of hot dogs. 

No microwave? No worries. There are several easy ways to defrost hot dogs without a microwave. You can place them in a container or sealable bag filled with water or thaw them in the refrigerator. Read on for more tips on the best way to defrost your hot dog buns safely and efficiently.  

How Long to Defrost Frozen Hot Dogs?

If you defrost hot dogs in the microwave, it usually takes about 1 minute or so total per hot dog. If you are defrosting an entire package of hot dogs, it could take 8-12 minutes in total.

If you are defrosting more than one hot dog in the microwave, make sure you remove them from the packaging first. 

Should You Defrost Hot Dogs Before Cooking?

Yes! If you want your hot dogs to cook evenly and if you want to avoid getting sick from food poisoning, make sure you defrost first. Putting a frozen hot dog on the grill or in a pan will cause the outside to burn before the inside cooks. So yes, you technically can cook frozen hot dogs, but it’s not recommended. Long story short, defrosting hot dogs is an important step for preparing hot dogs properly and safely.

The only exception to this would involve boiling your hot dogs in a pot of water. In general, this takes about 8 minutes. However, this is typically not the most flavorful approach. 

How to Defrost Hot Dogs

Defrosting Hot Dogs in the Microwave

This is the quickest and most efficient method for defrosting hot dogs. You will have to rotate the hot dogs to ensure even defrosting, but you will get fast results. 

  1. Make sure your microwave is set to 30% power in the settings. It is recommended to use a defrost setting to save time if your microwave has one. This ensures that your hot dog doesn’t defrost too quickly and start to cook before you are ready. 
  2. Remove packaging from your hot dogs. 
  3. Place your hot dogs on a microwave safe plate in a single layer. If they are stuck together, run a bit of cold water over them until they break apart. 
  4. Add a paper towel on the top to absorb any additional moisture that the hot dogs may have released during the freezing process. This will also keep your microwave nice and clean. 
  5. Heat your hot dogs in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Check your hot dogs every 30 seconds to see if they have thawed. If they are cool but not cold and a little bit bendable, they are likely thawed. Be careful not to overdo it and start to cook them by accident. 
  6. Continue rotating and defrosting for 30 second intervals until they are thawed. This should take about 1 minute in total per hot dog. 
  7. Now you are ready to cook your perfectly defrosted hot dogs. Cook them right away to prevent food poisoning. Keep reading for more tips and techniques!
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This process can take awhile for a whole package of hot dogs, but it will be worth it in the end for efficient defrosting. It can take up to 12 minutes or more for an entire package of hot dogs to thaw in the microwave. Be careful not to raise the temperature though, because this can promote bacterial growth. 

Defrosting Hot Dogs in a Container on the Counter

If you are looking for an option that involves little effort and that doesn’t require a microwave, defrost your hot dogs in a container on the counter. It’s easy and no appliances are required. 

  1. Take your hot dog buns out of the freezer. You can remove any packaging if you prefer, but for this method, you can leave hot dogs in the original plastic. If hot dogs are not sealed, place them in a sealable plastic bag. This keeps the hot dogs from becoming contaminated from contact with the water. 
  2. Place the hot dogs in a bowl, other container, or large sealable plastic bag.
  3. Fill the container, bag, or bowl with cool water. Can you defrost hot dogs in hot water? It is not recommended. Do not use warm or hot water as it can cause food poisoning. 
  4. Make sure the hot dogs are completely covered with water for at least 30 minutes. They should not float to the top of the bowl. If they do, make sure any excess air has been released.
  5. After 30 minutes, check on the hot dogs to see if they have thawed. Pour out the water in the container. If they are cool and bendable, they are defrosted. If they are still frozen, add fresh cool water to the bowl and repeat the process for another 30 minutes until they are ready. This process should not take more than two hours. After two hours have passed, place hot dogs in the refrigerator to continue thawing to prevent food poisoning. 
  6. Cook thawed hot dogs right away.
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Tip: An entire package of hot dogs will likely take at least 1 hour to thaw.  If you are defrosting more than one package of hot dogs, use separate containers of cool water. This will speed up the process. 

Tip: The temperature of the hot dogs should never rise above 90 degrees for safety reasons. Make sure to put them in the refrigerator if there is any risk of this happening. 

Defrosting Hot Dogs in the Refrigerator

This is the easiest and probably the safest method for defrosting hot dogs and does not require a microwave. 

  1. Put your hot dogs in a dish or container to keep any water that is released from causing a mess in your fridge. Arrange them in a single layer so that they thaw more quickly. 
  2. Cover the dish or container so that the smell stays contained.
  3. Put your dish with the hot dogs in your refrigerator for at least 24 hours. 
  4. After 24 hours, check on your hot dogs. If they are cool but not cold and if you notice that they are flexible, they are ready. 
  5. Cook your hot dogs within 3-5 days of defrosting. Sooner is better!

Tip: Separating multiple packages of hot dogs will help them to thaw faster. On average, you can expect it to take 24 hours for each 1-5 lbs of hot dogs. 

How to Freeze Hot Dogs

Hot dogs last for only two weeks in the refrigerator. However, they can last for up to two months in the freezer. Save any leftover uncooked hot dogs for later and you’ll have a quick dinner ahead of you in the future. Freeze hot dogs for later with these tips:

  • You can freeze hot dogs in their original packaging or choose your own storage container. Wrap each hot dog individually in plastic wrap or store in a freezer bag or airtight container for fast and convenient defrosting. Freezing them in their original packaging is safe but it will result in a longer defrosting time. 
  • Another convenient way to wrap your hot dogs before freezing involves wax paper. Fold the wax paper between each hot dog so that they do not stick together when frozen. Place them in a plastic bag to protect from freezer burn. 
  • Make sure to include the date on your hot dogs. They should be good in the freezer for up to 2 months. 
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How Long Can Hot Dogs Be Frozen?

It is recommended to use your frozen hot dogs within two months of freezing them. Make sure that once you defrost, you cook as soon as possible to prevent food poisoning. 

This is especially important if you are using a microwave since the cooking process will have already started. Unfortunately, freezing hot dogs does not destroy bacteria, it simply slows bacterial growth. Make sure you cook any thawed hot dogs thoroughly. 


Defrosting frozen hot dogs is an important step for ensuring a delicious and safe meal. There are many ways to quickly and easily defrost your frozen hot dogs fast, including the microwave, refrigerator, or by placing them in cool water. 

Whatever method you choose, make sure to cook your hot dogs right away to preserve flavor and freshness. Cook to an internal temperature of 175 degrees. After you’ve cooked them, make sure to reheat any leftovers thoroughly and use them right away.