Baked Hot Dogs – Three WaysJump to Recipe
I have a small confession to make. Even though I can cook a lot of pretty decent meals, one of our favorite go-to, easy weeknight dinners is baked hot dogs with tater tots. I actually think this meal maybe convinced Betsy to marry me because she loves it so much and we’ve now been making different versions of it for over a decade.
I think there are two real secrets to making fantastic hot dogs at home: First, use good dogs. I’m sorry Oscar Meyer, but you just don’t have my heart when it comes to hot dogs (although you do when it comes to jingles!) I always go with either Nathan’s or Hebrew National.
The second tip involves method. The best part of these dogs is that they are cooked on the stove until they are crispy, then baked for a few minutes in the bun which melts the cheese, crisps the bun, and brings the whole dog together.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Read on and learn all about baked hot dogs including some fun variations!
Table of contents
My favorite brand of hot dogs
That said, let’s not freak out too much about hot dogs. If you have some in your fridge or freezer, they will almost certainly work in these baked dogs, especially since we are topping them with lots of delicious toppings!
Tips for cooking hot dogs
A good hot dog will have a natural casing on it and it’s important to try to crisp up the outer part of the hot dog a bit. Obviously, a grill does a great job of this, but for baked hot dogs, it’s hard to get that wonderful crispy exterior.
So, I like to cook my hot dogs for just a few minutes on a griddle or in a skillet to crisp up the hot dogs a bit before they go in the oven. It just gives them a head start.
Baked vs. Grilling hot dogs
I’m a serious grill enthusiast and usually prefer grilling to cooking indoors, especially in the hot summer months. But, there is an argument to be made for the baked hot dog. I like grilling hot dogs if I’m making these Sonoran Hot Dogs (which are bacon-wrapped).
The fun part of the baked hot dog is that the bun gets nice and crispy on top as well AND you can add cheese to the bun which gets melty and delicious as the hot dog bakes.
Of course, the other benefit of the baked hot dog is you can make it any time of the year! Even if snow is on the ground you can pop these in the oven and have delicious hot dogs in just a few minutes.
How to make hot dogs in the oven
Once your hot dogs have cooked in the skillet for a few minutes, you can prepare your sheet pan.
NOTE ON TATER TOTS: I like to cook tater tots alongside my baked hot dogs, but you need to start the tater tots before you add the hot dogs. They need 30 minutes to get really crispy and you don’t want to bake the hot dogs for more than 10 minutes.
I like to add some cheese to each hot dog bun before putting into the dog. Melty and delicious!
Then you add the hot dogs and pop the whole thing in the oven at 400˚F. It’ll cook for 10 minutes and the bun gets a bit crispy (but not too crispy) and the cheese melts. SO GOOD.
Topping ideas for hot dogs
Toppings are where it’s at for these dogs. While my old-school baked hot dog was cheddar cheese, blue cheese dressing, and a dash of hot sauce, I’ve changed it up a bit since then.
For example, on this particular day, I did three variations on the these. Here what I used for toppings:
- Crispy Bacon and BBQ Sauce.
- Spicy kimchi which actually went surprisingly well with the cheddar cheese
- Ranch dressing, leftover grilled corn, and cilantro.
What to serve with these hot dogs
One or two of these hot dogs is a pretty solid meal and I like to serve them with tater tots that bake alongside the hot dogs. If that’s too heavy of a situation for you, you could try a salad like maybe this Quinoa Spinach Salad or this Kale Caesar Salad!
I promise if you make your dogs and tots like this from now on, you will have a bunch of new friends.
My favorite baked hot dog recipe
Three different versions of baked hot dogs! Truly one of the best ways to make hot dogs! I make them this way even over grilling them some days!
For tator tots: 1) Start cooking frozen tater tots at 425 degrees F. They will need to bake for 35-40 minutes to get very crispy which is longer than most of the products will recommend but leads to a crispier tot.
2) Season the tots with the spice mix of your choice. I prefer seasoned salt.
3) For hot dogs, start them off in a frying pan on medium-high heat. If they are dry, add just a bit of olive oil to the party. After about 5 minutes, they will look delicious.
4) Once dogs are seared, cut up some cheese. Any cheese will do. I prefer cheddar.
5) Put your preferred cheese in your bun, then put your dog in the bun, then put the whole package in the oven for 5-10 minutes. The cheese will melt and the bun will get crispy. It will be fantastic.
You can top dogs with whatever toppings you like. I have some ideas in the post.