How Long Do Hot Dogs Last?

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By: Tom Valenti


Hot dogs are an immensely popular food item all around the world. Whether you’re at a cookout or having dinner at home, it’s likely that someone has some hot dogs in the fridge.

But how long do hot dogs actually last? It can be difficult to keep track of when your food is past its expiration date, but understanding how long the hot dogs will stay fresh is incredibly essential for both safety and quality of taste.

So, let’s find out the answer to: “How long do hotdogs last?” to make smart choices about purchasing and eating them!


How Long Do Hot Dogs Last?

To find out how long hot dogs last, the first thing you need to determine is the label on the package. The label will usually say either “use-by” or “best before” date.

Hot dogs with a “use-by” date must be consumed by that date; however, hot dogs with a “best before” date can still be safe to eat after that date.

If a hot dog package doesn’t have either of these labels, it’s recommended to eat the hot dogs within one to 14 days of buying them.

How Long Do Unopened Hot Dogs Last?

How Long Do Unopened Hot Dogs Last

Unopened hot dogs can be kept in the fridge for up to 14 days and frozen for up to two months.

However, you need to pay attention to the expiration date to use them appropriately and on time. It is vital to ensure the packaging is airtight to prevent hot dogs from drying out in the freezer.

To freeze unopened hot dogs, simply store them in their airtight containers and place them in the freezer. For better organization, you can label and transfer the hot dogs to a separate container before freezing.

How Long Do Opened Hot Dogs (Uncooked) Last?

How Long Do Opened Hot Dogs Uncooked Last

Compared to unopened hot dogs, opened ones will have a shorter shelf life. However, you can still keep opened hot dogs for up to 14 days if stored properly.

You can store it by using a zip bag. Place hot dogs inside a ziplock bag, remove all the air out, and finally store them in the fridge. In this way, the usage time of the opened hot dogs is not significantly reduced, even equal to that of the unopened ones.

Note: Do not let hot dogs come into direct contact with the cold fresh air of the freezer. Although hot dogs will not spoil, the texture and flavor will be altered somewhat.

How Long Do Cooked Hot Dogs Last?

In general, after a meal, there may be a few leftover hot dogs. To ensure their safe consumption, we must take great care in storing them properly. Cooked hot dogs should only be left out at room temperature for 60 minutes. If kept in the fridge and stored in an airtight container, they can last up to 4 to 7 days.

The reason why cooked hot dogs don’t keep for a long time is due to the fact that the cooking process changes the original texture and taste, as well as altering some of their preservatives. 

This means that hot dogs will no longer have their original flavor after being cooked for a while. Therefore, taking precautions when storing them in order to keep them safe for future consumption is essential.

How to Recognize Spoiled Hot Dogs?

You’ve got all about how long hot dogs last, but how to recognize spoiled hot dogs?

First, you should rely on your senses. Visually inspecting the hot dogs for signs of spoilage such as discoloration or mold is a must. Hot dogs that have turned grayish in color and have strong odors are likely spoiled.

You should also feel the texture of the hot dogs. If they feel slimy, sticky, or otherwise off texture-wise, it’s recommended to discard them.

Finally, you should also pay attention to the taste of hot dogs. If they don’t taste right, get rid of them.

How Are Spoiled Hot Dogs Affect You?

The USDA states that there are numerous dangerous bacteria specifically Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus in spoiled hot dogs. If consumed, these bacteria can cause food poisoning including uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, and dehydration.

To ensure the safety of hot dogs before serving them to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, elderly individuals, and infants with weakened immune systems, it is essential to take precautionary measures for food preparation.

It is recommended to consume hot dogs that have been cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F or higher and follow the guidelines provided by the USDA for safe food handling. If done properly, everyone can enjoy hot dogs without fear of food-borne illness.


How Long Does It Take For Hot Dogs to Expire?

Unopened hot dogs can usually keep for around two months when properly stored in the fridge. Opened hot dogs should last no more than one week and cooked hot dogs will expire after four to seven days.

Can Children Eat Raw Hot Dogs? 

Hot dogs should actually be heated through to a state of being steaming hot. Hot dogs are one example of ready-to-eat food that can develop Listeria monocytogenes contamination after being processed and packaged at the plant. Just don’t eat “raw” hot dogs if they can’t be cooked. (Fact or Fiction – Food Safety for Moms to Be, 2018)

Can I Eat Hot Dogs After The Expiration Date?

Actually, yes! Hot dogs can last for weeks or months after their expiration date if they are properly stored. You can eat them for up to a year if you store them in the freezer without getting sick.

Consume frozen hot dogs within two months and refrigerated hot dogs within 14 days if you want them to retain their quality and flavor.

How Long After Eating Spoiled Hot Dog Can Make You Sick?

Although no one wants to be affected by spoiled food, you should know the symptoms of food poisoning to have timely solutions. After consuming spoiled hot dogs, the symptoms may appear 30 minutes later or they may take three weeks to develop. In most circumstances, though, the symptoms only become apparent after 1-3 days.

How Long I Can Make Hot Dogs Last Longer?

The best solution to help hot dogs last longer is to store them properly. The most applied method in households is freezing them. In this way, the storage time of hot dogs will be significantly increased. There are almost no harmful bacteria that can affect hot dogs now, allowing hot dogs to last in the freezer indefinitely.

Do Hot Dogs Go Bad in Fridge?

Yes, hot dogs can go bad in the fridge. It is essential to be aware of how long they have been stored in the fridge, as the maximum shelf life for hot dogs is 14 days from when you open them. After this period of time, it is advised to discard any leftovers.

Final Thought

All in all, learning how long hot dogs last can be beneficial to everyone. Whether you have leftovers from a barbecue or buy them from a store, knowing the shelf life helps you to maintain your food safely. 

Additionally, you can rest assured that your hot dogs won’t spoil by using the stored guidelines presented above. We hope this blog post has given you insights into understanding the lifespan of hot dogs and how to keep them fresh for longer!

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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