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Do Hot Dogs Go Bad? How Long Does It Take? Definitive Guide

Are there any foods more simple, and yet so endlessly pleasurable, than a classic hot dog?

Hot dogs can be eaten in numerous ways, cooked into countless dishes, and make for a fantastic and delectable treat any time.

Easily one of the best things about hot dogs, however, is that they are easy to store away, and can also last a decent length of time.

But how long exactly do hot dogs actually last? And do they eventually go bad?

Do Hot Dogs Go Bad? How Long Does It Take? Definitive Guide

If you’re a hot dog lover and you love to always have some ready and waiting in your kitchen cabinet, then you’re likely looking for an answer to these questions. Luckily, we have all the answers you could need. 

Do Hot Dogs Go Bad? Quick Answer: Yes. Hot dogs do go bad, eventually, this is thanks to the plentiful moisture that can be found within them. However, with adequate care, you can allow hot dogs to last a long time before they ever go bad! Provided they are placed within a refrigerator, hot dogs can last up to two weeks when still contained within their original packaging, and still being unopened. Once hot dogs have been opened, they can then only last for around a week in the refrigerator before they will begin to spoil.

Want to get to know a little bit more about one of America’s favorite foods? Then make sure you read on down below, because we are going to look at some extra details you should know!

How Long Do Hot Dogs Last?

How long your hot dogs will last, within your refrigerator, will depend on the current condition of them.

If your hot dogs are still in unopened packaging, then they could last in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, as the packaging is able to keep bacteria from reaching the hot dogs. 

If hot dogs are opened before being placed in the refrigerator, this shelf life is halved to around 1 week, as bacteria will be able to more easily reach them.

But what if you are placing cooked hot dogs into the refrigerator? If you have cooked your hot dogs yourself, you should expect them to last no longer than four days once placed into the refrigerator. 

Can You Freeze Hot Dogs?

Yes. if you find that you do not need hot dogs too frequently, then you can easily store them in your freezer, as they will take well to the freezing process.

Hot dogs can generally last for an extra two months when frozen, and you should aim to use them before that 2 month period has passed.

After two months, the hot dogs may become quite dry, which will make them incredibly unappetizing. They may also suffer freezer burn, which can completely ruin the texture. 

You can also refreeze hot dogs, but you should try to only do it once. Refreezing hot dogs multiple times will slowly begin to degrade them, lessening their quality. 

How Long Can You Leave Hot Dogs Sitting On Your Kitchen Counter?

How Long Can You Leave Hot Dogs Sitting On Your Kitchen Counter

Generally, you should try your best to avoid leaving hot dogs out on your kitchen counter, and you should always strive to place them into a refrigerator whenever you can.

You should aim to never allow your hot dogs to sit out on your counter for more than 2 hours unattended.

Room temperature is perfect for allowing bacteria to harvest, and so if your kitchen is over 15 degrees celsius in temperature, you should not allow your hot dogs to sit out. 

How Do You Know If Hot Dogs Have Gone Bad?

Luckily, it can be quite easy to tell if your hot dogs have gone bad, before you eat them. There are a few things you will want to make a note of when you check them!

Try feeling the hot dogs if you suspect that they are off. Do they have a different texture to what you are used to? Perhaps they are even quite slimy and sticky.

If so, this is usually a sure sign that they have gone bad, and you should summarily throw them out. 

You should also try to check for slight changes in the appearance of the hot dogs. Have they changed color slightly? Maybe they simply look like they are a slightly odd shape.

Make sure to check that the iconic red color of the hot dogs has not changed to a dull greyish color, as that can be an indicator that they have gone bad.

Try smelling the hot dogs too. When foods go bad, they often tend to emit a very foul and sour odor, so if you find that they release a pungent odor whenever you open your refrigerator door, it’s likely that they have gone off.

This can also apply to taste. If the hot dogs taste very different from usual, and maybe even taste quite sour, then you should assume that they have gone bad, and throw them out.

You should also look to see if there is any strange discharge from any of the hot dogs. It sounds as disgusting as it is.

Look for strange milky liquid that may leak out from the hotdogs. This is most often fat that has leaked out from the hot dogs, and this extra moisture is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria!

What Happens If You Eat A Hot Dog That Has Gone Bad?

Luckily, it is unlikely that you will experience any extreme and harmful effects from consuming hot dogs that have gone bad.

In most cases, you may experience a slighlty upset stomach up to 24 hours after consuming the hot dog. 

In some rarer cases, you may end up developing listeriosis, which is caused by listeria, a bacteria that tends to propagate massively in deli meats, even those stored at incredibly cold temperatures.

Listeria can be quite dangerous, and can cause fevers, diarrhea, and vomiting, and if left unchecked it can develop into a much greater issue.

Luckily, diagnosis of listeriosis is relatively easy, so you can seek treatment should you encounter it.

Jess Smith


Monday 5th of September 2022

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