Hot dogs fall under the perishables category of fast food, meaning they don’t last long once they have been opened and cooked. They carry the risk of bacteria, especially listeriosis which is typical for hot dogs and luncheon meats. So, how long are cooked hot dogs good for?
Hot dogs can last for up to two hours on the counter at room temperature. Unopened hot dogs can last for up to two weeks in the fridge, and opened hot dogs are good for a week. In the freezer, they can last for up to a month, and cooked hot dogs are safe in the fridge for up to five days.
Although hot dogs are processed meat and not fresh or raw, they already contain shelf life-prolonging additives. They won’t be safe and edible for long. So you should store them properly right after bringing them home. In the following paragraphs, I will explain how long hot dogs are safe to have and what precautions you need to take.
How Long Do Hot Dogs Last?
Hot dogs don’t last for too long. They are considered highly perishable food, and like all luncheon foods, they are prone to bacterial formation, especially the listeriosis bacteria. Never eat hot dogs past their expiration date; don’t take any risks before the expiration date if they seem iffy.
Cooked Hot Dogs
Cooked hot dogs are safe in the fridge for up to five days, but the trick is to store them properly. They won’t last five days if you don’t pay attention to how you store them. So, to extend the shelf-life of your cooked hot dogs as much as possible, store them in plastic, shallow, airtight containers and make sure the hot dogs are well covered.
If you don’t have a suitable container, you can wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store them in the fridge like so. Don’t store them uncovered and exposed.
In the freezer, cooked hot dogs can last for up to a month with their quality intact. After this one month, the hot dogs will be perfectly safe to eat; however, their quality will diminish. If you keep the hot dogs at a temperature below 0 C, they will be safe for an indefinite period.
At room temperature, cooked hot dogs can last up to two hours, after which you need to freeze or refrigerate them. Hot dogs are very prone to bacteria, so it won’t take long before they start to turn.
Unopened Hot Dogs
An unopened package in the fridge is safe for two weeks, but you still need to refrigerate the hot dogs immediately after bringing them home. Even though the hot dogs are well-sealed in their original packaging, you still mustn’t leave them at room temperature as they will start turning soon.
In the freezer, an unopened hot dog package can last for up to two months, retaining the quality. You can just place the hot dogs in the freezer without any additional procedures; the packaging does well at low temperatures.
How to Store Hot Dogs After Cooking?
The most important thing about storing cooked hot dogs is the timing. Don’t store the coked hot dogs while they’re hot, but leave them cool down for about an hour or two, which is the maximum period they’re allowed to sit at room temperature.
After they have cooled, transfer the hot dogs to an airtight container and see that they are properly sealed. The container needs to be shallow, meaning that there should be as little space as possible inside the container. The more free space you have left, the bigger the risk of your hot dogs spoiling.
Stored this way, your hot dogs will be safe and tasty for up to five days.
If you don’t have the right container, then you can improvise by wrapping your hot dogs tightly in plastic foil and placing them inside a plastic container. This way, the hot dogs will be protected from the moist fridge air and won’t be exposed to air. Your hot dogs will be good for about five days this way too.
To store in the freezer, place the hot dogs in freezer baggies, don’t pile them, but divide them into several baggies if you have more hot dogs. Place them in an airtight container and leave them in the freezer. They will be good for two months.
Can You Eat Week Old Hot Dogs?
It depends on how you store them. A week would be a little over the top if you stored the hot dogs in the fridge. Even though it is common knowledge that hot dogs are safe after a week in the fridge, I beg to differ.
The hot dogs might be safe, but the degradation process has undoubtedly started. Therefore, you won’t feel good after eating a week-old hot dog if you have a more sensitive stomach.
When it comes to food safety, even the slightest risk isn’t worth taking, so don’t tamper with week-old hot dogs you’ve been keeping in the fridge.
It is another story if the hot dogs are frozen for a while. Feel free to enjoy your week-old hot dogs, as the freezer has definitely kept them safe. \
How Do You Know When Hot Dogs Go Bad?
Hot dogs show pretty strong signs that they have started to spoil from appearance to the aroma and taste. If a hot dog seems suspicious, never taste it to see if it has gone bad; inspect it otherwise first.
The color of the hot dog will not change much, but it will become glossy because of slime forming on the surface. The second thing is the slight mold forming on the sides of the hot dog. Another sign is that separating it from the container will be sticky.
The smell is also an excellent indicator. It will change the smell, and it won’t be pleasant. You’ll know the smell if you feel it.
Depending on how far along is the spoiling process, the indicators may vary from more discrete to more pronounced. The first sign is usually the stickiness and the discrete mold. If you notice any of these indicators, it means that the spoiling process has begun.
What Happens If You Eat a Bad Hot Dog?
The most common symptoms are stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, nausea, increased body temperature, chills, and fatigue. 
Eating spoiled meat and meat products is very dangerous. Depending on the extent to which the hot dog is spoiled, the symptoms will vary from mild to intense. Also, depending on your sensitivity, you may experience the same symptoms as someone else, as stronger or milder than yours.
How to Store Hot Dogs After Opening?
If you don’t use all the hot dogs in the packaging, you’ll need to store them somehow. The first thing to remember is not to leave them to sit in their original packaging.
The original packaging is good only before you open it, rendering it useless. The seal is broken, there’s air going inside the packaging, and the hot dogs are rolling into their fat. All of this will only speed up the spoiling process.
To protect your hot dogs after opening them, transfer them to an airtight container with as little excess air inside as possible. Choose a shallow container with a good tight seal to prevent air from going inside the container.
You can also tightly wrap the hot dogs in plastic foil or tin foil and place a few elastic bands on the wrapped hot dogs to prevent them from breaking open.