The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (2023)

By Sporked Staff |

The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (1)

The best hot dogs are snappy, beefy, and substantial. No matter what you call ‘em—franks, frankfurters, wieners, meat logs—they are an essential summertime food. Seriously, don’t bother inviting us to the cookout if you don’t have dogs for the grill.

But what are the best hot dogs for cookout season? Over the course of two taste tests, we tried a truly upsetting number of hot dogs, some regional favorites (we took your suggestions after our first taste test), and some big national brands. We looked for three things in a good hot dog: snap, flavor, and size. Ideally, a good hot dog casing adds some extra texture. Being loaded full of spices isn’t always a plus, but if it adds to the overall experience without taking away from the beefiness, we like spice. Finally, the size: Hot dogs should fit inside of a standard hot dog bun comfortably, perhaps even extending past the bun just a touch. We don’t want more bun than dog, okay? Here are the best store bought hot dogs from the best hot dog brands, including the best beef hot dogs.

The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (2)

Best Classic

Oscar Mayer Original Uncured Wieners

These are classic. Also, this whole time I thought it was spelled Oscar Meyer. Not Oscar Mayer like John Mayer. Anyway, Oscar Mayer Original Uncured Wieners are squishy, spongey, salty, and have that classic hot dog taste. There is a bit of piquancy to an Oscar Mayer hot dog that sets it apart from other cheap, casing-free hot dogs. Personally, I love Oscar Mayer hot dogs for their ability to meld into other dishes. They’re the best hot dogs to cut up and put into mac and cheese or do what South Texas does: Cook them with scrambled eggs and then stuff it all inside a taco. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon




The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (3)

Best Less Fat

Wellshire Premium All-Natural Uncured Beef Franks

I probably wouldn’t have bought these dogs if I had just seen them at the store (the packaging isn’t very appealing; in my notes I wrote “too many words”), but don’t judge this hot dog by its cover. These dogs are really thick and beefy, and the texture is dense and high quality. They aren’t as fatty and juicy as some other dogs, but they have 30 percent less fat than other dogs and they are still some of the best tasting hot dogs. —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Whole Foods



(Video) Which is the BEST Hot Dog EVER? We Tried All Hot Dogs To Find The Best!


The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (4)

Best for a Cookout

Nathan’s Skinless Bun Length Beef Franks

Nathan’s hot dogs have good snap, in addition to being well balanced and tasty all around. They can taste just a tad bit rubbery, but I think that’s okay in a hot dog. You definitely want to grill a Nathan’s hot dog to get the most out of it both in terms of flavor and texture. The dogs themselves are sizable and the flavor is good without being overpowering. I like Nathan’s, and think that their combination of size and agreeable flavor make them a great choice for any cookout or, of course, the best hot dog brand for a hot dog eating contest.—Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon




The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (5)

Best Gourmet

365 Uncured Beef Hot Dogs

Whole Foods hot dogs are loose and deliciously tender. The skin on these hot dogs has a great texture that creates an added barrier to keep juices in. These also have a lot of spice for a hot dog, so they border on gourmet territory. But I love gourmet hot dogs. This is the best hot dog brand to load up with fancy fixings. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Whole Foods




The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (6)

Best Snap (Runner-Up)

Boar’s Head Beef Frankfurters


(Video) What's The Best Hot Dog Style? Taste Test

These might be too fancy for some; Boar’s Head hot dogs come wrapped together like links of sausage hanging in a butcher shop. The taste and texture, though, is incredible. Boar’s Head hot dogs have some extra spice and flavor, but they still maintain the true I-don’t-actually-know-what-this-is spirit of a hot dog. They have a great, natural flavor and a hard snap that plays well with a soft, squishy hot dog bun. The length is great, too, so your first bite won’t be mostly bread. And they’re the best store bought hot dogs to buy if you want people to think you got fancy and bought your dogs at the butcher. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart




The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (7)

Best Spice

Vienna Beef Franks

I lived in Chicago for a handful of years and definitely got down on some Vienna Beef hot dogs during that time. But prior to this taste test, I honestly couldn’t say whether I liked them or not because they’re always served with so much stuff—sport peppers, neon relish, dill pickle spears, tomato slices, and loads of celery salt. “Dragged through the garden,” so to speak. Tasting these plain for the first time was such a delight. They’re so uniquely spiced—I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what those spices are, but I’d describe them as “warm,” not to mention complementary to the delicious beef flavor. (According to Vienna Beef’s site, they’re made of “rich, red bull meat, sweet brisket trimmings, and spiced according to [their] original 1893 recipe”—it’s a good recipe.) These hot dogs don’t have a natural casing, but the snap is incredible all the same. Chicagoans know meat and these dogs are proof. They’re certainly the best all beef hot dogs to make Chicago dogs, but feel free to have them simply on a bun with ketchup and mustard, too. —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Albertsons




The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (8)

Best for Camping

Oscar Mayer Natural Angus

I didn’t expect Oscar Mayer dogs to rank this high on the list, but here we are! These Angus dogs are surprisingly delicious and undeniably some of the best hot dogs to buy. They’re not at all like the Oscar Mayer wieners you grew up on (although, we like those, too; see #10). These are firm and juicy and have excellent snap. My favorite thing about these? They’re so smoky! They kind of taste like they have bacon fat in the meat mix. These taste like camping even if you aren’t cooking them over fire (we cooked them in our trusty office toaster oven and they were still so good). —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart




The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (9)

Best Big

Kirkland Beef Hot Dogs

These are gigantic hot dogs and they are absolutely wonderful. Every single one of us liked them. Kirkland hot dogs are triple the size of normal hot dogs and triple the taste, as well. I absolutely love how egregiously thick these hot dogs are. Something about them feels like Texas State Fair food; I’m in love with the meatiness of these big boys. I like how they protrude from both sides of the hot dog bun, so your first bite of the hot dog is just a giant hunk of salty, well-spiced meat. Kirkland is the best brand of hot dogs to load up with toppings, too—onions, ketchup, relish, cheese sauce and chili, whatever. The Kirkland hot dog can withstand any amount of pressure. This is a whole damn meal. A dinner dog. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart




(Video) Which is the BEST Hot Dog EVER??? Part 2! SHOCKING!!!

The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (10)

Best Snap

Sabrett Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters

When it comes to hot dogs, East Coasters have it good, and Sabrett is proof. I am not being hyperbolic when I say these are among the best tasting hot dogs I’ve ever tried. They’re incredibly juicy, the flavor is bold and beefy, and the casing is snappy without being tough. The snap is so excellent that Boar’s Head got downgraded! (It took the number two spot in our initial taste test.) Honestly, these might have ranked #1 if they were easier to find at the store nationwide (sadly, West Coasters have to order them from Sabrett or from Amazon, where they’re kinda pricey). But if these are widely available in your region, buy them! And pick up a jar of their onion sauce while you’re at it. —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart




The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (11)

Best of the Best

Hebrew National Beef Franks

Hebrew National’s dogs are salty and meaty, and their girth (sorry) is absolutely perfect. These don’t have a huge amount of snap, but they have enough so you can still tell they’re made with a natural casing. The biggest score, though, is the spice blend. Hebrew National’s dogs are dense with wonderful flavor. Salt, spice, garlic powder, and paprika combine to create a juicy bite of beef (they’re all-beef dogs) that’s so good the hot dog starts to flavor the hot dog bun itself with its deliciously spiced beef juices. Maybe the snap could be better, but it’s damn near a perfect hot dog. It’s the best beef hot dog we tried in two separate taste tests. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

(Video) Taste Test: Top 10 Hot Dogs According To The New York Times | CNBC





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Rhett & Link’s Pick

Wagyu Beef Hot Dog from Snake River Farms

During a Good Mythical Morning blind taste test, Rhett got fancy with his pick, ya’ll. “For people who have class, like me, you can get a wagyu beef hot dog from Snake River Farms,” he said half jokingly. In the end, they both agreed that the Snake River Farms hot dog had a great snap and incredible flavor. Link argued that it’s got too pure of a flavor for a hot dog (he prefers mechanically separated). But, there’s a place for fancy food sometimes. Case in point: Snake River Farms wagyu beef hot dogs.

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The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests (15)

About the Author

Sporked Staff

The Sporked Staff tastes everything and anything. They are obsessive about groceries and finding the best of any type of food or drink, from frozen fried shrimp to Dijon mustard to gummy candy. And they're always on a hunt for the best new products. When they aren't eating professionally, they're eating recreationally. And often they're browsing grocery store aisles, just for fun.

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The 10 Best Hot Dogs We Found in Our Taste Tests? ›

In the end, Nathan's Famous Skinless Beef Franks earned the top spot for their robust, meaty flavor and juicy, tender texture. These large, beefy dogs had a substantial heft and a bold, meaty flavor that held its own in a bun.

What are the most delicious hot dogs? ›

Don't skimp: Get the best.
  • Editor's Choice: Nathan's Famous Skinless Beef Franks. ...
  • The Umami Dog: Hebrew National Beef Franks. ...
  • The Over-the-Top Flavor Dog: Oscar Mayer Uncured Original Wieners. ...
  • The Snappiest Dog: 365 Everyday Value Organic Uncured Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dog. ...
  • The Hot Dog We'd Skip: Ball Park Classic Franks.
3 days ago

What are the best hot dogs at Cook's illustrated? ›

In the end, Nathan's Famous Skinless Beef Franks earned the top spot for their robust, meaty flavor and juicy, tender texture. These large, beefy dogs had a substantial heft and a bold, meaty flavor that held its own in a bun.

What is the perfect hot dog? ›

Simmer. Compared to boiling, simmering incurs less risk of overcooking or splitting the dogs. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring enough water to cover the dogs to a simmer. Place hot dogs in the water and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).

Which hot dogs are 100% beef? ›

Nathan's Famous premium, 100% beef hot dogs feature the same original recipe cooked up by Nathan himself over 100 years ago. Explore all our varieties and keep the tradition sizzling at your next ballgame or family grill out!

What is the most famous hot dog USA? ›

Coney Island dog from Detroit

Of the many hot dog styles around the US inspired by Brooklyn's early Greek immigrants, Detroit's Coney Island dog is the most famous. It's a hot dog on a steamed bun that's lathered in a beanless, meaty chili and topped with chopped white onions and mustard.

Why do hot dogs taste better at the ballpark? ›

When people are in a ballpark and buy hot dogs, they usually praise the hot dogs in taste even though they are not that good. This can happen because of the atmosphere at the park. This means that people go to the ballparks to enjoy the game and support their favorite teams.

What is world famous original hot dog? ›

A grilled World Famous Original Hot Dog is topped with French Fries, world famous Chili sauce, a slice of American cheese, French's mustard and grilled onions all on a…

What kind of hot dogs do they use at Coney Island? ›

The hot dog used is the Vienna Beef from Chicago, which is topped with the restaurant's own coney sauce, with options of mustard, onion, and for a small fee, cheese.

Is it better to boil or pan fry hot dogs? ›

Pan frying hot dogs is my favorite way to cook hot dogs. If you want to cook hot dogs on the stove, this is the preferred method. I don't recommend boiling hot dogs ever. Boiling takes the flavor out of the hot dog and waters them down.

Is it better to boil or microwave hot dogs? ›

To make sure you get your hot dogs up to a safe temperature, WebMD urges you to microwave them for at least 75 seconds and to do so in a dish with some water in it. These temperatures have been found to safely cook the hot dog without causing any undue appliance malfunctions.

Should you boil or grill hot dogs? ›

Though they may look pink, most hot dogs are actually already cooked and technically ready to eat right out of the package. This means that boiling them for ages before throwing them on the grill is probably unnecessary, and it can suck the flavor right out of your dogs.

What hot dogs does Nathan's use? ›

Nathan's hotdogs are primarily manufactured by Smithfield Foods, a subsidiary of China's WH Group. In 2002, Home Depot and Nathan's terminated a co-locating partnership which offered Nathan's space within certain Home Depot stores in New York.

What is the meat in a hot dog called? ›

The sausage used is a wiener (Vienna sausage) or a frankfurter (Frankfurter Würstchen, also just called frank). The names of these sausages commonly refer to their assembled dish. Some consider a hot dog to technically be a sandwich.

What is a premium beef hot dog? ›

SONIC's Premium Beef All-American Dog is made with 100% pure beef and topped with ketchup, yellow mustard, relish, diced onions and served in a soft, warm bakery bun.

Why are Costco's hot dogs so delicious? ›

They're actually 10% thicker than the previously served Hebrew National hot dogs so they made a change to give you more for your dollar. The Kirkland dogs have no by-products, corn syrup, phosphates, fillers, or artificial colors or flavors. And that, my friends, is why Costco buck dawgs taste so dang good.

How to make the best tasting hot dogs? ›

Famous Tip: Lay the dogs at an angle for that beautiful, diagonal char mark that makes your mouth water.
  1. Cook one minute on each side.
  2. Move the hot dogs to the hot side of the grill. ...
  3. Serve.

How do you make hotdogs taste better? ›

Chopped pickles, bacon bits, and guacamole are just a few easy additions. Quick pickled onions add a tangy taste to hot dogs, and they're surprisingly easy to make.

What is the most hotdogs ever eaten? ›

The reigning champ, Joey Chestnut, holds the world record for the most hot dogs eaten at 73. That's equivalent to about 16 pounds, or as much as 42 billiard balls!

Which city has the best hotdog? ›

Chicago. Perhaps the Windy City is worried about their hot dogs blowing away, so Chicagoans weigh them down with these seven ingredients: yellow mustard, neon relish, tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers, sweet onion and celery salt. Don't forget the poppyseed bun and the rule about ketchup: none.

What is the original American hot dog? ›

The Birth of the Modern American Frankfurter

It all started in 1867 on Coney Island, New York, when Charles Feltman, a German immigrant and baker by trade, invented the first hot dog as a convenient way for beachgoers to enjoy frankfurter sausages on a long sliced bun without the hassle of plates or silverware.

Why are Chicago hot dogs so good? ›

While many variations of hot dogs being “dragged through the garden,” were popular, it soon became clear Chicagoans had a favorite combo: sport peppers, mustard, pickle, relish, onion, tomato and celery salt on Rosen's popular poppy seed bun. And thus, the legendary Chicago Dog was born.

What is the hot dog capital of the US? ›

New Castle is known both as the “hot dog capital of the world” and the “fireworks capital of America.” Its chili dogs are the product of Greek immigrants who came to New Castle in the early 20th century and established restaurants along with their homes.

Why are NYC hot dogs so good? ›

Thankfully, New York-style hot dogs are tried, true and simple. What sets a New York hot dog apart from the rest, according to Mashed, may be the fact that they're cooked in boiling water right there in the cart and served immediately, with brown mustard, sauerkraut, and sweet-onion relish.

Does boiling hot dogs make them taste better? ›

They are a great alternative when you don't have the time to grill or if you simply don't have a grill to work with. And while it doesn't make them any healthier, think of the liquid as a vehicle to get even more flavor into your dogs.

What brand of hot dogs do ballparks use? ›

Ball Park Franks is an American brand of hot dogs made by Tyson Foods and popularized in 1958 by the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. Ball Park Frank is the most consumed hot dog in America with 94.9 million consumers in 2017.

What's the most expensive hot dog? ›

This $169 haute dog now holds the "world's most expensive" title. This hot dog from Tokyo Dog in Seattle rings up at $169. — -- That's one haute dog. It's the most expensive, in fact, according to Guinness World Records, which crowned Tokyo Dog with the world title.

What country eats the most hot dogs? ›

Germany (1.5M tonnes) constituted the country with the largest volume of sausage consumption, comprising approx.

What were hot dogs called before they were called hot dogs? ›

Whatever its ultimate origins, German immigrants brought the food to New York in the 1860s, where street vendors sold them as “dachshund sausages,” presumably because of their shape. It is from this that the term hot dog derives, with the implied suggestion that the sausage really was made of dog flesh.

What kind of hot dogs does Yankee Stadium use? ›

New York Yankees

Yankee Stadium keeps it simple and classic. Fans can enjoy a Nathan's Famous Natural Casing Dog topped with red onions in sauce and sauerkraut.

What hot dogs do New York vendors use? ›

Sabrett® hot dogs serve as New York's food ambassador to the world and are as much a part of the city landscape as the Empire State Building.

What kind of hot dogs do they serve at Dodger Stadium? ›

In 2021, the Dodgers announced a multi-year partnership with Vernon-based Papa Cantella's to become the new maker of Dodger Dogs and premium sausages. They replaced Farmer John as the supplier of the famed hot dog sold at Dodger Stadium and local grocery stores.

What is America's favorite hot dog topping? ›

However, we say: “You do you!” Whatever suits your taste buds and makes you smile, is fine by us. According to a recent survey, mustard is the most popular hot dog topping among Americans (68%), followed by ketchup (61%) and mayonnaise (19%).

What are high quality hot dogs made of? ›

What are hot dogs made of? Hot dogs are made from the emulsified meat trimmings of chicken, beef, or pork. This meat mixture is blended with other ingredients (like preservatives, spices, and coloring) into a batter-like substance.

Why are Hebrew National hot dogs better? ›

We ensure that our premium hot dogs are free of artificial ingredients, fillers and by-products. This way you can be sure you're serving your family only the very best. We create our all-beef hot dogs under the strict supervision of an independent kosher certifying agency.

Are Nathan's hot dogs the best? ›

Nathan's Famous Beef Frankfurters

It's smoky, it's juicy and it has more flavor complexity than any other. Nathan's was, by far, the best hot dog of the lot.

What is the most popular American hot dog? ›

1. Chicago dog from Chicago. There's no better form of tube of meat between a bun than the Chicago dog. It's made with an all-beef, natural casing dog topped with peppers, mustard, relish, onion, tomato, celery salt, and a whole pickle spear.

What makes Hebrew National hot dogs so good? ›

We create our all-beef hot dogs under the strict supervision of an independent kosher certifying agency. Those high standards ensure nothing less than a premium family frank! Our unique blend of quality premium beef and spices gives our hot dogs the mouthwatering flavor that families have loved for generations.

How do New Yorkers eat hot dogs? ›

New York. In New York, the simple dog reigns supreme. A hot dog in the Big Apple is traditionally topped with a spicy brown mustard and either sauerkraut or onions sautéed with tomato paste.

What kind of hot dogs does Sam's use? ›

In addition to the $0.12 price differences, there are several other differences. Both store's hot dogs feature all-beef franks; Sam's Club's clocks in at ¼ lb.

Why is Costco removing the hot dog? ›

In order to simplify our menu and make room for healthier options, we have decided to offer only the all-beef Hot Dog. Sales show this is what the majority of members prefer. Though we understand many members loved the Polish Dog, we hope you enjoy our new offerings.

Are Kirkland hot dogs good quality? ›

Apart from being a 100% pure beef hot dog, Costco's hot dogs don't have by-products, corn syrup, phosphates, fillers, or artificial colors or flavors. One could say that they can get away with using less additives because they sell so many each year, but really it just proves the quality of Kirkland Signature.

Do hot dogs taste better boiled or grilled? ›

Pan-searing is a flavor saver

According to The Kitchen Community, boiling your hotdogs before grilling can strip away their flavor. To keep those dogs barking, stick to just one method or the other. Wiener giant Nathan's says of boiling, "Honestly we just don't recommend it.

Do hot dogs taste better boiled or fried? ›

Pan frying hot dogs is my favorite way to cook hot dogs. If you want to cook hot dogs on the stove, this is the preferred method. I don't recommend boiling hot dogs ever. Boiling takes the flavor out of the hot dog and waters them down.


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