When it comes to feeding people, it’s always better to have too much food than not enough. But when you’re stuck with leftover cooked hot dogs, what do you do with them if it’s too many for the fridge? Can hotdogs be refrozen after being cooked?
Hot dogs can be refrozen after being thoroughly heated. The safest internal temperature before freezing would need to exceed 165 degrees to avoid bacterial contamination. Though you can refreeze hot dogs multiple times if necessary, it is highly recommended by the USDA not to refreeze them more than once.
But, before feeling like you’ll need to rush to put your leftover hotdogs on ice, know that cooked hotdogs can last about two weeks in a decent refrigerator. Refreeze only if you believe you’ll have no interest in eating them for over that amount of time before throwing them in the freezer.
What Happens if you Refreeze Hot dogs?
If your hot dogs were cooked through exceeding about 165 degrees Fahrenheit, freezing them shortly after they cool would be ideal. What you’re looking to do is refreeze your cooked hot dogs quickly enough to avoid any growth of bacterial contaminants.
When done soon enough, and if thawed properly down the road, there should be no noticeable difference to the taste or texture after a single refreezing. How it was cooked might make a difference in texture, though.
For example, a grilled, deliciously charred hot dog may have a different texture coming out of the freezer than it had going in. A boiled hotdog may not have any noticeable “before and after” difference in comparison.
Also, how you intend to reheat the cooked, refrozen, and thawed hot dog will result in a different taste and texture. Again, a boiled hotdog will have the least change- especially if the chosen method of reheating is to boil it again.
The microwave is often a popular reheating method of choice but is most likely to change the flavor and texture slightly.
TIP: If you want to reheat a hot dog cooked and charred on the grill and retain that particular flavor, reheat the hot dog in a toaster oven on foil or in the toaster oven’s baking/broiling tray. It will taste as close to the grill as possible and have little to no change in texture.
How Many Times Can You Refreeze Hot dogs?
The USDA recommends that hot dogs get refrozen no more than once after being thawed and cooked. This is for several reasons- some more obvious than others.
It’s Less Safe to Refreeze Hot dogs Multiple Times
First and foremost is safety. The more you thaw and refreeze hotdogs, the greater the chances of growing bacteria in or on the hotdogs.
Texture can Change after refreezing more than Once
If you intend on eating hot dogs that have been refrozen a couple of times and think that you’ll finish your fill and sit back satisfied, you’re likely going to be mistaken. It’s more probable that the texture will get you even though the taste might be ok, and the hot dog is still free from contaminants.
A lot of people judge whether or not food is good by its texture- whether or not it’s what the taste buds are expecting. If the texture is squishy and nearly falling apart- that wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. It would be more like suffering through the hotdog just to avoid wasting it.
The more you refreeze your hot dogs, the less integrity the shape and texture will have each time.
How Long Can You Freeze Unopened Hot dogs?
Let the “best by” date be your guide when in doubt. That date is there not only to give you a rough idea of when you should eat it by but also protects the manufacturer.
Hotdogs or anything for that matter (with few exceptions) can be stored frozen indefinitely if two factors are simultaneously true despite the given date.
Freezer Temps of Zero or Less
First, the freezer must maintain temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Freezer burn can occur any warmer, though still below freezing (32 degrees F).
The Quality of Packaging
If it’s an unopened package of hot dogs fresh from the store, there’s a good chance that it will be good enough to surpass the “best by” date without any problems at all. Any signs of frost or freezer burn within the package will result from damaged or shotty packaging.
Perhaps something happened at some point to pierce the package (even as slight as a pinhole). Extended time in the freezer will test the integrity of the packaging and how well your freezer keeps temp.
For kicks and perhaps to spare you future disappointment, it wouldn’t hurt to check on the looks of the package of frozen hot dogs from time to time just to be safe. There’s little worse than looking forward to eating something in particular just to find out that it wound up all freezer burnt by the time you decide to eat it.
What Foods can be Refrozen After Thawing?
Most foods can be refrozen after thawing, depending on whether or not the food was thawed properly. Thawed properly means no room temperature, but from the freezer straight into the fridge.
Refreezing Thawed Meat
This goes for any meat (including hot dogs). Though it may not be as convenient to thaw meat in the fridge rather than let it sit on the counter for a while, it will taste more natural and prevent bacteria from taking root or growing into the meat.
Refreezing Thawed Fruits
Yes, you can refreeze thawed fruits. However, though the taste may remain the same, the looks and texture will not hold up. But, it’s a good opportunity to do other things such as jellies, jams, or pie filling with out-of-shape fruits.
Refreezing Thawed Vegetables
Like fruits, vegetables lose structural integrity, damaging cells every time they go through the freezing process. But unlike fruits, there’s little one can do with vegetables that appear to be all out of shape.
Food storage never seems to be an issue- until it becomes an issue. When it does, you or your family members may suffer greatly from it.
Being careful never hurts regarding checking out what you’ve stored in your freezer. And when it comes to refreezing something as simple as hot dogs, give it a quick check to make sure it appears the same as when you bought it.