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Easy to prepare and loved by children and adults alike, hot dogs are a staple in many American homes.

However, sometimes you buy too many natural hot dogs or a package gets pushed to the back of the refrigerator for a few weeks. By the time you’re ready to cook the hot dogs, you may find yourself wondering whether they’re still good to eat.

We’re going to cover how long hot dogs last as well as how to tell if they’re fresh so you and your family can safely enjoy them.

Understanding the Expiration Date on Hot Dog Labels

To understand how long your hot dogs are good for, it’s helpful to become familiar with product labels.

On packaging you may find a date with “best-by,” “sell-by,” or “use-by” which can be a little confusing.

The USDA states that “sell-by” refers to how long a store should display the product for sale—check to see if this date hasn’t passed when you’re purchasing hot dogs in the store. A “use-by” date is the last day a producer recommends eating a hot dog, and a “best if used by” date indicates when the hot dogs will pass peak quality.

In general, you should consume uncooked hot dogs before the “use-by” date or within two weeks of the “best-by,” “sell-by,” or “best if used by date.”

hands holding hot dog tray with chips on the side

How Long Do Hot Dogs Last?

Unopened Hot Dogs

As mentioned above, an unopened package of hot dogs should be used by the “use-by” date or within two weeks of other dates. However, proper storage is essential to helping your hot dogs last as long as possible!

While hot dogs are cured and cooked, you still need to store them in the refrigerator. If they sit out at room temperature for more than a couple of hours, you should toss the package in the trash.

If you’d like to store your hot dogs for a longer amount of time, you can place an unopened package of hot dogs in the freezer, and they will remain good for one to two months.

Opened Hot Dogs (Uncooked)

Once you open your hot dogs, the storage time decreases. However, a package of opened, uncooked hot dogs can still last up to two weeks.

The best way to help your open hot dogs last as long as possible is to store them properly. Place the hot dogs in a ziplock bag, squeeze out excess air, and then seal the bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy.

four hot dogs dressed and lined up on a wooden plate

Cooked Hot Dogs

If you’ve cooked up a plate of hot dogs only to find you have leftovers, you’re probably wondering how long these cooked hot dogs will stay good.

First off, you should never leave cooked hot dogs sitting out at room temperature for more than one hour. If a plate of cooked hot dogs has been sitting out for a few hours, it’s best to throw them out.

With proper storage, cooked hot dogs will last for three to four days. To help keep them fresh, place them in an airtight bag or container and then store them in the refrigerator.

When it comes time to enjoy your leftover hot dogs, you can try out recipes such as Hot Dog Fried Rice and Kid Friendly Chili Mac with Cheese and Hot Dogs.

If you don’t think you’ll use your leftovers within a few days, you can place them in an airtight bag and pop them in the freezer. If properly sealed, they can last for up to two months.

How to Tell If Hot Dogs Have Gone Bad

If you’re on the fence about whether or not your hot dogs are still safe to enjoy, use all of your senses to look out for signs they have gone bad.

First, look closely at the surface and color. If you see any mold or discoloration, your hot dogs have likely gone bad.

Next, smell the hot dogs. They should smell savory and smokey. If you detect any sour or off-putting smells, it’s best to throw away the entire package.

Finally, use your hands to feel the hot dogs. While they’ll likely feel moist, they should not feel slimy. If you detect any slime, it’s a sign that they have been spoiled by bacteria and/or fungi. Once again, this is an indicator that you should toss the entire package.

Pack of Coleman hot dogs next two five cooked hot dogs on a wooden plate

Choose All-Natural Hot Dogs

No matter if you’re planning on grilling your hot dogs in the backyard or cooking them on the stovetop, you want to start with a high-quality product. Coleman Natural All-Beef Hot Dogs are fully cooked, so all you need to do is heat and enjoy!

Not only are Coleman Natural’s hot dogs easy to enjoy, but they’re also made from high-quality ingredients. Our hot dogs are made from high-quality beef trimmings, and they never include binders or fillers. Plus, all of the trimmings are sourced from animals that were raised on American family farms without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.

Another thing that sets Coleman Natural hot dogs apart is the curing process. While many companies use added nitrites or nitrates, Coleman cures their hot dogs with a mix of cultured celery powder and sea salt. The end result is a juicy, smokey, and delicious hot dog the whole family will love.

So whether you’re making Mini Corn Dogs on a Stick for the kids or making Keto Hot Dog, Egg, and Pico “Mixtas” for friends, start with Coleman Natural hot dogs.

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