17 Creative Ways To Use Up Leftover Hot Dogs

Hot dogs with dishes
Hot dogs with dishes - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

If summer had a smell, it would be a combination of salty ocean air, fruity cocktails, and, of course, hot dogs. The smell of franks radiating from the grill is a beacon for any hungry folks nearby, and there's no feeling quite like biting into a crispy-skinned hot dog topped with an array of flavorful condiments.

But when the barbecue is finished, and all of your guests have gone home, you're left with one big, meaty problem: The half-open pack of hot dogs in your fridge. An opened pack of hot dogs lasts only about a week, which means that you either have to fire up your grill yet again or find some other way to repurpose these franks before they go foul. Lucky for you, we've created a list of some of the best ways to repurpose your hot dogs for lunch, dinner, and snacks. Many of these recipes can be made with pre-cooked dogs -- so you won't have to fire up your grill yet again to prepare them.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

Chop Up Your Hot Dogs And Add Them To Your Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs on a plate
Scrambled eggs on a plate - 4kodiak/Getty Images

There is no shortage of ways to remix up your morning plate of scrambled eggs. Not only can you use an array of spices to add extra heat and warmth, but you can also boost the protein and flavor by adding in your choice of meat. While hot dogs may not taste like bacon (nor are we suggesting that you should forgo your bacon, egg, and cheeses entirely), they do make for a simple way to switch up your egg routine.

The key to adding hot dogs to your scrambled eggs is to cook the meat in the pan first to crisp it up. Tossing in the raw hot dogs with the eggs will be a disaster; not only would you have to overcook the eggs to bring the hot dogs even remotely up to temperature. Cooking them before, either on the grill or in a pan, will allow you to get a perfectly crisp exterior on each piece.

Cube Up Your Hot Dogs And Add Them To Cornbread Batter

Cornbread muffins in tin
Cornbread muffins in tin - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Cornbread is an incredibly versatile side dish. Plus, as long as you have a high-quality cornbread mix and a skillet or a muffin tin, you can have a batch ready in no time flat. But, rather than just settling for plain cornbread muffins alongside your chili, get a little creative and add some hot dogs, or canned Vienna sausages, into the mix.

Cornbread filled with hot dogs is a kid-favorite and one that you'll want to add to your regular dinner rotation after you try it for the first time. All you'll need to do is submerge a piece of hot dog into the batter before you put it in the oven. Some folks also like to make a twist on a corndog by sticking the hot dog piece upright into the center of the muffin well. There's no wrong way to make this recipe.

Use Hot Dogs As A Protein For Your Stir Fry

Cooking stir fry in pan
Cooking stir fry in pan - Vm/Getty Images

When most people think of stir fry, chicken, tofu, or beef likely comes to mind. Hot dogs? Not so much. Although we doubt any Chinese-American takeout joint will add a hot dog stir fry to its menu anytime soon, it's still a worthwhile way to use up this protein. Plus, it's much lighter than many other go-to ways to utilize leftover hot dogs, which is perfect for when you're craving a meal that won't weigh you down.

For the best stir fry, you'll want to ensure your hot dogs are perfectly crisped up in the pan. To prevent them from getting too soggy, always be sure to leave ample room in the pan (or better yet, use a massive wok) to prevent everything from steaming too much. The chewy taste of the sausage is the perfect companion to broccoli, peppers, and onions, and you can also deck it out in a sauce to tie everything together. Just be wary that hot dogs are saltier than most other proteins, so you'll want to pair it with a mildly salted sauce to avoid overwhelming your palate.

Dunk Them In Pancake Batter And Make Corn Dogs

Corn dogs stacked with mustard
Corn dogs stacked with mustard - Igordutina/Getty Images

Corn dogs are one of the best types of fair food that you can buy -- as long as they're done correctly. Biting into a hot dog on a stick, covered in a perfectly-browned layer of crispy, fried coating is just one of those highlights of summer. But, if you get a soggy dog, to the point that the coating limply falls off to the side, you're better off tossing it straight into the trash.

If you make your own corn dogs at home, you have a bit more control over the consistency of the batter and how long it's cooked. Plus, you get to eat it while it's hot. To make your own batch with leftover hot dogs, grab a box of pancake mix and whip up some batter. Then, transfer the pancake batter into a tall glass so that you can easily drop the dogs in and cook them up. You could also make your own sweet and spicy corn dog batter from scratch, but it's clear that pancake batter is a much simpler option.

Give Your Fried Rice A Meaty Boost With Hot Dog Slices

Hot dog fried rice
Hot dog fried rice - Kritchai7752/Shutterstock

Fried rice is certainly one of those general "dump" dishes in the kitchen. It's a place where you can toss in mushrooms that have been sitting in the back of your fridge, herbs that you only needed a single sprig of for another recipe, and whatever leftover protein you have laying around -- and still end up with a flavorful meal.

Hot dogs make a great, budget-friendly addition to bulk up your stir fry. The meat not only adds protein but also the flavor needed to make this a well-rounded dish. Like other uses for leftover hot dogs, you'll want to be sure to cook the sausages well before you add the rice and sauce to the pan. They should be perfectly crispy and brown, which is easier to do if you cook them in a pat of melted butter. You'll also want to use a low-sodium soy sauce for your rice since the hot dogs are already plenty salty.

Substitute Pepperoni With Hot Dogs On Your Pizza

Pizza with hot dogs and pickles
Pizza with hot dogs and pickles - Eyewave/Getty Images

Anything can be a pizza topping -- so long as you put your mind to it. So when your pepperoni supply is running dry, you may want to look for the package of Hebrew Nationals lurking in your deli drawer. Hot dogs can offer the same meaty flavor as other toppings, but you have to be sure to slice them up into small pieces and use them sparsely on your pie. Otherwise, they won't get perfectly crispy during their short stint in the oven.

There are tons of ways to deck out your hot dog pizza with toppings. If you like all of the flavors of a traditional hot dog, try layering on raw white onion, chopped giardiniera, and a swirl of mustard. The tanginess of these toppings, along with the sharpness of the onion, will transport your tastebuds back to the ballpark.

Use Them As A Filling For Taquitos

Hot dogs wrapped in tortilla
Hot dogs wrapped in tortilla - Ezume Images/Shutterstock

Taquitos are essentially small, hand-held taco roll-ups that quite easy to devour. And since the hot dog meshes well with other fillings, like onions, cheese, and even chili, it's easy to transform this classic barbecue favorite into something more complex and novel.

To make these taquito-esque treats, start by wrapping your hot dogs in tortillas. You could add shredded cheese for a little extra flavor, but it's totally optional. Once your taquitos are tightly wrapped with the hot dog inside, you can give them a quick brush-over with cooking oil and bake them until golden brown. While some people might try to fry the taquitos, we think that cooking them in the air fryer is the best option because it crisps up both the tortilla shell and the meat itself.

Ditch The Bun And Make A Hot Dog Salad

Hot dogs with salad ingredients
Hot dogs with salad ingredients - brookssandwichhouse/Instagram

We mean it when we say that the worst part of eating a hot dog is the bun. The real excitement is all about the dog and the toppings -- and anything that gets in the way of that is just not worth your time. Luckily, there are ways to indulge in a proper hot dog -- sans bun -- and still get a satisfying eating experience out of it.

Enter the hot dog salad. Start by piling your steamed, grilled, or boiled dogs onto a bed of greens. Then, layer it up with toppings, including the standard Chicago-style hot dog accompaniments like sports peppers, pickles, onions, and tomatoes. Equally as important as the dog and the toppings is the dressing, which can be fastened together with a spicy mustard base with chunks of relish interspersed inside of it. You can also tweak the recipe to suit your hot dog preferences by including ingredients like brown mustard or sauerkraut. Just leave the ketchup at home for this one.

Swap Hot Dogs For Musubi

Hot dog musubi in display case
Hot dog musubi in display case - Hapa Photography/Shutterstock

If you visit the Hawaiian islands, you have to try Spam musubi. For the uninitiated, this handheld snack is made with a sheet of thinly-sliced Spam, fastened atop a bed of rice with seaweed. It's salty, umami, and deeply satisfying. But, if you've used your last can of Spam or are seeking to get rid of a few hot dogs, consider swapping out the classic protein. You'll want to slice the hot dog lengthwise to maximize the ratio of crispy exterior to chewy interior before placing it on a grill or grill pan.

Once the meat is perfectly cooked, you can transfer it to your rice and wrap the whole thing up. While eating this hot dog-hacked snack as-is is completely warranted, you may consider adding some classic hot dog accompaniments to the mix, like a drizzle of mustard or some pickles, for an acidic twist.

Swap Pork For Hot Dogs In Your Bàhn Mì

Hot dog bàhn mì sandwich
Hot dog bàhn mì sandwich - Marie-matata/Shutterstock

You might not associate a hot dog with the Vietnamese sandwich, but the texture of the frank makes it a perfect option to substitute for the pork or tofu that comes stuffed generously inside of a bàhn mì. To transform your hot dog, you'll want to forget hot dog bun and instead use a crispy, fresh baguette instead. From there, you can layer in your cooked hot dogs, preferably grilled for a little bit of char, along with your favorite Asian or hot dog-inspired toppings.

One issue you may encounter with this sandwich is that, due to the cylindrical shape of the hot dog, the fillings tend to fall out easily. While cutting the hot dog lengthwise can counteract some of this spillage, you may also want to resort to scooping out some of the bready interior of the baguette to give you more room to work with.

Make A Stuffed Crust With Hot Dogs

Hot dog stuffed pizza crust
Hot dog stuffed pizza crust - pizzahut/X, formerly Twitter

The only thing better than a classic pizza crust is one with a special surprise inside. While many people will fill their crust with cheese, hot dogs are another, meatier option to choose from.

This hack is essentially pigs in a blanket-esque but requires a little bit of a different prep. You'll want to start with a normal-sized pizza dough and cut indentation on the edges to give you room to roll up the hot dogs. Then, nestle quartered hot dogs into the flap and roll them until sealed. Be sure to fasten the crust down on the other side of the hot dog to ensure that it won't unfurl while it's baking.

You can top your pizza with almost any toppings. But, we recommend always running a brush, coated in garlic butter, over the crust to ensure that it crisps up beautifully in the oven.

Cube Up Your Hot Dogs And Add Them To Mac And Cheese

Hot dog mac and cheese
Hot dog mac and cheese - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Mac and cheese, with floating pieces of hot dogs, seems like it's straight out of a picky child's playbook. But, even if it makes us feel like we're five years old, scooping the mac and cheese into our mouths with airplane noises in tow, we can't help but admit that hot dog mac and cheese just tastes good.

It's hard to tell if it's the way that the little hot dog pieces just sit perfectly under mountains of gooey cheese and fun pasta shapes or the fact that the saltiness of the franks just balances out the bland pasta. Regardless, this is a simple meal hack that you can use with nearly any mac and cheese recipe -- whether you pay the fancy cheese counter a visit or go straight to the bagged cheese section. You can also use boxed mac and cheese or stick to your favorite homestyle recipe.

Give Your Chili A Meaty Taste With Leftover Hot Dogs

Chili in bowl with beans
Chili in bowl with beans - Ivelin Denev/Shutterstock

Hot dogs and beans are a natural combination, but a classic chili recipe takes things a step further. Not only is it filled with delicious, warming spices, but the texture of the chili is also so comforting and flavorful. Before you plunk the franks into the pot, you'll want to be sure to cut them up into small pieces. Chili is a dish that's always more than the sum of its parts, so you'll want to pay attention not to use too many hot dogs that you lose the other aspects of the chili.

The best part about this recipe is all of the different ways you can top it. While some people adore the sharp taste of raw white onions in their bowls, others really enjoy a thick, gooey layer of cheese. It's also especially delicious when served with cornbread.

Integrate Your Hot Dog Pieces Into Breakfast Hash

Hash on plate with veggies
Hash on plate with veggies - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Breakfast hash is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your favorite breakfast potato recipe. Although the spuds are a big component of this dish, you'll also have onions, peppers, and now, hot dogs to help elevate the flavors and make it a whole dish rather than just a small side.

You'll want to crisp up the hot dogs with the onion and then add potatoes to the pan. A hefty dose of fat, whether olive oil or butter, will help ensure that your components stay perfectly crisp and flavorful. We prefer to use frozen cubed potatoes for hash because it takes significantly less time. Add a good shake of garlic powder and paprika and top with a fried or poached egg and you'll be well on your way to a delicious, flavorful breakfast -- though you could really eat it at any time of the day.

Add Them To Your Favorite Casserole Recipe

Tater tot casserole on plate
Tater tot casserole on plate - Ashley Grise/Shutterstock

Casserole is one of the most inclusive terms in the culinary lexicon. While it could mean green bean casserole or tuna casserole, it could also look like something made with tater tots and a copious amount of cheese. Regardless of what casserole mood you're in, consider bringing your leftover package of franks to the party.

One delicious application that this could work would be a take on Hamburger Helper. Instead of using ground beef, grab your hot dogs, sliced into rounds, and stir it in with macaroni, cheese, and more. It's a kid favorite dish that will help you clear out your fridge.

You can also make a chili dog casserole by stirring together your favorite canned (or homemade chili) and hot dogs and layering it over tater tots, cubed bread (bonus points if you use hot dog buns), and cheese. This is a great recipe for when you're craving a chili dog but don't want to pull out your grill.

Slice Them Thinly And Add Them To Your Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwich on plate
Grilled cheese sandwich on plate - Jean Pierre Pinochet/Getty Images

There's nothing wrong with a grilled cheese sandwich as-is, complete with gooey cheese and bread. But the fact that the formula for this sandwich is so simple allows you a ton of room to play with different flavors and ingredients. A package of leftover sliced hot dogs, cut into small coins, can add an extra meaty boost to this sandwich. It's an especially delectable option when served with a bowl of extra tomato-y soup.

We strongly recommend using pre-cooked hot dogs for this recipe or popping yours on the grill for a little bit to ensure that you get the perfect charred contrast to the rest of the sandwich. You can also add a swipe of Dijon or plain mustard to the inside of your slices to help add a spicy flavor or play with different veggies, like grilled peppers and onions, for added crunch.

Give Your Pasta A Meaty Kick With Leftover Hot Dogs

Spaghetti with hot dogs
Spaghetti with hot dogs - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Pairing your pasta with a protein is helpful if you want to avoid the carb crash that seemingly always follows a bowl of it. Luckily, the package of hot dogs in your fridge can come to the rescue.

Hot dogs have a salty, meaty flavor that is sausage-like. So, it works especially well when the meat is cooked with tomato sauce or paired with pepper and onions. It's also easy to see how a spicy arrabbiata sauce could help add some extra heat to your franks. If you want a mellower heat and a creamier mouthfeel, you may opt to add heavy cream or a splash of half-and-half to your base.

We recommend using grilled hot dogs so that you can have a better textural contrast to a silky sauce and soft pasta. You'll also want to slice the dogs into small pieces so that you get a little bit in every bite.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.