Can You Microwave Hot Dogs? [And How To!]

Hot dogs make a satisfying meal, especially for the kiddies. You love how easy they are to cook. You’d like to put some hot dogs in the microwave tonight to prep dinner, but can you? If so, how do you microwave hot dogs? We've looked at cooking techniques for hot dogs to get you the best answer on how to microwave them.

Yes, you can microwave hot dogs. Here’s how:

  • Put your hot dogs on a paper plate and place a piece of paper towel over them
  • Space apart hot dogs so they’re not side by side as they cook
  • Microwave for up to 30 or 40 seconds at once
  • Add another 30 seconds to the clock if the hot dogs aren’t cooked
  • Take out the hot dogs carefully, avoiding being burned by the steam

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about cooking hot dogs in a microwave. First, we’ll elaborate on the above steps, then describe how you can tell if your dogs are fully cooked. You won’t want to miss it!

Hot dogs in the microwave, Can You Microwave Hot Dogs? [And How To!]

Here’s How to Microwave Hot Dogs

If you want to make the ideal hot dog in the microwave, it doesn’t require very many steps. Here’s how you should nuke your franks, courtesy of Nathan’s.

Barbecue grilled hot dog

Step 1: Cover Your Hot Dogs with a Paper Towel

If you wish, you can cook your hot dogs on the grilles of the microwave itself. However, do be aware that the leaking hot dog juices can leave you with a mess to clean up when you’re done making dinner. You can also use a paper plate or a microwave-safe plate for the hot dogs.

Should you skip the plate, enwrap the hot dog in a paper towel. For hot dogs on a plate, lay a sheet of paper towel over the franks.

Step 2: Space Apart the Hot Dogs

Are you cooking more than one hot dog at a time? Give them some space from one another. They can both cook under the same paper towel.

Step 3: Microwave in 30 to 40-Second Bursts

You know your microwave best, so you can choose how much time you want to give the hot dogs to cook initially. The standard amount of time is between 30 and 40 seconds, but some people even wait up to 50 seconds. If yours is a more powerful microwave, this might be too much time.

Step 4: Microwave for 30 More Seconds If Necessary

Let the cook time that you selected elapse. When your microwave beeps, open the door and check out your hot dogs. If you feel any cold parts, then put them back in the microwave and cook for at least 30 more seconds. You might have to do this for yet a third time if your microwave isn’t especially powerful.

Step 5: Remove the Hot Dogs from the Microwave Carefully, Avoiding the Steam

When your hot dogs are ready, pull them from the microwave with a slow hand. Let them cool down for a moment before taking off the paper towel. Since the paper towel trapped in all the steam, when that steam releases, it could burn you.

Then you’re free to serve your hot dogs to your eager family members. To make the hot dog buns warm like you’d get at the baseball field, put them in the microwave for around 15 seconds.

Read more: "Should You Butter Hamburger Buns?"

Do Hot Dogs Explode in the Microwave?

We’ve all had it happen a time or two before. You put your hot dogs in the microwave, walk away, and come back to discover that both ends of the frank have exploded. The next time you make hot dogs, you might cook them on lower power or shorten the cooking time so the ends don’t explode again.

This is the wrong way to go about it. Hot dogs will explode, so to speak, not because of cooking time or microwave power, but rather, due to steam. When you microwave a hot dog, very hot steam accumulates inside the frank. It’s these steam pockets that explode the dog.

By putting a paper towel over your hot dog, the paper towel catches the steam so your hot dog can’t explode. Please do not poke the hot dogs with a fork though. The fork holes can help the steam dissipate, but the juices of the hot dog will also seep out. That leaves you with unappealing, dry franks.

Read more: "How Many Inches Should There be Between the Stove and the Microwave?"

Are Hot Dogs Already Cooked?

Can’t you just skip all the trouble of putting your hot dogs in the microwave? After all, in your opinion, a frank right out of the package seems cooked. If anything, it’s just cold. You’re not wrong there. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, “frankfurters (a.ka., hot dogs, wieners, or bologna) are cooked and/or smoked sausages according to the Federal standards of identity.”

However, the USDA goes on to say that if you have a higher likelihood of contracting foodborne illnesses that you should always reheat your hot dogs. Listeria monocytogenes can trigger listeriosis, a bacterial disease caused by food contamination. The USDA says that Listeria monocytogenes proliferate when food is at refrigerator temperature compared to when it’s heated through cooking.

That sounds like a convincing enough reason to begin cooking your hot dogs going forward unless you absolutely cannot, such as during a power outage or if you’re out fishing.

How Can You Tell If a Hot Dog Is Fully Cooked?

You might have heard the trick that a hot dog that’s fully cooked will float in a container of water. This is silly and not an accurate gauge of whether a hot dog is done. Franks will float regardless of whether you cook them or not.

Hot dogs with mustard on white background

What you should do instead to determine whether your hot dog is cooked is give it a look the first time it comes out of the microwave. When the hot dog skin has noticeable wrinkles, especially around either end, that tells you that your hot dog is fully cooked.

You can also look at the color of the hot dog’s exterior. The hot dog will start out pink and then become darker brown. Don’t let the frank turn black though, as that’s a sure sign that you’ve cooked it for too long!

Is It Better to Boil or Microwave Hot Dogs?

Although we’ve talked about microwaving hot dogs primarily in this article, that’s far from the only way you can cook a frank. You can also put them in the oven, cook them on the grill, pan-fry hot dogs, or boil them.

Boiling a hot dog involves you blanching the dog in a pot of water. You’d pour in at least a quart of water, let the water boil, add your hot dogs, and then let them cook for about five minutes. It sounds convenient, especially if you want to cook eight hot dogs or more, but is it better than microwaving?

While it comes down to personal preference, the consensus is that microwaving a hot dog is far superior to boiling it. There are lots of reasons for that. Boiled hot dogs are rather flavorless compared to microwaved dogs and especially grilled franks. The dogs might look plump, but they tend to feel limp and soggy if they’re boiled.

Even Nathan’s disagrees with boiling, saying that they don’t recommend it.

How Long Should You Microwave Four Hot Dogs?

You know that one to two hot dogs need about 30 or 40 seconds in the microwave, but what if you’re cooking four hot dogs at once? How long should you cook them?

Once again, it depends on the wattage of your microwave. Assuming that your micro runs on an average range of 800 to 1,000 watts, then you should cook four hot dogs for at least a minute and a half and at longest, two and a half minutes. If you added a fifth or six hot dog, they’d need to cook for at least three minutes.

In Closing

To make cooking hot dogs in the microwave as easy as possible, put a paper towel on them and give each dog some space. Also, always avoid poking holes in the hot dogs, as they’ll lose their juices. The next time you need a quick dinner that will make the whole family happy, you’ll know just what to prepare!

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