How long do hot dogs last in the fridge?

Hot dogs are known as weiners or frankfurters are perfectly eaten straight, or stuffed in a bun. How long do hot dogs last in the fridge? Hot dogs are the perfect food watching live baseball games or just strolling in the park a hot dog can be your best companion. With a little bit of mustard or ketchup, you are surely in for a treat. Kids love hot dogs, put some on a stick and kids will dig it in in just a matter of seconds. But for how long do hot dogs last in the fridge?

How long do hot dogs last in the fridge?
How long do hot dogs last in the fridge?

How long do hot dogs last in the fridge?

Hot dogs are great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The rich combination of lean beef and some poultry makes it an explosion of flavor in your mouth. Hot dog sandwiches are just so good that even if you are full, you can’t still get enough of it. It goes well with soda, iced tea, and some beer. Buy a large pack of hot dogs and everybody is in for a treat. But how long do they last in the fridge?

How long do hot dogs last?

We tend to buy a lot of things and store them inside our fridge. Going outside and buying something could sometimes be tiring and cumbersome that we tend to hoard and stock many meat products inside the fridge. Since hot dogs are something that kids love after chocolate, we make sure that we have a lot of it inside our fridge. How long do hot dogs last in the fridge? Is it still safe to consume after a month?

The United States Department of Agriculture says that you can safely store packaged hot dogs in your fridge for two (2) weeks before you will be going to open it. Once you have opened a pack of hot dogs the USDA said that you have a week of storage time for your hot dogs. You need to keep them at (40oF / 4.4oC or less). If you decide to freeze your hot dogs, they can last for 1 to 2 months.

Additionally, USDA wrote that frozen foods are safe indefinitely, freezing actually improves the quality of foods. USDA general guidelines on handling perishable products like your all-time favorite hot dogs are “KEEP HOT FOOD HOT AND COLD FOOD COLD“. With that being said it will give you now a much clearer idea and picture of what to do with all of your frozen food products such as hot dogs and other stuff.

USDA Food Safety Guidelines for hot dogs

The moment you leave the grocery store with a pack of hot dogs at hand, your next destination is your fridge at home. There is nothing wrong with that and that is what you should be doing when you purchase a large bag of hot dogs. The hot dogs inside your fridge provided they are still unopened can last for 2 weeks. Once you pop them out of the bag, USDA gives you a week to consume it before it does something nasty.

Just like any other frozen food product, please do not leave your hot dogs at room temperature for 2 hours. If you leave it for 90oF or higher outside, you need to cook it for under an hour. You might be asking, “Why do I have to do all of those things since hot dogs are already cooked?”. Hot dogs once exposed can be under threat of listeriosis.

Listeria monocytogenes may sound scientific but it is nothing fancy. It is the bacteria that causes listeriosis if you do not handle your hot dogs well. This small disease-causing microorganism is found in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. Traces of it are also found in milk, soil, and vegetables. This bacteria can grow slowly at fridge temp. The not-so-good thing is it can be found in hot dogs and other cold cuts.

Symptoms of listeriosis

Once a person ingests or consumes hot dogs possibly contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a person may begin to succumb to fever, chills, headache, backache, upset stomach, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. A listeriosis-infected person may take up to 3 weeks before feeling all those symptoms. Persons that are at risk include pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weak immune systems.

Listeria monocytogenes are reported to cause miscarriages. So please exercise due care in handling frozen food products like hot dogs when you take them out of the fridge, as USDA recommends, it is better to keep them frozen so that you can be sure that you will not fall prey to this dangerous pathogen. Remember what USDA said, “KEEP HOT FOODS HOT AND COLD FOODS COLD”.

If you have kids at home, cook your hot dogs properly it would be safer if you cut and slice hot dogs into little pieces as it can be a choking hazard for children under 4 years of age. If you can, remove the casings before giving them to your little kid, we can never be too careful, we would rather be safe than sorry.

How long do hot dogs go bad in the fridge?

Before we expand and go deep with this topic, we need to understand that they must be kept refrigerated at all times. If you decide to store in your fridge’s freezer it would be much better because hot dogs that are being frozen can retain their quality longer. After you have opened a pack of hot dogs, you are to consume all of it after 7 days from the day you have opened it.

The key is proper storage, if you can have it transferred to some container that can be sealed, it would be much better. How long do hot dogs last in the fridge? It would depend on the way you handle your hot dogs after you have opened them. If you would follow the guidelines set by the USDA in handling frozen food products you would do just fine.

Hot dogs that are already opened must be placed on a resealable bag or may tightly pack it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. As I have mentioned a while ago, if you have plastic containers that can be sealed, put them in a resealable bag, place them inside the plastic container and store it in the freezer and by doing so, you are sure that your hot dog is safe and can be consumed after some time.

But in the event, that has placed a hot dog at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you need to discard it. The hotter the environment the more likely bacteria will multiply and infest your hot dogs and we will be in for a lot of trouble. To be safe we need to safely assess how many hot dogs we can consume for a week and just buy the needed number of hot dogs we can consume to save us from a lot of trouble.

As a rule of thumb, 0oF temperature can help us store and keep the hot dogs safe indefinitely, the lower the temperature the better it would be for the hot dogs. But how about thawed hot dogs? How long do hot dogs last after they had been thawed? Hot dogs that have been defrosted inside the fridge can still be kept and can be consumed for 1 to 2 days before the actual cooking date.

But how about hot dogs that have been thawed using the microwave? Can we still store it for days? Hot dogs that were thawed using the microwave must be cooked immediately. The same goes with hot dogs that are thawed using cold water, it must also be cooked immediately. Remember that once you take something out of the freezer, bacteria will immediately do their thing and will begin their path of destruction.

But how about hot dogs that are cooked and then stored in the refrigerator? Can we still eat it? A well-cooked hot dog that is properly stored in the fridge can still be consumed and eat after 3 to 4 days. After that whether you notice anything or not, you need to discard it immediately and disinfect it by washing all the surfaces that might have been in contact with those hot dogs.

Is it safe to consume and eat hot dogs after seven days?

Hot dogs that are opened must be placed in the fridge immediately. It can still be refrigerated for 7 days. After seven days, provided it had been stored and properly kept, you may still safely eat it. But if it had been previously cooked and put back on the fridge, you would have only 3-4 days and it must be consumed before it goes nasty.

If a hot dog that had been taken out of the fridge, you only have 2 hours for it to be cooked and eaten. If you have a much hotter environment like more than 40oF you need to cook it for under 1 hour. When you begin to notice that it is getting slippery and no longer have that sticky surface feel, discard it immediately and don’t even have second thoughts of being creative about it.

How can you tell if they have gone bad?

Having to deal with hot dogs that smells nasty, rotten, and worse infested with worms is one sickening experience that I do not intend to witness any time soon. As a word of advice, do not buy an excessive amount of frozen products and stock them inside your fridge as if you are preparing for doomsday to happen. Doomsday won’t be happening any time soon.

Buy only the proper number or amount of hot dogs that you can safely consume for a week and just get another batch of fresh supplies for the next week. By doing so you would be reducing the risk of being infected with a serious illness caused by improper handling of frozen foods.

You may not have a spider-sense like Spiderman, but your senses like your sense of touch/feel, sense of smell, and your sense of sight will tell you that what you are having is a spoiled hot dog.  A hot dog that is dull, slimy, and has a sour smell is a bad one and must be disposed of right away.

When you see that from red, a hot dog turns brown, that is also a sign of a spoiled hot dog and it must also be disposed of right away.  Frozen hot dogs that are stored in freezers for so long may show signs of freezer burn. Freezer burns are the dull white patches that will appear in the hot dog.

If this happens, discard those hot dogs right away. You cannot just put in jeopardy the health of your family. If you notice anything unusual with the hot dogs, those are the telling signs that they must be disposed of immediately. You need to disinfect anything it touches and buy a fresh supply.

To put things in better perspective

We have discussed a lot of things about hot dogs in this column. To answer the question “How long do hot dogs last” or “How long do hot dogs last in the fridge” is quite an interesting topic that we need to take seriously. We understand that you need to supply your family with good things to eat but you also need to keep them safe.

Understanding how long a frozen food product would last when it is already open or if it is still sealed can put us in a much better position of protecting our family from the great danger that is posed by improper handling of meat products. We are also on constant watch for updates on how to better keep your family safe all the time.

You need to remember that frozen products are the target of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. Once a frozen product is exposed, it becomes compromised and will be a breeding ground for disease-causing organisms. Our constant vigilance is our main weapon in keeping our family safe. You can never be too careful.

Stay tuned for more tips and keep posted always.

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Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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