How Long Hot Dogs Are Still Safe To Eat After Opening

They're hot, snappy, and ideally served off the grill on a sunny summer day (though there are some hot dog grilling mistakes you'll want to avoid). Yes, hot dogs are a perfect and delicious dinner option. But what about leftovers? We can't all be hot dog-eating contest champions like Joey Chestnut. So, for those leftover hot dogs, how long are they safe to eat after opening? Well, like, most foods, the answer varies based on several factors. However, an opened package of hot dogs can last for up to a week in the refrigerator. This is about half the shelf life of an unopened package of hot dogs, which can last for two weeks unopened in the refrigerator. 


Of course, this is only if your hot dogs are properly stored in the refrigerator, at a temperature at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. And it is also important to note that hot dogs should not be kept above that temperature for extended periods. This means that an opened pack of hot dogs from your cookout, which might have been left out in warm weather for hours at a time, will probably not fare so well in the fridge, and should most likely be tossed out. Of course, this is only general guidance. There are a few exceptions to this rule and a few ways to extend the shelf life of your hot dogs.

Put the dogs on ice

If your hot dogs have already been cooked, they will not fare as well in the fridge. Cooked hot dogs should only be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days maximum. And of course, you should always keep the expiration date listed on your hot dog's packaging in mind when choosing how long to keep them in your fridge. It's also important to store your hot dogs properly so that they don't go bad prematurely. For best storage, you should keep your hot dogs in a sealed ziplock bag, with the air pressed out. This will help prevent your hot dogs from being exposed to potentially dangerous outside elements, or from losing their fresh taste and texture.


If you really want to extend the shelf life of your hot dogs, you should consider freezing them. Freezing your hot dogs will allow your dogs to be kept fresh for up to two months. Storing your hot dogs in the freezer for any longer than two months will increase the risk of freezer burn, and could cause your hot dogs to taste, well, not all that fresh or delicious. So make sure to write down the date that your hot dogs were frozen on their packaging, and also make sure to write down the expiration date before tossing the original packaging.

Looking out for signs of spoilage

Even under the best conditions, your hot dogs might go bad prematurely. And if this is the case, there are several signs of spoilage to look out for. And knowing the signs of spoilage can help prevent you from eating a bad dog. For one, if your hot dogs have become slimy, this is a clear sign that your hot dogs have gone bad. This might be an indicator that fungus or harmful bacteria are present, and you won't want to put a slimy dog on the grill anyhow. Additionally, any change in smell, such as a new, sour stench, is a clear sign that you should toss your dogs (in the trash, not on the grill). 


Also, if you see any visible mold or a change in your hot dog's color, this is a clear sign that your hot dogs are no longer safe to consume. So make sure to keep an eye out for these signs that your hot dogs have gone bad. Taking these steps to keep your sausages safe will ensure that you get the best, and snappiest serving of hot dogs possible, regardless of what they're made of