With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation via transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world. Since many state fairs have been cancelled, now is a perfect time to learn to how to make corn dogs. Luckily, our delicious homemade corn dog recipe is actually pretty easy, highly adaptable, and can be made ahead.
Fried Kool-Aid, fried butter, fried candy bars, and fried mashed-potatoes-on-a-stick may get more press, but let’s be real: Corn dogs are still the tastiest fried food at state fairs and boardwalks. That said, even the best could be better. Very few people make corn dogs from scratch anymore, instead just tossing premade frozen dogs into the fryer.
Fortunately, making them fresh is pretty easy: Place a hot dog on a stick, dunk it in cornmeal batter, and deep-fry. So be a corn dog hero: Hand-dip your own dogs, put out the ketchup and mustard, and enjoy your sweet, crunchy, savory creations.
Dry Aged Beef Hot Dogs, 6 for $12 from Porter Road
Using a top-quality hot dog makese these even better.
Related Reading on CNET: The Best Meat Delivery Services to Try in 2020
But why stop at the regular old wiener? Start your day with breakfast-sausage corn dogs, or make mini bratwurst dogs to serve with some cold beers at happy hour. Or skip the meat entirely by swapping in a veggie dog—or melted cheese! Find all of those recipes below, but first, some general tips on process and equipment:
There are a few pieces of equipment you’ll need for this recipe:
- A large, deep pot for frying (a Dutch oven is a good option)
- A deep-frying/candy thermometer to monitor your oil temperature
- Tongs for turning the dogs
- A tall, narrow container or drinking glass, such as a pint glass, for dipping them
- Wooden sticks for skewering; candy apple craft sticks are ideal, but 6-inch wood skewers or wood coffee-stirrers will also work
AmazonBasics 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, $46.49 from Amazon
If you happen to have a deep fryer, you can use that, of course.
Related Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Deep-Frying Like a Pro
Our batters are based on a mix of all-purpose flour and cornmeal with milk and eggs. You can easily adapt them to be gluten-free and/or vegan if you like. Here’s how:
- Replace the flour with a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour.
- Replace the milk with the same amount of your preferred non-dairy milk.
- Replace the egg with one of these egg substitutes.
- Replace the honey with maple syrup, agave, or another liquid sweetener.
Obviously, you could also use your favorite vegan sausage or veggie dog in place of the meat in the recipes below.
Pro tip: However you make the batter and whatever you’re dipping in it, if you want extra insurance against any batter slipping off, pat your hot dog (or other corn dog filler) dry if it’s overly damp, then roll in extra flour and shake off the excess before dipping it into the batter.
Make Ahead Option
All of these corn dogs can be fried, cooled completely, and then frozen for up to 2 weeks. Store in an airtight zip-top bag; freeze the dogs on a baking sheet first to make sure they don’t stick together.
Stasher Silicone Storage Bags, $9.99-$19.99 at The Container Store
These freezer-safe, air-tight bags are reusable.
Corn Dog Recipes
We’ll start with the classic, then give you three variations, but experiment as you see fit, from additional spices in the batter to your favorite sausage in the middle.
A crunchy, lightly sweetened cornmeal batter coats the dog of your choice in these better-than-the-state-fair-style treats. Work with two at a time so it’s easy to manage the frying. Get our Corn Dog recipe.
Inspired by the sweet-savory McGriddle, this morning-appropriate corn dog stars breakfast sausage and has maple syrup in the batter. Serve extra on the side for dipping. Get our Breakfast Corn Dog recipe. (You could also try the batter in this Easy Pancake Mix Corn Dog recipe.)
No, these aren’t battered Vienna sausages from a tin; they’re nuggets of bratwurst or kielbasa coated in a beer batter. A robust grainy mustard is ideal for dunking, but beer cheese would also work. Get our Mini Beer-and-Sausage Corn Dog recipe.
This vegetarian corn dog option is kind of like mozzarella sticks mashed up with Chiles Rellenos: the cornmeal crust is speckled with jalapeño peppers and stuffed with melty pepper Jack cheese. And in place of marinara on the side, there’s our spicy Roasted Tomato Salsa. If you’re not so big on spice, omit the peppers from the batter and try another type of cheese. Get our Jalapeño-Cheese Corn Dog recipe.
The original version of this story was posted by Christine Gallary in 2011; updated with new images, links, and text.