Over the past 100 years, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to cook up the perfect hot dog, and we’d love to share some of our hot dog know-how with you.
Now we know your kitchen probably isn’t equipped with a dual-temperature, industrial flat top grill like the one at our original Coney Island restaurant. But that’s OK! Nathan’s Famous hot dogs can be just as delicious at home. Here’s how to cook the perfect hot dog.
Step 1. Picking Makes Perfect
The first step, of course, is to start with the best: a Nathan’s. Pick your favorite from our lineup, whether it’s Original Skinless Beef Franks, Bun-Length Skinless Beef Franks, or any of our other delicious Nathan’s Famous hot dogs. They’re all 100% beef, with no artificial flavors and no by-products.
Step 2. Cook It!
From pan frying, to grilling, to oven, to dare we say it, even microwaving, there are countless ways to cook a dog, but which one’s the most delicious?
The good news is that no matter how you cook it, you can enjoy a piping hot, mouthwatering Nathan’s hot dog. Pick your cooking method and we’ll give you our top tips from there.
Pan Frying on the Stove
Love a crispy outside on your frank? Pan frying hot dogs browns them up just right.
- Add water to a skillet or frying pan. Cover the surface with half an inch of water.
- Turn the heat on medium-high. Heat the pan until the water starts to boil off.
- Gently add the hot dogs. You’ll only want to cook a few at a time with this method.
- Steam them. Roll the hot dogs frequently to get them browned on all sides.
Famous Tip: Want a more decadent flavor? Swap out the water for a generous dab of butter or a few tablespoons of oil.
- Serve. Use tongs or a fork to remove the hot dogs. Then enjoy!
Famous Tip: For a rich and toasty bun to pair with your frank, try this trick.
After you take the hot dogs out of the pan, turn off the heat and place the buns face down in the leftover juices. Let them simmer for about 45 seconds.
On the Grill
Grilling gives your hot dog that smoky, summer flavor you just can’t get any other way. Plus, no pots and pans to clean! Home run.
- Turn on your grill. You want one side of your grill to be more hot and one more cool. If you have a charcoal grill, stack more coals on one side. If you have a gas grill, adjust the knob settings accordingly.
- Cook the hot dogs on the cooler side of the grill so that they can heat through without burning on the outside. You’re looking for that perfect brownish-red color.
Famous Tip: Lay the dogs at an angle for that beautiful, diagonal char mark that makes your mouth water.
- Cook one minute on each side.
- Move the hot dogs to the hot side of the grill. If your hot dogs haven’t developed that delicious-looking, deep brown color, move them to the hot side of the grill and keep them rolling until they’re looking perfect.
- Serve. Take your hot dogs off the grill, dress them up your way and dig in!
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy loved Nathan's dogs, and served them at the White House. The only question is: did she grill, boil or roast?
In the Oven
Oven-roasting hot dogs is a great alternative to grilling because you can brown them like you can on the grill. Craving a juicy, grilled hot dog in winter? The oven is the next best thing!
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put your hot dogs in a pan or tray.You can use a casserole dish, a roasting pan or even a baking tray (as long as it has a rim for catching juices). Line the dish with foil for extra easy cleanup.
- Cook for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your dogs. You’ll know they’re done when you see them begin to brown and curl just a bit. Can’t you just hear the sizzle?
Famous Tip: Turn on the broiler if you like your dogs extra crispy.
- Serve. Take your hot dogs out of the oven, top them and enjoy!
In the Microwave
The best thing about microwaving hot dogs is that you can have one ready to go in under a minute.
- Prep your frank. Wrap it in a paper towel and place it directly in the microwave or put the hot dog on a plate and cover it with a paper towel. The paper towel traps the moisture that escapes from the hot dog as it cooks, keeping it nice and juicy.
Cooking more than one? Lay them side by side on a plate and cover them all with a paper towel. Just make sure to leave a little space in between so they cook evenly.
Famous Tip: It’s a myth that you need to fork your frank first. Actually, piercing it lets the delicious juices escape so your dog dries out.
- Cook on high. Start at 40 or 50 seconds for one frank. For each additional, add about 20 seconds.
- Check in. When time is up, check to see if they’re warmed up all the way through. If not, microwave them another 30 seconds and test one again. Repeat until your hot dog is cooked to perfection.
- Carefully remove your frank. You’re so close! Just be careful as you remove your hot dog. Trapped steam can burn.
- Serve. Top it and take a bite!
Famous Tip: For a warm, fluffy bun, microwave it separately for 10 to 15 seconds.
Looking for the best way to how to boil a hot dog? Honestly we just don’t recommend it. We didn’t back in 1916 when Nathan Handwerker started it all, and we still don’t today.
When you boil a Nathan’s, all that special flavor rushes out into the water. And let’s be frank: who wants to eat a watered-down hot dog?
Step 3. Top That
Want some ideas for toppings? Go classic with ketchup, mustard, and relish, or up the ante with bold fixings to whip up a BBQ Bacon Hot Dog or a Chili Cheese Hot Dog.
Get more ideas in our recipes section.