The 10 Best Hot Dogs at the Grocery Store

The best hot dogs are snappy, beefy, and substantial. No matter what you call ‘em—franks, frankfurters, wieners, meat logs—they are an essential summertime food. Seriously, don’t bother inviting us to the cookout if you don’t have dogs for the grill. 

But what are the best hot dogs for cookout season? Over the course of two taste tests, we tried a truly upsetting number of hot dogs, some regional favorites (we took your suggestions after our first taste test), and some big national brands. We looked for three things in a good hot dog: snap, flavor, and size. Ideally, a good hot dog casing adds some extra texture. Being loaded full of spices isn’t always a plus, but if it adds to the overall experience without taking away from the beefiness, we like spice. Finally, the size: Hot dogs should fit inside of a standard hot dog bun comfortably, perhaps even extending past the bun just a touch. We don’t want more bun than dog, okay? Here are the best store bought hot dogs from the best hot dog brands, including the best beef hot dogs.


best hot dogs

Best Classic

Oscar Mayer Original Uncured Wieners

These are classic. Also, this whole time I thought it was spelled Oscar Meyer. Not Oscar Mayer like John Mayer. Anyway, Oscar Mayer Original Uncured Wieners are squishy, spongey, salty, and have that classic hot dog taste. There is a bit of piquancy to an Oscar Mayer hot dog that sets it apart from other cheap, casing-free hot dogs. Personally, I love Oscar Mayer hot dogs for their ability to meld into other dishes. They’re the best hot dogs to cut up and put into mac and cheese or do what South Texas does: Cook them with scrambled eggs and then stuff it all inside a taco. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

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best less fat hot dogs

Best Less Fat

Wellshire Premium All-Natural Uncured Beef Franks

I probably wouldn’t have bought these dogs if I had just seen them at the store (the packaging isn’t very appealing; in my notes I wrote “too many words”), but don’t judge this hot dog by its cover. These dogs are really thick and beefy, and the texture is dense and high quality. They aren’t as fatty and juicy as some other dogs, but they have 30 percent less fat than other dogs and they are still some of the best tasting hot dogs. —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Whole Foods

Rating:

7.5/10

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best hot dogs

Best for a Cookout

Nathan’s Skinless Bun Length Beef Franks

Nathan’s hot dogs have good snap, in addition to being well balanced and tasty all around. They can taste just a tad bit rubbery, but I think that’s okay in a hot dog. You definitely want to grill a Nathan’s hot dog to get the most out of it both in terms of flavor and texture. The dogs themselves are sizable and the flavor is good without being overpowering. I like Nathan’s, and think that their combination of size and agreeable flavor make them a great choice for any cookout or, of course, the best hot dog brand for a hot dog eating contest.—Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

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best store bought hot dogs

Best Gourmet

365 Uncured Beef Hot Dogs

Whole Foods hot dogs are loose and deliciously tender. The skin on these hot dogs has a great texture that creates an added barrier to keep juices in. These also have a lot of spice for a hot dog, so they border on gourmet territory. But I love gourmet hot dogs. This is the best hot dog brand to load up with fancy fixings. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Whole Foods

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best hot dogs

Best Snap (Runner-Up)

Boar’s Head Beef Frankfurters

These might be too fancy for some; Boar’s Head hot dogs come wrapped together like links of sausage hanging in a butcher shop. The taste and texture, though, is incredible. Boar’s Head hot dogs have some extra spice and flavor, but they still maintain the true I-don’t-actually-know-what-this-is spirit of a hot dog. They have a great, natural flavor and a hard snap that plays well with a soft, squishy hot dog bun. The length is great, too, so your first bite won’t be mostly bread. And they’re the best store bought hot dogs to buy if you want people to think you got fancy and bought your dogs at the butcher.  —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

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best all beef hot dogs

Best Spice

Vienna Beef Franks

I lived in Chicago for a handful of years and definitely got down on some Vienna Beef hot dogs during that time. But prior to this taste test, I honestly couldn’t say whether I liked them or not because they’re always served with so much stuff—sport peppers, neon relish, dill pickle spears, tomato slices, and loads of celery salt. “Dragged through the garden,” so to speak. Tasting these plain for the first time was such a delight. They’re so uniquely spiced—I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what those spices are, but I’d describe them as “warm,” not to mention complementary to the delicious beef flavor. (According to Vienna Beef’s site, they’re made of “rich, red bull meat, sweet brisket trimmings, and spiced according to [their] original 1893 recipe”—it’s a good recipe.) These hot dogs don’t have a natural casing, but the snap is incredible all the same. Chicagoans know meat and these dogs are proof. They’re certainly the best all beef hot dogs to make Chicago dogs, but feel free to have them simply on a bun with ketchup and mustard, too.  —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Albertsons

Rating:

9/10

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best hot dogs

Best for Camping

Oscar Mayer Natural Angus

I didn’t expect Oscar Mayer dogs to rank this high on the list, but here we are! These Angus dogs are surprisingly delicious and undeniably some of the best hot dogs to buy. They’re not at all like the Oscar Mayer wieners you grew up on (although, we like those, too; see #10). These are firm and juicy and have excellent snap. My favorite thing about these? They’re so smoky! They kind of taste like they have bacon fat in the meat mix. These taste like camping even if you aren’t cooking them over fire (we cooked them in our trusty office toaster oven and they were still so good). —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

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best big hot dogs

Best Big

Kirkland Beef Hot Dogs

These are gigantic hot dogs and they are absolutely wonderful. Every single one of us liked them. Kirkland hot dogs are triple the size of normal hot dogs and triple the taste, as well. I absolutely love how egregiously thick these hot dogs are. Something about them feels like Texas State Fair food; I’m in love with the meatiness of these big boys. I like how they protrude from both sides of the hot dog bun, so your first bite of the hot dog is just a giant hunk of salty, well-spiced meat. Kirkland is the best brand of hot dogs to load up with toppings, too—onions, ketchup, relish, cheese sauce and chili, whatever. The Kirkland hot dog can withstand any amount of pressure. This is a whole damn meal. A dinner dog. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

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best hot dogs

Best Snap

Sabrett Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters

When it comes to hot dogs, East Coasters have it good, and Sabrett is proof. I am not being hyperbolic when I say these are among the best tasting hot dogs I’ve ever tried. They’re incredibly juicy, the flavor is bold and beefy, and the casing is snappy without being tough. The snap is so excellent that Boar’s Head got downgraded! (It took the number two spot in our initial taste test.) Honestly, these might have ranked #1 if they were easier to find at the store nationwide (sadly, West Coasters have to order them from Sabrett or from Amazon, where they’re kinda pricey). But if these are widely available in your region, buy them! And pick up a jar of their onion sauce while you’re at it. —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

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hot dog ingredients

Best of the Best

Hebrew National Beef Franks

Hebrew National’s dogs are salty and meaty, and their girth (sorry) is absolutely perfect. These don’t have a huge amount of snap, but they have enough so you can still tell they’re made with a natural casing. The biggest score, though, is the spice blend. Hebrew National’s dogs are dense with wonderful flavor. Salt, spice, garlic powder, and paprika combine to create a juicy bite of beef (they’re all-beef dogs) that’s so good the hot dog starts to flavor the hot dog bun itself with its deliciously spiced beef juices. Maybe the snap could be better, but it’s damn near a perfect hot dog. It’s the best beef hot dog we tried in two separate taste tests. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

10/10

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Wagyu Beef Hot Dog from Snake River Farms

During a Good Mythical Morning blind taste test, Rhett got fancy with his pick, ya’ll. “For people who have class, like me, you can get a wagyu beef hot dog from Snake River Farms,” he said half jokingly. In the end, they both agreed that the Snake River Farms hot dog had a great snap and incredible flavor. Link argued that it’s got too pure of a flavor for a hot dog (he prefers mechanically separated). But, there’s a place for fancy food sometimes. Case in point: Snake River Farms wagyu beef hot dogs.

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About the Author

Sporked Staff

The Sporked Staff tastes everything and anything. They are obsessive about groceries and finding the best of any type of food or drink, from frozen fried shrimp to Dijon mustard to gummy candy. And they're always on a hunt for the best new products. When they aren't eating professionally, they're eating recreationally. And often they're browsing grocery store aisles, just for fun.