Find out what hot dogs are, made from, and if they’re safe to eat on a gluten-free diet. Plus if your favorite brands are gluten-free.
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If you enjoy grilling hot dogs in the summer or keeping them on hand for your kids for a quick lunch or dinner option, you may have wondered about this food.
After all, it’s no surprise that hot dogs are a processed food, and if you follow a gluten-free diet, you know that processed foods are more likely to contain gluten than other foods with less processing.
We’re going to to a deep dive into the world of hot dogs in this post and answer some important questions about how hot dogs fit into a gluten-free diet. We’ll talk about what hot dogs are, what some popular brands are made from, and of course answer the question “are hot dogs gluten-free?”
We’ll also go over some ingredients to keep your eyes open for when reviewing ingredients lists of hot dog packages to help you determine if the ones you’re looking to buy contain gluten. Finally, we’re going to go over some of the more popular hot dog brands and find out if they’re good choices for folks who are on a gluten-free diet.
If you don’t want to miss out on hot dogs this summer during grilling season, you won’t want to miss this post!
What are hot dogs?
Hot dogs are a type of sausage otherwise known as a wiener, frankfurter, or frank. They can be made with any different type of meat, usually meat trimmings from beef, pork, chicken, or turkey.
Hot dogs are most commonly served in a bun that’s made specifically for hot dogs, long and skinny. Some people call hot dogs sandwiches, others say they’re just simply hot dogs.
Hot dogs are a quintessential summer grilling and barbecue food, as they can be cooked outdoors on grills on hot days without ever needing to heat up the kitchen. Hot dogs are also considered a “kid food” as so many kids enjoy them.
Many people cut up hot dogs to put into macaroni and cheese or other pasta, and some folks use hot dogs in casseroles or top theirs with chili. There really are a number of uses for this food, so whatever way you enjoy them, it’s the right way!
What are hot dogs made from?
Hot dogs are made from a variety of different ingredients especially between brands, but the common denominator is that they’re usually made from the meat trimmings of beef, pork, chicken, or turkey.
Let’s have a look at the ingredients in three different popular brands of hot dogs that you can buy from the grocery store to help us get a better idea of what many hot dogs are made of.
Ingredients in Nathan’s Famous skinless beef franks
“Beef, Water, Contains 2% Or Less Of Salt, Sorbitol, Sodium Lactate, Natural Flavorings, Sodium Phosphates, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Paprika, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.”
Ingredients in Ballpark original hot dogs
“Beef, Water, Corn Syrup, Contains 2% Or Less: Salt, Potassium Lactate, Hydrolyzed Beef Stock, Natural Flavor (Including Celery Juice Powder), Sodium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Sodium Diacetate, Extractives Of Paprika.”
Ingredients in Oscar Mayer original hot dogs
“Beef, Water, Cultured Dextrose (Ingredients Used to Preserve Quality), Contains Less than 2% of the Following: Dextrose, Salt, Cultured Celery Juice (Ingredients Used to Preserve Quality), Distilled White Vinegar (Ingredients Used to Preserve Quality), Sodium Phosphate, Cherry Powder, Flavor, Extractives of Paprika.”
As you can see, most hot dogs are highly processed foods with beef or other meat as the main ingredient mixed in with flavorings, salt or sodium, and other preservatives.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Gluten can be found in foods in obvious ways, or in more hidden ways, like in binders or fillers. Even in meat products, like hot dogs, you can sometimes find gluten.
Are hot dogs gluten-free?
Hot dogs can be gluten-free, and some can contain gluten. It’s not easy to say that all hot dogs are safe for a gluten-free diet, because some brands contain binders and fillers with gluten ingredients.
When you follow a gluten-free diet, your best bet is to review a list of brands of gluten-free hot dogs (like the one here in this post!) and always look for a gluten-free label on the packaging before buying.
Some hot dogs have a gluten-free label while others have no gluten ingredients and still don’t have a label. If you are extremely sensitive to gluten or have an allergy, you’ll want to avoid anything without a gluten-free label.
If you can handle trace amounts of gluten, you may be okay with these brands, but you’ll want to do so “at your own risk.”
What gluten ingredients should I look for in hot dogs?
If you’re shopping for hot dogs and you’re trying to avoid gluten, look for some of these key terms if you don’t see a gluten-free label on the package right away.
- Wheat gluten
- Wheat protein
Read on: Find out more hidden names of gluten.
What brands of hot dogs are gluten-free?
There are a number of brands that are made with the intent that their hot dogs do not contain gluten. You can look for gluten-free labels on their packaging to help you find them quickly and easily at the store.
Get a full list of brands, varieties, and flavors here: Gluten-free hot dogs
Are Nathan’s hot dogs gluten-free?
Nathan’s Famous brand has a number of hot dog and frank options you can buy from the store. Their website shows the following options as being gluten-free.
- All Natural Uncured Beef Franks
- Skinless Beef Franks
- Bun-Length Skinless Beef Franks
- Cheddar Beef Franks
- Colossal Quarter Pound Beef Franks
- Jumbo Restaurant Style Beef Franks
- Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters
- Angus Beef Franks
Are Oscar Mayer hot dogs gluten-free?
Oscar Mayer hot dogs are not labeled as gluten-free, and therefore may or may not have any gluten cross contamination during manufacturing.
Keep this in mind when choosing hot dogs for your next barbecue or gathering. Use your best judgment as it relates to how you react to cross contamination with gluten to help you determine if this is a brand that will work well for you and your gluten-free diet.
Are Hebrew National hot dogs gluten-free?
According to the Hebrew National website, none of their beef franks contain gluten, including the following products:
- Beef Franks
- All Natural Beef Franks
- Reduced Fat Beef Franks
- 97% Fat Free Beef Franks
- Bun Length Beef Franks
- Jumbo Beef Franks
- Quarter Pound Beef Franks
- Beef Knockwurst
Are Ballpark hot dogs gluten-free?
This brand does not make any gluten statements about their hot dogs and other products. Due to this, we can assume that even their hot dogs without any gluten ingredients may have the possibility of cross contamination with gluten during manufacturing.
Are Bar S hot dogs gluten-free?
According to the Bar S website, “Our sausages, hot dogs, lunchmeat, and bacon are gluten-free. There is gluten in our corn dogs.”
These are the gluten-free hot dog options from Bar S that are going to be safe for your gluten-free diet:
- Classic Franks
- Beef Franks (classic, jumbo, bun length, jumbo jumbo)
- Turkey Franks
- Chicken Franks (classic, jumbo)
- Signature Smokehouse Franks (classic, jumbo)
- Cheddar Franks
- Pork Franks
Are Costco hot dogs gluten-free?
According to the Costco product description of their hot dogs on their website, they are considered gluten-free. It’s always a good idea to review the ingredients list and look for a gluten-free label before purchasing.
Are hot dog buns gluten-free?
Most hot dog buns contain wheat flour, wheat gluten, and wheat starch in their ingredients list. That said, there are some brands that do offer gluten-free hot dog buns.
Get a full list of brands and where to find them here: Gluten-free hot dog buns
If you enjoy hot dogs, I hope that this post has given you some information about whether or not you want to continue eating them this summer or keeping them on hand for quick and easy lunch and dinners for your family.
While some hot dog brands are gluten-free, others aren’t, so look for a gluten-free label to help you determine which brands and varieties to buy next time you’re shopping for this ingredient.