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How to Grill Hot Dogs in Your Kitchen

When the grill’s away, the stovetop or oven will play! Learn how to grill up the tastiest, crispiest hot dogs inside.

It’s the weekend, and you can’t stop thinking about smoky, lightly charred hot dogs on the grill. Unfortunately, Mother Nature isn’t on your side. You look out the window and let out a sigh when you see your grill, all covered up and soaked from the rain.

But here’s the good news: you’re here reading this, which means the cookout is far from cancelled. No, it’s just moving it indoors. Because in a moment, I’m going to spill the beans on my best tips, tricks, and techniques for cooking hot dogs—the ultimate American classic—in your kitchen.

You might be skeptical about this, but trust me, hot dogs grilled indoors can turn out incredibly tasty if you do cook them right. So let’s turn this rainy day around and have a sizzling feast.

Forget about sunscreens and bug sprays; all you need is your best appetite and favorite brand of hot dogs!

The Thing About Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are already cooked, but we still grill them for two reasons.

First, the USDA recommends heating them until they’re steaming hot, even though they’re fully cooked, especially for those at risk of food poising.

But grilling not only makes the hot dogs safe to eat; it gives them a tasty browned surface and crispy texture. This happens because of something called the Maillard reaction, which also gives them a richer flavor.

Now that we’ve gotten the boring—but nevertheless important—theory out of the way, let’s get to the part you really want to know: grilling hot dogs in your kitchen.

Grilling Hot Dogs in a Grill Pan

Go for a thick and heavy pan; it will hold on to the heat and give your hot dogs a better browning compared to a lighter pan.

Add unsalted butter or cooking oil to the pan. Heat it over medium heat until the butter has melted and is no longer bubbling or the oil starts to glisten and ripple.

While the pan is preheating, score the hot dogs with a sharp knife on one side so that their skins don’t burst during cooking. There’s no need to worry about the hot dogs drying out. Since they’re already cooked, they won’t lose moisture loss like raw sausages would if you were to score them.

Place the hot dogs across the grill lines, leaving some space between them. Grill for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side until you get that dark brown and, if you’re grilling them in a grill pan, those lightly charred grill marks all around.

Grilling Hot Dogs Under the Broiler

When it comes to grilling hot dogs under the broiler, the process is just as simple as cooking it in a grill pan. This method is also handy if you’re making a large batch, as you can grill more hot dogs at once.

First things first: you’ll need to preheat your broiler. Most ovens have a “broil” setting, which heats them up to 500-550°F (260-290°C), about as hot as a good gas grill. If your oven allows it, adjust the broiler rack so it’s 4 to 6 inches (10-15 centimeters) away from the heat source. This will give you a good balance between cooking and charring the hot dogs.

Just like with the pan grilling method, you should score your hot dogs before placing them under the broiler. This will prevent the skins from bursting.

Arrange your hot dogs on a broiling pan. The raised design of this pan allows for air circulation underneath, which aids in even browning and crisping. If you don’t have a broiling pan, you can use a baking sheet.

Slide the pan into the oven, positioning it so the hot dogs are aligned under the broiler. Broil the hot dogs for about 4 to 5 minutes, then flip them over and broil for another 3 to 4 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.

Your hot dogs should come out with a crispy exterior, heated through, and tasting as if they were cooked on the grill—all achieved in your kitchen.

Tying It All Together

While there’s nothing quite like grilling hot dogs outside in the summertime, the weather doesn’t always cooperate.

But don’t let a little rain dampen your spirits or your appetite for that char-grilled taste. With the right techniques, you can grill hot dogs in your kitchen that are just as delicious, giving you that familiar smoky flavor you love.

Whether you choose to use a grill pan or a broiler, these indoor grilling methods are sure to bring joy to your plate, and keep your cookout traditions alive, no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.