The 8 Best Hot Dog Cookers

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This wiki has been updated 34 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Whether you're making hot dogs for just yourself or an entire group of people, you'll need an efficient cooker if you want to achieve the best results quickly. We've put together a selection of both steamers and grills that specialize in preparing plump and juicy fare, and that are available with added features, such as rollers, pans, and bun warmers, to make the process simple. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Candery Hot Dog Roller

2. Olde Midway PRO18

3. Paragon 8020

Editor's Notes

February 05, 2021:

Generally speaking, there are three places you'll probably want to make hotdogs: at home, inside a restaurant, or outside at a fair or other event. The Nostalgia Diner-Style is a great choice for indoor use for parties, thanks to its low price, efficient operation, and high capacity. If it's just for family use, the Candery Hot Dog Roller is hard to beat, partly because instead of steaming the dogs, it actually uses dry heat, which can help maximize flavor. The Olde Midway PRO18 is basically the gold standard for medium capacity indoor use, and the Paragon 8020 is commonly seen on food trucks and at carnivals.

One thing to keep in mind is whether you want a steamer or roller grill; a lot of people prefer grilled hotdogs, but steamed weiners stay juicier over longer periods of time. For in-home grilling that takes up little space, the Maximatic Elite is the best choice, and the Maverick Hero is a good compact steamer, although you'll have to warm the buns somewhere else.

December 05, 2019:

When you’re serving a crowd at an informal event, it’s hard to go wrong with a food like hot dogs, and these warmers are great for heating up cold or frozen franks and keeping them warm. Some of the models featured here, like the Empura Commercial, are commercial grade and can accommodate a large party, while others are geared toward home use, like the playfully designed Maverick Hero and Smart Planet Snoopy.

The Great Northern Popcorn Company 4078 was added in this update, and this powerful, 1,400-watt model can make up to 18 plump, juicy hot dogs at once. It features seven stainless steel, non-stick rollers that are sturdy and easy to clean. It’s designed with safety in mind, with a temperature control setting and a built-in fuse.

Key considerations when you’re choosing a hot dog roller that’s right for you are how many hot dogs you expect to be cooking at a time and whether you need one with dual temperature control, a bun warmer, and a sneeze guard. If you’ll be serving hot dogs at your next party, don’t forget to have enough plates, napkins, and condiment pumps on hand. For safety's sake, make sure your hot dogs have reached 140 degrees before serving them by using a meat thermometer.

Special Honors

Avantco Equipment HDS-200 If you’re a convenience store owner, this large-capacity model can help you boost sales, as many customers find the sight and smell of roasting foods irresistible, including hot dogs, sausages, egg rolls, and more. It can hold up to 200 pre-cooked hot dogs, and has a separate compartment that keeps up to 48 buns hot and moist. The temperature is adjustable between 85 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. It offers a convenient top-loading design that saves space compared to others that come with swinging doors.

Star Hot Dog Steamer with Juice Tray You can steam a large load of franks to perfection with this selection, which features side-by-side compartments for hot dogs and buns. It’s made with a powerful heating element and a reliable humidity control system. Unlike many others, it starts up quickly, thanks to its adjustable thermostat. And you can run it all day if you like, since it features a large-capacity, six-quart water pan. It’s got full-view tempered glass on the front and back sides, a front drain valve, and an optional juice tray to keep your water pan clean.

4. Nostalgia Diner-Style

5. Nostalgia HDR8RY

6. Empura Commercial

7. Maximatic Elite

8. Maverick Hero

What Separates a Good Hot Dog Cooker From a Great One?

But keep in mind, these industrial-sized cookers can measure up to 2X2', and they can weigh well over 20 lbs.

The two most immediate features that separate a superior hot dog cooker from an average one are how many hot dogs the cooker can accommodate, and how quickly that cooker can heat those dogs straight through.

Certain cookers can fit anywhere from 8-18 hot dogs on their rollers, which is fantastic, assuming you have a need for that type of volume. But keep in mind, these industrial-sized cookers can measure up to 2X2', and they can weigh well over 20 lbs. On top of which, a lot of these larger models come with overhead steam guards, delicate control panels, and 4-9 rollers. The point being, you need to make sure you have ample clearance on a counter (or a deck) before investing in a cooker of that size.

If a cooker comes advertised as being able to heat a hot dog in two minutes or less, you'll want to read some customer reviews to make sure that cooker's rollers won't burn your hot dogs to a crisp. One of the most beneficial aspects of a great cooker is its ability to keep several hot dogs warm in the tradition of a rotisserie. Ideally, you should be able to turn the cooker's temperature down without turning it off.

The more hot dogs you cook, the more film that's going to build up as a result of juice and steam. Stainless steel cookers are fantastic in that you can clean them easily and the majority of dried-in spots won't stick. You may want to avoid any cooker with a plastic control panel, however, for the simple reason that plastic looks good when you first buy a cooker, but it tends to peel and fade the more you scrub it with an abrasive pad.

An Assortment Of Foods That You Can Cook On Any Hot Dog Roller

Whether you're purchasing a hot dog cooker for the home or for a business, chances are you'll want to get as much use - and value - out of that cooker as you can. This means cooking a lot of hot dogs, sure, and it probably means keeping a wide variety of condiments on hand, as well.

Bear in mind that the larger a hot dog cooker is, the more of these foods that you can accommodate at once.

Depending on your preference, owning a hot dog cooker could enable you to make corn dogs, or bacon dogs, or hot dogs that are wrapped in pretzel bread. Beyond that, owning a hot dog cooker could enable you to make kielbasas and kebabs, along with an assortment of Mexican food, including tortillas, soft-shell tacos, fajitas, taquitos, and more.

In terms of frozen food, you can use a hot dog cooker to warm up any type of store-bought wrap, along with spring rolls, egg rolls, vegan rolls, pizza rolls, bread sticks, mozzarella sticks, fish sticks, and churros.

Bear in mind that the larger a hot dog cooker is, the more of these foods that you can accommodate at once. Certain cookers will even allow you to keep prepared foods at a holding temperature for hours, which is particularly cost-effective if you're selling food straight off a hot dog cooker's rollers on a counter.

A Brief History of The Hot Dog (By Way of Its Names)

Hot dogs, which were - and are - little more than pork sausages, originated in 13th-Century Frankfurt, Germany, where they were aptly referred to as frankfurters. These early sausages were served at lavish celebrations where attendants would eschew utensils as a part of the fun.

During the 18th Century, the frankfurter made its way to Vienna, where connoisseurs combined the pork with beef, renaming their creation a wiener, as a tribute to Vienna, which was pronounced by the Austrians as Wien.

This phrase had previously been used by Europeans who mistakenly believed a frankfurter to be little more than a piece of processed dog meat.

During the mid-1800s the frankfurter crossed the Atlantic where it eventually became a novelty item on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Between 1880 and 1900, a slew of independent vendors began selling similar sausages throughout the American Midwest. These early vendors toyed with the idea of offering patrons a pair of white gloves to use while eating the frankfurter. When that proved too expensive, The solution became placing the frankfurter in a bun.

The term hot dog came into its own toward the end of the 19th Century in America. This phrase had previously been used by Europeans who mistakenly believed a frankfurter to be little more than a piece of processed dog meat. Ironically, the crowds in Coney Island came to prefer the misleading term, and it took off in a big way after 1916, when Nathan's Hot Dogs opened its doors.

Nathan's was the brainchild of Nathan Handwerker, an aspiring employee of Charles Feltman, the German immigrant who had originally brought hot dogs to Coney Island. Handwerker undercut his former boss by selling hot dogs for a nickel, as opposed to Feltman's 10 cents. Handwerker made up for the meager profit in terms of volume. Handwerker also cut costs by manufacturing his own product, which was made by using a secret recipe. That combination eventually led to Nathan's being sold for roughly a veritable fortune in 1987. Hot dogs and hamburgers, both of which were derived from Germany (i.e., Frankfurt and Hamburg), continue to be among the most popular vending dishes in America.

Christopher Thomas
Last updated by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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