Healthiest & Unhealthiest Store-Bought Hot Dogs

Some hot dogs are worse for you than others
"Bun-Length" hot dogs can be up to twice the size of standard hot dogs.

Hot dogs are one of those quintessentially American foods, one that no summer is complete without. But when it comes time to choose a hot dog for your cookout, it can sometimes be daunting to find the right one, especially if you’re looking for healthy options. We’ve done the work for you and tracked down the healthiest and unhealthiest hot dogs at the supermarket.

Healthiest & Unhealthiest Store-Bought Hot Dogs (Slideshow)

Hot dogs are a barbecue mainstay, and when compared with a cheese-covered burger or a juicy bratwurst, a normal-sized hot dog can actually contain fewer calories than anything else on the grill. But when you’re at the grocery store, keep in mind that not all hot dogs are created equal, and some pack far more fat, calories, and sodium into the casing than others.

If you’re looking for a healthy (or, let’s face it, less unhealthy) hot dog, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, use your eyes: the bigger a hot dog is, the unhealthier it will be. The words jumbo, stadium, and bun-length connote a larger-than-normal dog, and sometimes these can be nearly double the size of a standard dog. Also look out for sodium content; sometimes the lower-calorie turkey and chicken dogs are pumped full of extra salt in order to make them taste better, neutralizing any nutritional advantage.

So what to look for? Brands like Applegate Farms sell uncured hot dogs (also sometimes with “no added nitrates”), which are by default healthier than nitrate-filled dogs, which some experts have linked to cancer risk. Also be on the lookout for hot dogs that contain fewer than 375 milligrams of sodium, which is more than enough, and opt for organic hot dogs (which are made from organic meat, don’t contain antibiotics or hormones, and are nitrate-free), or if you want to go super-healthy, just opt for a veggie dog (but still look out for sodium).

Read on to learn what the healthiest and unhealthiest hot dog options at the supermarket are, categorized by composition into all-beef, turkey, veggie, low-fat, and mixed meat varieties.


Best: Applegate Farms Uncured

Fat: 8 grams
Calories: 110
Sodium: 330 milligrams

This hot dog is also made with organic, grass-fed beef.

Worst: Ballpark

Fat: 16 grams
Calories: 190
Sodium: 550 milligrams

Click here for more of the healthiest and unhealthiest hot dogs on the market. 

Be a Part of the Conversation

Have something to say?
Add a comment (or see what others think).

Comments 15

Like this story? Get updates by email, facebook and twitter
Get daily food and wine coverage

Latest from The Daily Meal

The Daily Meal Video Network
Strawberry Brie Grilled Cheese





As one other educated person wrote: Virtually all hot dogs are cured. It was some idiots in the USDA that allowed the use of "uncured" on the labels of those products that contain nitrites from Celery and other sources. Nitrite is nitrite and the body cannot tell the difference between the type that has been added in curing salts for decades and those from celery. Plain and simple. I also agree with the comment that who cares which one your are eating especially if you only partake of them once or twice a year. My wife also has a great barometer for quality hot dogs. What kind of meat do they use in $0.69/lb B_rS hot dogs? I haven't seen much meat in my local grocery store anywhere near that cheap! You get what you pay for.


Fuck your auto play shit captcha video and your shitty site


This story really sucks!! Why don't you just list the "BEST" and the "Worst"!! You only touch on the subject. Very disappointing reading this. Get to the meat of the story and not just fill this story up with words. Make your point!! Whoever wrote this need to go back to school and learn how to write a story with the facts? Was their ever a taste testing done or are you just reading the labels?
Sad that something like a good story idea like this is worthless!!


Geeze, calm the hell down, you sound like a complete moron.


My gosh, when did everyone get so crabby and pessimistic? It's a hot dog! Having one every once in awhile is not going to kill you. People, we need to chill out and not take every little thing so serious.


Sorry, increased sodium levels from salt does in no way negate the benefits of less (saturated) fat. Dont cave to the outrage industrial complex and forgo the salt. Oh and cured meats existed long before the corporation, don't blame oscar meyer, et al. for saving you the trouble of making your own sausage.


"Why am I so fat?" - Ignorant American in between bites of a Ballpark hotdog


What a douche bag some foreign people are. Probably some stinky friggin Frenchman


We think Applegates organic hot dogs taste great!


But can you burp them the next day?!? LOL


Why would you KNOWINGLY eat this FILTH….knowing what we know today. The majority of Americans will eat any garbage without hesitation…but my god, when does this country wake up to the filth that "corporate America" and DC allow for the sake of money. You are what you eat - how true - talk about Americans and refinement….???!!!


Now I know why I look so weird, I am a vagina. Ha!


We've tried everything from no-fat Hebrew to turkey hot dogs. Geezus, we don't eat these things but a couple times a year so why not buy the ones the taste the best? I don't care about calories or what's in them if I'm not eating them regularly. For my holiday, summer hot dogs, I serve Ball Park or Oscar Myer. I would be embarrassed by the tastes of the organic, low-fat, and especially the turkey hot dogs.


Organic uncured dogs do in fact contain nitrates - they do not add artificial nitrates to the hot dogs but rather add concentrated celery juice, which naturally contains nitrates.

Add a Comment

Upload a picture of yourself no larger than 3MB, please see Terms for details
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human