How To Cook A Hot Dog When You Don't Have A Grill

Nothing says summer more than enjoying a good old-fashioned hot dog. Although this classic and purely American invention varies regionally in what it's topped with, there's something universally delicious about biting into a soft bun filled with a plump and snappy sausage. For many people, the preferred way to cook these dogs is to char them over an open flame outside while drinking an ice cold beer.

Unfortunately though, most of us don't have access to an expensive grill all year round — some us don't have access at all — so sometimes we must rely on other types of cookery to get the job done. From pan frying or griddling to oven roasting and even microwaving, hot dogs are so versatile that they can be prepared in many different ways, even if you don't have a grill.


Probably the most convenient way to cook these sausages at home is simply in a skillet or good-quality cast-iron pan. Just add a small amount of water to a pan set over medium-high heat. Add the dogs to the skillet once the water starts to gently boil and cook, rolling the hot dogs regularly until evenly brown.

Pro tip: "Want a more decadent flavor? Swap out the water for a generous dab of butter or a few tablespoons of oil." – Nathan's Famous


Iconic hot dog vendor Nathan's Famous always cooks its sausages exclusively on large flattop griddles — and one thing you might not know about trendy Shake Shack is that they use a similar method. This technique ensures that the dogs will sear nicely on all sides, achieving a crisp exterior, but it doesn't overcook them or dry out the center.

Pro tip: Take a note from the culinary geniuses over at Shake Shack and split your hot dogs down the middle, so they open up like a book, before throwing them onto the griddle to cook. This creates the perfect crevasse that can be filled with your favorite condiments so you never have to worry about the toppings falling out.


Roasting your frankfurters in an oven is an easy, mess-free alternative when the craving for these dogs hits but grilling is out of the question. Just place the hot dogs on a baking sheet or oven-proof dish and cook for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees.

Pro tip: Make cleanup easy on yourself by lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil. That way, after you're finished cooking, you can just remove and throw out the used foil, rather than having to scrape and scrub the pan.


Although this technique may be frowned upon by hot dog purists, desperate times call for desperate measures. There is an upside to microwaving these sausages, though: You can have a ready-to-eat dog in less than a minute.

Pro tip: To microwave a single hot dog, cook on high for 45 seconds. For each additional dog, add 15 to 20 seconds to the cook time. Also, make sure to poke a couple holes in the dogs so the casings don't burst when cooking.