14 Healthiest Store-Bought Hot Dogs, Ranked

If you eat hot dogs once a year every Fourth of July, you're a rarity among Americans. According to a survey by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the average American consumes about 70 hot dogs a year. So if you're only eating a couple every Independence Day, you're probably rather health conscious. Hot dogs are considered pretty unhealthy due to their high levels of fat and sodium. Typically consumed with high-carb buns, hot dogs, Polish sausages, and other wieners of their ilk are far from a balanced meal. But that doesn't mean you can't bring home hot dogs that'll make the whole family happy without breaking your diet.

We decided to focus on enjoying this cookout favorite in a healthier way by examining which hot dog brands you can find at stores are the best for you. We looked at dozens of hot dogs' nutritional stats and found the ones with the lowest values when it came to total fat, saturated fat, and sodium. We picked no more than two products from any one given brand in order to give each brand's healthiest hot dog a shot at making our list. These grocery store options prove that you can have a healthier hot dog without sacrificing flavor.

What to look for when shopping for hot dogs

As with many other processed meats, hot dogs have a pretty poor reputation when it comes to nutrition. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the nitrates found in processed meat products like hot dogs are often converted to nitrites in the body. These can eventually form nitrosamines, organic compounds that are thought to be carcinogenic. As Kate Allen, a senior member of the World Cancer Research Fund, explained to the BBC: "Nitrites in processed meats are in close proximity to proteins (specifically amino acids). When cooked at high temperatures this allows them to more easily form nitrosamines, the cancer-causing compound."

Secondly, hot dogs often contain high levels of both saturated fat and sodium. According to BBC Future, diets high in saturated fat have been linked to increased cholesterol levels and, consequently, increased risk of strokes or heart attacks occurring. The Food and Drug Administration notes that diets high in sodium can also lead to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes occurring due to elevated blood pressure levels.

As a result, customers looking for the healthiest hot dogs should opt for products that are lower in saturated fats and sodium than the market norm. They should also try to find hot dogs that do not contain added nitrites or nitrates. Although this may sound like a fuss, there are plenty of products that fit the bill.

14. US Wellness Meats Beef Franks

US Wellness Meats is sold in a few dozen green grocery stores and affiliate locations throughout the United States, and one of its most popular items is its beef franks. This brand focuses on grass-fed beef that is sustainably raised. Its beef franks rank among some of the healthiest sold in stores for more reasons than just the numbers on the package.

US Wellness Meats' products are made without any of the nitrates or nitrites typically included in cured and processed meats. Too much consumption of these chemicals has been shown to be harmful and possibly increase cancer risk, as noted in the journal Antioxidants.

A US Wellness Meats plain beef frank will run you 234 calories, 17 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.8 grams of trans fat, and 523 milligrams of sodium. The calorie and sodium count here are what land these franks at the No. 10 spot despite the sustainability of the product. US Wellness Meats also offers sugar-free franks, which are great alternatives for diabetics or those trying to cut down on sugar intake for any reason.

13. Hebrew National All Natural Uncured Beef Franks

Hebrew National might be the most prestigious hot dog brand in the country, but how does it rank among the healthiest? These All Natural Uncured Beef Franks are better than the options out there in that respect, but they're lower on our list.

With only 140 calories, 12 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fats, and 430 milligrams of sodium, Hebrew National's uncured beef franks wind up being pretty healthy. Notably, this hot dog eliminates almost all of the trans fats from the equation. 

Of all the fats in food, trans fats are the worst for you and can have a negative impact on your health. Consuming too many trans fats can put you at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, according to the American Heart Association. Cutting back on trans fats can help improve your heart health. While these franks have virtually no trans fats, there are a handful of hot dogs on the market that have none at all, so this Hebrew National option winds up in ninth place.

12. Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters

This entry might be the most surprising, since these hot dogs are not the uncured or organic variety. These are the standard beef frankfurters that hot dog cart favorite Sabrett sells, yet they wind up being healthier than most of the competition. Clocking in at 140 calories, 12 total grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, and 360 milligrams of sodium, these are a great option for the all-beef hot dog lover watching their health.

The lower-than-average fat content and overall lack of trans fats are great here, but what makes Sabrett's frankfurters stand out is the sodium content, or relative lack of it. At only 360 milligrams, that sodium content is much closer to acceptable than most hot dogs. A traditional beef frank averages over 550 milligrams of sodium, which is around a quarter of the recommended daily intake for adults. Cutting back on this in particular can be a healthy choice for your blood pressure, according to the FDA.

11. Thousand Hills Hickory Smoked Beef Hot Dogs

The next brand up to the plate is Thousand Hills. Its Hickory Smoked Beef Hot Dogs are made from 100% grass-fed beef and wind up being a healthier choice for this reason and more. With 120 calories, 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 460 milligrams of sodium per frank, these are low in fat and sodium compared to the competition.

Most cattle in the United States eat a diet of grains, and grass-fed beef might seem like a fad or something reserved for fine dining only. But when it comes to your health, there are some advantages to eating it. According to the Mayo Clinic, grass-fed beef can have heart health benefits due to its low fat content and higher amount of healthy fatty acids. In other words, Thousand Hills' Hickory Smoked Beef Hot Dogs have ended up with a lower fat content than many store bought hot dogs because of the way its cattle are fed.

10. Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dog

The next frank is the first to appear from natural and organic meat brand Applegate. Applegate Naturals' Beef Hot Dogs are an excellent option that give you that beefy flavor but still only come out to 100 calories, 8 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and 480 milligrams of sodium.

These beef hot dogs are a great choice because they're remarkably low on saturated fats. You aren't going to find many hot dogs at the grocery store that have less, save for chicken and turkey dog variants. Doctors have long recommended cutting down on saturated fat consumption and replacing them with healthier natural and unsaturated fats in order to achieve a more balanced diet.

It's also worth noting that while uncured and all natural, these beef hot dogs are not organic. Despite being made by Applegate, the product falls under the Naturals sub-brand and not Applegate Organics, which is a distinction worth being aware of before you do your shopping. 

9. Organic Valley Uncured Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs

These hot dogs from Organic Valley are pulling out all the stops and holding up all the signs to make your brain go "healthy hot dog." They tick all the boxes, but how do these organic, uncured, and grass-fed beef franks hold up against the competition?

Pretty darn good, as it turns out. The Organic Valley Uncured Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs contain 130 calories, 11 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 380 milligrams of sodium. Across all of the categories we are judging on, these organic dogs pass with flying colors.

Organic hot dogs can be a great option since they do not have antibiotics or growth hormones that can be hazardous to health. As detailed in a research review published in the journal Toxicology Research, when livestock is produced using growth hormones, there is a risk of antimicrobial residue being left in the end result. Many studies have been done into the risk of consuming livestock raised with antimicrobials. While there are mixed conclusions overall, if any of that concerns you in the first place, buying organic is one way to ensure your system stays clean. And thanks to Organic Valley (and other brands), you'll still be able to indulge in hot dogs without worry.

8. Applegate Organics The Great Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dog

Applegate Organics delivers another low-calorie hot dog, this one clocking in at just 100 calories per wiener. The Great Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dog is no slouch in other departments as well, with only 8 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of saturated fat. Like the Organic Valley hot dogs before it, these franks are uncured. But what is it that makes the lack of curing have such an impact on the healthiness of the hot dogs?

Cured meats and processed meats often contain nitrates and nitrites which can sometimes be harmful or put you at higher risk for certain diseases like asthma, as indicated by a study written up in the journal Thorax. As mentioned, they're also linked with increased cancer risk. According to the WHO, the process of curing meat produces chemicals that are potentially carcinogenic and have been associated with colorectal cancer. 

While not completely free of the health concerns tied to hot dogs, these organic uncured franks from Applegate Organics are a way to avoid some of the negative effects of indulging during cookout season.

7. Jennie-O

Jennie-O is a company that specializes in turkey-based products, selling everything from ground turkey to turkey frankfurters. These hot dogs, known as Turkey Franks, are leaner than many beef-based hot dogs for the simple fact that turkey is a very lean meat. It's for this reason that each 56-gram frank contains 120 calories and only 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Turkey is also a very versatile meat, allowing people to serve the hot dogs in a variety of ways they'd never normally do.

The reason why Jennie-O's Turkey Franks do not rank higher on our list is simple: They contain a lot of sodium, 640 milligrams per hot dog to be exact. This means one small hot dog contains 28% of an adult's daily value. Eat a few of these and you might well exceed the daily value thanks to these hot dogs alone. So, if healthiness is what you're after, it's probably better to choose another brand that ranks higher on our list.

6. Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners

Oscar Mayer has been a beloved American brand for over 100 years. Known for its hot dogs, bologna, catchy slogans and musical numbers, and of course the iconic Wienermobile, this Kraft subsidiary actually offers one very healthy hot dog option. This is notably the only hot dog on this list that includes more than just beef, as these are made with a mixture of chicken, turkey, and pork. Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners are remarkably low in all the categories we are focusing on in this comparison, with 110 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 400 milligrams of sodium per hot dog.

Buying the brands with the lowest saturated fats for foods you already like is an easy place to start in cutting down on unhealthy fats in your diet. Decreasing the amount of fat in your diet can have long-term benefits in a number of categories. According to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, the upsides of cutting back include lowering the risks for breast cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. 

5. Ball Park Lean Beef Franks

When you think of hot dogs, you think of the ballpark, but the brand that has capitalized on this American association hasn't popped up on this list until now. That's because most of Ball Park's other hot dogs cannot compare to the brand's lean beef hot dogs when it comes to a low-fat, low-calorie option for game day.

We're serious – there's only 80 calories in each of these beef franks. That plus 5 grams of total fat, only 2 grams of saturated fat, and 480 milligrams of sodium puts this option solidly in the No. 2 spot.

By using lean beef, Ball Park has created one of the healthiest all-beef dogs on the market. A research review written up in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that lean red meat, being low in saturated fat, does not raise total blood cholesterol levels. If balanced correctly with other healthy sides, lean beef can be part of a heart-friendly diet that won't negatively impact your cardiovascular health. 

4. Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks

At last, we arrive behind a winner, and one we can all get behind. These kosher all-beef franks from Hebrew National are 97% fat free and, as a result, contain only 1 gram of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, and a mere 45 calories per hot dog. 

As mentioned, saturated fatty acids, like the ones found in most hot dogs, raise blood cholesterol levels. Elevated levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, aka the "bad" cholesterol) can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and put you at risk for atherosclerosis and other forms of heart disease.

The only orange flag here is the 490 milligrams of sodium in these nearly fat-free hot dogs. While that's definitely on the higher end of hot dogs we considered for this ranking, we also had to consider the range itself. When the low end starts at 360 milligrams, the difference between that and what these Hebrew National hot dogs bring to the table isn't that severe. Compare that to the massive cutbacks in calories and saturated fats you get by choosing these franks, and you'll see why we put them first.

3. Niman Ranch

Niman Ranch sources its meat from farmers and ranchers that raise their animals in a sustainable and humane manner. All of the animals are reared outside or, in some cases, deeply bedded pens. The animals are never given added hormones or antibiotics. The end result is healthy, ethical meat that's made into hot dogs which carry an incredible flavor. Even the best grocery store hot dogs cannot compete with those produced by Niman Ranch.

Of Niman Ranch's three hot dogs, the Uncured Beef and Pork Franks are the healthiest. One of these 57-gram franks contains 130 calories, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, and 480 milligrams of sodium. These numbers are impressive for a meat-based hot dog and indicate that Niman Ranch uses lean cuts of meat to make its products. What's more, Niman Ranch's Uncured Beef and Pork Franks do not contain any added nitrites or nitrates. As a result, these aren't just some of the tastiest hot dogs around but some of the healthiest too.

2. Field Roast

Field Roast is a company that specializes in plant-based meat and cheese products and is one of the leading vegan hot dog brands out there. David Lee, the founder of the company, has consistently made the point that Field Roast's products are not an imitation of meat, but unique foods in their own right. It's for this reason the company eschews cultured meat, preferring instead to develop its products using whole foods such as grains, vegetables, and legumes.

This approach is typified by Field Roast's Signature Stadium Dogs, which are made with pea protein, soybean oil, and potato starch amongst other ingredients. Thanks to these chosen ingredients, each 56-gram link only contains 150 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 350 milligrams of sodium. Although considerably less than several other products on this list, Signature Stadium Dogs' sodium content is still relatively high at 15% of an adult's daily value and bears watching, especially if people are going to eat more than one hot dog.

1. Lightlife

Lightlife is a plant-based food company that's been creating and selling healthy products for over 40 years. The company sells everything from tempeh to plant-based deli meats and has worked with iconic chefs including Molly Baz. Lightlife also produces its own plant-based hot dogs under the name Smart Dogs.

Smart Dogs are predominantly made of soy protein and soy bean oil. Due to the absence of meat, shoppers need not worry about potentially harmful nitrites or nitrates. Each smart dog link weighs 43 grams and contains only 60 calories, no saturated fat, and 350 milligrams of sodium. This makes it the healthiest hot dog included in our list.

Aside from being healthy, Smart Dogs are also very easy to use. While suitable for the grill, they are just as enjoyable when boiled or microwaved. In other words, when using Smart Dogs, you don't need to worry about how to cook hot dogs, even when you're without a grill.


We chose these 10 hot dogs based on the values for total fats, saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium. We tried to find the lowest values across all these categories and then compared these numbers within the hot dogs' brands as well as competing brands. We attempted to vary the branding as much as possible in order to not overload the list with too many hot dogs from one brand. 

All nutritional numbers listed for each of the above are per one frank. For the sake of consistency, we only chose classic or all-beef hot dogs. This list does not include turkey dogs, chicken dogs, or any type of veggie or meat-alternative dog. Many of those alternatives to red meat can be healthier for you than a regular hot dog, but that's not necessarily always the case. Be sure to check the labels before you buy and compare brands (like we did here) in order to find the healthiest option for your dietary needs.