Do Hot Dogs Have Gluten. Info and Popular Brands

  • Hots dogs are a favorite snack among meat lovers around the world, especially in the US.
  • It’s a sausage sandwich. But quite often, the words “hot dog” refer to the sausage alone.
  • Hot dog sausages may or may not be free from gluten, depending on the ingredients used.
  • The gluten free status of hot dogs can change from one brand to the other.

Do hot dogs have gluten? As an avid hot dog fan, this was the most painful question I asked when going gluten free. I wanted to know straight up, do hot dogs have gluten or not? The article below will outline the answer with some useful information for celiac people.

Hot dogs may have come from Germany, but they are a national favorite in the US. From summer barbecues on the porch to camping trips with the family – hot dogs are everywhere.

Grilling the delicious wieners and placing those juicy babies inside a slit bun, and then gorging on them, with some ketchup and mustard sauce – what could be better than that?   

When we say “hot dogs”, we can mean the entire sandwich with the bun, as well as just the sausage. For the sake of our discussion, let’s consider only the sausage.

But for every gluten intolerant person, the big question is – do hot dogs have gluten?

There’s no “yes” or “no” answer to this. It depends on the brand and the ingredients used. So, you need to look at the label to find gluten free hot dogs.  

Do Hot Dogs Contain Gluten – What are hot dogs?

do hot dogs have gluten
via ballparkbrand

A hot dog is simply a sausage inside a bun with some ketchup or mustard and some relish. Some even put mayonaise inside.

While originally from Germany, the hot dog as most know it today was hugely adopted in the United States especially by working class population sold in street corners and food carts.

The first image that comes to mind when thinking of a hot dog is a baseball game and enjoying a bun with hot sausage inside during the game.

Among the little delights that enrich an American’s life, hot dogs definitely feature among the top. It’s fast food that’s also filling.

Who could possibly dislike it? Nowadays, even vegans have developed their own plant-based versions, so that they don’t miss out on all the fun that revolves around the meaty hot dogs. But, are hot dogs gluten free?

The answer depends on the ingredients used by a brand in the making process. Remember that by hot dogs, we are only referring to the sausages, to exclude the gluten-filled buns from the conversation.

While the main ingredient of the traditional hot dog is meat, the sausages may not always be gluten free. That’s because of the additives that some brands use in these hot dogs.

Hot dogs often contain preservatives, flavoring agents, thickeners, and more. And, many of these fillers can be glutinous, making the sausage unsafe for you if you are allergic to gluten.

Plus, there’s always the possibility of cross-contamination. So, it is essential to look at the ingredients list and ensure that the hot dog you’re about to buy is gluten free.   

Additives in Hot Dogs

Every company of hot dogs has its own recipe for this meaty delight. Keeping meat as the main ingredient, these brands develop sausages with their own selection of flavors, texturizers, and more.

Besides meat, hot dogs may include the following:

  1. Sodium nitrite/Lactate/diacetate (salt)
  2. Sodium ascorbate/ascorbic acid/Sodium erythorbate (vitamin C) 
  3. Extract of yeast or autolyzed yeast
  4. Meat stock
  5. Citric acid
  6. Collagen casing
  7. Coloring agents like cherry powder
  8. Dried flavoring agents like celery powder and garlic powder
  9. Pureed flavorings like garlic 
  10. Protein from hydrolyzed vegetable
  11. Lauric arginate
  12. Maltodextrin
  13. Thickeners like modified starch or soy protein concentrate
  14. MSG
  15. Phosphates
  16. Smoke flavoring by burning wood or husk
  17. Sweetening agents like sorbitol/sugar/corn syrup   

Many of these ingredients may contain gluten in them. So, it is essential to go through the ingredients list carefully before purchasing hot dogs, to ensure it’s gluten free.

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Gluten Content on Food Labels

Here’s a list of glutinous ingredients that you need to be aware of when buying any food item. These ingredients should be avoided at all costs if you’re allergic to gluten or suffer from celiac.

  1. Wheat
  2. Durum 
  3. Kamut 
  4. Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  5. Barley
  6. Breading 
  7. Bulgur
  8. Farro/faro 
  9. Spelt
  10. Dinkel
  11. Rye
  12. Seitan 
  13. Triticale
  14. Semolina
  15. Wheat bran/flour/germ/starch
  16. Matzo

Apart from these, there are other ingredients that might contain gluten. These ingredients are as follows:

  1. Malt (extract, syrup, flavoring, milk, vinegar)
  2. OatmealGlucose syrup
  3. Modified food starch
  4. Yeast or yeast extract
  5. Dextrin
  6. Maltodextrin
  7. Soy sauce
  8. Seasonings
  9. Artificial flavorings
  10. Preservatives

Not all of these may be present in hot dogs. But, it’s essential to find out If any of these ingredients are on the list of ingredients.

Related: Is corned beef gluten free | Does bacon have gluten

If they are, you must either ensure that they are not made from gluten cereals or depend entirely on a “gluten free” label. 

What About Cross-Contamination?

Another thing that you should be worried about at the time of buying hot dogs – or any food item, for that matter – is cross-contamination.

This is when a naturally gluten free item ends up with traces of gluten when they come in touch with gluten products. This happens due to shared facilities of manufacturing, processing, or storing. 

If the hot dogs are made, processed, or stored in the same facilities that deal with gluten-containing items, there’s always the possibility of cross-contamination.

However, some brands take special care to eliminate all chances of cross-contamination. Sometimes, brands mention shared facilities to warn consumers. But, this may not be true for all brands. 

Importance of a “Gluten Free” Label on Hot Dogs 

Finding gluten free hot dogs can be more complicated than you think. The FDA does not regulate hot dogs. As a result, it is free from any requirement imposed by the FALCPA to list out the presence of allergens.

So, looking for allergen warnings or the common names of allergy-inducing ingredients might not help you at all. To be on the same side, you will need to go the extra mile. 

You must look for a “gluten free” label. If a product is certified as gluten free, then it contains less than 20 ppm of gluten.

Apart from that, make sure to scan the ingredients list properly. The gluten sources may be mentioned on the label using their easy-to-recognize common names.

But, you should also be careful about the terms behind which the gluten might be hiding.    

Gluten Free Hot Dog Brands

Fortunately, there are hot dog brands that have developed delicious sausage recipes without using gluten-rich ingredients.

They have also made it a point to take necessary precautions to prevent cross-contamination.

This way, these brands ensure that everyone, even those with gluten intolerance, can enjoy hot dogs. These brands contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. 

Let’s take a look at the brands that produce healthy, gluten free hot dogs:

Sabrett – The GFCO, i.e., Gluten Free Certification Organization, certifies the hot dogs, as well as other meat products, as gluten free. That means in all these products, the level of gluten content is less than 10 ppm, which lower than the permissible gluten limit, i.e., 20 ppm. 

Applegate Farms – This company offers six types of hot dogs made of different kinds of meat. These are organic and healthy, and all the products can be considered gluten free, with less than 20 ppm gluten. They are also made in a gluten free environment. 

Boar’s Head – Also known for its luncheon meats and cheeses, this brand’s hot dogs are made from ingredients that are completely free from gluten. Further, the company only works with ingredient suppliers who assure gluten free products. 

Kunzler – This brand is known for its hot dogs, as well as other meat-based products like lunch meats, ham, and bacon. The company claims that its hot dogs are naturally free from gluten content. Besides, made in a separate room with gluten free ingredients.

Wellshire Farms – This company strives to manufacture products, including its different types of hot dogs, which are quite allergy-friendly. This means that it is also free from gluten. In addition, the brand also takes conscious steps to avoid cross-contamination.

do hot dogs have gluten - Hillshire farm
via costco

Complete Gluten Free Hot Dog Experience

Congratulations if you have managed to select the best gluten free hot dog sausages. But that’s not enough! To make your complete hot dog experience healthy and gluten free, you need buns and condiments that are also free from gluten-containing ingredients. 

Gluten Free Buns – There are a couple of options for gluten free buns, including:

a) Udi’s Gluten-Free buns that are quite similar to classic buns in taste and texture.

b) Pure Knead buns that are also free from dairy content.

Gluten Free Condiments – Since ketchup, relish, and mustard sauce are an indispensable part of the hot dog sandwich experience, you can try gluten free condiments like:

a) mustard sauce by French’s

b) ketchup and relish by Heinz. 

After all, what’s a hot dog with a slit bun and some delicious sauces? 

Healthier Hot Dog Alternatives

It is not difficult to find gluten free hot dog brands. However, it should be remembered that they have high levels of sodium and are also highly processed.

So, it is best not to include hot dogs in daily diets to avoid health problems.

The appeal of hot dogs is understandable, of course. They are delicious and easy to cook. But, instead of having them on a daily basis, you can try ready-to-cook burgers, kebabs, or meatballs.

Plenty of gluten free varieties of these can be found in the market. 

Recipe for Gluten Free Hot Dog Buns

If you’re unable to get satisfying gluten free hot dog buns, then you can always make them at home!

Here’s a recipe for the home bakers to choose a healthy, gluten free alternative. 

Ingredients:

  • Dry yeast (active) – 2 ¼ tsp
  • Granulated sugar – ¾ tsp
  • Milk – ¾ cup 
  • White rice flour – 82 g
  • Brown rice – 75 g
  • Tapioca flour – 45 g
  • Arrowroot flour – 97 g
  • Sorghum flour – 24 g
  • Xanthan gum – 2 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Sea salt – ¾ tsp
  • Honey – 3 tbsp
  • Egg – 1 (Large)
  • Avocado oil – ⅓ cup
  • Butter – 3 tbsp

 Instructions

  1. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set it aside. 
  2. In a bowl, add yeast and sugar. 
  3. Heat milk to 100 F, and pour it slowly of the yeast and sugar. Make sure that the yeast gets moistened in the process.  
  4. Allow the ingredients in the bowl to sit for around 15 minutes so that the yeast starts to bloom. 
  5. In another bowl, put all the flours together, along with salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Combine them. 
  6. Check the other bowl containing the yeast, sugar, and milk. If it starts to look foamy, then add the egg, honey, and oil. Turn on your hand mixer at medium-low speed and mix these together until they are all combined. 
  7. Now, add the flour mixture to it and mix again on medium speed for a minute. Remember to stop in the middle to scrape the side of the bowl.    
  8. Once everything is mixed, scrape the sides using a spatula and form a ball.
  9. Sprinkle any gluten free flour on a large surface and put the dough ball on it. Also sprinkled the dough ball with the same flour. 
  10. Pat the dough ball smooth with your hand and turn it into a square. Now, use a knife to divide it equally into 8 pieces. 
  11. Take each piece in your hands and work it a little before rolling it into a ball first, and then, into a roll that’s 5 ½ inches in length, and has a diameter of around 1 inch.    
  12. Prepare the rest of the pieces in the same way and place them on the baking sheet about ¼ inches away from each other so that they don’t touch each other when they start to side and expand during baking. 
  13. Keep the dough in a warm spot, like the top of a preheated oven. Don’t forget to cover it loosely with a kitchen towel. Allow it to sit for an hour, during which it will rise.  
  14. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  15. Once the dough has risen, brush the pieces with half of the melted butter on the top. Then, bake the rolls for 16-20 minutes. 
  16. After the baking process is complete, brush on the rest of the melted butter and let the buns cool for around 10 minutes on the pan. 
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Your delicious, fluffy, gluten free buns are ready! Slice them, slide in a hot dog, and splash some condiments to enjoy the perfect hot dog sandwich! 

Vegan Gluten-Free Hot Dogs Recipe 

Planning a barbeque game night? You wouldn’t want to exclude your vegan friends, right? Luckily, we have the perfect solution! Check out our vegan hot dog recipe!

Ingredients

  • Red lentils – 1 cup
  • Vegetable stock – 2 cups
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Onion – 1
  • Carrot (grated) – 1 ¼ cup
  • Tomato puree – 1 tbsp
  • Worcestershire Sauce (vegan) – 2 tbsp
  • Smoked paprika – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic powder – 2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • All-purpose gluten free flour – 1 ¼ cup

Instructions

  1. Set a saucepan on the heat and add rinsed lentils with the vegetable stock to it. Bring it to a boil. Then, cook for another 10 minutes, or till the grains are tender. Drain out the stock and set the cooked lentils aside.
  2. Place a skillet on medium heat and warm 1 tbsp of oil. Add finely chopped onions and sweat them till they become translucent. Add the carrots and cook them for 3-5 minutes, till they become soft. 
  3. Once cooked, put this mixture in a food processor along with the cooked lentils. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and all the spices.  
  4. Next, blend all of them for around 10 minutes. Stop to scrape the sides. Then, blend again. Continue with the process until everything is thoroughly combined.   
  5. Then, transfer this blended mixture into a bowl and add ¼ cup flour to it. Combine well before you add another batch of flour. Repeat the process until you get a non-sticky, thick mixture that can hold a shape. You can refrigerate it for 30 minutes if needed.
  6. Now, roll out the mixture and divide it into sausages. Once done, place them in the refrigerator for half an hour.    
  7. In a skillet, warm oil on low heat and cook your vegan hot dogs till they become nice and golden on each side.   

Your gluten free vegan hot dogs are ready to be served – with your home-baked gluten free buns!

Do hot dogs have gluten – Conclusion

Though it’s best if you don’t eat or serve hot dogs every day, hot dogs can be your answer whenever you’re looking to fix a quick snack or even meal.

Place them in a bun or eat them as they come. Or, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory suggests, cut them up into little pieces and mix them with spaghetti for a rustic and filling dinner.  

Everyone from kids to adults can enjoy hot dogs, even if they have gluten intolerance. The key is to pick brands whose wieners are certified as gluten free.

Remember to pair the sausages with gluten free items, to be able to enjoy a healthy and delicious meal or snack with your favorite hot dog as the hero of the dish.

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.