A delicious hot dog with a snappy casing, slathered with all the sweet and savory toppings you love…on a cold bun.

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A proper hot dog lover would never dream of serving their culinary masterpiece in this way. Warming the bun helps to keep the whole product hotter, especially when adding cold condiments.

You could toast hot dog buns on the grill alongside the franks, but that’s likely to dry them out and make them crispy. What you need is a soft, chewy bun that complements the crunchy textures on your frank. And figuring out how to steam hot dog buns without making them soggy is the only way to guarantee perfection with every bite.

Here’s an expert-approved guide for making steaming hot dog buns.

Find the Right Brand of Bun


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Not all hot dog buns can withstand steaming. Look for a brand that makes heavier and denser bread that can hold up well under steam without getting mushy. Many companies produce this type of bun — your best bet is to look through product reviews before buying.

Choose One of These Techniques

You can make steaming hot buns using a steamer or take a risk on the grill. Each method has its pros and cons, but it all comes down to which tools you have at hand. Like most things hot dogs, you might be spoilt for choice over which technique to use.

Steam Hot Dog Buns With a Steamer

Steaming hot dog buns with a steamer is the most straightforward option when you’re serving a crowd. Whether you’re hosting a cookout or a tailgate party, the last thing you need is to spend your afternoon by the stovetop steaming them in small batches.

EquipmentSteamer with a bun compartmentTongsMethodPlace buns in the upper rack of the steamer.Regulate the heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Use humidity control to keep them from getting soft and wet.Take out only as many as you need at a time.
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Steam Hotdog Buns on the Stovetop

What to do when cravings strike and you don’t have a bun steamer at home? Don’t resign yourself to the fate of a cold bun — your stovetop can be your knight in shining armor. Here’s how.

EquipmentStovetopPotSteaming basketFaux-steamer, i.e., colander, oven-safe bowl, chopsticks, or tongs.TongsMethod 1Boil 70mm of water in a pot over high heat.Position the steaming basket a few inches over the boiling water.Place 2 buns in the steamer for 1-2 mins without covering the lid.Take the cooked product out, slice, and serve.Method 2Boil 70mm of water in a pot over high heat.Position your faux steamer over the boiling water.If using a colander, ensure that the water isn’t high enough to come through the holes and leave you with soggy buns.If using an oven-safe bowl, place it upside down in the pot and set a plate of buns atop it.Using chopsticks, lay a pair over the pot and set two buns on top of the chopsticks.If using tongs, hold the buns over the steam until they are warm. Wear oven mitts to protect your hand from the steam.Expert Tips:Slice the buns up and steam them face down to get the insides warm.Always warm the bread as the last step, after you’ve prepared your toppings and hot dogs. If you steam before your hot dogs are ready, the bread will cool off.Don’t cover the steamer lid — as the steam rises, it condenses on the lid, forms a few drops of water, and drips down onto the bread to make it soggy.
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Steam Hot Dog Buns in the Microwave

EquipmentPaper or cloth towelSpray bottleMicrowaveMicrowave safe bowl or mugMicrowave-safe plateOven mittsMethod 1Lightly spritz the paper or cloth towel with water to make it slightly damp but not soaked.Wrap the buns in the moistened towel.Microwave for at least 10 seconds — it may need more or less time, depending on your model.Method 2Heat 50ml of water in a bowl or mug for 1 minute. Leave it in the microwave.Layer the plate with 2 sheets of paper towels.Place the buns on the paper towels and cover them with another slightly damp one. If you’re warming more than 1 bun simultaneously, make sure they aren’t touching so that they heat evenly.Microwave the plate of buns along with the bowl of water for 10 seconds. Leave them in the warm atmosphere for a few more seconds with the power off.Flip the bun and repeat the process for 10 seconds.Use an oven mitt to remove the plate from the microwave — it’s filled with hot steam that can scald you.
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Steaming Hot Dog Buns in the Oven

EquipmentAluminum foilWaterOven mittsMethodHeat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.Lightly spritz the buns with a fine mist of water, barely dampening them.Wrap the buns in aluminum foil.Set the bread in the oven for approximately 10 minutes — it might take more or less time, depending on how fast your oven heats up.Use mitts to remove the buns, unwrap them and serve immediately.

Steam Hotdog Buns on the Grill

Most people toast the bread on the grill while the hot dogs cook. Depending on how hot the grill is, the bread can burn in less than 30 seconds.

You can spread a little butter on the top to slow down the process, but you still shouldn’t leave the bread unattended. So, unless you’re a pro, you’re safer using the grill to steam buns.

EquipmentSpray bottleAluminum foilTongMethodVery lightly spritz the outsides of the buns with water. If they’re not fresh from the bakery, you can spritz the insides lightly too.Wrap the bread tightly in aluminum foil.Place them on the upper rack or sides of the grill while the hot dogs cook.Flip them over once, and cook for a few minutes for each side.Take them off the grill, and serve immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions


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How Do You Keep Hot Dog Buns From Getting Soggy?

Keep your steamed buns dry by:

Not allowing the steamer basket to touch the water.Using only a slightly dampened paper towel in the microwave.Not steaming for longer than instructed.Not putting too many buns in the steamer basket.Not covering the steam basket lid.

How Do You Dry a Soggy Bun?

You can dry out a wet bun in a toaster oven, a skillet on the stove, or a baking sheet in a regular oven. You’ve got to be careful not to set the temperature too high and to toast it for only a few minutes.

If your bun gets moist from the toppings, put wet condiments on the hot dog instead of the bread. Adding extras right before you eat the hot dog also helps to keep the bun from getting wet and falling apart.


How Do You Make Hot Dog Buns Last Longer?

Buns can last for three months in the freezer. To make them last long, wrap them individually in foil before storing them in an airtight bag or container. Remove as much air as you can from the bag before sealing it.

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The Perfect Dog

Being America’s iconic food means one thing — hot dogs should be eaten in their best form. Top them with the crispiest fried onions, experiment with different types, or go keto with only a few ingredients — there’s no limit to how you can enjoy these culinary delights.