Master the Art of Air Fryer Hot Dog Perfection with These Tips!

Summer is here, and the most common way of enjoying the season (and its multiple holiday weekends!) is with your friends and some grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. But if you don’t have access to a grill, you may be surprised that you can cook some festive food with your air fryer instead. To learn the best way to cook air fryer hot dogs, we talked with Chef Chris Nirschel of New York Catering Services.

Ahead, Chef Nirschel shares his favorite recipe for making gourmet hot dogs in the air fryer. This recipe uses fun ingredients like BBQ sauce, cheese, and pickled jalapeños, but you can use whatever hot dog toppings you like. “These gourmet air fryer hot dogs are a perfect blend of savory, cheesy, spicy, and fresh flavors,” says Nirschel.

Read on to learn how to make his simple yet delicious recipe. For hot dog brands we suggest buying, check out 8 Hot Dogs That Use the Highest Quality Ingredients.

Gather your ingredients.

You can change up these ingredients depending on your preferred type of hot dogs, buns, and toppings, but for a gourmet twist on your regular ol’ dogs, Chef Nirschel recommends gathering the following:

Ingredients:

  • 4 beef hot dogs (or your favorite variety)
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 2 tbsp garlic butter (for toasting buns)

Optional toppings:

  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled bacon (pre-cooked)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, sliced
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Our air fryer hot dog recipe.

hot dogs in an air fryer

Once your ingredients are ready to go, you can begin preparing your hot dogs and air fryer.

  1. Preheat your air fryer. Set your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and let it preheat for about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Score the hot dogs. Make a few diagonal slits on each hot dog using a knife. “This helps them cook evenly and prevents them from bursting,” explains Nirschel.
  3. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Once preheated, place the hot dogs in the air fryer basket in a single layer and ensure they are not overcrowded. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Check them halfway through, giving the basket a little shake to ensure even cooking.

How to make garlic butter hot dog buns.

hot dog buns in an air fryer

To elevate your air fryer hot dogs, serve them nestled in garlic butter buns.

  1. Make garlic butter. Add a tablespoon of salted butter to a small bowl. Using a microplane, grate 1 clove of garlic into the butter. Pop it into the microwave for 10-15 seconds, stopping once the butter has fully melted and just starting to bubble.
  2. Brush the buns with garlic butter and toast for 2-3 minutes. “While the hot dogs are cooking, brush the insides of the brioche buns with garlic butter,” says Nirschel. Then, “For the last 2-3 minutes of the hot dogs’ cooking time, place the buns in the air fryer basket, cut side up, to toast.”
  3. Sprinkle with cheese (optional). If you’d like to add cheese, Nirschel recommends opening the air fryer at the last minute of cooking and sprinkling shredded cheddar cheese over the hot dogs. Close the air fryer and let the cheese melt.

Depending on the size of your air fryer basket, you may be able to cook the hot dogs and buns simultaneously, but if your air fryer is too small, you can finish cooking the dogs before toasting the buns. As you can see from the picture, my air fryer was too small so I just waited until the hot dogs were cooked fully and then toasted the buns for a few minutes afterward.

Assemble your hot dogs and garnish with your favorite toppings.

hot dogs on a plate

Once your hot dogs are cooked and the buns toasted, it’s time to add toppings!

Nirschel recommends crumbled bacon, sliced red onion, pickled jalapeños, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. This combination of toppings makes for a deliciously gourmet hot dog, but you can use any combination you’d like.

Serve!

holding a hot dog in a bun with toppings

“Serve the gourmet hot dogs immediately while hot and enjoy the explosion of flavors,” says Nirschel. “To elevate the dish further, you can caramelize the red onions with olive oil and a pinch of sugar before adding them to the hot dogs. This adds a sweet and savory depth to the flavor profile.”

Samantha Boesch

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