Are Hot Dogs Gluten Free?

If you’ve been wondering “are hot dogs gluten free?” I’m here to help. I’ve put together some resources to answer this question for you so you can take the guesswork out of buying this classic summer staple. Read on for everything you need to know about how to eat hot dogs safely on a gluten-free diet.

A photo of a woman holding tongs over a grill on a green and white background with text overlay that says "Are Hot Dogs Gluten Free?".

Are Hot Dogs Gluten Free?

In theory, yes! Hot dogs are gluten-free. After all, meat is naturally gluten-free, so it makes sense that hot dogs should also be gluten-free. Many popular hot dog brands sell certified gluten-free hot dogs. However, some hot dog brands do produce hot dogs that contain fillers that can include wheat gluten so it’s important to read the ingredients list carefully.

The best way to be sure that the hot dogs you’re buying are gluten-free is to check the package to see if it is labeled “gluten-free” or “certified gluten-free.” You should also skim ingredients lists to double-check what’s actually in the hot dogs.

In addition, you can check on manufacturers’ websites for the most up-to-date information on processing practices and to ensure that your hot dogs are reliably gluten-free. Even if a brand doesn’t contain gluten, if you note that there is a risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing you may want to avoid that particular brand. Keep a running list of brands that are safe and that you like so it makes a trip to the store easy.

Cooked air fryer hot dogs in hot dog buns.

What Gluten Ingredients Should I Look for in Hot Dogs?

It’s fairly simple to identify gluten ingredients in hot dogs to determine if hot dogs are gluten-free, especially once you know how to read food labels. You should especially be on the lookout for these ingredients as they may contain hidden amounts of gluten:

  • Autolyzed Yeast Extract: Autolyzed yeast extract contains gluten, so if you see this included in a hot dog’s ingredient list, stay away.
  • Beef Stock: It may seem innocuous, but beef broth could contain flour for thickening or soy sauce for flavor – two ingredients that are not gluten-free.
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein: Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a flavor enhancer that’s created from legumes or cereals, such as wheat, soy, or corn. You won’t know which specific item was used to make the flavoring which makes it tricky to rely on if it was originally gluten-free.
  • Natural Flavors: “Natural flavors” is a catch-all term for flavorings and it’s never actually specified what these are. So you have the potential for hidden gluten in your hot dogs if you notice this one on the ingredients list.
Cooked air fryer hot dogs are served in buns with condiments.

The Best Gluten-Free Hot Dog Brands

The best brands to buy if you’re looking to avoid gluten are the ones that are labeled certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) because it has stricter requirements than the FDA. The GFCO won’t certify a product as gluten-free unless it has less than 10 particles of gluten for every million particles, while the FDA requires the gluten in a product to be under 20 particles per million.

As mentioned above, additives are a main culprit in bringing gluten to hot dogs. So look for hot dogs that don’t contain a lot of extra fillers as well as those that are certified gluten-free.

The brands below are considered safe both for celiacs and people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, according to their labeling and websites:

  • Applegate Farms
  • Bar-S
  • Boar’s Head
  • Dietz & Watson
  • Hebrew National
  • Jennie-O
  • Kunzler
  • Nathan’s Famous
  • Oscar Mayer
  • Sabrett
  • Trader Joe’s store brand
  • Wellshire
Close up of a hot dog with cuts in it.

Are There Any Brands I Should Avoid Due to Gluten?

A few brands are not explicitly gluten-free and if you’re very sensitive or celiac, you should avoid them. These include:

  • Ball Park  Ball Park hot dogs may be gluten-free by default, but they don’t label their products as being “gluten-free.” So it’s possible they could contain gluten through cross-contamination. It’s better to be safe and stay away.
  • Gwaltney – The Gwaltney brand also does not sell certified gluten-free hot dogs, so this is one to skip.
  • Oscar Mayer – Similar to Ball Park, Oscar Mayer hot dogs are not labeled as being gluten-free and could contain gluten through cross-contamination. If you’re celiac or very sensitive to gluten it’s best to find another brand.
Top view of a gluten free hot dog topped with yellow mustard, served on a plate next to onion rings.

What About Vegetarian Hot Dogs?

Unfortunately, the answer to are hot dogs gluten free?, the vegetarian version, is typically “no.” Most vegetarian hot dogs contain fillers and binders, which often means gluten ingredients. However, there are a select few brands of safely gluten-free vegetarian hot dogs, although they’re not always easy to find in stores. But if you want to embark on a search, here are the brands that make certified gluten-free, plant-based veggie dogs, with links to their websites:

Four gluten-free korean corn dogs are shown on a tray with ketchup and mustard.

How to Serve Regular and Gluten-Free Hot Dogs

At a summer barbecue, no one wants to worry about cross-contamination! The easiest way to avoid this scenario is to only cook gluten-free hot dogs. If you’re hosting, it’s easy to just buy certified gluten-free hot dogs (chances are no one will be able to tell the difference). If you’re attending a party, you can bring your own.

Here are a few tips to help you have fun safely, whether you’re throwing the backyard bash or simply showing up at one:

  • Cook the hot dogs separately. You can keep a grill just for gluten-free items, including gluten-free hot dogs. This is the easiest and best way to ensure that there won’t be any danger of gluten ingredients coming into contact with gluten-free food.
  • Line the grill with foil. If it’s not possible to have two grills for gluten-free and non-gluten-free, a way to protect your gluten-free hot dogs is to line the grill with foil and grill the hot dogs on the foil. This is a good solution to keep in your back pocket if you’re not cooking the hot dogs on your home grill. You might want to bring foil with you along with gluten-free hot dogs to the party to take any stress away.
  • Bring your own hot dog buns. May I suggest making a batch of my fluffy homemade Gluten-Free Hot Dog Buns? These buns can be enjoyed be everyone, you don’t have to be keeping to a gluten-free diet to use them! But if you’re gluten-free you’ll especially appreciate this recipe. You can serve them toasted at home or bring enough to share to the next neighborhood potluck.
  • Make franks and beans. Cut your hot dogs into chunks and stir them into homemade baked beans before you pop them in the oven.
  • Add condiments. Of course, you can buy bottles of ketchup and mustard, and no hot dog is complete without them. But you can also get creative with your own homemade toppings like these:
A red and white plate with four uncooked hot dogs on it.

Gluten Free Hot Dog Recipes

There isn’t much better than a hot dog fresh off the grill. But there is so much more you can do with your dogs than just give them a squirt of ketchup or mustard. It’s time to give your franks a flavor upgrade!

Crispy Hot Dog Taquitos drizzled with sour cream and lined up on a wooden platter.

Hot Dog Taquitos

Crunchy, cheesy, and delicious, these also known as crispy "crispy dogs". They are a fun kid favorite perfect for dunking in salsa and guacamole. You only need four ingredients and a few minutes in the oven or air fryer to make them crisp outside and melty and delicious inside.
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Four gluten-free korean corn dogs are shown on a tray with ketchup and mustard.

Gluten Free Korean Corn Dogs

Bring a batch of this fun recipe that is sure to please. They're totally gluten-free and you can make them at home in advance. They'll be a hit at any barbecue you attend. Just follow the directions in the recipe post to reheat the corn dogs and you'll be good to go!
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Cooked air fryer hot dogs are served in buns with condiments.

Air Fryer Hot Dogs

When you can't get outside to grill, it's time to put the air fryer into action. The hot dogs cook up so fast and they are ready to serve with your favorite toppings. Plus they still get that slightly charred exterior you love from grilling over an open flame, but they stay super juicy inside.
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Two hot dogs in buns topped with buffalo ketchup, bacon, and crumbled blue cheese

Buffalo Hot Dogs

These delicious dogs are fully loaded. Cook up your franks on the grill or using any method you prefer, and pop them into buns. Then add a simple buffalo ketchup for a kick of spicy goodness plus plenty of crumbled bacon and blue cheese for extra deliciousness.
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