Cooking for the masses is rarely easy or cheap, but making hot dogs in a Crock-Pot might be the solution we’ve all been looking for. This budget-friendly method prioritizes efficiency and gives you time to focus on other things—like enjoying the gathering itself. Perfect for your upcoming March Madness party, Labor Day picnic, or the neighborhood block party this summer, even a small 2.5-quart slow cooker can cook 20 hot dogs simultaneously—perfectly preserving their juicy, patriotic flavor—and letting you relax while they cook themselves.
1. Start by filling the Crock-Pot with the hot dogs. While placing them horizontally doesn’t affect whether they are cooked through, I believe positioning the hot dogs vertically allows for more hot dogs to be cooked at once—in addition to making the hot dogs easier to grab with tongs when they’re finished. The moisture in the hot dogs provide enough steam that any additional liquid isn’t necessary. While a 2.5-quart Crock-Pot comfortably fits 20 hot dogs, larger slow cookers are capable of fitting up to 60.
2. Use the lid to cover the hot dogs, and cook them on high for 1-2 hours, or on low for 3-4 hours.
3. Once the hot dogs are cooked, switch the Crock-Pot to “warm” to avoid overcooking. This efficient method retains moisture and flavor—but doesn’t provide the charred flavor that many people seek in their hot dogs. If this is important to you, try briefly charring the dogs on a hot grill before throwing them into the Crock-Pot. It requires a bit more effort, but still leaves the grill available most of the time for hamburgers and grilled veggies.
4. For serving, put the Crock-Pot on a table with tongs, buns, and condiments. Be sure to leave it plugged in and on “warm” to keep the hot dogs at a perfect serving temperature. In addition to traditional ketchup and mustard (though beware, ketchup on a hot dog enrages some), be sure to have hot sauce, relish, onions, cheese, and even chili to make your hot dog bar appear even more impressive.
With a plan like this, serving a hungry horde doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming or expensive…So sit back, take a bite of that delicious hot dog, and enjoy yourself—you deserve it.