There’s something idyllic about hot dogs in the summertime. It’s the simplest food and it always works, whether it’s from the grill, on the boardwalk, or at a ballgame. Don’t ask me how or why, but hot dogs simply hit differently in the summer. They’re meant to be enjoyed when the weather is nice.
But here’s a little secret: You don’t need to fire up the grill to have a delicious hot dog this summer. You can make a great dog in the air fryer in just eight minutes. Plus, you can make a spicy topping at about that time as well, if you’re like me and want your food to have a bit of heat.
The best air fryers for making crispy food faster than the oven
Here’s what you need to know about the recipe.
4 hot dogs (or as many as you like)
4 hot dog buns (or as many as you need)
1 jalapeño (optional, for spicy topping)
Half of a small white onion, diced very finely (optional)
Lay your hot dogs out on a cutting board in a row. Using a knife, carefully score the hot dogs on the diagonal. Do not cut through the dogs. Make only a shallow cut.
Flip the dogs over. Using a knife, score the hot dogs in the opposite direction.
Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with eight minutes of cook time. Toss your buns in the air fryer basket as it preheats so they toast as you wait.
Once the air fryer has preheated, remove the buns.
Put your hot dogs and the whole jalapeño in the air fryer. Cook for about eight minutes.
While that cooks, dice the onion as finely as possible.
Once the hot dogs are done — you can cook for less or more time, depending on how crisp you like them — place each link in a bun.
Once the jalapeño has cooled enough to touch it, dice it to about the same size as the onion. If you like spice, keep the seeds, if not, discard them. Mix the onion with the jalapeño, then use it to top the hot dogs. Add any other condiments you like and enjoy!
This is a wildly simple recipe. I’d like to see someone mess it up. I think it’s impossible. Because even if you make a mistake, cooking a hot dog essentially amounts to cooking it to your desired crispness. And the air fryer heats so well that you’ll almost assuredly get a nice, crispy result.
Seriously, with about ten minutes and a few knife skills, there’s precious little to mess up. Scoring the hot dog can seem unnecessary, at first. And technically it’s not something you have to do. I just like the result better because the hot dog expands and crisps further when it’s scored — the added surface area gets nice and charred. Scoring is easy, once you’ve done it. Here’s how it looked as I scored my hot dogs.
Cut into the hot dog but not through it.
Once that process is done, it’s as easy as tossing stuff in the air fryer. My favorite trick I’ve come up with in the air fryer is to toast any kind of bread as you preheat. So make sure you do that with the buns. It takes little effort but results in a better overall product — toasted buns are superior to smooshy, soft buns — and I’ve found, at least in my air fryer, that the preheat is the perfect length of time for toasting.
Then you dice some onions, dice some roasted jalapeños, and bam, you’ve got some hot dogs that are juicy, tasty, and a little spicy.
Jalapeños, always a good idea.,
It’s a very easy recipe, kicked up just a little bit the jalapeño addition. Here’s how my final product looked.
Not bad, right?
Is this as good as a grilled dog? Honestly, I think so. At least if you’re using a gas grill. I do love the taste of charcoal, but it seems like a heck of a lot of work to light a charcoal fire for a few hot dogs. Gas grills, meanwhile, don’t add any flavor and the result would be as good while requiring more work.
So next time you feel like having a barbecue, I say save the space on the grill for other items, just air fry your hot dogs.