How to Defrost Frozen Hot Dog Buns: 5 Best Methods 


One of the best parts of summer is all of the grilling. There is nothing like being outside with your friends and family, making delicious food, and enjoying the sunshine. 

I’m a particularly big fan of grilled hot dogs. Chili dogs, mustard and sauerkraut, or Chicago-style, there is no end to the delicious toppings you can pile on your dog!

Whenever we have a cookout, we run into a small issue afterward: hot dog buns come in packages of eight and we are always stuck with leftovers!

Freezing your leftover hot dog buns is a great way to save money and avoid food waste when you are left with extra buns after your barbeque. Of course, once you are ready to eat those frozen hot dog buns at a later date, they must first be defrosted.

If you’ve ever tried to defrost buns and been unsuccessful, you know how easy it is to end up with a soggy bun or one that is dried out and inedible.

What is the best way to defrost frozen hot dog buns so they taste as good as fresh buns? Let’s dive into the different methods.


What’s the Best Way to Defrost Hot Dog Buns?

The short answer is: it depends. The good news is that you have a variety of different options based on your needs.

There are many ways to defrost frozen buns. The most common methods are:

  • At room temperature
  • In the microwave
  • On the grill
  • In an air fryer
  • In the oven or toaster oven

Thawing hot dogs on the counter at room temperature is the easiest and, in my opinion, the best method for defrosting buns. It does take a few hours, however, so some planning is required.

Defrosting hot dogs in the microwave is the fastest method and doesn’t require a preheated grill, oven, or air fryer.

Which method is the best depends on the equipment you have available, how you’re cooking your hot dogs, and how much time you have. Whichever method you choose, we’ve got you covered with full instructions for each of them.

Hot Dog Buns - Buns

Can You Freeze Hot Dog Buns?

Freezing leftover hot dog buns is a great way to keep them fresh when you can’t eat them right away. Store-bought hot dog buns have a fairly long shelf life, but they will mold if they aren’t eaten quickly enough. 

To freeze leftover buns, you have three packaging options:

  1. The original packaging: This is an easy option if you will eat your hot dog buns in a short timeframe. The original packaging is not airtight, so if you want to keep your buns fresh in the freezer for more than a week or two, use a different packaging.
  2. Freezer bag or airtight container: You can transfer your buns into different packaging that keeps the air out to prevent freezer burn and keep them tasting fresh. Be sure to remove as much air as possible when zipping the plastic bag. Label your buns with the date and store them in the freezer.
  3. Wrapped in plastic wrap, then a freezer-safe container: Wrapping your hot dog buns in saran wrap is an optional but recommended step. The wrap offers another layer around the buns to keep in moisture and prevent freezer burn. Wrap each bun individually and pack them into an airtight container before storing them in the freezer.

How to Defrost Hot Dog Buns at Room Temperature

The easiest way to defrost hot dog buns is simply by removing them from the freezer. Leave the buns on the kitchen counter at room temperature for a few hours, until they are completely thawed. 

This method allows the buns to slowly defrost, leaving perfectly soft buns that are neither dry nor soggy. 

If there is a lot of frost in the bag in which the buns were frozen, remove the buns from that bag before thawing them. The frost will melt and make the buns soggy. If there isn’t a lot of frost in the bag, you can leave the buns in the bag while they thaw. 

Hot Dog Buns - Fresh buns

How to Defrost Hot Dog Buns in the Microwave

If you need your hot dog buns to defrost quickly, it doesn’t get faster than the microwave.

Set your buns on a microwave-safe plate and heat them at medium power in 10-second intervals, flipping them periodically. 

Be sure to check the buns after each 10-second interval to ensure they are not microwaved any longer than necessary. Microwaving hot dog buns for too long will make them dry and tough.

If you have a defrost setting on your microwave, you can also use that.

For best results, wrap each hot dog bun individually in a damp paper towel. The paper towels will prevent dry buns without making them soggy. Be sure to wring out a lot of the water before wrapping your frozen bun in the towels.

If you find that your buns are still dry after you finish defrosting them, sprinkle a little bit of water on them and microwave the buns for another 10 seconds.

How to Defrost Hot Dog Buns on the Grill

You can defrost your buns and toast them in one easy step by tossing them on the grill for a couple of minutes. This is a convenient option if you are using a grill to cook your hot dogs. Be sure to watch them carefully and flip them often so the buns do not burn on the grill. 

How to Defrost Hot Dog Buns in an Air Fryer

The air fryer is a quick and easy way to defrost a smaller portion of hot dog buns without preheating your oven. Start by preheating the air fryer to 350°F. 

Arrange your hot dog buns in a single layer in your air fryer basket. Defrost the buns in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes until they are completely thawed. Check on the buns regularly as they will defrost quickly and you don’t want to overcook them.

Hot Dog Buns - toasted buns

How to Defrost Hot Dog Buns in the Oven or Toaster Oven

To defrost frozen hot dog buns in the oven, preheat the oven to 325°F. Arrange your buns in a single layer on a baking sheet and warm them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Start checking your buns at the 3-minute mark to ensure they do not get baked too long.

You can defrost your buns in a toaster oven following the same instructions. This is a great option for a single bun or a small serving as toaster ovens have a small capacity and take less energy to preheat.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t wait: Once you defrost your buns, eat them as soon as possible. The buns are prone to drying out if they sit out for a long time.
  • Plan ahead: Don’t forget to allot time to defrost your hot dog buns. It throws a wrench in your dinner to realize your hot dogs are finished cooking and you only have frozen buns available.
  • Watch for signs of freezer burn: Check your buns in advance to make sure they are still good. Signs of freezer burn are excessive ice crystals, an unpleasant smell, and discoloration. Freezer-burned food will not make you sick, but it does not taste good.
  • Don’t refreeze: Once your hot dog buns have been frozen and thawed, don’t freeze them again. The flavor and texture will degrade and the buns will not be good the next time they are defrosted.
  • Toast your buns: For the best flavor, try toasting your buns lightly after they have been defrosted. You can do this in a toaster oven or on a skillet or grill with some butter. 

Hot Dog Buns - Grilled

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you freeze hot dog buns?

Hot dog buns can be frozen for up to 6 months if they are stored properly. After that, they are still edible but the quality may be lessened. 

How do you defrost hamburger buns?

You can defrost hamburger buns following all of the same methods as hot dog buns. The cooking times should be similar to hot dog buns, but be sure to check them regularly and remove the hamburger buns as soon as they are thawed.

Can I defrost hot dog buns in the refrigerator?

Much like defrosting them at room temperature, defrosting hot dog buns in the fridge is extremely easy. Remove the buns from the freezer and transfer them to the refrigerator to defrost over many hours. This is a good option if you want to thaw your buns overnight as it takes longer than defrosting them on the counter.

Can you freeze leftover hotdogs?

Both cooked and uncooked hot dogs can be frozen for up to 6 months. Store the hot dogs in a freezer-safe bag and remove any excess air for best results. Frozen hot dogs can be thawed in the refrigerator, in the microwave on the defrost setting, or on the grill when you are ready to enjoy them.

Freezing hot dog buns is an easy and effective way to store hot dog buns long-term to maintain freshness. Using one of these five defrosting methods, you can have hot dog buns that taste just as good as the day you bought them!

Are you planning a summer cookout? Try these delicious recipes to complete your meal:

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