Can You Freeze Hot Dog Buns For Future Cookouts?

Two hot dogs with mustard
Two hot dogs with mustard - Fudio/Getty Images

It's one of the great frustrations of our society that hot dog buns are typically sold in packages of eight and hot dogs are typically sold in packages of 10. Who knows why brands inflict this headache upon the modern consumer (other than selling more hot dogs and buns, probably) — but many a cookout has seen a lingering repository of one item or the other as you inevitably fail to force bunless hot dogs upon your guests. And since commercial breads generally last less than a week before you'll start discovering mold and unpleasant textures, any leftover hot dog buns too often go to waste (or are relegated to being the vessel for tiny sub sandwiches).

But they don't have to be written off, and you also don't need to rely on hot dog bun alternatives. Because after your next cookout, you can abandon the pantry or bread box for surplus bun storage and instead stick the extra hot dog buns in the freezer for longer term preservation. With just a little bit of careful thawing, the buns can feel like new again and help solve the bun-dog discrepancy at your next backyard cookout.

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

Rely On The Freezer For Long-Term Storage, But Avoid The Fridge

Stack of hot dog buns
Stack of hot dog buns - Bhofack2/Getty Images

It all begins with a freezer-safe bag. Well, plastic wrap or foil and a freezer-safe bag. You want to make sure to wrap the buns tightly so that they don't lose a bunch of moisture as they sit in the freezer, then put the wrapped buns in the bag, pressing out as much air as you can. If you're stocking up for future cookouts or taking advantage of a hot dog bun sale, then new buns in an unopened bag can go straight from your grocery bags to the freezer.

If you've taken some initiative at the grill and have already toasted the buns or they're already stale, they probably won't freeze and thaw well for hot dog purposes — the lack of moisture keeps them crispy, and they'd probably be better used for bread crumbs. Once in the freezer, the buns will keep for as long as three months, but they will generally taste best if you use them within a month.

The refrigerator, on the other hand, won't treat hot dog buns well. Bread begins to go stale when its starches crystallize and moisture gets into the crystallization — the refrigerator's cold accelerates this crystallization, but a temperature below freezing (like in, say, the freezer) decelerates the process. So, when you need them, frozen buns will be ready for your cookout — so long as you thaw them correctly.

Thaw Your Buns Before You Eat Them

Hot dog buns in a bag
Hot dog buns in a bag - padnob/Shutterstock

Mistakes in the thawing process will result in soggy or crispy buns (neither of which are terribly appetizing), but freezing and thawing bread isn't complicated. If you have a few extra hours to spare, generally the most effective thaw will come from just leaving the buns out at room temperature. Should the bag come out a little icy, make sure to remove the buns from it so that the melting frost doesn't permeate them with moisture.

If you forgot to take the buns out before your cookout and are pressed for time, the microwave can come to the rescue — but it'll be a little more hands-on than the previous method because you'll need to take it slow. Wrap the buns in a slightly damp paper towel or sprinkle them with a little water, then microwave them for about 10 seconds at a time; if they cook too long, they'll become hardened.

If your cookout involves a grill, you can entirely ignore those last two paragraphs. The hot dog buns will thaw in a short time if you just toss them on the grill — just make sure to watch them closely and flip them occasionally to avoid scorching. No more worries about tossing out or repurposing leftover hot dog buns as French toast. You'll be enjoying a good hot dog to bun ratio all grilling season long.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.