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3 Hot Dog Brands You Can Trust

best hot dogs

I love hot dogs to an embarrassing extent. I blame it on a long-standing family hot dog obsession 😉

best hot dogs

In the past, this love conflicted with my values of supporting sustainable, pasture-based farms and choosing whole foods over heavily processed ones, since this is what conventional hot dogs contain:

organic hot dogs

But not anymore!

Thanks to a few stellar brands making high-quality, minimally processed options, we hot dog-lovers get to enjoy the best of all worlds.

Below are the three hot dog brands I like most and why.


best hot dogs

Applegate’s “Great Organic Hot Dog” is completely free of preservatives and made with organic, grass-fed beef. It also comes in turkey and chicken, so there’s a hot dog option for everyone. You can find these at many conventional grocery stores now, as well as at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Ingredients: Organic beef, water, sea salt, spices, dried garlic, dried onion, paprika, celery powder.

Fork in the Road

best hot dogs

Fork in the Road uses the highest-quality meat for all it’s products: heirloom pork, sustainably-raised beef, and free-roaming chicken & turkey. Though not organic, animals are humanely raised and never given antibiotics, growth enhancers or added hormones. All their meat is U.S.-grown (very unique) and they work super closely with their farmers. You’ll about die when you read farmer Russ Kremer’s story!

Ingredients: Pasture-raised beef, water, sugar, salt, fresh onions, vinegar, spice, paprika, fresh garlic, celery powder in a natural sheep casing.

We also love Fork in the Road’s mini hot dogs, which Lucy frequently requests in her lunch:

organic hot dogs

Organic Prairie

best hot dogs

Organic Prairie dogs are made with organic, 100% grass-fed beef. Just like Organic Valley (Organic Prairie’s parent company), this brand is a cooperative of farmer-owners who are passionate about raising animals in the most sustainable way possible.

Ingredients: organic beef, water, sea salt, evaporated cane syrup, celery powder, spices, onion powder, garlic powder.

With these incredible options, you’ll never again have to resort to highly processed hot dogs from factory-farmed animals.


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  • Reply
    June 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    My family dont like Applegate. Oscar Mayer make hot dogs now without nitrites and nitrates which we like.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I really appreciate these “you can trust” posts! Definitely takes some on the guesswork out of grocery shopping.

  • Reply
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots
    June 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I too am a major hot dog fan, but have avoided them for many years because I didn’t like to think what was in them or where they were coming from. This is such a great list! Thank you so much Amelia!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Unfortunately none of these are available in Canada 🙁

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      June 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Bummer! Do you have any brands that offer grass-fed beef hot dogs without nitrates & nitrites?

  • Reply
    September 8, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    What about those N/N free but have subbed in celery juice which is loaded with the stuff and still have a high salt content? Also what about chicken or turkey dogs w/o nitrites and nitrates?

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      September 10, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Sodium will be high in all hot dogs, particularly the nitrate/nitrite-free dogs b/c salt is the only preservative. N&N in celery juice doesn’t concern me as much since they’re naturally occurring. Same goes for chicken & turkey dogs – I’d recommend the same brands. Also Nature’s Rancher are good.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Here’s another question. For severe gastric issues, the fodmap diet is recommended, and two of the jillions of things that we can’t eat are onions and garlic, which are in everything! I really miss hot dogs! Have you come across a hot dog with no onion or garlic?

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      June 13, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Mimi, Hmm…I honestly have never seen a hot dog without these spices added. If I do I’ll let you know. It must be hard to avoid those seasonings! (and for the record, I would miss hot dogs a lot too!)

  • Reply
    Wendy Ward
    May 19, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Celery powder has nitrates in it and free glutamates– false advertising- you are not eating any healthier b eating these

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      May 22, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Yes, it’s true that celery salt does have naturally-occurring nitrates, but at least there aren’t additional nitrates added, and at least the celery salt isn’t a chemical additive. However I agree – hot dogs are hot dogs and nitrates are nitrates – so it’s important to eat processed meats in small amounts, no matter what kind you buy.

  • Reply
    The Doc
    December 31, 2018 at 7:46 am


    Nitrates are nitrates, your body processes them the same way regardless of “chemical” vs “natural”. “No nitrates added” does NOT mean no nitrates. Celery juice/powder has a massive amount of nitrates. You are misleading your audience.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      January 4, 2019 at 10:57 am

      Hi Doc,
      I understand your point, and agree that the best way to avoid health concerns associated with nitrates in processed meat is to avoid processed meat itself. However, I don’t believe this is black and white. When a consumer is going to choose a processed meat product, there are certainly some choices that are better than others. Also, the way the animals are raised and treated is a consideration as well.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Do you know if there is a hot dog without paprika ?

  • Reply
    April 23, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks for all the info Amelia! I love hot dogs. I have avoided eating them because of the nitrates and nitrites and because of the treatment of animals. It’s nice to know there are farmers out there working on this. Appreciate the brand names also, I’ll be looking for them.

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