How to Make Corn Dogs

October 17, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home. 

Today: What's better than a hotdog? A hotdog on a stick that's been deep-fried in a cornmeal batter, that's what. Molly Yeh from my name is yeh is showing us how to make boring wieners into state fair stars. 

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but the corn dog needs no introduction. He’s classic, he’s fun, he’s always excited. There’s nothing to be taken too seriously here, folks, and luckily the process of making your own isn’t too serious either. It’s simply a matter of whipping up a basic cornmeal batter, using it to coat your wiener of choice, and then deep-frying it. The oil’s gotta be deep -- really deep. And listen, I’ve never been the hugest fan of getting a deep fry setup going because things tend to get kind of sloppy, so when I do, you know it’s worth it

This is a recipe for a basic and delicious county fair corn dog. If you’re looking to class things up a bit, I’d recommend adding some fun spices to the batter (perhaps paprika or cayenne?), using a fancy sausage, or having a team of bougie condiments on hand to dress your dogs. 

More: 10 recipes to help you recreate your favorite state fair foods at home.

Here are a few tips:

  • This batter can be made the night before and stored, covered, in the fridge. 
  • Placing the batter in a tall glass or jar is the easiest way to get your hot dogs completely coated.
  • If the tip of the sausage doesn’t get covered all the way when you dip it into the batter, you can use a spoon or small spatula to get it up onto the tip. Make sure the whole thing is covered in batter before frying.
  • If for any reason the batter is having trouble sticking to your wieners, coat them first in a dusting of flour and then dip them in the batter. It won’t stick at first, but wiggle it around a bit and then the batter will stick really well.
  • If you don’t have enough oil to fully submerge the hot dogs (perhaps you ran out, perhaps you don’t want to wait that long for that much oil to heat up, perhaps your wiener is of a magnum size), either cut them in half to make mini corn dogs, or lower them into the oil by their stick, rotate them for a few seconds so that the oil just begins to cook the outside, and then use tongs to carefully remove the stick, letting the corn dog flow freely in the oil.
  • Leftovers can be frozen and then reheated in the microwave.
  • Might I suggest the corn dog salad

Corn Dogs

Makes 8

2 to 4 quarts vegetable or canola oil, for frying
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Black pepper, to taste
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
Hot sauce, optional
8 pre-cooked hot dogs or sausages 

Fill a deep pot with oil enough oil to fully submerge your corn dogs and heat it to 360° F.

While the oil is heating, combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg, buttermilk, and hot sauce, if using.


Stick chopsticks or wooden skewers into your wieners. Once the oil is heated, pour the batter into a tall glass or jar and dip the wieners into the batter, covering them fully. 

Fry them until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel to drain.

Let cool slightly and enjoy! 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Molly Yeh

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Richard Watson
    Richard Watson
  • I_Fortuna
  • Amanda Hepler (oven & apron)
    Amanda Hepler (oven & apron)
  • Meghan
  • Laura Davidson
    Laura Davidson
molly yeh recently moved from brooklyn to a farm outside of grand forks, north dakota, where her husband is a fifth generation farmer. she writes the blog my name is yeh.


Richard W. February 25, 2016
ok you had me at the concept, then hooked me with the photos, then snuck in the magnum weiner comment. now i have to make these.
I_Fortuna October 19, 2014
I use masa instead of white wheat flour and it is better to use baking soda with buttermilk. There is a chemical reaction using the baking soda that is superior to baking powder in my opinion. But it should be allowed to sit for long as it will lose its leavening properties.
I never use sugar either. If using a good cornmeal and masa, sugar is really not necessary and I don't advise it.
If you make these use enough oil so it comes to the top of your pan. I would use a deep fryer frying pan if you have one. That way the entire dog gets immersed at one time. Also, toothpicks may be used or the stick can be inserted after they are cooked if you don't have a big enough pan.
We also use a jar to cover the dogs with batter before frying. This makes it less messy, so much easier.
Also, try using soda water instead of buttermilk for a light batter.
Kelly K. August 26, 2017
The 3 substitutions you I to substitute equally? And thank you for this information.
Kelly K. August 26, 2017
The 3 substitutions you I to substitute equally? And thank you for this information.
Amanda H. October 19, 2014
I made some amazing mini corn dogs recently, and I used a simple trick to get them a little more flavorful -- broil the hot dogs before dipping in batter! It's like a backyard bbq dog crossed with a fluffy corn dog :)
Meghan October 18, 2014
I should not be laughing as hard as I am, but 'magnum size' got to me (and I'm not even going to talk about that gif). But seriously, these are the prettiest, most perfectly-golden corn dogs I've ever seen.
CarlaCooks October 20, 2014
Oh man, me too! Glad I'm not the only Food52er with my mind in the gutter ;)
andrew August 2, 2015
A magnum size will get to anyone.
Laura D. October 17, 2014
That GIF makes me uncomfortable, but I love it all the same! :)
Elizabeth S. October 17, 2014
I'm with Cynthia, these things rule.
Cynthia C. October 17, 2014
Allyn October 17, 2014
These should really be slathered in yellow mustard.
And now I have an intense desire to go to a fair. Curses.