Homemade Corn Dogs

With Independence Day falling on a Monday this year, there’s going to be a lot of celebrating over the weekend. If you dance around the foodie blogosphere, you’ll find lots and lots of sweet 4th of July treats out there to choose from, and yes, I’ll be posting one or two as well, but today I wanted to post something a little more savory.

Most people like to grill out to celebrate the Fourth, but sometimes it’s too rainy, or maybe even too cold (after my time in Minnesota, I definitely believe it’s possible to have a cold 4th of July). Obviously, you can still make the requisite burgers and dogs, but why not have something a little more fun and a little more impressive, for hardly any extra work?

Homemade corn dogs are a regular at my house. I made them the first time several years ago after reading the label on the store bought, frozen kind. Have you ever read those labels?! If you want to keep eating them, I suggest you skip the label and continue on in blissful ignorance. I, however, can’t forget what I read. In fact, this came about during a purging period in our lives. We reached a point where we were sick of boxed, preserved, and chemical laden food, and were changing our lifestyle to one that involved more whole, natural, and organic foods. Now, we rarely use anything from a box (unless it’s organic), or that has preservatives or other chemicals. One of the few places I make an exception is with food coloring, and occasionally flavorings for baking, and even those are possible with natural ingredients most of the time. We try to buy as many organic products as possible, and the hubster and I have truly seen a difference in our health because of it.

Back to those corn dogs, though… Like I said, I made them for the first time several years ago, and they have become a pretty regular staple in our menu rotation (that’s how easy they are). Our boy asks for them for his birthday dinner almost every year, and everyone I’ve had the opportunity to share them with loves them. Most people are completely intimidated at the idea of making homemade corn dogs, but they really are easy. No, no…of course they’re not as easy as popping one in the microwave for a minute or two, but the difference in taste that you get is so far superior that it makes every extra step well worth it.

First and foremost, you gotta have a good batter. You can tweak this to be more or less sweet than I have it here, which is pretty middle of the road. I like them a little more on the sweet side, so I tend to add some extra sugar or honey. The dry components of the recipe include all-purpose flour (which can be substituted with gluten free flour to make this a GF recipe!!!), corn meal or flour (remember to make sure it’s GF), black pepper, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

It doesn’t matter if you use corn meal or corn flour, they both work equally well, giving you slightly different textures. Corn meal will give you an ever-so-slightly dryer corn dog that is just barely crispier on the outside. Corn flour, on the other hand, gives you a softer, fluffier result, that’s still crisp on the outside, but slightly less so. I prefer corn flour to meal, although sometimes I’ll do half and half.

Next, you’ll need honey, milk, and an egg. If you want to make a vegan version of these, use agave, soy milk, and egg substitute. These all work equally well, and give you the same results.

While you’re mixing up the batter, your oil should be preheating to 375 degrees and preheat the oven to it’s lowest temperature (usually 150 to 200 degrees). Line a wire cooling rack or baking sheet with clean paper towels and place it in the oven.

Finally, you need the hot dogs, of course. I only buy turkey dogs, but you can use anything from beef dogs to sausage links to tofu dogs for your vegan friends.

Before coating the dogs in batter, roll them over clean, dry paper towels to dry them off. This will help the batter stick to them better. At this point, you can go ahead and skewer the dogs on sticks. We actually skip this step for a number of reasons:

1. You have to put the batter into a deep container to allow for dipping that won’t get on the stick. We’ve tried using a shallow container and just spooning batter over them until their coated, but the results weren’t good. At all. That means you need to try to mix the batter in the deeper container, which is usally a pain in the neck, or dirtying an extra container after mixing.

2. You also have to use a larger pan, which requires a lot more oil. You can either use a deep pan and hold the dogs by their sticks, upside down, in the hot oil (yikes), or use a very wide pot so that the dogs with sticks will fit entirely into the pan.

3. Dogs fried on sticks tend to lose some of their coating from dripping, and also end up being pretty weird shaped when all is said and done. True, they’ll taste just as great no matter how they’re shaped, but it’s nice when they look good too.

Place a couple of dogs in the prepared batter and use a fork, chopstick, or your clean hands to roll it around and get it coated. Or, if you’re using sticks, dip the dogs completely into the batter to coat them.

If you’re not using sticks, toothpicks work wonders. Use them in the ends (like corn holders) to lift the dogs out of the batter and place them in the hot oil. Hubs has gotten so good at this that he tends to just use one.

Fry the dogs, turning them in the oil regularly, until deep golden brown. If they’re not deep golden, then the batter probably won’t be cooked all the way through, so be sure that you don’t pull them out too soon. We usually fry them for about three to five minutes, and will cut the first one open to check for doneness.

To get every bit browned, the hubster presses the dogs to submerge them completely for about 30 seconds right before removing them.

Place the dogs in the preheated oven on the prepared rack or pan. I usually prefer to place the paper towels either directly on the oven rack or on top of wire cooling racks placed in the oven. This allows some airflow to reach the bottom of the dogs keeping them slightly crisper. Placing them on a baking sheet also works great, but they may soften a very slight amount (they won’t get soggy, though).

We really never use sticks on our dogs. I eat mine with a knife and a fork while the hubster and kiddo just use their hands. Occasionally, we’ll add sticks after the dogs are done cooking, but it’s rare. They’re just as delicious either way, and at least without them, I don’t have to worry about biting the stick and hurting my teeth!

After all of the dogs are coated and fried, you’ll have some batter leftover. Grab a spoon! This stuff makes excellent hushpuppies, or, in this case, corn puppies.

Just drop the batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil and fry until deep golden brown, just like with the dogs.

You have to make these! You’ll always have a little extra batter, and these are fun and tasty. Since you already have the hot oil ready, why not go the extra step? They’re worth it. :)

They’re brown and crisp outside, and golden and soft inside. I think we all look forward to these as much as we do to the corn dogs.

You may be wondering about those adorable fast food trays that I’ve placed everything in. Well, those originally came from the always brilliant and creative Bakerella. She created them a couple of years ago for an adorable Father’s Day treat. I slightly tweaked them by enlarging them a bit. Now they’re large enough to hold the corn dogs and puppies, plus some yummy french fries or chips. Best of all, you can use them too! I’ve included a link below so that you can download and print them for yourself.

If you’re a corn dog fan, then these are definitely a can’t miss. They only take about 30 to 40 minutes from mixing up the batter to having fresh, hot corn dogs (and you can make the batter ahead of time, if needed). These have fantastic flavor, and can be tweaked and changed to suit you. For example, you could add season salt instead of regular, or throw in a little garlic and onion…whatever your taste buds are asking for. Add a little ketchup and/or mustard, and you’re all set. Enjoy!

Homemade Corn Dogs
(with Vegan/dairy free and gluten free substitutions)
Makes 8 to 10 corn dogs and about 1 dozen corn puppies
Ingredients

1 cup yellow corn meal or corn flour (for gluten free cooking, be sure that you have a GF brand)
1 cup all-purpose flour (you can substitute GF flour without changing anything else in the recipe)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar, depends how sweet you want it, but I tend to go with 1/4 cup
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg (1/4 cup egg substitute for vegan)
3/4 to 1 cup milk (soy or almond [plain] for vegan) *sometimes, using a whole cup makes the batter too runny, use your judgement
1 to 2 tablespoons honey, again this depends on how sweet you want it (agave nectar for vegan)
8 to 10 hot dogs (tofu dogs for vegan)

To make the batter: Preheat oil to 375 degrees. Preheat oven to lowest setting (around 175 degrees). Line a wire cooling rack or baking sheet with clean paper towels and place it in the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn meal (or flour), all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add the egg, milk, and honey. Mix until thoroughly combined, adding more milk, as needed.

To make the corn dogs: Dry hot dogs off by rolling them on clean paper towel. Place a couple of dogs in the prepared batter and use a fork, chopstick, or your clean hands to roll it around and get it coated. Or, if you’re using sticks, dip the dogs completely into the batter to coat them. Fry the corn dogs for 3 to 5 minutes, until deep golden brown. Place the dogs in the preheated oven on the prepared rack or pan. Once all of the dogs are cooked, serve immediately.

To make corn puppies: Using a table- or soup spoon, drop excess batter into the hot oil and fry for about 4 minutes, until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Click on the link(s) below, then click File > Save as or Print. Print on heavy, bright white card stock, cut along guidlines, fold along lines, and glue tabs in place. Do not scale, print at 100%.

Retro Fast Food Tray

Recipe by Darla, Trays originally by Bakerella, edited by Darla

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Comments

  1. says

    Can you believe I’ve never had a corn dog before? We don’t really have them in Norway, and the deep-frying scares me and puts me off making them myself, but boy, do they look yummy … I might have to travel overseas sometime soon, just to try one. Or ten.

    *drool*

    M:)

  2. says

    Love, love, love Corn Dogs, hate, hate, hate the frozen ones. If I can just convince myself to fill my dutch oven with all that oil, I’m going to have to give this a try. It’s not even 7am and you’ve got my mouth watering for these. I do agree about the ‘boxed’ foods – I’m working to get our family as far away from processed foods as I can – it’s not an easy process as they have their likes, but I’m working to give them homemade options they’ll enjoy more. If I had more time to cook it would be easier, but we’re getting there. Great post.

  3. says

    Oh, these look so yummy! I’m so freaked out about what goes in hot dogs though. I might have to give turkey dogs a try and just keep my fingers crossed that there isn’t any weird stuff in there. ;)

  4. says

    Oh yum! We live in Minnesota so we really understand the possiblity of cold on the 4th! I recently featured homemade corndogs on my blog too, they are so fun to make and eat!

  5. says

    Oh my goodness I was just thinking about the delicious corn dogs at the Santa Cruz boardwalk and “bam!” here’s a recipe! These look soooo amazing. I just might make them tonight!

  6. says

    I JUST made these for me and my 2 year old with veggie hot dogs… soooo yummie!!!! I did have a problem with it not sticking to the dog well but it was ok still soooo good :)

    • The Hubster says

      Hillary, make sure the dogs are dry before dipping. Just before putting them into the batter, roll them back and forth on a double layer of paper towel to dry them off.

  7. says

    I wonder if it’s okay to eating them straight away after the deep-fry process? So there’s no oven required. I was kinda trying to stop eating sausages after my friend said to me, “how can you eat something that you can’t see the real thing in it, you don’t know what they put inside it”. But after I see this corn dogs, I definitely want to eat sausages again.

    • says

      Hi Eugenia, You ca definitely eat this right away and skip the oven. I only put them in the oven to stay warm while I finish frying the others. :) I hope you give them a try!

  8. Jennifer D. says

    I tried this tonight, and it was the best! Definitely a crowd pleaser.

    Thank you so much for this recipe, I can see it will become something I’ll make on occasion.

  9. Amanda says

    Thank you so much for this recipe and wonderful post!
    Our family of four has 3 celiacs who also have a dairy allergy.
    My daughter’s 7th birthday was on Wednesday and, as she has for the past three years, she requested corndogs for her birthday dinner. I didn’t have the right ingredients for my old recipe and stumbled across this one the day of. I adjusted them to be gluten free and dairy free and they were FABULOUS! The extended family who came loved them and couldn’t believe I had made them. My SIL ate two while raving about them and said she normally doesn’t like corn dogs.
    Thank you!!

  10. Jenifer L says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! We made them with gluten-free adjustments (using a home-made gf flour blend), using potato milk for the milk, sugar instead of honey, and egg replacer, and they worked great. My 4 year old son with multiple food allergies, who could only ever have dreamed of corn dogs, got to experience them tonight for the first time and he was so excited. Again, thank you!

  11. Jaime says

    hey i just tried doing these in my deep fryer…PROBLEM! the batter leaks thru the tiny holes in the basket and now are stuck to the basket! i picked away some of the batter from the bottom to try it and yes, they are AMAZING! only problem now is how to get them out the the fry basket?! please i’m in desprite need of some advice!!!!!!!!!!!

    • says

      Oh no! I should have mentioned that these don’t do well in baskets, but I hadn’t thought of it. :( I’m so sorry!

      Does the basket remove completely from the fryer? If so, then you should be able to maybe use a knife to cut away the batter bits that have pushed through. I’m sorry again that this happened, but I hope that I as able to help a little.

  12. Alyssa says

    Hi, i just tried these. Very yummy, but i had two problems. First, i had the same issue with it sticking to the basket of the deep fryer. :P My fault. Second one is… the batter is not thick and lovely like yours, i had a very thin “crust” over the hot dog. Should i just add more corn flour? Thanks! :)

    • says

      Hi Alyssa, Sorry for the slow reply…now that I’m all moved, I won’t be so slow in the future. :) I would recommend adding the milk to the mixture a little at a time until you have the right consistency. I find that it’s easier to add less milk than it is to try to add more flour. I hope this is helpful.

  13. Elle says

    I just tried this batter as gluten free and vegan… and it didn’t work at all :( The batter was very light and airy, it couldn’t stick to the hot dogs and it was completely soaked through with oil. I tried adding more flour, but no luck… It got a more substantial texture, but that just meant it soaked up more oil. I can’t understand how things went THAT south.

  14. says

    Thank you so much! This will give me something gluten free to make for the kids and possibly send for lunches or to the ex’s that he can feed them without issue. ;)

  15. says

    You say to serve them right away. Will they freeze well? We’re not going to eat 10 corn dogs in a sitting, but I would like to make them and then freeze them to be reheated later. Thoughts?

    • says

      I have never freezed them, Stephanie, but I think they may do well. Once you’re ready to serve them, allow them to thaw completely and come to room temperature, then bake them in a 350 degree oven until warmed.

  16. says

    Forgot to say that I LOVE the dairy free option! My kids are newly dairy free, and I’m trying to learn how to cook things differently. I know for some if may just be common sense, but it helps for me to have it directly stated.

  17. Sophia says

    I want to make corn dogs for a friend who has a gluten allergy, she really misses them. What meat do you use? Turkey, beef or pork? I’ve never had one so I don’t know.

  18. says

    I seldom create remarks, but i did a few searching and
    wound up here Corn Dogs from Scratch – Bakingdom. And I do have a couple of questions
    for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it look like a few of these responses look as if they are left by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing on other online social sites, I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Could you list of every one of your shared sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  19. Raquel Martín says

    Hey, Darla! I found you on FB and now I love your website. My family and I have lived in Puerto Rico (we are spanish) many years ago, and we used to eat corn dogs. I decided to try this recipe and I LOVE IT. It has reminded me of my childhood. Thank you for share it with us!

    • says

      Hi Karen, I don’t think that corn flour would work properly in place of the corn meal. Corn meal is very grainy, while corn flour is very fine. The mixture wouldn’t have the right consistency. If you can find dry polenta, that would work in place of the corn meal, as well. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.

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