How to Make the Best Homemade Corn Dogs

Learn how to make perfectly golden, hand-dipped corn dogs at home with this step-by-step guide.

This American classic may be synonymous with carnivals and school lunches, but crispy corn dogs can also be made at home. The idea of making homemade corn dogs may seem intimidating at first, but with a few basic tools and simple tricks, you can have a fresh, hand-battered corn dog in 30 minutes.

What Is a Corn Dog?

A corn dog is a hot dog on a stick that’s dipped in a thick layer of cornmeal batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. Unlike frozen corn dogs at the grocery store, which are fried and then flash-frozen so you can bake or air-fry them at home, to make hand-dipped corn dogs, you have to deep-fry them yourself.

Several people have claimed to be the inventor of corn dogs. For instance, brothers Carl and Neil Fletcher introduced “corny dogs” at the Texas State Fair in 1942 with rave reviews from fairgoers. While the brothers thought their idea to be original (and may have been the ones who turned corn dogs into mainstream fair food), they were not the first.

An earlier claim dates back to the 1930s. George and Versa Boyington, a husband-and-wife duo, operated a hot dog stand in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. The story goes that a rainstorm destroyed all of their stand’s hot dog buns, so they made “buns” on the fly by dipping the franks in a pancake-like batter and frying them. George named his invention the “Pronto Pup.”

What Is Corn Dog Batter?

Corn dog batter is a light cornmeal-based mixture of wet and dry ingredients that, when fried, has a fluffy interior and slightly crisp exterior. Most recipes use a blend of cornmeal, flour, baking powder, eggs and milk. Sometimes a pinch or two of sugar is added for a hint of sweetness.

Editor’s Tip: What type of flour is best for homemade corn dogs? While many recipes use all-purpose flour, we find that self-rising flour works even better. It already has just the right amount of baking powder mixed into the flour. This means you don’t have to add extra baking powder to the recipe, and you get a supremely fluffy corn dog coating with less fuss.

What Kind of Hot Dogs Should You Use for Corn Dogs?

Walk through the supermarket and you’ll see a million different hot dog brands and varieties. While you can use beef, pork, turkey or even vegan-style hot dogs for corn dogs, we found that a high-quality “all beef” hot dog made the best corn dog from scratch. In terms of size and shape (e.g., long, skinny, short or fat), that’s a matter of preference. Choose whichever you enjoy most!

See our Test Kitchen’s top-ranked hot dog brands.

How to Make Homemade Corn Dogs

This recipe from reader Ruby Williams of Louisiana makes 10 corn dogs. If you’re new to frying, check out our guide to deep-frying with confidence before you start!


  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup self-rising flour, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 10 popsicle sticks
  • 10 hot dogs
  • 2 quarts of vegetable or canola oil, for deep-frying


Step 1: Dry the hot dogs

Using a paper towel, pat the hot dogs until completely dry. Next, insert a popsicle stick (or sturdy bamboo skewer) about two-thirds of the way into each hot dog. Set aside.

Step 2: Make the corn dog batter

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, 3/4 cup self-rising flour, and the egg. Add in the milk and stir until a thick batter forms. Let stand for 4-5 minutes and then transfer to a tall glass.

Step 3: Dip the dogs

Roll each hot dog in the remaining 1/4 cup flour. This step will help the batter really stick to the hot dog.

Then, dunk each dog into the batter, making sure to cover the whole thing. This is where that tall glass comes in handy!

Step 4: Fry and serve

Immediately after dipping the hot dogs, drop them carefully into a deep fryer or Dutch oven filled with oil preheated to 350°F. Fry the corn dogs, a few at a time, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce.

Editor’s Tip: Take care not to overcrowd your fryer with corn dogs and monitor the oil temperature while cooking. The oil temp will drop slightly when the corn dogs are added, so bump up the oil temperature a little, if necessary, after adding the corn dogs to ensure they’re frying at the proper temperature.

Tips for Making Homemade Corn Dogs

Air Fryer Corn Dogs on a white plateMatt Robicelli for Taste of Home

Can you freeze corn dog batter?

It’s not recommended. This means making the corn dog batter ahead or saving leftover batter isn’t an option. Once mixed, the baking powder in the self-rising flour will lose its effectiveness after a few hours, resulting in a less fluffy coating on your corn dogs once fried.

If you want to shave off some prep time, mix a 50/50 blend of cornmeal and self-rising flour and store it in an airtight canister in your pantry. Then, simply add eggs and milk to the mix when you’re ready to fry up a batch of homemade corn dogs.

Why is the batter falling off of my corn dogs?

If the batter is not sticking to your corn dogs (or Korean corn dogs), there are a few likely causes. First, make sure you have dried them off properly before dipping them in the flour and batter. Any liquid on the dogs will create a barrier inhibiting the flour and batter from sticking to the hot dogs, so don’t skip this crucial step.

The consistency of your batter could also be a problem. A thin batter will slide right off the dogs, while a thick batter will not flow evenly over the hot dogs when dipped. When in doubt, add additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, to a thin batter, or additional milk, a tablespoon at a time, to a thick batter until the desired viscosity is reached.

What are the best sticks to use for homemade corn dogs?

Our recipe calls for good old-fashioned popsicle sticks. However, you can also use sturdy bamboo skewers, caramel apple sticks or metal skewers. Just make sure they are long enough to insert at least two-thirds of the way into each hot dog.

Editor’s Tip: If using metal skewers, handle them with care since they may become hot while frying in the oil.

How do you keep corn dogs crispy?

If you hope to make your corn dogs ahead, but worry about them losing their freshly-fried crispy exterior, never fear. To keep corn dogs crispy until ready to serve, arrange them 1-2 inches apart on a wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet. Then, keep warm in a 200° oven until ready to serve.

How do you store homemade corn dogs?

Leftover cooked corn dogs can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container. Refrigerated corn dogs should be eaten within two to three days. Frozen corn dogs can be stored for up to two months. Defrost overnight in the freezer before warming.

To reheat refrigerated or defrosted frozen corn dogs, preheat your oven to 350° and bake for 10 minutes. Frozen corn dogs can be baked at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through completely.

What else can you serve with homemade corn dogs?

Round out your fair-worthy spread with tasty side dishes, snacks or dips for corn dogs.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.