Cook Hot Dogs In Baked Beans For The Easiest, Nostalgic Summer Meal

When the "dog days" of summer (pun intended) roll around, hot dogs and baked beans are as iconic a duo as Hall and Oates or "cracking open a cold one" and "the boys." That's why making "beanie weenies" is the beloved nostalgic hot dog hack that belongs on your radar. All it takes is a package of franks and a can of baked beans. To make beanie weenies, first slice the hotdogs into coins, then brown 'em in a skillet (ideally cast iron). 

Then, add the baked beans and cook until everything is heated through. That's it. Four is a good jumping-off point, but feel free to use as many hot dogs per can of beans as you see fit. To cook the dogs, you could fry 'em in a neutral cooking oil, or, for a richer bite, bacon fat. Or, swap the hotdogs altogether for Andouille sausages, chicken brats, or meatless vegan dogs. Add a touch of sweetness to round out the smoky profile with a spoonful of molasses (which Giada De Laurentiis swears by for baked beans), or by using "Country Style" or "Hickory" canned baked beans.

The leftovers hold up great and taste even better after the flavors have melded together overnight into a bold comfort food that's greater than the sum of its parts. Beanie weenies is also a thrifty dish for turning those final few franks left in the package post-cookout into make-ahead lunches or meal prep. It's easy to batch to feed a crowd (and please picky eaters), plus it brings all the warm and fuzzy retro childhood vibes.

Great ways to customize your beanie weenies

Other than eating it, perhaps the best part of making beanie weenies is customizing it. If you prefer a more savory taste, use canned barbecue baked beans, and use Dijon or spicy brown mustard instead of yellow. Feeling adventurous? Add canned pineapple, stir in a little gochujang, or throw in some Old Bay seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Whatever. You could also bulk this dish up into entrée territory by stirring some caramelized onions, bacon, and cooked brown lentils into the mix. 

Or, for a fresh element, add pickled banana peppers, chopped bell peppers, fiery canned tomatoes, or a can of creamed corn. This would also be a great meal to cook in a crock pot, allowing the beans-n-dogs to slow-simmer together into a sweet-savory, smoky masterpiece. Alternatively, you could slam it in a casserole dish, top it with shredded pepper jack, bacon bits, and green onions sliced on the diagonal, then bake it in the oven covered in foil.

Serve beanie weenies in paper bowls at a tailgate, and top them with grated sharp cheddar cheese and chopped chives for a colorful finish. For an unforgettable picnic, serve beanie weenies with grilled corn on the cob, pasta salad, collard greens, mac and cheese, and a slab of cornbread. Or, for a fun weeknight dinner, top it with sliced avocado and scoop it up with tortilla chips. For even easier prep, serve beanie weenies over white rice or canned refrigerated biscuits.