Bulk Up Your Fried Rice With This Budget-Friendly Shortcut

There's so much to love about fried rice. It's an always-delicious and easy-to-make meal that invites a bevy of fun additions and customizations to suit your personal tastes, as well as your budget. When you're looking to bump your fried rice up with a little extra protein while remaining cost-effective, there's one item you might be surprised to learn will make an excellent mix-in: hot dogs. That's right, you can easily bulk up your fried rice and keep things cheap by slicing up some hot dogs and throwing them into your rice.

Hot dogs are typically packaged in bunches containing between 8 and 12 franks and cost between $2.50 and $6 per package on average. Packaged hot dogs can be frozen and thawed for later use, and they can even be bought in bulk at places like Costco at a discount. One of the most convenient aspects to cooking with packaged hot dogs is that the sausages are already fully cooked. They will still need to be heated to reduce the risk of foodborne illness, but this will not take as significant an amount of time as cooking raw meat would. This means they will go great when thrown into a pan in which you've got your fried rice sizzling.

Why does hot dog fried rice work?

Along with being friendly to your wallet, hot dogs are tasty on the palette. With a wide variety of different brands and styles to choose from, there's a hot dog to fit any type of fried rice you can dream up. Whether selecting an all-beef frank, a mix of pork and beef, or a plant-based option, hot dogs fit into fried rice, bringing an extra savory element and additional nutrients. You can also try different preparations for your hot dogs like oven roasting or pan cooking to change up the flavor and texture before adding them to your fried rice.

For vegetarian or vegan versions, using plant-based hot dogs as your main protein and adding in crispy vegetables and your choice of egg substitute makes for a wholesome and flavor-filled meal. Starting with a basic fried rice recipe and stirring sliced up hot dogs into the rice bulks up the protein without breaking the bank. Add in your favorite spices and seasonings like a sprinkle furikake or a dash of fish sauce to further bring out the umami profile.