Corn dogs are a breakfast food (sausage, fried batter—it’s all there!), and the best breakfast foods are those that can be made quickly and easily, even in an un-caffeinated state. Frozen corn dogs are almost that. They heat up quickly in the microwave and deliciously in the oven, but the former makes the batter all rubbery and the latter takes too long to be quick and easy. I thought my little air fryer was the perfect, elegant solution to my conundrum but—for once in my life—I was wrong.
That’s right. After many months, I have finally found a frozen food—and a dog—that does not do particularly well in the air fryer. Frozen corn dogs that are plunked straight into the tiny convection oven are just too frozen, at least in the middle, and the batter is too greasy. When confronted with the hot, sweeping winds of an air fryer, the batter fries in its own fat too quickly, and the dog portion never gets the chance to heat up properly.
Have you ever bitten into something that looks hot and delicious, only to be betrayed by the interior? If you’re a member of the Hot Pocket generation, I know you have, and you know that it sucks. You also might know that a two-appliance approach is the solution.
Historically, I’ve enlisted both the microwave and the oven to render frozen foods consistently hot throughout the interior and crispy on the outside. I’ve also used a sous-vide circulator to cook a pesky Hot Pocket. Both of these methods worked beautifully, but they also added a significant amount of time. I think you see where I am going with this.
Frozen corn dogs just don’t work in the air fryer. (If my first-person account isn’t enough to convince you, read the comments on this blog.) The appliance is, however, a great tool for finishing them after a quick blast in the microwave. Like the French bread pizzas of my youth, the corn dogs cooked using this multi-method approach come out consistently heated all the way through, but with plenty of texture.
It’s also much a faster cooking method than any of the air-fryer only recipes. All you have to do is take a frozen corn dog, loosely wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave it at full power for a minute. While it’s microwaving, preheat your air fryer to 400℉. Then, when you hear the microwave sing its sweet song of accomplishment, transfer the corn dog to the air fryer basket, and cook it for 2-3 minutes, depending on how dark you like your batter. Eat the corn dog (hopefully for breakfast), then go about your day.