Gluten free corn dogs are carnival or state fair food, but it’s hard to come by them at the actual event. So let’s make them ourselves!
Making corn dogs at home is a bit of a messy enterprise, but they’re the sort of food that make everyone cheer. Well, everyone who likes hot dogs even a little will cheer.
Part of the reason I prefer baking to cooking is that baking is seen as a gift, since it’s not essential. Your family would likely only notice if you didn’t cook dinner. But everyone takes notice when you bake something.
Deep fried corn dogs are in a middle ground. They’re food, not sweets, but they’re special and memorable.
Secrets to gluten free corn dogs success
Making corn dogs isn’t difficult, but like all recipes that use a technique that isn’t done in everyday cooking and baking, there are secrets to success. These are the things I remind myself of every time I make corn dogs.
If you only remember one thing, it’s to follow all the recipe instructions literally. I’m not saying I never make a mistake, but the published mistakes I make on this blog are typos or a turn of phrase.
Especially since you can literally watch me make these recipes in the hundreds of how-to videos on this website (unless you’re using an ad blocker, which will hide the videos so quit it!), you know that the recipe works when made as written. So if it didn’t work, please don’t tell me you “followed the recipe to a T.” If you do, it works. I promise.
Prepare the hot dogs properly
One of the biggest challenges in making corn dogs is getting the batter to stick to the hot dogs. The instructions below tell you to dry the hot dogs. Do that!
Then, coat them in the gum-free flour. The batter is thick, but still slippery when you’re trying to coat a smooth surface.
Prepare and apply the batter properly
The batter should be thick, very well-combined, and chilled. Watch the video to see the consistency you’re seeking.
To ensure a nice, thick layer of batter on each hot dog, dip it, let it drip off, then dip it again and twirl it on the stick. Then, gently place it in the hot oil.
If your batter makes the corn dog stick to the bottom surface of your frying container, it’s okay. Just gently free it when you’re ready to flip. If there’s a bald spot, you’ll only see a nicely fried hot dog poking out.
Be mindful when you insert the sticks
When you insert the stick in each hot dog, try holding the hot dog horizontally. That will help you visualize inserting the stick at the same horizontal angle, so the stick doesn’t pop out of the hot dog skin at an angle.
Oh, and if you have any trouble finding bamboo skewers in the grocery store, check by the meat counter. They’re usually not far from there – and either way, the butcher will always know where they keep them!
I like the look of lollipop sticks, and I happen to have a bag of them made by Wilton. They’re available at most craft stores, and of course also available online.
Don’t use an air fryer
If you were to make this batter thick enough to lay down the raw corn dogs on a rack or in an air fryer basket, the batter would be too thick to get particularly crisp. If you were to use an air fryer with the batter as it is in the recipe now, it would slip off and pool around the bottom.
Remember that an air fryer is a misnomer. It’s not frying food. It’s just a high-powered confection oven.
How to make gluten free corn fritters from the same batter
Whenever I go through the trouble of deep-frying anything, I want to keep using that oil. This recipe for gluten free corn dogs quickly becomes a two-for-one when you thicken any remaining batter and make instant corn fritters.
This is more of an art than a science, though, since there’s no way of knowing precisely how much corn dog batter will be left over. I usually just double the batter recipe, even if I don’t plan to make double the corn dogs, just so I can make fritters.
The rule of thumb is to add 1 tablespoon (about 9 grams) of additional corn flour or gum-free gluten free flour for each 1/4 cup of leftover batter. You want to thicken the batter just enough that it pulls away from the side of the container when it’s fully mixed.
If you’d like to make sweeter fritters, add some granulated sugar to the batter first, then add the appropriate amount of corn flour or basic gf flour. They’re delicious with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Ingredients and substitutions
There’s a bit of milk in the batter, and I use cow’s milk. If you’re dairy-free, use your favorite non-dairy milk.
The egg in the batter is essential to creating a coating that clings to the hot dog and has structure during frying. Even though it’s only one egg, I’m reluctant to recommend trying an egg replacement.
I had always made this recipe with coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. I like the texture in the corn dogs.
Lately, I’ve made the batter with a combination of half corn flour (which is just more finely ground cornmeal, at least that’s what we call it in the U.S.) and half coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. That way, I have the texture I like, and the batter clings to the hot dogs even better.
You cannot make these corn dogs … without corn. That would require a completely different recipe!
Most commercial hot dogs are gluten free, but please check your labels and make phone calls to companies if you’re unsure. Some companies use wheat-based fillers in their hot dogs.
We often buy Applegate Farms brand, but Hebrew National is also great. If you don’t eat meat, and you have a vegan gluten free “hot dog” you like, use that if it’s strong enough to endure the indignities of this recipe.