We tried eight different cocktail franks from seven brands—and there was one clear winner.

By Bridget Hallinan
Updated January 29, 2020
Advertisement
Credit: Sarah Crowder

Few appetizers have stood the test of time as well as the humble pig in a blanket. Perhaps it’s the irresistible combination of juicy, savory hot dog paired with flaky puff pastry; there’s a delightful novelty, too, in consuming something mini. Once you add in good mustard for dipping, forget about it. Bite-sized quiches and stuffed mushrooms have never had quite the same effect.

It's that very reliability that makes pigs in a blanket an entertaining favorite, and why they’re frequently found at Super Bowl parties—a staple right up there with wings, buffalo chicken dip, and other salt-heavy snacks. You can always make them from scratch, but buying them frozen from the grocery store still yields delicious (and quicker) results. With the Super Bowl fast approaching, we were curious to see which brand would yield the absolute best cocktail franks. We decided it was time for a taste test.

After calling in samples and making several trips to the grocery store, we ended up with eight different varieties of frozen pigs in a blanket from seven popular brands: Sabrett, Hebrew National, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Spring Valley (by Quality Frozen Foods), Bagel Bites, and Super Pretzel. We heated them up in our test kitchen and diligently tried every single one—without condiments, and, perhaps unwisely, without water either. It was delicious, salty, dehydrating work, but it ultimately led us to the discovery of the one true supreme mini hot dog, and we’d gladly do it again. Read on to find out our top three picks.

WINNER: Sabrett Cocktail Franks

Sabrett is a ballpark classic, so it stands to reason that it would make A-plus pigs in a blanket, too. Our editors loved the compact size and the ratio of puff to meat; the “blanket” was perfectly flaky, encasing a snappy, flavorful hot dog on the inside. Out of all the brands we tried, this got almost double the score of any other cocktail frank.

“Wow—I'm blown away,” digital restaurant editor Maria Yagoda wrote. "I have no notes."

Second place: Trader Joe's Parmesan Pastry Pups

Trader Joe’s puts a spin on pigs in a blanket by sprinkling the puff pastry with Parmesan cheese. The move adds a lot of flavor and sets them apart from others on the market; however, we wondered how they would pair with classic condiments like mustard and ketchup.

“A little different from standard pigs in a blanket, but the pastry is puffy and crispy,” associate digital editor Megan Soll said. “The dog is well done and it’s a great package overall.” 

Third place: Hebrew National Beef Franks in a Blanket

Hebrew National is also known for its pigs in a blanket, which are made from kosher beef. Editors felt that this brand had the best-tasting hot dog out of the bunch, but what kept it from being number one was the pastry—it wasn’t as flaky or flavorful as some of its competitors.

“This is the classic pig in a blanket to me,” senior audience engagement editor Meg Clark wrote. 

Bonus: Upgrades 

We also asked our editors about their favorite ways to zhuzh up store-bought pigs in a blanket, in case you’re in the mood to experiment. Here are their top picks:

Seasoning

Try adding smoked paprika for depth of flavor, or, sprinkling on everything bagel seasoning. One of the brands we tried, Wegmans, has pastry-wrapped mini hot dogs that already come with everything seasoning on them if you want to give it a test drive.

Sauce

You have a few options here. We like mixing mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise together for a dipping sauce; fish sauce mayonnaise or chili crisp mayonnaise would also work beautifully. TLDR: grab mayo, and you’ll be off to a good start.

Cheese

Take a note from Trader Joe’s and add a little shredded Parmesan to your pigs in a blanket.