Can Pregnant Women Eat Corn Dogs? Safety and Risks

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Corn dogs are popular during fairs and are a real treat for everyone. But, could pregnant women treat themselves as well without worrying?

Corn dogs are safe to eat provided that they reach an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) by cooking or reheating. You can eat them from a stall, buy a ready-to-cook one, or make one yourself! Just make sure to cook them at the intended safe temperature. 

Who doesn’t want to eat that crispy smooth exterior that cracks as you bite in that moist interior breading with the extra juicy hot dog? Find out more about the different ways to prepare corn dogs and what you should look out for!

Are Corn Dogs Safe During Pregnancy?

Corn dogs are safe to eat when pregnant if they are cooked or reheated to a safe internal temperature before you eat them.

Safety all comes down to the cooking and the internal temperature of the hot dog or sausage inside it that matters most, rather than the batter or coating.

And since sausages are processed and semi-cooked, they have to be cooked or reheated to an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) to make them safe for consumption (source: FDA).

Hot dogs, the most common sausage of choice for corn dogs, are commonly made with pork, beef, chicken, or turkey. Sometimes, it can be a combination of different meats mixed together.

No matter what type of hot dog is used for it, it has to reach the minimum internal temperature as above. 

The FDA recommends cooking or reheating hot dogs all the time at least until steaming hot. This is because processed and ready-to-eat foods are an easy target for contamination by Listeria monocytogenes after processing and even packaging. 

This kills the harmful bacteria that can otherwise make you and your unborn baby ill.

corndog with mustard on a plate

If you can’t reheat a hot dog sufficiently before eating it, it might be best to skip it (source: FDA). The same principle applies to corn dogs since it contains hot dogs or other sausages. 

Pre-Made Corn Dogs

When eating out, corn dogs are either freshly cooked on the spot or kept warm in a hot container, or food warmer.

If they are being cooked as you order them, then you should be good. The temperature of foods that are sold when fried ranges from 325 °F to 375 °F (162.8 °C to 190.6 °C) (source: OSU Extension).

However, if they are already cooked and just warmed in the food warmer, or kept in a “hot box” (like you get at some stores, like Walmart for example), then ask how hot the food warmer is. If your corn dog is served lukewarm or just warm, ask to have it reheated until it’s steaming if the facility is there.

Cooking Corn Dogs at Home

Store-bought and ready-to-cook corn dogs are also available should you prefer to cook them yourself. Just make sure that they reach the internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C). The best way to check this is with a food thermometer.

If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge and reheat them up to the same temperature or until steaming.

Want to make your own corn dog from scratch? Sure, you can! Just make sure you follow proper and safe handling and cooking procedures at home. 

When cooking them at home, you can choose between conventional frying and air frying. Yes, you can also air fry them. If you have ready-to-cook corn dogs, you can pop them in the air fryer and follow the cooking instructions.  Just make sure the temperature is hot enough to fully cook them.

You can also check once in a while and insert a food thermometer to see if they’ve reached the safe internal temperature.

If you cook with fresh batter on hot oil, do the same thing using a food thermometer.

To tell if they are done, they should be steaming when reheated or cooked. Again, to be certain, use a food thermometer. 

corn dogs with mustard and ketchup in a box

Are Corn Dogs Good For Pregnant Women?

Corn dogs are calorie-dense considering they are fried, contain processed meat, and have a rich batter. 

If you come to think about it, they are energy-rich foods because they offer carbohydrates, protein, and fat. 

For fried items you buy, the oil absorption is at an average of 8–25% (source: ScienceDirect). Since they have sausages inside, they are also high in sodium, especially if you add condiments to them.

One corn dog (88 g serving) contains 7.54 g protein, 10.6 g fats, 23.8 g carbohydrates, 588 mg sodium, and 220 kcal (source: USDA).

For these reasons, it’s not recommended to eat them on a regular basis during pregnancy, though you can enjoy them in moderation.

Corn dogs are a safe and delicious food to eat during pregnancy but do remember that they can be unhealthy when eaten excessively. We hope you found this article about corn dogs useful the next time you’re craving one!