Kid Food Special: Octodogs




Calling kids of all ages (and all you H.P. Lovecraft fans) out there!

OK, so these are really silly.

And I should note that I didn’t invent these little suckers.

There’s a whole sub-culture dedicated to making cute food to put into Japanese-style bento box lunches, including hot dogs. (Check out the fabulous bento site Lunch in a Box for more info.)

Basically, you take a hot dog, cut him into an octopus shape with 8 little legs and a face, and deep fry him so he crisps up and his legs curl.

A Facebook fan also alerted me that there’s a very similar Mexican snack called salchipulpos.

It’s so easy, it’s kind of ridiculous.

I made a whole fleet of them this weekend.


I made mini octodogs.


And I made mega octodogs, with ridiculously curly tentacles.




I carved little faces in them. This one was kind of furious at being fried, right? (Whoops!)


And I definitely had fun playing with my food.


Use any kind of hot dog or sausage you like

I could see making massive octodogs with sections of kielbasa. This time, I used Hebrew National hot dogs, as part of the promotion and recipe development gig I’m working on right now. (Thanks, guys!)

To enter to win free franks, become a fan of Hebrew National on Facebook and tell them why you love Hebrew National hot dogs. (Me? They’re all beef!)

HBW-logoSince this was my first time making these little guys, I bought the mega pack of hot dogs just in case I screwed up. Not a bad idea. Hot dogs aren’t the most stable carving material. 😉


I definitely had a couple of casualties. (They were delicious, if a little mangled…)


The basic recipe

Slice most of your hot dog into 8 strips, leaving about an inch on the top for the head.

  • For mini octodogs, use one half of a hot dog per octodog.


  • For mega octodogs with long, curly tentacles, use a whole hot dog per octodog.


Deep fry one at a time (so their legs don’t tangle) at 330 degrees F for about 45 seconds, or until the meat is crisp and the legs are curled.

If you have beasts or little kids, they’ll probably be VERY interested in what you’re doing at this point. (Dexter supervised the frying.)


That’s it! Like I said: Simple.


4 hot dogs or sausages
Oil for deep frying

Yields 8 mini octodogs or 4 mega octodogs

Prep your octodogs

Grab your hot dogs. Have a couple extra on hand in case you screw up while you’re getting the hang of cutting the legs. It’s easy to slice off a tentacle.

Pat them dry. This is important. If they’re wet when you fry ’em, the oil will splatter.

Slice 8 legs out of your hot dog, leaving about an inch or so for the head. Cut the rest of the hot dog into quarters, then into eighths.





Using a small, sharp knife or something similarly stabby (toothpick, skewer, etc.), carve a face in your hot dog.


Repeat with the rest of your hot dogs.

Set them aside while you heat your oil for frying.



Fry the octodogs

Fill a small pot 1/2 – 2/3 full with oil. Set it on the stove over medium-high heat until it reaches about 330 degrees F.

Line a plate with paper towels and set it next to the stove to drain your finished octodogs.




When your oil is up to temperature, carefully lower one hot dog into the pot.

Fry them one at a time. This is important. If you do a couple at a time, they’ll cook just fine, but their legs can tangle and fuse together.





Fry them for about 45 seconds each, or until the meat is crisp and the legs have curled. When they’re done, remove them gently from the oil with tongs or a spider.


Here’s a mega octodog. Using a whole hot dog makes the most impressive, curled tentacles.
IMG_2649   IMG_2652


When your octodogs are done, set them on your paper-towel lined plate to drain.


Serve hot or cool to room temp then refrigerate for a lunchtime treat for your favorite little peep.


Enjoy!    IMG_2689    IMG_2715


A Message from Hebrew National

Hebrew National tastes great because, for more than 100 years, we’ve adhered to the highest quality standards. Hebrew National Franks are made with premium cuts of 100% pure kosher beef, and contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no by-products, and no fillers. Premium taste and high quality every time, for any occasion. That’s our guarantee. Learn about even more reasons to love Hebrew National, and tell us why you love them, too! 


Compensation was provided by Hebrew National via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Hebrew National.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Cooking these in boiling water will deliver similar effect, and slightly healthier. A trick used for kids’ lunchboxes that I’ve learned on Japanese TV. 😉

    • Oh, awesome! Yeah, I did a bunch of research (hot dog research!) online, and from what I could see, the boiled ones didn’t curl as dramatically. Of course, they’re healthier for you…the deep-fried Octodog is probably not recommended daily fare. 😉


  2. These look awesome! For kids of all ages, as they say. What sort of dipping sauce would you recommend with them? A peppery Honey Mustard seems like the front runner. Tartar sauce to compliment the seafood theme? Plain ol’ ketchup?

    The mind boggles.