Do Kirkland Hot Dogs Have Nitrates (The Truth!)

Do Kirkland Hot Dogs Have Nitrates

Did you know that hot dogs are one of the most common foods containing added nitrates? Processed meats like hot dogs often contain a decent amount of nitrates, which are nitrogen and oxygen compounds that have ties to certain health issues.

Although nitrate consumption is very common and most people consume some nitrates every day, the problem arises when nitrates get added to food.

This is the case in meats like hot dogs, and some believe the presence of these nitrates can increase cancer risks and pregnancy complication risks.

So, where do Costco customers come into the mix? Costco’s value brand Kirkland Signature sells hot dogs under the label. These popular franks contain sodium nitrates and nitrites, which are not great for your health. 

In this article, we’ll dissect the ingredients behind Kirkland Signature hot dogs and how nitrates play into the mix. Read on to learn the effects of nitrates in foods such as hot dogs.

What Are Nitrates?

Nitrates are compounds that are often added to certain foods for preservative purposes. They are very common in cured meats, and hot dogs are no exception.

The reason nitrates get added to foods like meat is to make them appear more appealing.

If nitrates were not added to certain meats like hot dogs, the hot dogs might appear gray or bland-looking. Instead, nitrates help to give a more appealing color and preserve the meat longer. 

The tricky thing about nitrates is that you can actually find them naturally in certain foods. For example, leafy greens tend to naturally contain nitrates. And these nitrates – naturally occurring nitrates, are the ones you want to consume.

On the other hand, though, added nitrates are the ones you want to stay away from for multiple good reasons.

When our gut digests added nitrates, they end up turning into nitrites. This is where health complications begin to occur, as nitrites are quite bad for the body and cells. 

The Effects of Nitrates – Good or Bad?

Long story short – if you see nitrates on the ingredient list of processed food, it’s likely the added kind. And this means that the effects are more likely to be bad than good for your health.

Among the studied effects of nitrates on our health are an increased risk of certain cancers, increased risk of pregnancy complications, and health risks for infants. 

The Mayo Clinic even suggests that sodium nitrates (which you can find in hot dogs) can lead to increased heart disease risks.

The cause? Damage to your blood vessels. Sodium nitrates are bad for your blood vessels and ultimately can lead to other health complications, such as diabetes.

Read also: Are Kirkland Hot Dogs Healthy? (The Truth!)

Should You Avoid Nitrates in Food?

In most cases, you should try to avoid nitrates in food. You’ll know if they’re added if you see them listed as “sodium nitrate” on the ingredients list with other preservative-like compounds.

However, if you’re just buying leafy greens such as kale, for example, then the nitrates in this food are to your overall benefit. 

Read also: Are Kirkland Hot Dogs Dairy-Free? (Explained!)

Kirkland Hot Dog Makeup

Although Costco members love their Costco’s Kirkland Signature products for their value prices, you should still be wary of what you’re eating.

Kirkland beef hot dogs contain several preservative ingredients, including sodium nitrite, sodium lactate, and others.

And considering that nitrites are actually the more harmful product of nitrates, this is something to be wary of.

Nitrites can actually cause damage to your cells when consumed. This is why many believe they can increase the risk of cancer in some cases.

Further, Costco’s Kirkland Signature beef dinner franks contain several sodium compounds, including sodium nitrite, sodium lactate, and sodium erythorbate.

Although the latter two are likely better for you than the sodium nitrite, it’s still wise to avoid excessive sodium when possible. 

Kirkland Signature hot dogs seem to have a makeup that generally focuses on long-term product preservation, rather than long-term health.

One serving alone of a dinner frank from the Kirkland brand yields 40% of your suggested daily value of sodium. That’s pretty taxing on the heart. 

Read also: Who Makes Kirkland Hot Dogs? (Beef, Ingredients)

The Consensus on Kirkland Hot Dogs

While Kirkland Signature hot dogs prove to be yet another example of Costco’s value deals, consumers should probably be wary of the ingredients.

The negatives of added nitrates in processed meats like hot dogs outweigh any possible pros. 

Although your hot dogs would not look or probably smell the way they do without these added nitrates/nitrites, they are worse off with them.

The thing about nitrates, when added to meat, is that it extends shelf life at a low cost. But the extension of the food’s shelf life could just be shortening your shelf life. 

Our consensus is that Kirkland Signature hot dogs may not be the best purchase to make at Costco. They have preservatives written all over them and could potentially damage your health in the long term. 


Kirkland hot dogs are one of Costco’s popular value brand products.

But just what are these franks made of, and how does their preservation lead to harmful effects in the body?

As it turns out, Kirkland Signature hot dogs contain sodium additives, including sodium nitrate, which can be worse for your health than sodium nitrate. 

Nitrates can lead to health risks such as the risk of cancer and risk of pregnancy complications. Consider the full ingredients in Kirkland Signature hot dogs before you choose to buy and eat them.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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