What brand hot dog buns are dairy-free?

For those with dietary restrictions like lactose intolerance or milk allergies, finding dairy-free hot dog buns can be a challenge. Many standard hot dog buns contain milk or whey as an ingredient, which rules them out for people avoiding dairy. Thankfully, there are some great dairy-free options on the market from brands making gluten-free, vegan, or specialty items. With a little sleuthing in the grocery store aisles, you can find hot dog buns to suit your needs.

What Makes Hot Dog Buns Not Dairy-Free?

A typical hot dog bun contains enriched wheat flour, water, yeast, and small amounts of sugar, salt, vegetable oil, and preservatives. Milk, whey, buttermilk, or cheese are often added too, which provides moisture, flavor, and texture. For people avoiding dairy due to dietary preferences or restrictions, these ingredients are problematic.

Lactose is the main carb found in milk products. When lactose intolerance is present, it causes digestive issues since the enzyme needed to properly digest it is lacking. With a milk allergy, the immune system identifies milk proteins as harmful and triggers symptoms like stomach pains, hives, or breathing difficulties. For those sensitive to dairy in any capacity, it’s essential to read labels and know how to spot milk-derived components.

What To Look For On Ingredient Lists

Here are some common dairy-containing ingredients to watch out for on hot dog bun packaging:

  • Milk
  • Whey
  • Buttermilk
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Casein
  • Lactose
  • Cream

Terms like “non-dairy” and “dairy-free” should also be verified since they aren’t regulated labeling terms. Always check the ingredients list for milk-containing ingredients even if these claims are present.

Some people with dairy issues can tolerate small amounts of milk proteins. For those with more severe allergies or intolerance, it’s safest to choose buns with no dairy-derived ingredients at all. Many mainstream brands offer dairy-free varieties, but you may need to shop the specialty aisles to find them.

Major Brands Making Dairy-Free Hot Dog Buns

Here are some major brand names to look for when seeking dairy-free hot dog buns:

Sara Lee

Sara Lee’s line of hamburger and hot dog buns are labelled as dairy-free. Just check the ingredients to confirm the specific type you’re buying is free of milk products. Sara Lee buns are widely available at most major grocery retailers.


Look for Arnold’s Dairy Free 100% Whole Wheat hot dog buns to avoid milk-derived ingredients. They offer the brand’s classic bun taste and texture in a version suitable for dairy-free diets. Arnold is another very common brand located in the bakery aisle of many stores.


Bimbo Bakeries makes dairy-free buns under both its Bimbo and Arnold brands. Look for the “dairy free” label on packaging to identify the appropriate versions. Bimbo offers mainstream availability similar to Sara Lee and Arnold.


The Lewis Bake Shop distributes packaged buns, breads, and rolls, including dairy-free hot dog buns. They work well for cookouts, parties, and everyday use. Lewis products can be found at club stores like BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sam’s Club.

Specialty Brands With Dairy-Free Options

In addition to the major brands, there are some smaller specialty bakeries producing dairy-free hot dog buns:


Based in New York, Katz’s Deli offers gluten-free buns and rolls in dairy-free varieties. They ship frozen buns nationwide and are ideal for those avoiding both gluten and dairy.


Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based Octavia Bakery makes artisan bread products free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and other allergens. Their hot dog rolls are soft and flavorful. Octavia ships frozen items across the U.S.

Three Bakers

Three Bakers is another widely available specialty brand offering quality gluten-free and dairy-free baked goods, including hot dog buns. They also produce options that are vegan and non-GMO.

Against the Grain

Against the Grain makes gluten-free and vegan-certified Gourmet Hot Dog Rolls with an assortment of flavors. Flavors like Pesto Parmesan and Everything are dairy-free alternatives for higher end hot dogs. Against the Grain products can be found in the freezer section at stores like Whole Foods.

Canyon Bakehouse

For those avoiding both gluten and dairy, Canyon Bakehouse Deli-Style Buns are a tasty option. They specifically advertise as being both gluten-free and dairy-free. Canyon Bakehouse items are stocked at Whole Foods, Target, and other major grocers.

What About Store Brands or Generic?

House brands of hot dog buns available at chains like Kroger, Safeway, Publix, HEB, etc. are hit or miss in terms of being dairy-free. It’s wisest to verify the ingredient list since milk products are likely used in many versions. However, large grocery chains often do offer dairy-free alternatives under their own labels, so don’t count them out completely.

As far as plain generic hot dog buns, the story is the same. There’s no standard for whether they contain dairy or not. Check the label each time, even for brands you’ve bought in the past, since formulations can change. Your best bet is looking for one of the major brands marketing their buns as dairy-free.

What About Hot Dog Buns Found at Hot Dog Restaurants?

Buns from hot dog-focused quick service chains like Nathan’s Famous or Portillo’s generally do contain dairy as an ingredient. Since these businesses specialize in hot dogs, their recipes are tailored to what works best for that specific product. Small amounts of milk products provide the ideal texture and taste profile expected from a hot dog bun.

Some exceptions exist when specialty dietary needs are considered. For example, Disneyland’s hot dog carts in the parks can provide dairy-free buns on request. But in most cases, buns sold at hot dog joints contain at least a small amount of dairy. Check with the restaurant directly if unsure, but it’s safest to bring your own buns to these types of establishments when dairy is a concern.

Tips for Finding Dairy-Free Hot Dog Buns

If you’re struggling to track down dairy-free hot dog buns, here are some helpful tips:

  • Check thebakery aisles first since this is where specialty items are often shelved.
  • Look for gluten-free sections in stores, as many gluten-free baked goods are also dairy-free.
  • Scope out the freezer section for brands like Against the Grain or Canyon Bakehouse with freezer-friendly buns.
  • Ask at the bakery counter if they have any dairy-free buns available.
  • Inquire at customer service if the store carries any dairy-free bun options.
  • Check at natural grocers like Whole Foods which cater more to specialty diets.
  • Order online from brands shipping frozen buns if you can’t find them locally.

With a combination of diligent label reading and knowing where to find the dairy-free bun options stocked in stores, you should be able to locate brands and varieties that meet your needs. It may take some work, but thankfully there are more and more choices available in today’s food landscape.

Dairy-Free Hot Dog Bun Recipes to Make from Scratch

If you’re up for a kitchen project, making dairy-free hot dog buns at home is an option too. Here are some recipes to try:

Fluffy Vegan Hot Dog Buns

All-purpose flour 2 1⁄4 cups
Sugar 3 Tbsp
Instant yeast 1 1⁄2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Vegetable oil 1 Tbsp + more for brushing
Non-dairy milk, heated 1 cup
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the vegetable oil and heated non-dairy milk.
  3. Stir together until a shaggy dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes.
  4. Grease a bowl and place the dough inside. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  5. Divide into 8 pieces and shape into balls. Place on a baking sheet.
  6. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush rolls with vegetable oil.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Vegan Skillet Hot Dog Buns

All-purpose flour 1 1⁄2 cups
Baking powder 1 1⁄2 tsp
Sugar 1 Tbsp
Salt 1⁄4 tsp
Unsweetened non-dairy milk 1⁄2 cup
Vegan butter, melted 2 Tbsp
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the non-dairy milk and melted vegan butter. Stir to combine.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium-low. Grease lightly.
  4. Scoop 1/4 cup batter per bun into the skillet, leaving space between.
  5. Cook for about 5 minutes until the bottoms are golden. Flip and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
  6. Serve hot dog buns warm. Makes 4 large buns.

Toppings and Condiments for Dairy-Free Hot Dogs

Once you’ve secured some dairy-free buns, you’ll need toppings and condiments to finish your hot dogs. Here are some safe, dairy-free ideas:

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Chopped onions
  • Pickle spears
  • Jalapeños
  • Hot sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Cucumber slices
  • Tomato wedges
  • Cole slaw
  • Salsa

Some sandwich spread brands also come in dairy-free versions, like Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo. Oil and vinegar can be mixed for a simple salad dressing-style topping as well. With all the amazing condiment choices out there, you can still load up your dog anyway you like.


You have options when seeking out dairy-free hot dog buns, from major brands modifying recipes to accommodate dietary needs to specialty bakeries catering to restrictive diets. Carefully checking labels remains key since dairy finds its way into many standard bun recipes. But with a bit of searching both in stores and online, you can find buns that let you enjoy summer barbecues, ballgames, and more even with dairy restrictions. Grilling up dogs in dairy-free buns alongside all the fixings you love makes for a tasty experience free of discomfort.

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