How to Make Perfect Pigs in a Blanket, the Ultimate Game-Day or Casual Party Appetizer

We're sharing our best tips and tricks for acing this favorite bite.

Photo: Nicole Franzen

What you use for the wrapper, the "blanket," and what's inside may vary, but there's one thing all that pigs in a blanket have in common: They're totally delicious. These old-school appetizers—a retro finger food if we've ever had one—are the perfect offering to serve for a gathering like a Super Bowl party, a game night, or a '50s-themed cocktail party. Kitschy and irresistible, they are nearly as fun to make as they are to eat. Read on for our guide to making these fuss-free party snacks.

Choose Your Ingredients

The most pared-down description of a pig in a blanket is when a portion of a hot dog or sausage is wrapped in pastry and baked. Before you head to the grocery store for ingredients, consider what you'd like to use for the blankets and the pigs. For the exterior wrapping—the blanket—there are three good options: First, there's crescent roll dough, which is the best choice if you'd like to go the traditional route. It's also the easiest type of dough to use so it's great for novice cooks and even kids who want to help in the kitchen. Another option is pizza dough, which results in pigs in a blanket that's slightly more pillow-y than the standard crescent dough. (Our advice is to make it easy on yourself and go with store-bought pizza dough—it won't affect the quality). Puff pastry is the third option. Using it will require a little more leg work than the tube of crescent roll dough will, but it will result in a more refined-looking appetizer with a crisper, more burnished-looking pastry shell.

You also have options when it comes to the interior—the pig. One is very unexpected while the other three are more porky and conventional. Cocktail Franks, also known as Little Smokies, are miniature hot dogs that are perfectly portioned for making pigs in a blanket. Good quality hot dogs will make a suitable replacement for cocktail franks if you can't find them; simply cut the hot dogs into quarters before tucking them into their blankets. If you want to get a little fancier, you can use all kinds of different sausages—just make sure they are fully cooked before using. Chicken sausage is a great alternative for those who don't eat pork or who are watching their sodium. Finally, a vegetarian option: Toss carrots them with some salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and extra-virgin olive oil and roast them at 400°F for about 30 minutes or until just tender, then they're ready to be tucked into their blankets.

The Best Recipes

If you want to make a puff pastry version, follow our recipe, which calls for brushing the dough with honey mustard before wrapping. Then mustard permeates every bite and makes them extra juicy and delicious. You can also consider our gourmet version, which uses puff pastry to encase mini sausages with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions; it's a little more labor-intensive, but the payoff is well worth it. And if you really want to wow your guests, then go with this pull-apart version that uses pizza dough. Not only does it look great, but the pigs will also stay warmer for longer since they are all tightly packed together.

Tips for Tucking Them In

If you're using crescent roll dough, unroll the tube and separate the triangles of dough. Cut each piece lengthwise into thirds to create three long, thin triangles. Place a sausage at the base of the triangle and roll it all the way up to the point. Place the sausage point-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough and sausages.

Working with pizza dough means using a lightly floured surface to roll the dough out into a 10-by-15-inch rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into ten five-by-three-inch pieces. Wrap each piece around a hot dog; pinch edges of dough to seal. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm. If you want to use puff pastry, you'll also need to work with on a lightly floured surface. roll the pastry sheet out into a 12-inch square, then cut into four-inch squares. Roll sausages in pastry, pressing seams to tightly seal. Cut each at an angle into thirds. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm.

Bake and Dip Tricks

Most recipes will specify the correct oven temperature according to the type of dough you use, but if you're flying without a guide, anywhere from 375°F to 400°F is a safe range, and you can expect it to take around 15 to 20 minutes until your pigs are puffed, golden brown, and ready for snacking. For a shiny glazed top, brush the pigs in blankets with a beaten egg before baking, and feel free to sprinkle a little something on top; poppy seeds, caraway seeds, or Everything Bagel Seasoning would all be great additions.

While the pigs in a blanket are baking in the oven, get your serving platter and dip bowls ready to go. For dips, you can't beat good grainy mustard or a zippy honey-mustard. If you wanted to make something yourself, then we're partial to this creamy mustard sauce that carries a little kick from horseradish.

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