BEST Little Smokies Recipe

We’ve got the BEST Little Smokies Recipe right here! Our crock pot version of these cocktail wieners has a simple, completely addicting sauce!

Once you start eating these little smokies, you won’t be able to stop! Easy appetizers like this one are always good to have in your back pocket for game days, parties and holidays! Be sure to check out our Everything Pigs in a Blanket and these Bacon Wrapped Scallops for more classic appetizers recipes!

Cocktail franks in sweet bbq sauce for appetizers

The BEST Little Smokies Recipe!

I mean, there are hundreds of recipes for these little hot dogs. Hundreds. Why we even pretend to think that you’ll pick ours is just a wish, but we really hope you do because this is really the perfect recipe.

This little smokies recipe is made in a crock pot, so not only is it ridiculously easy but it can stay warm for hours at your party or holiday gathering. Really, we’re talking about the most amazing appetizer recipe. Easy to make, make ahead and your guests and friends serve themselves!

Ingredients For Little Smokies Recipe

Our little smokies have a perfect balance of tangy and sweet combined to make the most addicting sauce you’ll ever try on a hot dog. I’m telling you, I don’t even love hot dogs and I can’t stop eating these!

Cocktail Franks: Use beef, per our recipe, or turkey cocktail franks. In a pinch? Use regular hot dogs and cut them into quarters!

BBQ Sauce: We prefer a sweet BBQ sauce for these cocktail franks so find one that says “honey bbq” or “brown sugar bbq”.

Apple Juice: Apple juice or apple cider works, whichever you have on hand. The apple juice adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the sauce without being too vinegary.

Dry Mustard: It’s back in your spice cabinet somewhere, dig it out and get it in this sauce, it will add a very mild background heat to balance out the sweetness.

Worcestershire Sauce: This complex sauce just seems to make everything taste better! Slightly smoky, and just tons of flavor in one little bottle.

Seedless Raspberry Jelly: Or you can use grape jelly, but if you do use raspberry jelly make sure that it is seedless!

Little Smokies Recipe, AKA hot dogs in sweet BBQ sauce

Can You Make Little Smokies Ahead Of Time?

YES! Like we said before, these cocktail wieners are literally the most epic appetizer recipe. Not only can you make them ahead of time but you can keep them in your slow cooker all night so they stay warm during your party.

What To Do With Leftover Cocktail Franks?

Well, you’re just in for a treat the next day. Let these hot dogs cool down and then store them in a plastic container in the refrigerator. To heat up the hot dogs, just microwave for a couple of minutes until warmed through.

You can also freeze these if you really have a lot leftover. Add them to a resealable freezer bag and freeze flat. Defrost in your refrigerator and then add right back to a slow cooker or crock pot. Alternately, you can add them to a pot and slowly heat them on the stove top.

Cocktail frank on a toothpick for serving

How To Serve This Little Smokies Recipe

There’s many, easy ways to serve these cocktail franks! Our first choice is to keep them right in your crock pot and have toothpicks on the side, ready to go. Your friends can spoon a few hot dogs onto a plate or bowl and grab a few toothpicks for grabbing.

Another way to serve these hot dogs is to keep the bulk of them warm in your crock pot and then add a portion into a skillet or bowl for setting onto a table. This way might work better if you’re gathering around a table and don’t want to deal with the hassle of a cord.

Little Smokies in a cast iron skillet for serving

However you choose to serve these cocktail wieners, just know that everyone is going to go crazy for them, kids and adults alike. Hot dogs seem like such a boring appetizer – to be honest – but I’m telling you, you really can’t beat these!

No need for a dipping sauce because they are in a sauce, there’s not even a need for forks. Like we said, just grab a container of toothpicks and you’re all set.

BEST little smokies in a skillet with toothpicks for appetizers

Looking For More Appetizer Recipes?

Cocktail franks in sweet bbq sauce for appetizers

The BEST Little Smokies

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

These crock pot hot dogs are a classic appetizer recipe! Once you start eating these Little Smokies you won’t be able to stop!



  • 3 (12 ounce packages) cocktail franks
  • 2 cups honey bbq sauce or brown sugar bbq sauce
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jelly or grape jelly
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice


  1. Add the cocktail franks to a 4 quart slow cooker.
  2. Mix the bbq sauce, jelly, dry mustard, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and apple juice or cider in a bowl until combined.
  3. Pour the sauce over the hot dogs and stir to coat. Set on high for 2 hours or on low for 4-6 hours. These hot dogs can also be kept in your slow cooker on the “warm” setting during a party or holiday.

Recipe Notes

This recipe will serve 18 people, 5 mini hot dogs per person if you are serving these for a crowd. Of course, some might have more so I like to plan on this serving for about 10 people, but you can also easily half this recipe.

  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


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