How to Make Octopus Wieners for Bento

octopus weiners

The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

These adorable hot dog octopi are the perfect protein addition to any bento box. Serve them with onigiri, pickled vegetables, salad, or any of your favorite lunch foods. They’re super easy to make even though they look complex and intricate. They look so cute and are also just a great way to serve hot dogs to your children on any weeknight too. 

You can use any kind of hot dog you want, but steer clear of sausages that contain coarsely chopped meat or ones that are not precooked. These will not cut easily and the legs will not form properly.

  • 01 of 09

    Octopus Weiners for Bento

    hot dog octopus

    Octopus shaped wieners are popularly put in kids' bento lunch boxes in Japan. There are different ways to make octopus wieners, and here is an easy one.

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  • 02 of 09

    Cut the hot dog into halves

    hot dog cut in half

    Hot dog pieces should be about 3 inches in length. But you can use a full length hot dog if you wish. The smaller size fits better into most bento boxes. you can even make them smaller if you wish.

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  • 03 of 09

    Slice the hot dog to make legs.

    hot dog sliced

    Start cutting at about half way through the hot dog to make two legs.

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  • 04 of 09

    Continue cutting legs.

    sliced hot dog

    Turn the hot dog 90 degrees on the cutting board, and further cut the hot dog in half along the length, keeping one side connected. This will give you four legs.

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  • 05 of 09

    Cut a total of 8 legs.

    eight legs sliced into a hot dog

    Since an octopus has eight legs, you're looking to cut eight little legs in the hot dog. This means you need to do 4 cuts total. Rotate the hot dog again and make another cut and then repeat.

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  • 06 of 09

    Finish slicing remaining hot dogs.

    finished hot dog slices

    Repeat with the remaining hot dog halves. You can make as many or as few as you need. They store well in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.

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  • 07 of 09

    Cook the hot dogs.

    boiled hot dogs

    You can boil or fry the hot dogs. Bring a pot of water to boil and pop them in for about 2 minutes or until they're heated through and the legs are splayed out. Or you can saute them in a frying pan until hot.

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  • 08 of 09

    Cooked hot dogs.

    cooked hot dog octopus

    Once they're done cooking they will look like an adorable octopus. The legs will branch out just like an octopus legs.

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  • 09 of 09

    Decorate the hot dogs.

    hot dog octopus with sesame seed eyes

    Use a few black sesame seeds to make eyes and a nose/mouth. You can just do eyes if you wish. The sesame seeds stick to the hot dog pretty easily. Nori seaweed wrappers can also be cut to make eyes and a mouth.

    Place them in your child's lunch box along with other bento box favorites.