Elevate your burger game with this delicious, homemade hamburger buns! These brioche-like buns are light in texture and high in flavour.
This is the only hamburger buns recipe I’ve used to make hamburger buns for years! While these buns are enriched with eggs and a bit of butter for flavour, they somehow still manage to be light in texture, yet sturdy enough to hold all the burger and the toppings.
I love that I can make these burger buns without a stand mixer. The simple dough comes together easily in a large bowl.
So if you’re looking to elevate your burger game this Summer, these delicious homemade hamburger buns are a great place to start. They freeze beautifully, so make a couple of batches and load up the freezer and you’re always ready for a leisurely Summer BBQ
Bread flour: You’ll get the best results if you start with bread flour and even better, if you start with unbleached bread flour. Here in Canada, that’s not the easiest to find on the shelf in grocery stores. I get mine at Bulk Barn. Failing that, bleached bread flour is fine. You can use just all-purpose, but your buns might not rise quite as high.
Active Dry or Regular Instant Yeast: Active dry yeast needs to be proofed (soaked) in warm water before using. I never use dry active yeast myself, but prefer to use Instant Yeast (such as SAF Brand). While Instant Yeast doesn’t require proofing in water before using, it doesn’t hurt if you do, so I just go ahead and proof the Instant Yeast in the same manner as described in the recipe. Instant Quick-rising or rapid-rise yeast will not work with these buns and are not recommended.
Video: How to make homemade hamburger buns
I think the one thing that tends to trip people up when making buns is the shaping of “the ball”. It’s quite understandable that someone might think that you just need to grab a piece of dough and form/squeeze it into a ball shape. In fact though, there is a bit of a technique to creating “a ball” with dough, that creates what’s known as surface tension or tightness on the top of the ball. It’s this tension that encourages the dough to rise higher, while also creating a lovely smooth top.
The technique for forming the dough into buns is shown in this video. It’s the easiest way I think and produces great results.
1. Stretch the top to create a smooth top.
2. Flip over and stretch the sides in towards the centre and pinch together.
3. Do this all around the edges, until the sides are smooth, too.
4. Flip the ball over, so your pinched part is down.
- The first thing you need to know about this dough is that it is very moist and almost sticky when made as prescribed. To get the best (lightest) results, you want to avoid as best you can adding much more flour here. Add just the bare minimum you need to, so you can handle the dough.
- This dough is also a slow riser, so be patient and allow it to rise for however long it takes to double etc. In a warm Summer kitchen, it will probably rise a little more quickly.
- I like to weigh the whole dough before dividing into balls. I then divide the total weight by 8, to calculate the dough weight of each roll. Weigh them out separately and you will have 8 identically sized rolls!
- Right after egg washing the buns and just before popping them in the oven, top buns with sesame seeds, poppy seed or “everything” mix if you’d like to add some toppings to your homemade buns.
Be sure to brush the egg wash on the dough evenly and thoroughly, being sure to get all around the bun and right to the bottom. Any bare spots left from your brushing will leave pale spots on the finished burger buns.
Making ahead, storing and freezing homemade hamburger buns
These are best enjoyed on the day they are made, but it is perfectly fine to make in the morning and enjoy for dinner.
Store rolls in an airtight container, until needed, up to 24 hours. Freeze for longer storage.
These buns freeze beautifully up to 2 months! Simply remove the buns from the freezer and thaw on the counter. It will only take a short time to thaw (30 minutes, or so).
Get the Recipe: Simply Perfect Homemade Hamburger Buns
- 1 cup (227 ml) water, warmed to about 105-110F
- 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) milk, warmed slightly to lukewarm
- 2 teaspoons (6 g) active dry yeast or regular Instant yeast, not quick or rapid rise yeast
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons (33 g) white sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten with a fork
- 3 cups (360 g) bread flour, spooned and levelled
- 1/3 cup (40 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) fine salt
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons (35 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For egg wash:
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) water
- Poppy or sesame seeds, optional
- In a small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, combine the warm water, warmed milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, all purpose flour and salt. Add the butter. Using your finger tips, rub the butter in to the flour mixture, making even crumbs.
- Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg to the bowl and using a dough scraper or silicone spatula, stir until a moist, sticky dough forms.
- Using a silicone bowl scraper, scrape the dough on to a very lightly floured counter or work surface. At this point the dough is very moist and sticky and not really able to be kneaded as you traditionally would. You will be tempted to dust with flour resist the urge to start. Instead of traditionally kneading, use your dough scraper or silicone spatula to scoop up the dough and then slam it back on the counter. (Don't just drop it, slam it. It's therapeutic :) Use your scraper to turn it over a few times on the counter, then pick it up and slam it again. Repeat this slaming/turning action for a couple of minutes. You should find that it is a sticking to the counter a little less. If you feel it isn't progressing after a couple of minutes (is still super sticky), very lightly dust the counter with flour and turn the dough over it to flour very lightly (Not too much flour. Just a dusting). Continue doing the slam and turn action for several more minutes. At some point, after about 5 minutes or so of this routine, your dough should stop sticking to the counter. Though it will still be a quite moist dough, you should be able to form it into a ball. *If your dough is still sticking after 5-7 minutes of working it, dust with a tiny bit more flour, as needed, until it is no longer sticking, but is still nice and moist.
- Shape dough into a ball and place into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours. Note that this dough is a bit of a slow-riser. Allow it to rise until doubled, no matter how long that takes.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (* I like to weight the dough ball and then divide that weight by 8, to get a weight for each piece. I then weigh out each piece to that weight, to get 8 exactly equal pieces. My last bake, the individual balls were 101g apiece. Yours may vary somewhat.)
- If your dough is still too sticky at this point to form into balls, very lightly dust with a tiny bit of four.
- Form each of the 8 dough pieces into balls (* See video above the recipe card on how to do this!). Place balls on parchment lined baking sheet about 2-3 inches apart. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled again, 1-2 hours.
- Set a large shallow roasting pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 400F, with a rack in center of the oven, as well.
- When buns have doubled, beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush the buns thoroughly. * Be sure to brush the entire bun, top and sides, right down to the pan, as any areas you miss will be pale-coloured once baked. If desired, you could sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds at this point, as well. Bake, turning sheet 180 degrees halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Immediately transfer buns to a rack to cool completely.
Adapted from “Light Brioche Buns” by Jane Sigal as shared by the New York Times
Currently making them for a second time first time was perfect but this time the dough is a little dry. There’s moisture and stickiness on the inside but that’s literally right after I mixed before I started slamming it. Do you happen to know if that’ll change the flavor? I believe I may have put a little less butter than directed because I had to eyeball the half tablespoon I don’t have measurements for that unfortunately
Hi Cate, are you using the cup or the gram measurements? I’ve found the dough quite forgiving, so I suspect you’ll be fine. (Also, the 1/2 Tablespoon can be measured with the smaller spoons. 1/2 Tablespoon is 1 1/2 teaspoons. That said, eyeballing was probably pretty close :). Let me know how they turned out.
Been using this recipe for quite awhile now and it’s just amazing. I’m actually using the same recipe for making bread. I started adding wheat to it and its coming out great. Trying to experiment with using honey instead of sugar. Possibilities is endless I feel. Thanks!!!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying it Rey and yes, the possibilities are endless :) Thanks so much!
Tried for the first time, but I wanted a slightly bigger bun so I made 6 and baked 8 minutes per side. They turned out perfect. Great recipe, thanks
Glad you enjoyed them, George :) Thanks so much!
So, my scale says 2.5 TBS of granulated sugar is 36g, but recipe says 2.5 TBS, 15g. Which do you recommend? I’ll probably just do about 15g for my first run and see how they come out. Thanks!
Hi James, the 15g is not right (I just fixed it :). It should be about 33g by my figuring. Thanks for the heads up.
You’re very welcome. Hopefully the half amount still comes out good. My doughs in it’s first rise now.
Less sweet obviously and the extra sugar probably helps the shelf-life a bit, but should be fine. Sorry again.
I am on Google chrome on mobile Android and no video appears, whether I scroll or click the jump to video link. Recipe looks promising but hesitant to try your slam-kneading and shaping technique without a video to go off. will check again in a day or two 👍
Hi Stephen, I suspect you may have an ad blocker running. Try turning it off and try again. There is no reason why the video player shouldn’t work on all platforms.
You’re right, I am and I assume that’s it. Video came up just fine on the old tablet. Going to make the batch now.
I’m not able to see a video. Did something happen to the video link? Thanks
Hi Laurie, the video is in the middle of the post content (link from header “Jump to Video”)
So happy you enjoyed them :) Thanks!
By far the best bun recipe ever. I don’t normally rate recipes, but this one needs the credit it deserves. So soft and squishy but they don’t crumble after cutting them and exposing them to moisture from assembling your burger. A+ outstanding.
I’m so glad you are enjoying them, Abby! Thanks so much :)
Cannot wait to try this recipe! I’ve been looking for a good recipe for hamburger buns, this one looks like the best 👌
I will make some this weekend!
Wonderful recipe, my family won’t eat any other buns! My dough is never very sticky though, but still comes out perfect! Very easy to braid to turn it into a braided loaf or braided buns. Thank you so much! <3
So glad you are enjoying these! Thanks so much :)
It’s just stunning.. I’ve try so many other recipes and haven’t get the exact fluffiness and flavor like this one, just have patience to the dough it could get sticky but it worth it.
I’m so glad to hear, Ray! Thanks so much :)
Love this recipe and at one time we were able to triple the amount to 24 buns. Wish you would bring that option back. Also, any change in the amount from the original recipe that makes 8 buns note your instructions do not change to the size of the cup needed to proof the yeast. For example if you double it then it is hard to fit the water, milk and yeast into a two cup measuring cup until bubbly.
Hi Pam and so glad you are enjoying these! I have changed the “2-cup measure” to be adjustable, so it will increase with doubling of the recipe. I will see if I can add the 3X back in for you :) Thanks!
The bottoms seemed to be a little underdone/colorless, but perfect otherwise. Took probably 3.5 hours start to finish. Quick & easy.
So glad you enjoyed these, Kassie :) Thanks so much!
We live in a high altitude area. Will this recipe still work okay or will I need to adjust it? Thanks.
Hi Jennifer and yes, you will need to make adjustments for high altitude. I’m afraid I’m not familiar with exactly what adjustments, as I’ve never baked with yeast at altitude. That said, I’m pretty sure you can find some information by googling that will provide you with the information you need.
This is a great recipe! I made the first batch at the start of the pandemic and haven’t bought sandwich buns since. Last week I was called away unexpectedly just as I was preparing to form the rolls. I deflated the dough, covered it, and put it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I used a quarter of the dough for four smaller buns and the rest I braided brioche style and placed in a loaf pan and let the dough rise. Before baking I used an egg wash and added sesame seeds. Despite forgetting to add a pan of water to the oven, everything turned out beautifully, and delicious. Today I’m giving the dough a try as cinnamon rolls. For anyone new to breadmaking, I highly recomnend this versatile recipe.
NOTE: The kneading/ slamming the dough has become difficult with my arthritic hands, so I’m relegated to using a mixer, using the dough hook for 7-8 minutes. Results are still great.
Hi Connie, I’m so glad you are enjoying this recipe! I’ve made it with the mixer before and I agree it works well and is easier on the hands :) Thanks so much!
How long will they keep in the refrigerator and is it best to freeze whole or cut in half
I freeze them whole. When you want to use one or more, simply take out of the freezer and set on the counter. They will thaw in 20-30 minutes. I only cut when ready to use.
If you refrigerate them how long will they keep
Hi Michelle, they will keep several days (3 or 4) in the refrigerator, but they will start drying out quite quickly and will deteriorate in quality as they sit in the fridge. That’s why I freeze instead.