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Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns
Yield: 12 buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

These beautiful, meltingly soft homemade hamburger buns are easier to make than you might think.

Ingredients

  • 3-3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110°F, warm to touch)
  • 3 T melted coconut oil (or butter)
  • 3 T sugar or honey
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • plus one more egg for brushing onto the rolls before baking

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Mix just enough so that the sugar starts to dissolve and the yeast isn’t floating at the top of the water. Cover the bowl and proof for ten minutes. 
  2. Add the salt, melted coconut oil, and egg to the yeast mixture. Mix just enough to combine.
  3. Gradually add the flour, about 1 cup at a time, mixing/kneading as you go. Be careful not to add too much flour. You want just enough flour so that the dough is still tacky but not too sticky. When the dough stops sticking to the bowl and forms a ball around your dough hook, you have enough. 
  4. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer or 4-5 minutes by hand.
  5. Leave the dough in the mixer (or place it in a clean, lightly oiled bowl), cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise for two hours or until doubled in size. 
  6. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 10 or 12 roughly equal portions.
  7. Roll each piece into a smooth ball, tucking the seams underneath. Gently flatten each ball so it is about 1/2 inch tall, forming a disk. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for one hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. Take a raw beaten egg and gently brush it onto the dough. This gives the buns a shiny glow and will help any toppings stick.
  10. Optional: Sprinkle with sesame seeds or caraway seeds.
  11. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden. Rotate the baking pans halfway through the cooking time to ensure even color.
  12. Cool on the cookie sheets or move to a cooling rack.
  13. Right before serving, slice the buns in half with a serrated bread knife. Assemble the buns with your burger and toppings, and chow down!  

Notes

  1. Store leftovers at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag. They'll be best within 2-3 days of baking.
  2. You can store baked, cooled buns in the freezer in a sealed plastic bag. Pull them out a couple of hours before you want to use them to defrost.
  3. These can easily be shaped into hotdog buns. The process is the same: just roll your pieces into little logs instead of balls before flattening them.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 bun

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 467Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 270mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g

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These beautiful, meltingly soft homemade hamburger buns are easier to make than you might think.

We rarely buy bread, and that includes the bread that goes with our hamburgers.

Why buy tasteless hamburger buns full of preservatives when it’s so easy to make your own absolutely delicious buns that will take burger night to a whole new level?

These buns are so delicious that they might even steal the show, as they do in my house. After downing the obligatory burger, the kids all want to finish the rest of the buns sans burger. They really do stand alone. They’re that good.

I almost always double the recipe, and even then, with our crew, they don’t stick around long. If I need to do more than double, I knead by hand instead of using my stand mixer so I don’t burn out the motor and overflow the mixing bowl.

Ingredients

With such a simple ingredient list, it’s hard not to justify making your own. If you’re pressed for time on burger night, you can make them ahead and store them in the freezer.

Flour

I use unbleached all-purpose flour for practically all my white flour baking. A bread flour with more gluten could give a little bit of a more refined result, but for my purposes (feeding five hungry kids!), the standard all-purpose flour does the job just fine.

You can easily make this a whole wheat recipe by swapping out all or part of the white flour with whole wheat flour. A soft white wheat will give a texture closer to the white flour, whereas a hard wheat (such as spelt) will produce a crumblier, denser texture.

Fresh ground wheat, if you have access to it, makes the best flavor and texture by far.

I’m always on a mission to trick my family into healthier eating, but they tend to balk at 100% whole-wheat bread. The grudging compromise is usually found at about half whole wheat, half white flour.

If you do swap out some or all of the white flour for whole wheat, keep in mind that you’ll need to decrease the total amount of flour, as whole wheat soaks up more liquid. Add the flour gradually and judge the amount based on the texture of the dough.

Water

I’ve heard temperature described as a hidden ingredient when it comes to making bread dough. Cold water will slow the growth of the yeast. Making sure your water is warm will give you a rapid rise.

If, by some chance, you need to make the dough well in advance of when you will bake it, it’s much less important to start with warm water. In that case, colder water and a slower rise might be preferable.

Just be careful that the water is not too hot, as it could kill off some of the yeast. Just the right warm level should be comfortable to touch, not scalding your fingers.

Coconut Oil or Butter

Melted coconut oil gives these buns their uber-softness. But if you don’t have coconut oil on hand, don’t let that limit you. You really have a lot of choices when it comes to the fat in this recipe.

You can use melted butter, which gives a superb buttery flavor to the buns, and they’ll be nearly as soft. Or you can use olive oil, avocado oil, or any other vegetable oil, really.

Sugar

In my efforts to incrementally increase my family’s healthy eating, I replace white sugar with healthier alternatives whenever I can.

In this recipe, I love to use a natural sugar called Sucanat (also known as Rapadura). Essentially dehydrated cane juice, it retains all of the natural vitamins and minerals from the sugar cane juice. The Sucanat also lends the buns a beautiful golden color.

A few other good white sugar alternatives for this recipe would be honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. You can also leave out the sugar entirely, although it will give you a slightly blander, less golden result.

Egg

The egg in this recipe serves to add some binding quality and a little bit of softness. However, if you need to avoid eggs, the best approach is just to straight up leave it out of the recipe. It will honestly be just fine without it.

If you feel you need to replace it with something, you can use an egg substitute, or aquafaba. You could even add 2-3 Tablespoons of milk for a bit of that softness.

For the egg wash on the top of the buns, rather than just leaving it off, you really want something that will give a shiny sheen. And if you want toppings, you need something to make them stick. Again, try an egg substitute, or brush on a little milk before adding your toppings.

Making the hamburger buns

The simple process of making the dough, shaping it and baking it takes about 20 minutes total of hands on time. The rest is waiting for the dough to rise or the buns to bake!

Activate the yeast

Giving the yeast some sugar and warm water gives it a nice kick-start, which, in turn, gives your dough a quicker rise.

Do this by mixing those three ingredients together and letting it activate for five to ten minutes.

If you’re not in a hurry for a quick first rise, you can feel free to use cold or lukewarm water, or to skip the activating stage altogether, and just combine the yeast and sugar directly with all the other ingredients. Just make sure to give your dough at least 3-4 hours to rise in this case.

Add the rest of the ingredients

Mix in the salt, coconut oil or butter and egg. You don’t want to overmix here, just enough to get everything nicely combined.

Add in the flour a cup or so at a time, mixing in a stand mixer as you go. This gradual addition of flour allows you to gauge the texture of your dough. You don’t want it to end up too stiff. Rather, it should be a bit on the sticky side, but not so sticky that it’s unworkable.

You’ve reached the perfect level of flour when the dough starts to form a ball on the dough hook and most of the loose flour and bits of dough are scraped off the sides of the bowl.

At this stage, continue mixing in the stand mixer for an additional 2-3 minutes. If you’re mixing/kneading by hand, knead the dough for at least 4 minutes.

First rise

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, or just leave it in the mixer bowl.

The first rise, also called bulk fermentation, should take about 1-2 hours if you used warm water, or longer if you used cold water. The time will also depend on how warm your kitchen is. The dough should be roughly doubled in size.

I never try to hurry my rise time along. I make the dough mid-day for baking in the late afternoon.

Shape the buns

Once the dough has had adequate time to rise, scrape it gently out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Use a sharp knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into 10 or 12 roughly equal portions. If you want really hearty burgers on large buns, you can even make 8 larger portions.

Take each portion and roll it into a smooth ball. I do this by first tucking in rough edges and seams onto one side (which will be the bottom), and then lightly rolling the ball between my hands or on the counter.

Gently flatten each ball into a disk the right size and shape for a hamburger, or roughly 4-5 inches across and 1/2 inch tall. The dough will puff up again in the second rise, so don’t worry about them being too flat.

Note: If you want to make hotdog buns, first form each ball, then roll it into a log before flattening it slightly.

Place the dough pieces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave them a bit of room to rise. If you want that characteristic hamburger bun look with the torn edges from being baked next to its neighbors, you can squeeze them on the sheet a bit more. If you prefer smooth sides, leave more space between buns.

Cover the shaped buns again (use plastic to prevent the surface from drying out) and let them rise for another half-hour to an hour.

Bake the buns

When your buns look puffed up and ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F.

Beat an egg to brush onto the tops of your buns before baking. This gives a nice shiny sheen to the baked buns, and gives you something to stick any seeds you might want onto the tops. We like to use sesame seeds, but you could use caraway seeds or even everything bagel-style seasonings.

Bake in your preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until golden. Rotate the baking pans halfway through the cooking time to get an even color on all sides of the buns.

Cool on the baking trays or move them to a cooling rack. As tempting as it might be to cut into them piping hot, you’ll get a much cleaner cut if you let them cool first.

Right before serving, slice the buns in half with a serrated bread knife. Assemble the buns with your burger and favorite toppings, and chow down!  

Notes

  1. Store leftovers at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag. They’ll be best within 2-3 days of baking. To freshen up the buns on day 2 or 3, you can slice and reheat in a toaster oven. Or butter the sliced side and brown slightly on a hot skillet.
  2. Since these are made without any preservatives, they will get moldy much faster than store-bought buns. If you need to store them longer than 2-3 days, put them in a sealed plastic bag and pop them in the freezer (making sure they’re not going to get squashed!). Just pull them out a couple of hours before you want to use them to defrost.
  3. If you’re doing a burgers and ‘dogs night, these can easily be shaped into a hotdog bun. The process is the same: just roll your pieces into little logs instead of balls before flattening them.
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