A burger or brat is only as good as its bun. You could make the juiciest, most tender, melt in your mouth cheeseburger in the world but if it’s served on a garbage bun, it can really bum out your burger. Have you ever considered making your own Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns? Well it’s time, people. I promise you, your summer BBQs will be exponentially better with homemade buns in the sun.
A few years back I riffed on my recipe for Lemon Herb Dinner Rolls to create the best damn Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns I could imagine. I used the same buttery, tender dinner roll base but made a few basic changes to get those rolls to work as buns. It was a worthwhile investment because these soft and airy buns are the ideal landing pad for burgers, brats, dogs or even cold cuts on a hot day.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s summer, it’t hot, baking sounds miserable. And you are right. But, these Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns are a whole lot easier to make than you’d expect and they’re only in the hot oven for about 20 minutes. Most of the magic happens as they rise on the counter in a warm room.
The shaping is easy, and actually really fun, once you get the hang of it. Plus you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it! Then the day of, you just let those dough balls rise on the counter and bake to order. And did I mention how much better your burgers and dogs will taste on these tender, homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns? It changes everything.
Ch ch ch changes.
- It’s all about that base. These Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns start with the same base ingredients as my Lemon Herb Dinner Rolls but they drop the lemon and herbs in favor more savory toppings.
- Easy Roller. These Burger and Brat Buns use the same dough, they just get shaped differently depending on your needs. So if you’re just making burgers, shape them up that way. Hot dogs only, no prob. Or if you’re serving both, well you get it.
- Less is more. While my dinner rolls make 18 rolls, this batch bakes up 8 buns for your big boy burgers and brats. But, you could totally use the dinner roll size for sliders!
- Stand alone or snuggle up. You can bake these buns with plenty of room between so they brown evenly on the top and sides. Or snuggle them up close to each other for pull apart rolls with soft, pillowy sides.
- Top ’em off. You can top these babies off any way you like. My preferred method is some with sesame seeds and some with everything bagel seasoning. But you can just butter them up, add poppy seeds, dehydrated onion or even cheese!
I love how adaptable this recipe is, you can take it in so many directions with those easy changes. These tender, buttery buns are ideal for sopping up saucy burgers and they hug tight around a spicy sausage in a perfect, pillowy embrace. They are a solid game plan for backyard BBQs & instantly up your summer grillin’ game.
And, if you’d like a full-on video tutorial, I got you! Check out my Instagram Highlight videos called #YallRise3 and #YallRise4 to see every single step to mixing, shaping and baking these glorious homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns.
Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter – plus 3-4 tablespoons melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
- 1 large egg – at room temperature
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2-4 tablespoons sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning, sea salt flakes, poppy seeds, dehydrated onion or whatever topping you like.
- In a small saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the honey.
- Slowly stir in the milk. Whisk mixture together. It will need to be at 110°F. If it's too cool, warm it on the stove over low heat until it reaches 110°F. If it's too warm let it sit (off of the heat) until it reaches 110°F.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in the yeast. Allow to stand until it begins to bloom and become foamy, about 8-10 minutes.
- Roughly stir in the egg, flour, sugar and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed for 5-8 minutes.
- The dough will be very sticky and soft (thanks to all that buttery goodness). Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and cling to the hook, gently remove it (a bowl scraper or spatula comes in handy here) and shape it into a ball shape in your hands or on a very lightly floured surface.
- Use the olive oil to lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough ball into the bowl. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and store in a warm area for about 1 1/2 hours until the dough ball doubles in size. Check the dough after about an hour, especially if your kitchen is warm.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal chunks (using a kitchen scale if you have one) each piece should weigh about 104-ish grams each.
- To shape the Hamburger Buns, gently pat the dough hunk to deflate. Form it into a loose ball by pulling the sides up and gathering it together in the center. Then pinch it together, almost like a dumpling. Turn it over so it's seam side down. Create a C shape with your dominate hand around the dough ball. Start rolling your hand in small circles against the counter, with the dough ball rolling around inside your C shaped hand. After a few seconds it should start to build tension and roll into a tight, perfectly round dough ball. Place the shaped buns on a lined baking sheet. You can either place them about 4" apart so they bake individually or snuggle them in about 2" apart for pull apart rolls.
- To shape the Hot Dog Buns, gently pat the dough to deflate. Then fold the dough from the top 1/4 into the middle and press down at the same time to create surface tension on the new edge. Repeat the fold a few more times until a log form is shaped, pressing the edge to seal. Then gently roll the dough up and down between your hands until the dough starts to form a chubby little rugby ball shaped log and builds tension. Roll it towards a log shape that's about 4.5" long. Place the buns on a lined baking sheet. You can either place them about 4" apart so they bake individually or snuggle them in about 2" apart for pull apart rolls.
- Using 2 tablespoons of melted butter, brush each bun gently and abundantly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the buns stand at room temperature until they puff up, about an hour. If it's really warm in your kitchen, it may take less time.
- With the rack positioned in the middle of your oven, preheat to 375°.
- Remove the plastic wrap and gently brush with the remaining butter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning or whatever topping you're using.
- Bake the buns until they are a warm golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can even slice, butter and toast the buns if you like things toasty.
- Once you’ve shaped the dough balls or logs, place them on a baking sheet lined with with wax paper or parchment paper. Then cover loosely with plastic wrap.
- Immediately store in the freezer until they are completely frozen and rock hard.
- Transfer to a freezer proof baggy and freeze up to one month.
- To defrost, space the buns evenly on lined baking sheets. Then cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them stand until they puff up, and have doubled in size. It may take 4+ hours, depending on how warm it is in your kitchen.
- Then brush the dough balls gently and abundantly with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and continue per recipe instructions.
- Bake your buns as the recipe calls, like you’d serve them right away.
- Allow them to cool completely, then wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Place the foil-wrapped package in a freezer bag or storage container and freeze for up to a month.
- To thaw the buns, remove from the freezer the night before, or at least a few hours before you want to serve them. Remove the foil-wrapped buns from the freezer bag and loosen the foil. Allow them to thaw at room temperature overnight or for at least a few hours. When you are ready to serve, re-warmed, while still in the loose foil packing, for about 10 minutes in a 300°F oven.