Making homemade hamburger buns is easier than you might think! These buns turn out perfectly soft and fluffy and will take your burgers to the next level!

Hamburger on a homemade sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle

Overview of Recipe

Now that I have made my own homemade hamburger buns a few times, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store-bought. Previously I would have thought that it was too much work, but really it’s quite a simple process with very little hands-on work. Especially if you have a mixer to throw the dough into.

I love a burger bun that is soft, fluffy, slightly chewy, and just a tiny bit sweet. These buns are exactly that. Topping them with sesame seeds is completely optional, but really gives them a professional look and adds that little something special.

Cutting board with 5 homemade hamburger buns and tomato slices and lettuce leaves

How to make Hamburger Buns

Burger buns are really not all that different from making dinner rolls. The dough is very similar, with just a few adjustments to the ratios. For buns, I just shape them bigger and flatten them out before proofing. They turn out perfect!

Step 1: Proof the Yeast

For this recipe you can use either active dry or instant yeast (rapid rise yeast). Whichever you choose, I like to proof the yeast first to get it moving a little quicker.

Mix the yeast with the milk and a pinch of sugar and watch for bubbles and foaming. This alerts you that it is alive and you can then put it into your dough. If you don’t see any activity from your yeast then you will need to get new yeast.

Step 2: Mix the Dough

Combine all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. The order in which they are added doesn’t matter! Just toss it all in.

Then use your hands to pinch and squeeze the dough until everything is incorporated and you don’t feel any patches of flour.

Step 3: Kneading the Dough

This dough can be kneaded by hand on the counter or in a stand mixer with a dough hook. When you first start kneading the dough it will be quite sticky. Add a bit of flour as needed to form a dough that can be handled.

Note that that more the dough is kneaded the more elastic and less sticky it will get naturally. Try to avoid adding too much flour. It should feel moist and tacky, but you should be able to handle it without it glueing itself to you.

Once the dough can stand up tall when shaped into a ball without flattening out immediately, it is done being kneaded.

Step 4: Bulk Ferment (1st Rise)

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Then cover it to rise. I like to use shower caps as my bowl covers because I can reuse them over and over again.

Step 5: Shaping the Buns

Once the dough has doubled in size and is full of air, you can shape your buns. Press the gas out of the dough and then divide it into 8 equal pieces.

I like to weigh the dough to make each bun the same size. Each piece should weigh around 100 grams. This size of bun works well for a burger that is around a third pound.

Pull the sides of each piece of dough to the center to create a seam on one side and a smooth piece of dough on the other. Place the shaped pieces of dough on either a parchment-lined baking sheet or into a burger bun pan. and press down to flatten. The pan is completely unnecessary but does give a more professional look.

Step 5: Proof

Shaped burger buns in a bun pan and on a sheet pan ready to proof

Cover the shaped buns and let rise again until about double in size.

Step 6: Bake

Right before baking, I like to do a quick egg wash over the buns. This gives them a golden brown and shiny finish. If you want more of a matte look, you can brush them with oil instead. Then, if desired, top with sesame seeds and bake!

These homemade hamburger buns are sturdy enough to stand up to a hefty burger and I often make a classic patty with all the toppings. Or my favorite variation is adding sweet caramelized onions.

Freezing Options

This recipe makes 8 buns, which is likely more than most will use in one sitting. However, they freeze beautifully and I love being able to pull out a homemade bun whenever I want!

To freeze, allow the buns to cool completely. Then slice them in half and stack the two halves back together. Wrap each full bun in plastic wrap and then place them all in an airtight container or freezer zip top bag.

To refresh, remove from the freezer and lightly toast in a toaster or in the oven. They will be as soft and fluffy as the day you made them!

Soft Hamburger Buns
Yield: 8 Buns

Soft Hamburger Buns

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Rising Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 28 minutes

These homemade hamburger buns are soft and fluffy but stand up to a hefty burger. Add sesame seeds for a classic burger bun look and taste.

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 170 grams (3/4 cup, 180 milliliters) milk (skim, low fat, 1%, 2%, or whole)
  • 7 grams (1 package, 2 ¼ teaspoon) active dry or quick rise yeast
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 360 grams- 420 grams (3 - 3 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 7 grams (1 ½ teaspoons) kosher salt or table salt
  • 57 grams (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

For the Topping

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 7 grams (1 tablespoon) sesame seeds, optional

Instructions

  1. PROOF YEAST: Warm the milk to about 110-115°F/43-46°C. Add the yeast, and a large pinch of the sugar and stir to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until you see some bubbles and foaming.
  2. MIX DOUGH:  In a large mixing bowl combine 360 grams (3 cups) of flour, the rest of the sugar, salt, butter, egg, and the milk/yeast mixture. Use clean hands to squeeze and pinch the dough all over until everything is hydrated.
  3. KNEAD DOUGH: The dough will likely be fairly sticky before kneading. Add more flour as needed up to 60 grams (1/2 cup). The dough should stay moist and a bit sticky, but you should be able to handle it. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured countertop. Dust flour over the top of the dough and knead the dough by hand for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If kneading with a stand mixer, fit the mixer with a dough hook and knead at medium speed for 6-8 minutes. When the dough is finished being kneaded it will still be slightly sticky to the touch, but will feel smooth and elastic and should stand tall when rounded into a ball.
  4. BULK FERMENT (1ST RISE): Move the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, a damp cloth, or a shower cap (my preference) to bulk ferment until doubled in size, about 45 minutes for rapid rise yeast and 1 hour 15 minutes for active dry yeast.
  5. SHAPE: turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and divide it into 8 equal pieces (they should weigh about 100 grams each). To shape the buns, pull the sides of the dough all the way around into the center, creating a seam. Place the piece of dough seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in an ungreased burger bun pan. Press down to flatten.
  6. PROOF: Cover the buns with plastic wrap. Proof the buns for about 45 minutes if using quick rise yeast and about 1 hour 15 minutes if using active dry yeast- until double in size.
  7. EGG WASH: Whisk an egg together with 1 tablespoon of water until very smooth. Set aside until ready to bake.
  8. BAKE: Position an oven rack to the center position. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Brush the buns with an egg wash and (optional) sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 22-28 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. COOL: Move buns from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely. Wait until right before serving to slice in half with a serrated knife.
  10. STORE uneaten buns in a zip top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively, slice the buns in half and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Lightly toast to refresh.

Notes

  • All-purpose flour can be substituted in place of bread flour. However, be aware that the buns won't have quite the same chewy texture and likely won't rise quite as much.
  • To make whole wheat burger buns, reduce the bread flour to 240 grams (2 cups) and add 105 grams (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole wheat flour. Use up to an additional 60 grams (1/2 cup) bread flour when kneading.
  • The sugar in the recipe makes these buns just slightly sweet. It can be reduced or eliminated if preferred.

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