Beautiful Burger Buns

The following bun recipe created quite a stir when it was first posted in our original online community. Baker after baker tried these buns and declared them THE BEST. Soft, vaguely sweet, and lightly golden from the butter and egg, these simple buns are perfect for burgers, but also fine for any kind of sandwich.

Brushing the buns with melted butter will give them a soft, light golden crust. To instead give them a shinier, darker crust, brush them instead with an egg-white wash (1 egg white beaten with 1/4 cup water). For seeded buns, brush the buns with the egg wash prior to sprinkling, as it’ll make the seeds adhere–and feel free to add the extra yolk to the dough, reserving the white for the wash.

Credit for the original version of this recipe goes to “Moomie” (Ellen), one of the original members of our online community, The Baking Circle. Thanks, Moomie, for the joy you’ve brought to bun lovers everywhere!–The Bakers at King Arthur Flour

LC Size Matters Note

We all know that one-size-fits-all cliché is a bunch of baloney. Take hamburger buns. Sometimes you need something that’ll accommodate a brontosaurus-sized burger. Sometimes you need something that’ll suit wee sliders. And sometimes you need something that’s perfectly in between. We understand. So do the folks at King Arthur Flour, who suggest that, for slightly larger buns, you divide the dough into 8 pieces instead of 12 and bake the buns for 15 to 18 minutes. And for those wee slider buns—about 3 inches in diameter–divvy the dough into 24 pieces and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Hamburger Buns Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Makes 12 beautiful buns

Ingredients

  • 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus more for the baking sheet

Directions

  • 1. Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients except for the melted butter by hand, mixer, or bread machine until a soft, smooth dough forms. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  • 2. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball, then flatten it to a squat round blob about 2 1/2 inches across. (Another easy way to shape buns, besides rolling them into balls and flattening, is to gently deflate the dough and form it into a smooth 8-inch log. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 12 pieces. Gently tug the edges of each piece underneath the ball of dough to form a squat ball.) Place the buns on a lightly buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • 4. Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter and bake until golden, 12 to 18 minutes. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the remaining melted butter, which will lend the buns a satiny, buttery crust. Place the buns on a wire rack to cool completely.

Beautiful Bread Variation

  • Leite’s Culinaria reader and food blogger Sarah of The Cook’s Life has tweaked this recipe into loaf form. According to her, “We call it bun bread around here.” Well, we call it brilliant around here. [Editor's Note: Sarah makes a few other tweaks to the recipe, substituting white whole-wheat flour for some of the all-purpose. You can read about her changes in her comment below the recipe. We haven't tested this variation yet, but we're literally preheating our ovens now.] Sarah says to follow the recipe through the first rise. Shape the whole batch of dough into 1 loaf and bake it in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan for about 30 minutes at 350°F, or until it is browned, sounds hollow when tapped, and tests 190°F to 200°F in the middle. You may need to tent the top with foil if it starts to get too brown. And she mentions that if you don’t like sweet bread, you can reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons or even 1 tablespoon with no other changes to the recipe.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Aug 09, 2012

These burger buns were a big hit at our last barbecue. The recipe is so simple and easy to follow. No taking water temperatures or proofing, just stir, let rise, shape, and bake. I used the roll-into-a-log-and-slice method for shaping the buns, and it couldn’t have been any more effortless. These burger buns bake up somewhere between a ciabatta roll and a hamburger bun. The tops of the buns are crunchy, but the inside is light and airy. They’re very satisfying but don’t overpower the flavor of the burger itself. Everyone loved them.

Testers Choice
Caroline Chang

Aug 09, 2012

This isn’t your grocery store bun. This recipe turns out dense, delicious, and beautiful buns for serious burger connoisseurs only. About that dense part…they’re a little denser than what your average burger eater may be used to. My solution? A little toasting on the grill grates or a buttered skillet. I opted to make 12 buns instead of 8, which worked well for a 1/4-pound burger.

Testers Choice
Cindy Zaiffdeen

Aug 09, 2012

I really like this recipe. It’s one of the simplest yeast dough recipes that I’ve ever made. Throw everything into the mixer bowl and let it go. The dough is very soft and silky to work with. The hardest part of the process is forming the buns themselves, and even that’s quite easy since this dough is very “manageable.” I brushed the buns with melted butter and topped them with sesame seeds, which toasted up quite nicely and added a slight crunch to the bun. The buns themselves turned out a lovely brown color and were soft and a little sweet. These are so easy to make and much better than the pillowy ones you buy at the grocery store. Will make these again!

Testers Choice
Jo Ann Brown

Aug 09, 2012

I like this recipe because the bun has brioche qualities without being dense and heavy. If you switch gears and break down the steps, you’ll see how easy the recipe is, and that it’s not at all excessive if you strive toward perfect burger bliss.

My only criticism: I want to make these every week for our Saturday night burger throw down. Shoot for making 12 smaller buns rather than 8. Unless you eat 3/4-pound burgers, it’s hard to fill the larger buns edge to edge.

Testers Choice
Anne Petito

Aug 09, 2012

This recipe is incredibly easy to follow and is a great introduction for anyone who might be intimidated by baking bread. It’s refreshing for a bread recipe to not give such specific instructions and still work. Combining all the ingredients at the same time (as opposed to dissolving the yeast separately) makes this a cinch to mix together, the rolls still rise beautifully, and cleanup is a bit easier as well. Upon taking a bite of one of the cooled rolls I was a little skeptical about how substantial they were and was concerned they’d be too heavy for burgers or sandwiches, but I was wrong. I used these for lamb burgers and the sturdy buns soaked up all the delicious juices and never got soggy. The slight sweetness of the bread complemented the meat nicely too.

Testers Choice
Raye Tiedmann

Aug 09, 2012

I used to have a hamburger bun recipe that I swore by, but this recipe changed my mind. My other recipe was really easy, but this is far better. These were beautiful. I made them in my bread machine on the dough cycle, took the dough out after the first rise, and then formed them into bun shapes. They raised up nicely in another hour, then I basted them with the butter, and they baked up in 14 minutes. Just perfect. I’m a huge fan of all the King Arthur products. I sent my husband to Lake Charles to get me bags of flour because they didn’t sell it here in Lafayette.

Testers Choice
Bette Fraser

Aug 09, 2012

This incredibly easy bun should be in everyone’s recipe box. Superior in every way to a store-bought bun, it makes your burger just that much better. Quick to toss together, it rises rather quickly too, and the finished bun is delicious with a nice crumb. Once you make this, you’ll be hooked!

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Aug 09, 2012

Beautiful Burger Buns live up to the name! These buns were soft, moist, golden, and delicious little pockets of bread. I divided the dough into 12 pieces and basted them with melted butter before baking and after. I served them as rolls with garlic and herb butter to slather on. We had 4 left and they were just as good the next day! They seem to be an “all-purpose” roll—could be used many ways—and a perfect start for the beginning bread maker. Thanks, Moomie, for this recipe! It’s in my permanent file now!

Testers Choice
Kristen Kennedy

Aug 09, 2012

As a novice bread maker, this recipe was surprisingly straightforward and simple. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a stand mixer, that removes even more work!

The notes provided a tip for water amount versus weather, but I needed to use the full cup during a 100°, humid Virginia day. I’d also include a suggestion to add the yeast and sugar to the water and wait a few minutes to make sure it’s active. Nothing is more depressing than making a beautiful dough only to not have it rise. I’m looking forward to trying the recipe again with an egg-white wash and sesame/poppy seeds.

Testers Choice
Adrienne Lee

Aug 09, 2012

I’ve been making Moomie’s rolls for years. These are my “go-to” rolls for everything from actual burgers to breakfast buns.

These taste great and are neutral enough to go with everything but have enough inherent flavor to be eaten alone (say, alongside pasta). The recipe contains a description about the use of 3/4 versus 1 cup of water. While this is nice, really the baker needs to pay attention to the texture of the dough. It’s much easier to add flour than add water (at least in my experience). When I was first learning, I was told not to add more flour but this meant not to add too much. Instead you want a dough that has enough flour so that there can be some gluten development (i.e., the dough will hold together and not be runny). This version doesn’t say how long to mix the dough—one rule of thumb is about 5 minutes in a stand mixer and maybe 8–10 minutes by hand. I usually peek into the bowl at about 3 minutes and add flour (or water), if needed. When you think it’s ready, you can place your hand on the dough and it should come off without being too sticky. Add more flour at this point if it’s too sticky (if your hand is wet with dough) and continue kneading. The dough after the first rise shouldn’t be so sticky that one can’t handle it. (I’ve been working with more wet doughs but it’s very hard to portion if it’s too wet.) My baking time was closer to 12 minutes, so I’d check after 8 minutes—the first time to turn for even browning.

Testers Choice
Lila Ferrari

Aug 09, 2012

This is an incredibly easy recipe to make with great results. We like a softer bun but one that doesn’t fall apart, and this was it. The rolls stood up to being the supporting actor to the main filling. The bun was sturdy enough to stand up to the mayonnaise in a lobster salad without being overbearing. The lobster salad wasn’t outshone by the bun but you knew it was there. I took the suggestion of using a smaller amount of water since it was humid. The only thing I’d change is that I’d use a burger mold or rings to get perfectly round buns.

Testers Choice
Sheri C.

Aug 09, 2012

Fluffy and rich (but not as rich as brioche), these buns are really simple to make. They come out of the oven soft and stay that way, thanks to a good coating of melted butter on the top. We loved these and made them with the Barbecue Pork Burgers.

Testers Choice
Lydia Brimage

Aug 09, 2012

The recipe was easy to weigh out, prepare, and bake. The instructions were clear, without too much detail. I was able to make 8 good-sized buns, which were slightly sweet and had a dense crumb consistency. The buns kept well until the next day, retaining their softness.

Testers Choice
Jean Moats

Aug 09, 2012

If you’re looking for some delicious buns, then try out this recipe for Beautiful Burger Buns. It’s a very simple one but creates a delicious taste. Next time, I’d make the smaller buns for a yield of 12 buns instead of 8. You could easily make these buns the day before a party. Expect to spend about 4 hours total but you can take care of the dough and then come back later to do the next step. I made the recipe using a heavy-duty stand mixer.

Testers Choice
Carol Mattox

Aug 09, 2012

This recipe for burger buns appealed to me because most buns I purchase are too airy and flavorless. Those are fine for shredded chicken or pulled pork, but for a hefty burger I want a little more substance and flavor. I appreciate that the recipe includes different portions and baking times to allow for a variety of bun sizes, from slider to BIG. I bake bread a lot, and I usually make the dough by hand instead of using my mixer. For that reason, I chose to prepare this recipe by hand as well. I used the smaller amount of water, as the note on the recipe instructed. As I added the flour, I found that the dough was smooth and elastic before the specified amount of flour. The amount of flour I used was closer to 3 1/4 cups, and barely that.

Normally, I brush butter on my baked breads after they come out of the oven. This recipe instructed brushing with the melted butter before baking as well as after, so I did just that. I’m not sure it resulted in any greater softness than when just brushing after the baking.

I chose to make the 8 big buns. The buns baked up nice and golden brown with a satiny, buttery crust, just as the recipe described.

The texture wasn’t dense, but not airy either. When I sliced the buns, there were no large holes or dry crumbs. The buns held up well to 1/3-pound burgers without getting soggy or falling apart…even until the last bite.

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Aug 09, 2012

These are my “go to” burger buns. When you have this recipe, there’s no need to find any other. You can make them large or you can make them small for sliders. I have used egg wash and tried many different seeds, including sesame, caraway, and poppy. Not only is this a fantastic hamburger bun but, it’s quite good straight from the oven with a little butter.

Testers Choice
Mark Leonard

Aug 09, 2012

I thought this was a fantastic recipe that resulted in an outstanding burger bun that's much better than store-bought buns. I decreased the sugar to 3 tablespoons and added an extra egg yolk in the egg white wash (which you should absolutely do if you want the sesame seeds to adhere, they readily fall off if you use melted butter). The resulting dough was very smooth and easy to work with. I shaped the buns using the ball rather than log method and made 12 buns. The resulting buns were soft with great flavor and stood up well to the turkey burgers I served them on. My only nit is that the resulting size when making 12 was a little too small (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter) for my tastes for a 1/4-pound burger. I think making 10 buns—or, if used for sliders, 14 buns—would yield the perfect size.​

Comments
Comments
  1. Lori says:

    Please forgive what may be a stupid question to everyone else but since I am not well versed with yeast, here goes:

    This recipe calls for ‘instant yeast’. That isn’t the same as ‘rapid rise’, is it? I also know there is ‘active dry’, too. Help – I want to make this but want to make sure I am using the correct ingredients.

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Lori, yep, “Rapidrise” is just Fleischmanns branded name for instant yeast. Good luck with your beautiful buns!

  2. Diane W. says:

    Is there a method to make these where they can rise in the fridge overnight? I’d like to be able to pop these in the oven when I get home from work.

    • Jo Ann Brown says:

      Hi Diane, I can say that I have frozen this recipe’s yield twice so far and the loaves reheat beautifully in the oven after originally being fully baked. Method: defrost in the fridge while at work, then reheat in the oven at 250 to 300 degrees F wrapped in foil that’s left open at the top.

      For very best results, you should wrap the buns carefully in plastic wrap and then a layer of foil before freezing. Enjoy!!

  3. June Pickering says:

    I’ve recently started baking here in the UK. Does anyone know what the equivalent of all-purpose flour would be here. We have so many varieties (sadly, no King Arthur which I loved at home in the States). We have ‘plain’ flour and self-rising (don’t think it would be that), strong white bread flour etc. I want to try those buns!

  4. Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

    Hi Diane, we’ve gotten some great advice from our testers. From Helen, “I will admit I’m a lazy bread maker, so I rise all my breads in the fridge. I combine all the ingredients in a large over-sized container for the fridge, and don’t over mix, just until combined. The dough should be a little wetter than normal(sort of sticky, not gloopy)and it will rise in the over-sized container in the fridge over night. When I’m ready to bake off some bread I take what I want out of the container and knead for a couple of minutes with some flour on the board for 3 or 4 minutes. I then allow it to rise in the loaf pan or on a baking sheet for a boule at room temp for at least 1/2 hour before baking.
    I got the idea from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day. The wet dough lasts about
    4 or 5 days in the fridge or you can bake it all at once. “

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      and from Cindi “Almost all yeast doughs do fine in the fridge for a while. Rich dough can’t be kept as long as lean, but overnight is fine. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a dough that wouldn’t be ok for sort a short time. Depending on the dough’s temperature going in and the temp of the fridge itself you will see from very little to almost all the rise you’d get if left on the counter for an hour or two. When you take it out, if you just made the dough and chilled that, then working it to shape it will warm it up and your rise pre-baking won’t be too much longer than it would have been without chilling.

      If you’ve refrigerated shaped buns the timing is a little trickier. I sometimes find a large pan of rolls or a large loaf can take as much as 2 hours at room temperature after an overnight chilling to fully proof. The buns, being smaller, could possibly have risen enough to bake after just 30 minutes or so. I do sticky buns this way all the time when I have company. I make them up, put them in the prepared pan, cover with greased plastic wrap so they don’t dry out, and put them in the refrigerator overnight. I use two small pans, such as 9″ cake pans, instead of one large pan, so they warm up faster when I take them out. They rise some in the refrigerator. I take them out in the morning while I make coffee and they are usually ready to go by the time the oven has preheated. If they don’t look quite puffy enough I give them another 20-30 minutes sitting on the counter. It’s really convenient to do the work and clean up one day and enjoy fresh baked rolls the next.”

      Hopefully, you will be able to determine the best method to fits your needs, whether making the beautiful buns ahead or allowing a rise in the refrigerator.

  5. MC says:

    These buns look absolutely beautiful and I would love to bake a batch for our next barbecue party as I am sure they are equally delicious. I am wondering though if you have experimented with a few tweaks, like omitting the sugar altogether and/or replacing part of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat. I’d be curious to know as it is the direction I would like to go with these buns if they were to become our favorites… Thank you!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      MC, they are just as buttery and sturdy and brioche-like as they appear. We actually didn’t toy with the amount of sugar or attempt to sneak in a little whole wheat flour, seeing as, well, why mess with perfection? Although perhaps someone else tried any variants on this recipe…anyone? In the meantime, we encourage you to make modest tweaks to the recipe–as you know, baking is a very, very delicate science–and let us know how it goes.

      • MC says:

        Thanks for your reply, Renee! You’ve got a point for sure! As you probably guessed, the main reason I would attempt to mess with perfection is improved nutrition. Another is that, for better or for worse, I never had a sweet tooth, which makes me very reluctant to use sugar in anything that doesn’t absolutely require it. I need additional info on the role (if any) of sugar in a dough like this one. Of course the easiest solution would be to bake a batch as is and then a slightly modified one and then compare. I might do just that too… Will keep you posted!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          MC, I understand and respect your desire to oomph the nutritional quotient of this recipe. Believe me, I do. And you know, what you suggest is exactly how we approach recipes during our testing process–we start with the status quo, as that’s really the only way to establish a baseline, and then we tweak from there when desired or required. I love your spirit of ingenuity and I look forward to hearing how you work your healthful magic….

          • I joined the King Arthur Baking Circle many years ago, and have been making the buns almost since Moomie (Ellen) posted the recipe. They are the bomb, to put it mildly!

            That said, I have tinkered with them over the 12+ years I have been making them. I make them with about 3 cups white whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. To get them to still be tasty I have made a bunch of tweaks. I spell it all out in my post on the buns on my blog:

            I make the buns regularly, and I also make them in loaf form. We call it bun bread around here. Follow the recipe through the first rise. Shape the whole batch of dough into 1 loaf and bake it in a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan for about 30 minutes at 350°F, or until it is browned, sounds hollow when tapped, and tests 190°F to 200°F in the middle. You may need to tent the top with foil if it starts to get too brown.

            Oh, and I don’t always do it, because we like sweet bread, but you can reduce the sugar to 2 or even 1 tablespoon with no other changes.

            Hope this helps, MC.

            • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

              Ooooooh, Bun Bread! Sarah, that is, to put it simply, brilliant. (I literally just let out a long, slow, sigh-like “Ooooooh” sitting here at my computer reading your comment.) I think I speak on behalf of the billions of Beautiful Burger Buns followers everywhere when I say many, many, many thanks!

  6. Amanda says:

    I made these today and I LOVE them! I have to agree with the comments that these are somewhat sweet-tasting. However, I like that. It’s different than store-bought in a great way. These are sturdy and super easy to make. I will be doing this often! Thanks for another great recipe.

  7. Keta says:

    These buns were easy to make and when done, were beautiful to look at. They tasted good the first day. The second day we attempted making burgers – to our dismay the buns crumbled half way through. Why does this happen?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hey Keta, wow, I’m really sorry and very surprised that your buns crumbled. How did you store them? Perhaps that is the culprit?

      • Keta says:

        I honestly am not criticizing your recipe. It tasted wonderful and I have made them again with the same excellent results. I stored them in a plastic bag overnight in a bread bin on the kitchen counter, but found that the following day they crumbled when made into burgers. Is there a better way to store them? However, the day they are baked and eaten they are absolutely delicious.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Hey, Keta, we didn’t interpret you as criticizing the recipe at all, and we’re sorry if we seemed to be blaming the victim. I don’t have an answer for you, although I do have a query out to all the testers who have made this recipe repeatedly to find out their experiences. I also have a query out to our resident baking expert, who is one of our recipe testers as well as a baking professional. We’ll be back with you soon as we have any ideas. In the meantime, well, I guess they’d make really phenomenal toast…? Thanks for your patience!

  8. Keta says:

    I made these buns again last night, but instead of using the white bread flour I used before, I tried cake flour (as they call it in S. Africa). Wow man!!! Perfect, perfect, perfect. We had the leftovers for lunch today and found them to be as good as they were yesterday. Obviously “all-purpose” flour equates to our cake flour. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that to begin with. Thanks for sharing an excellent recipe!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Keta, you are so very welcome! I hadn’t realized there was that distinction in flours, so good on you for discerning that! As to your previous query about keeping those buns overnight in a manner so they don’t become dry and crumbly, I want to share anyway what we heard, just in case it can be of use. We actually had some really quite varied responses from those folks who’ve made these before. One our favorite testers (yes, I’m afraid we do play favorites), who has made these buns no fewer than eight times, keeps leftover buns in a paper bag, not a plastic bag, on the counter. He swears by that method. Another tester doesn’t leave the potential for dryness to chance and instead wraps the buns in plastic and refrigerates them, then warms them prior to splitting and burger-fying them. Anyways, soooo glad you had success, Keta! And I really, really appreciate you letting us know.

  9. sue says:

    Two questions,I have King Arthur bread flour at the moment, can I use it? Or my AP flour is Pillsbury, should I use it? I do know KA has different gluten content than some of the other brands. This is what I have and would like to try the rolls as they sound delish! Thanks and have a great day!
    sue

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail