The Ultimate Hamburger Rolls

For an easy to print version of this recipe, see the new, updated post here.

I’ll keep this to the point.  Make these burger buns.  They’ve been our family favorites for a couple years now and I know it’s burger season so I’m back to evangelizing about these rolls.  Ask my sisters, Mom, brothers, Aunts, and other assorted family members.  They’re probably really glad I’m blogging now so that I can wax rhapsodic about these rolls with people other than them.


They’re gorgeous with a shiny brown exterior, flavorful and melt-in-your mouth tender.  When you’re shaping the dough you can even turn them into the ultimate hoagie or hot dog roll.   Long story short?  They’re the absolute perfect burger bun.  Pretty please tell me you’ll try them.


(I do usually make double the quantity I’m giving you below, but I acknowledge the fact that -unlike our viking horde here- most families do not eat between 17 and 20 burgers in one meal.  Therefore, I halved my normal amount.  That being said, these do freeze well.  That is, if you ever have enough left to freeze…)


Bec’s Buns (that just sounds so naughty…)



1 1/4 cups warm milk


1 large egg, beaten


6 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


3 Tablespoons malt powder (or sugar)


4 cups high gluten (bread) flour


1/4 cup instant potato flakes


1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten (This is optional, but the finished product is better with it.)


2 teaspoons kosher salt


2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast



For Glaze:


1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water


For Toppings (use any or all of the following):

sesame seeds

poppy seeds

dry onion flakes

lightly sauteed onions

cracked black pepper

coarse salt

caraway seeds

minced or chopped garlic

chopped fresh rosemary


If you have a bread machine, this is easy-cheesy.  Put all the ingredients in the pan in your manufacturer’s recommended order.  Program for the dough cycle and let ‘er rip.  Go play catch with the kids and come back after the cycle is done.  Now if you’ll excuse me for a moment I need to tell folks without a bread machine how to make these.  Meet me in two paragraphs…


If you do not have an indentured servant (bread machine) it’s still easy.  It just takes a bit more elbow grease.  Mix warm water, malt (or sugar) and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, milk, potatoes, gluten, yeast and salt.


Add the egg and butter to the water and yeast and stir gently with a sturdy wooden spoon.  Add the flour mixture one cup at a time and stir until combined.  When a shaggy dough has formed, turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  Form dough into a smooth topped round and place in a lightly greased large bowl.  Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour or until doubled in bulk.


Are we all on the same page now?  Alrighty.  Turn the dough out onto a clean and very lightly floured surface.  Divide dough into portions equal to your desired number of buns.  I usually make 12 round or long rolls with this recipe and they make good sized buns.


To make hamburger or round sandwich rolls, take each dough portion and roll into a tight ball, stretching the skin smooth over the top of the ball.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet or half sheet pan.  Make sure to leave room for these bad boys to expand because they will.  I can comfortably fit 8 rolls per half sheet pan.  (That means my normal recipe takes 3 half sheet pans, because as I’ve mentioned, I always make double this amount.)


To make hoagie or hot dog rolls, make rounds the same way you would for a round roll, flatten into an oval and roll up tight like a cigar.


Whether you’re making the hot dog rolls or the hamburg buns the process is the same from here forward.  Using the heels of your hands and palms, flatten each roll.  Cover each pan with a clean tea towel.  (I know, I know!  That’s what?  Three towels I’m having you dirty?  I hate laundry, too.  These rolls are worth it!  Trust me!)  Let dough rest for 30 minutes.


Preheat oven to 375°F.  While oven is heating, contemplate glazing and topping your buns.  What are you going to serve on them?  Hamburgers?  Our favorite topping for hamburger rolls is dried onion flakes and poppy seeds.  Are you serving roast beef on weck?  Go for caraway seeds and coarse salt.  Leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce?  (Don’t look at me like that.  I know I’m not the only one who does that…)  Try the minced rosemary and sauteed onions.  Bratwurst, white hots or Italian sausage?  Definitely get generous with the garlic.  The possibilities are nearly endless.


Just before putting those soon-to-be gorgeous rolls in the oven, give them a little special attention.  Gently brush them with the egg glaze and sprinkle on the toppings.  Slide sheets into the oven and set your timer for 15-25 minutes, depending on how big your buns are…  The goal is to have shiny brown buns (the same goal as sun bathing.  Heh.)


You do want to let these cool before eating so their crumb has time to set up.  At least that’s what they say.  I won’t tell anyone if you hide in the linen closet to eat a warm roll in peace.  Transfer the rolls you haven’t snitched to a rack to cool.  Split the rolls just prior to serving.


And should a miracle happen and you have leftover rolls?  Pop them in a freezer bag, seal.  Then make like SNL’s “Anal-Retentive Chef” and put the freezer bag inside a paper bag, roll the top and stick into the freezer.  As much as this sounds like over-kill, it really does protect your gorgeous buns from freezer burn.  Eat within a month.








  1. says

    MMM bec’s buns. Ha.

    These do look and sound wonderful, and not too difficult, but I am still intimidated by dough. I need to give it another college try, I know.

  2. Jen B says

    These sound so great! I will be making these SOON! We were in your neck of the woods Saturday, we were going to look you up and drop by for a visit, but changed our minds. We are still excited to see your new place. OH Btw, the grilled pizza was a BIG hit here. The kids all took turns at the grill with their pizzas. Thanks for the recipes.


  3. says

    i know what you’re talking about when you say the viking hordes. i double every recipe without even thinking. what’s going to happen when they leave the house? i’m not sure how i will ever cook. going to try these buns, i wish i had known about these when i made the sloppy joes, which were fantastic by the way.

  4. Rebecca says

    Jen- We would’ve loved to see you. Let’s get these kids together soon! And I’m glad you all liked the grilled pizzas. I always say I’m not a short-order cook, but it’s nice to let the kids customize their own food when possible!

    ECM- I know what you mean about the adjustment coming down the pike when the kids leave home. My situation is further complicated by the fact that I learned to cook at the camp my parents managed. We regularly prepared three meals a day, 6 days a week for 100 or more kids and adults. When my kids leave home I’m going to have to relearn everything from the beginning up! Maybe I’ll just have to open a restaurant…

    And I’m glad you liked the sloppy joes. Sorry about the belated bun recipe. This is actually the one I usually serve with the sloppy joes. Ithought the bun recipe actually ran in the column that had the sloppy joe/billy joe joe recipe. I forgot there were space constraints that week and they had to nix that part. My bad.

  5. Koy says

    I am confused on one thing, the recipe directions mentions adding yeast and water, but ingredients doesn’t list water. In your revised post, water step is completely omitted. I made these following revised directions exactly as written, and no rise happened. Assume I need to activate the yeast in warm water first. Please advise!

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