Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns

Recipe by Betsy Oppenneer

This versatile dough is going to become your go-to recipe anytime anyone says "cookout." Homemade buns make hamburgers and hot dogs taste out of this world! You're never going to go back to storebought once you try these fresh, flavorful buns. If you live in an area where the temperature gets so hot you don't want to heat up your oven, make a bunch of buns early in the season and freeze them. 

20 mins
20 mins
2 hrs 30 mins
18 buns
Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. To mix the dough: In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups (360g) of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

  2. Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup (30g) at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

  3. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Because this dough is so slack, you may find that a bowl scraper or bench knife can be helpful in scooping up the dough and folding it over on itself.

  4. Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 18 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into halves, then the halves into thirds.

  6. Shape each piece into a ball. For hamburger buns, flatten the balls into 3 1/2" disks. For hot-dog buns, roll the balls into cylinders, 4 1/2" in length. Flatten the cylinders slightly; dough rises more in the center so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top.

  7. For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they'll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them 3" apart. Or shape buns and bake in either our hot dog bun pan or our hamburger bun pan.

  8. For the second rising, cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

  9. Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy.

  10. To bake the buns: Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer

  11. When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

  12. Split the buns in half and toast or griddle before serving, as desired. Store leftover buns at room temperature in an airtight container for several days, or freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • We give you this fairly wide variation for a couple of reasons. First, you'll find in the summer that you'll need a bit more flour to absorb a given amount of liquid than you will in the winter. This is because it's humid and flour acts somewhat like a slightly dampened sponge as a result. Second, this particular dough should be quite slack, i.e., very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns. So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 6-cup point, to make the dough just kneadable; sprinkling only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the board.
  • Want to keep your rolls fresher longer? Try the tangzhong technique, an Asian method for increasing the softness and shelf life of yeast bread and rolls. Begin by measuring out the flour, milk, and water you’ll be using in the recipe. Add 2 tablespoons water to what you’ve measured for a total of 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150g). Next, combine all of the water, a generous 1/2 cup (68g) of the measured flour, and 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (190g) of the measured milk in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and forms a thick slurry; this will take about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the cooked mixture (slurry) to a bowl, and let it cool to lukewarm. Combine the slurry with the remaining flour, milk, and other dough ingredients. Proceed with the recipe as directed.