A ridiculously easy recipe that makes truly soft & tender hamburger buns, hotdog buns, or breadsticks – in about an hour! This and many other top recipes are found on the Best Bread Recipes page.
Years ago I was on a search for homemade hamburger buns. The only criteria that I had was that they needed to be soft like store buns (though not as squishy). You’d think I’d asked for the moon. Most recipes produced hard buns and simply making our sandwich bread into buns didn’t create the buns our family liked and my soft whole wheat rolls were too soft for us.
When I found a recipe for “quick and tender breadsticks” on a (now defunct) website and made them, I couldn’t believe how soft and easy they were – and I thought it might also make the buns we were searching for. So I adapted it, making both hamburger and hot dog buns, and we loved them! They’ve become a family favorite because they really are quick and soft with a great texture, which is especially surprising because they are not kneaded.
The original recipe produced a very wet dough which I found tough to work with and a bit frustrating. My changes included using less water and yeast, adding more whole grains, and using honey instead of sugar. With these changes, the buns produced are the best hamburger buns I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot)- I hope you think so, too!
How to Make Quick & Tender Hamburger Buns
The top left picture of the dough shows that the dough is still a bit wet- it should still stick a bit to the bottom of the bowl. I mix it about 1-2 minutes in the stand mixer (for a quick knead), adding about 1/4-1/2 cup more flour to make shaping a bit easier before letting it rest in the bowl.
To get semi-even buns, flatten the dough out on a floured surface (tip: use a tea towel with a bit of flour for easy clean-up) and pat into a squarish shape. Use a knife to cut 12 pieces, cutting a bit off of the bigger center pieces as needed and adding them to the smaller corner pieces before shaping.
To shape the buns, stretch the top towards the bottom on all sides and then turn it over and pull the ends together creating a nice smooth ball, similar to how I shape our soft dinner rolls. Notice the well-floured hands and doughy fingers? The dough will still be sticky even with floured surfaces, so you’ll want to keep your fingers floured.
Place the balls on a greased or silicone-lined (affiliate link) cookie sheet, flattening the dough balls around the edges- it’s okay if the edges touch. You’ll want to use a full half sheet baking pan to fit these, though – similar to this OXO brand half sheet on Amazon.
They’ll rest a second time and will rise some, though most of the rising will occur in the oven.
So after mixing, two 10-minute rises, about 15 minutes of shaping and 15 minutes baking you have easy, soft, beautiful hamburger buns – in an hour. Amazing, right?
And notice all the slightly different sizes? No matter how hard I try, the buns are never all the same size. It’s just fine, though, because Brian eats the bigger buns and I like them smaller…and a bit imperfect, of course.
Oh, and this recipe still makes great breadsticks, plus they are easily shaped into longer buns for hot dogs and sausages, and make terrific homemade pigs in a blanket. See? It’s a keeper for sure.
Quick and Tender Hamburger Buns (or Breadsticks!)
- 2 cups warm water
- 1½ tablespoons yeast
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4½ to 5 cups unbleached flour I use half whole wheat
- Mix water, yeast, and honey until yeast and honey are dissolved. Add the salt, oil, and 4½ cups of flour to make a soft dough.
- Beat with a stand mixer for a minute or two (or stir by hand about a minute), adding the other 1/2 cup flour as needed to help dough be less sticky (you may not need all of it - it should still be somewhat sticky). Let it rest 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove to a floured surface and knead by hand a few times. Press dough flat on floured surface then cut for hamburger (or hotdog) buns: cut into 12 even pieces and using floured hands, shape each into a ball. Slightly flatten the balls (or elongate for hot dogs) and place on a greased cookie sheet, flattening down the edges to create bun shapes.
- Let rise 10 to 15 minutes (they will rise a bit, but not double).
- Bake hamburger buns for 15 to 17 minutes until golden. Let cool a bit before slicing in half.
- Cut into 18-24 pieces, lengthwise (depending on the size you want).
- Lay them out with 1/2-inch between them on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Brush with melted butter and garlic.
Note: this recipe was originally published in 2009 and has been updated with all new photos, clearer formatting and printable recipe.
Like more easy bread recipes like this? Check out more great bread recipes:
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