These whole wheat hamburger buns have an incredibly soft and fluffy interior and make any burger or sandwich amazing! The dough is so easy to work with and perfect for a beginner bread baker.
Wanna know the tried-and-true method to making the best burger? You gotta start with the foundation AKA you need some dang good hamburger buns!
These whole wheat buns really have stood the test of time over the past 9+ years and still remain a solid family favorite with their perfect golden exterior and soft, hearty interior.
And the best part is that you don’t have to be a pro bread baker to pull these off! They’re simple enough for any yeast novice and honestly a game-changer for your burger game.
Seriously, you’re going to have to exercise some serious self-control to wait for the burgers and not demolish these buns straight from the sheet pan.
These Hamburger Buns feature…
- A lightly sweet flavor with toasted sesame seeds on the outside
- A light and fluffy texture, yet a perfect heartiness from the whole wheat flour
- Simple enough for any skill level and includes both stand mixer and mixing bowl instructions
Making the Hamburger Buns
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Active dry yeast
- 2% or skim milk
- Unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- Whole wheat flour
- All-purpose flour
- Sesame seeds
Choosing Your Flours
When we first published these buns back in 2014 we used white whole wheat flour as the sole flour in the dough. While this method worked, white whole wheat flour can sometimes be hard to find and we wanted to make this recipe as simple as possible, so we did a little bit of experimenting with different flours.
Now we use a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour in these buns and we found that this duo led to a dough that rises perfectly and has an incredibly soft, yet hearty texture.
Note: we do not recommend using solely whole wheat flour in these buns as we found that this leads to rising issues and a dense texture.
Tips for Perfect Hamburger Buns
- Heat water and milk to 110F degrees – we recommend temping your water to ensure it’s not over 110F. If you use water that’s too warm, it will kill the yeast and your dough will not rise.
- Measure flour correctly – we use the spoon-and-level technique for measuring flour as this will prevent over-measuring your flour. Use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level with the back of a knife.
- Knead dough properly – this step is where we develop the gluten which is crucial for forming the structure of the buns. A good way to test if your dough is properly kneaded is by gently stretching the dough. If it’s nice and stretchy it’s good to go, but if it tears immediately, let it knead for longer.
- Let dough rise in a warm place – yeast dough loves warm environments for rising. We recommend 75F-80F for a rising environment in your kitchen.
- Flatten buns before second rise – this will prevent the buns from rising too round and tall, keeping them more traditional hamburger-shaped.
- Brush buns with egg wash – this helps the buns brown nicely while they bake. We like sprinkling sesame seeds on top for that signature hamburger bun look.
Stand Mixer and Mixing Bowl Instructions
Both a stand mixer and a mixing bowl/wooden spoon will work for mixing this bread. Obviously, by hand requires a little more elbow grease and arm power, but it absolutely doable!
If you choose to go the stand mixer route, make sure you use the dough hook for mixing and let the machine knead the dough on medium speed 5-7 minutes until the dough is stretchy and elastic.
If you are making the dough by hand, use a large bowl and a wooden spoon for mixing the dough. For kneading, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes or whenever the dough is stretchy and elastic.
Storing Hamburger Buns
These buns are best if you enjoy them up to 3 days after they’re baked. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature and reheat/toast buns before serving.
For freezing, allow buns to cool completely, then wrap well and freeze up to 2 months. If possible, we recommend freezing them the day you bake them to preserve freshness.
You’ll never go back to store-bought buns after your first burger with these gems! They’re so incredibly soft and fluffy, yet at the same time have a perfect heartiness from the whole wheat flour.
Truth be told, they’re even amazing fresh out of the oven and cracked open with a little bit of butter smeared inside. That’s when ya know you’ve got a keeper!
More yeast bread projects to try next!
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
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- 2-1/4 teaspoons (1 pkg) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110F)
- 1/2 cup warm milk (110F)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 large egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Sesame seeds for topping
- In the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a dough hook OR a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and milk. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Mix in melted butter, honey, egg, salt, whole wheat flour, and 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour on medium speed or by hand with a wooden spoon until dough pulls away from sides of bowl into a ball (if dough seems too sticky, add additional flour by the tablespoon until it comes together)
- Knead the dough in the mixer 6-8 minutes or by hand on a floured surface 10-12 minutes until dough is stretchy and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until dough is doubled, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
- Adjust oven rack to middle and preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Punch risen dough down and divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a round bun and place each bun 4 inches apart on prepared sheet pans.
- Use your hand to gently flatten each bun. Allow buns to rise in a warm place 20-30 minutes until slightly puffy.
- Brush buns with beaten egg white mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake hamburger buns at 375F 18-25 minutes until golden-brown.
- Cool buns on sheet pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
This post was updated with new recipe tips and photos on 5/25/23.