These super soft burger buns are fun and easy to make. They use the Tangzhong method, which gives a super soft burger bun which stays soft for days. These homemade burger buns can be made either in bun rings or freeform, and freeze extremely well.
Table of contents
- Super Soft Burger Buns
- The role of Tangzhong in bread dough
- The Ultimate Homemade Burger Bun Recipe
- Making Burger Buns with Burger Ring Molds
- How to know when bread is ready to bake
- How to tell if you have over proofed your buns
- Scaling the recipe for larger or smaller burger buns
- Can you make Burger Buns ahead of time?
- FAQ for Soft Burger Buns
- For more Bun and Roll Recipes, check out:
Super Soft Burger Buns
Hi! Just popping in to share the recipe for these super soft burger buns with you! I have been working on this homemade burger bun recipe for a while, testing and testing. I am so excited to finally share it with you! These buns are easy to make, and the dough is super soft and really easy to work with. You can either make them using bun ring molds or freeform, and they can be scaled to any size that you like. I have made these about ten times since getting the recipe right, testing different combinations, and I know that you will love them just as much as I do.
The role of Tangzhong in bread dough
The Tangzhong method is an Asian Technique, and involves cooking part of the flour and water in a bread recipe to form a thick paste, or a roux. The process of making the Tangzhong gelatanises some of the starch in the flour. This means the flour is able to absorb a lot more water, and also holds onto it throughout the dough making process. This gives an incredibly soft bread which stays soft a lot longer than other bread does. Tangzhong (which is a Chinese word) is made by cooking the liquid and flour together, while the Yudane method (which is Japanese) involves adding boiling liquid to the flour and leaving it to set overnight. The benefit of using a roux means that the bread dough can stay 'lean' - so very little added fat etc but still stay extremely tender and soft.
I used this method recently in my hot cross bun recipe and loved how stretchy and smooth it made the dough, and had been meaning to work on a burger bun recipe for a while, so here we are! The Tangzhong means the bread stays soft for a long time, which means these keep and freeze super well.
The Ultimate Homemade Burger Bun Recipe
These Homemade Burger Buns are super easy to make - your mixer does all the work for you!
- Make your Tangzhong - Tangzhong is made by cooking together bread flour and milk in a pan until a thick paste forms. This goes into the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add cold milk - I borrowed this tip from King Arthur - they add cold milk to the hot Tangzhong to cool it down so it's cool enough that it doesn't kill the yeast.
- Mix in remaining ingredients - Pop everything else except for the butter into the bowl and throw it onto your mixer. Let it mix for about 10-15 mins until it is smooth and elastic and pulling away from the sides.
- Add butter - Room temperature butter goes in and you keep mixing until it is incorporated. This only takes a few minutes. Make sure your butter isn't too soft here or it will get all melty.
- First rise - Shape the dough into a ball and stick it into a bowl. Rise it at room temperature, or see further down the post for instructions on how to do the overnight rise
- Pre-shape your buns - Divide your dough into however many buns you like and give them a quick pre-shape, then rest them for 10 minutes, quickly shape again, and set them up for their second rise, either in rings or space on a pan.
- Do the second rise - This is another room temperature rise, where the dough will get super puffy.
- Egg wash and bake - The egg wash helps the buns to bake up beautifully golden. You can use milk here too if you want. I like egg wash. Add seeds etc here too if you want. Then bake them until they are perfectly golden, cool on a rack, and enjoy!
Making Burger Buns with Burger Ring Molds
I made these burger buns with these super fun ring molds that my friend Campbell made for me! They are 10cm in diameter and 3cm high, and the perfect size to make burger buns! The ring means that the bun rises super evenly but also gives it a really nice ring around the edge, making it perfect to cut into burger buns.
You don't have to use the rings if you don't want to, it will still work great. There are instructions for both ways in the recipe.
How to know when bread is ready to bake
It is important that when you make bread you go by how the dough is behaving and not just the time in the recipe. While the recipe is a good general guide, the starting temperature of your dough and also the weather and temperature of your room can affect how fast it rises.
The best way to tell that dough is ready to bake is to poke it gently with your finger. If it springs back straight away it is not yet ready. If your finger leaves a small indentation which springs back slightly, then you know that it is ready to bake. Remember to preheat your oven about 30 minutes before you think your dough will be ready in order to give it time to properly preheat. There is nothing worse than realising your buns are ready to bake and having a cold oven. If this does happen though just pop them into the fridge so that they don't over proof while you preheat your oven.
How to tell if you have over proofed your buns
Sometimes this happens, and it's a huge bummer. Either you leave them proofing too long, or you forget about your buns rising, and they over proof. This means the yeast produces all the gas it is capable of making while doing the second proof and it has nothing to give in the oven. It's sad but it happens.
If you have over proofed your buns, they will probably deflate while egg washing them. Then, over proofed dough doesn't do much in the oven as there is no gas to rise the bread. They should still taste fine they might just be a bit saggy.
Scaling the recipe for larger or smaller burger buns
I made fairly big burger buns with my dough - 9 buns, each weighing in at about 90g worth of dough. You can make these whatever size you like. To figure out the weight of each bun, weigh the whole batch of dough (it's about 810g but weigh yours just to check), then divide by the number of buns you want to give you the dough weight of each ball. For example if you wanted 12 buns, each would weigh in at 67.5g.
Remember that if you make the burger buns smaller, the rising time for the second proof will be different. I made these and divided them into 12 and the rise time was only about 45 minutes as opposed to 1 ½ hours so just keep an eye on them.
Can you make Burger Buns ahead of time?
If you would like to get a head start on making these soft burger buns, you can do the first rise overnight. I like to make the dough then leave it to stand on the counter for about 15 minutes before putting it into the fridge to do the first rise. I tested this overnight but you could probably do as little as 3 hours in the fridge if you wanted to make the dough in the morning for later in the day.
Remember that the fridge is your friend when you are working with yeasted dough - if for some reason the dough is going to be risen before you need it, you can pop it in the fridge to slow down the rising time.
I try not to leave dough in the fridge for more than 24 hours as the yeast starts to lose its rising power. You should be able to shape the dough into burger buns straight from the fridge but leave it to stand for 10 minutes or so if it feels a little firm. Remember starting with cold dough will mean you need to add some time onto the second rise. Go by how the dough looks, not the time in the recipe. It all depends on your starting dough temperature and the environment.
FAQ for Soft Burger Buns
Yes. The dough needs it for strength. If you are outside of the US bread flour is sometimes called high grade or strong flour. If bread flour isn't available in your country you could add in some vital wheat gluten to add strength.
No. It is a very sticky dough and needs the strength developed by the mixer.
I keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. I usually have them fresh the first day then lightly toast after that!
Yep! Just pop them into a ziploc or airtight container and stick them in the freezer. Defrost at room temp. They are probably best toasted once defrosted.
Yes, that will work just fine. What you need to do is pop the warm tangzhong in your stand mixer bowl as usual, then add the cold milk. Stir around - this will warm the milk up a little. Add the sugar then add the yeast then leave to sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe!
Nope! The cold milk cools it down. You can temp your mix if you're worried, you don't want it any hotter than about 125°f / 51°c. If you are using active dry yeast, you will need to cool the tangzhong, activate the yeast in lukewarm milk, then proceed.
Nope! Just shape each bun into a tight ball and space well apart on a baking sheet. See images for buns made without rings - they are a little shorter but it works perfectly.
Yes! If you wanted to make these as slider buns I would divide the dough into 12. It will fit perfectly into a 9"x13" (20x30cm) pan and make 12 sliders. Alternatively you could double the recipe and bake it into 24 slider buns which would fit perfectly in a rimmed half sheet pan (13"x18" or 33x45cm)
This happens with a super soft dough. If you are using the rings then they might get a little fold around the edge, and the crust might get a little wrinkly. It's all good. You didn't do anything wrong. You just made really soft bunz.
From here - my friend Campbell makes them.
Do whatever you like! Add them on just after you add the egg wash. Just keep in mind if you add anything salty you should eat the buns that day as the salt will make the baked bread go weird and wrinkly.
I haven't tried it without but you are probably fine to leave it out.
For more Bun and Roll Recipes, check out:
Made this recipe and love it?
If you made this recipe then I would LOVE for you to leave me a review below to let me know how you liked it! Also, please make sure to tag me on Instagram if you make it!
A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!Print
These super soft burger buns are fun and easy to make. They use the Tangzhong method, which gives a super soft burger bun which stays soft for days. These burger buns can be made either in bun rings or freeform, and freeze extremely well.
- 25g bread flour
- 120g whole milk
Burger Bun Dough
- All of the Tangzhong
- 200g cold milk
- 20g granulated sugar
- 2 tsp (7g) instant yeast
- 30g milk powder
- 1 ½ tsp (7g) kosher salt
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 360g bread flour
- 45g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
- Combine the milk and bread flour in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens into a paste. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.
BURGER BUN DOUGH
- Add the cold milk and mix to combine, checking with your finger that it is not hotter than lukewarm (the cold milk should cool the hot tangzhong enough). Add the sugar, yeast, milk powder, salt, egg, and flour. Transfer to the mixer and fit with the dough hook.
- Mix the dough on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic and clearing the sides of the bowl, about 12-15 minutes. Don’t freak out, as it is sticky - if you have made it by weight you will be fine. Set a timer and walk away from the mixer if you need. If after that time it really isn’t coming together and you’re worried, add flour a teaspoon at a time just until the dough just comes together.
- Add the butter and mix for a further 5 minutes until incorporated. The dough should be smooth and elastic, and pass the windowpane test.
- Turn the dough out onto a surface and flour very lightly if needed to bring into a tight ball with a bench scraper. Transfer to a greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Place the dough in a warm spot and rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 ½ hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. If you are using rings for your buns (I used 100mm rings for 90g buns), grease them lightly.
- Divide the dough into 9 equal portions, each weighing about 90g. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten out the piece of dough, then tuck up into a ball, then turn the ball seam side down and roll into a tight ball by cupping your hand to create a 'claw' shape, using the tension from the counter to roll the dough tightly. Place to the side and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, grouping the balls together on your counter with a little space between them so they don't touch.
- Leave the buns to rest for 10 minutes, then give them a quick roll to tighten them back up. Place them in the prepared rings or spaced apart on the baking sheets. They rise quite a lot so ensure they are far enough apart - you can do 5 on on pan and 4 on the other. Alternatively you can space them closer so they bake to be touching.
- Cover the buns either with a lid, or some lightly greased plastic wrap, or place a second sheet pan upside down over the top to act as a lid. Leave the buns to rise again for about 1 ½ hours. You want them to puff up and double in size, and when you press lightly on one, it should leave a small indentation that doesn’t quite spring back. See images for how they look just after rolling and then risen. Remember that rising time depends on your environment so go by how the dough is looking, rather than a rising time.
- When there is about 20 minutes to go in the rise, preheat the oven to 360°f / 185°c. Brush the buns with egg wash. If you are baking in rings just brush what is exposed, if you are baking plain buns brush the edges too. and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and remove the rings if using.
- Leave to cool on the pans for 10-15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. The buns will wrinkle slightly as they cool and if you used the rings the edge may not stay completely straight and may fold on itself a little - this is due to them being very soft and is totally normal.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature - they should stay soft for at least 5 days. These can also be frozen. After the first day or two, toast the buns if needed.
Keywords: Bread, Tangzhong, Burger Buns, Milk Bread, Soft Burger Buns