Organic, Real Food on a Budget – Homemade Hamburger Buns

by Deliciously Organic on June 3, 2010

Unless you’re lucky enough to have an exceptional bakery in your neighborhood, a good whole grain loaf of bread without preservatives isn’t cheap. Neither are whole grain hamburger buns or hot dog buns. A good loaf (purely whole grain, no preservatives, or extra sugars) costs anywhere from $4.00-5.50. Wow. If your family goes through a lot of bread, the costs can really add up. I’ve made homemade bread for years and it’s a great way to move toward Organic, Real Food on a Budget for you and your family.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I had some friends over for hamburgers. The brand of whole grain buns I buy for my family is difficult to find and costs at least $5.00 for 8. Because we live in a remote location, I didn’t have time to hunt any down. I decided to make my own instead. Wow, were they easy and so cheap!  The recipe requires some whole wheat flours, a little butter, egg, yeast, and salt. Cheap ingredients that make a hearty bread when combined.

My tip for you today? Make something new at home. Pick one food you buy at the store and start there. Maybe it’s bread, buns, granola barspizza crust, or crackers. This week, try to make it yourself. It may just be easier than you think! If you’re successful, plan to make them 1 or 2 times next week, so you learn the recipe and get really comfortable. These buns take about 20 minutes of hands-on work. The rest of the time comes from letting the dough rise and bake. 20 minutes. Homemade hamburger buns. Cost: $1.75. That’s a $3.25 difference. Not a bad way to skip preservatives and save money, too.

Here are some other hamburger bun and bread recipes you’ll enjoy:

Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns from Gluten Free Girl
Soft Pretzel Buns from Eat the Love
Grain Free, Paleo Bread
Grain Free, Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

Homemade Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

Serving Size: Makes 8 buns

Homemade Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


    For the dough:

  • 3 tablespoons warm whole milk

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

  • 1 1/3 cups plus 4 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, grated with a box grater

  • Sesame seeds (optional)


Stir together 1 cup warm water, milk, yeast and honey in a measuring cup. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Beat one egg in a small bowl.

Whisk flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add butter. Rub butter into flour using your fingers until small clumps form. Add yeast mixture and beaten egg and stir until dough comes together. Transfer dough to the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached. Knead dough on low-speed for 5 minutes. (If you do not have a standing mixer, then knead by hand for 8 minutes on a floured surface.) The dough will be a bit sticky. Cover the bowl and let dough rise for about 2 hours until doubled.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each piece into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, arranging dough 3-inches apart. Cover dough with a dish towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.

Set a large shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 400ºF and adjust second rack to middle position. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush egg wash on top of each bun using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 14 minutes turning pan halfway through baking, until golden brown.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] June 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

These look amazing. I love your suggested task of taking one food and making it this week. I need to brainstorm what I want to make. Hmmm…maybe a raw granola bar similar to a LARA Bar. I love those.


Marcy June 3, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I am so pleased I found your site. All of your recipes sound and look so good, and the ones I’ve tried have been excellent. I’ve made hard rolls before to use for hamburgers, and these look great, too. Usually we just eat hamburgers on toast, but this would be a great alternative and not use up my sandwich loaves as quickly.


Katherine June 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I am one of those people who pay around $4.50 for a loaf of bread. I know I could save a lot of money if I made my own, but I just can’t seem to bite the bullet and do it because I don’t have a mixer. This recipe looks pretty easy though. Maybe I’ll give it a go. Love your site!


the urban baker June 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm

these are beautiful, Carrie! I am so making these!


Katrina June 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Yum! So tasty looking :)


Karin June 4, 2011 at 12:03 am

They look great! We try to make everything from scratch, well, as much as possible and that”s so much fun!


Frieda June 4, 2011 at 12:43 am

Beautiful! I love a burger with whole wheat ~ it’s one of my summer favorites. In 2009, I estimated that it cost me $2.04 to make 3 (8×4) loaves of bread. I save about .15 per loaf by grinding my own wheat (which I believe tastes better!), thus saving my family $419 per year over the cost of purchasing my own bread!


Deliciously Organic June 4, 2011 at 6:38 am

I grind my own grain too. It definitely saves a lot of money each year. I’ll be discussing that tip this summer. :)


Kulsum at JourneyKitchen June 4, 2011 at 3:34 am

Wow! I definitely want to try this. The satisfaction of making something for scratch is so fulfilling.


Amy June 4, 2011 at 5:19 am

These look wonderful. I am going to give them a try. Finding god bread is very difficult and expensive. I want to make burgers soon and I’m definitely going to try these rolls. Thanks!


Karen and Missy June 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

Hello, I come to via another friends blog.. I am co~author of http://heartofthehome-blog.blogspot.com/ and I enjoyed browsing your blog and wanted to introduce ourselves.. Heart of the Home is a womens ministry reaching out to women with encouragement from Gods word and his design for women as wives, mothers, friends and etc.. Hope you will get a chance to stop by and visit us, and that we can become Blogging Buddies.. Have a great weekend.. God Bless


Laura June 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I love your site! I wonder if I could use this recipe for hot dog buns. Would I shape them into a log? If so, how big would I make the log? I’ve been wanting to try hot dog buns. Thanks for you site!


Deliciously Organic June 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I had the same thought. I think it would make 10 hot dog buns (I haven’t tested it, but that’s what I think would work). I’d divide the dough into 10 pieces and shape into logs. After they are cooled you can cut a slit down the side. It would taste great with a mixture of seeds like poppy & sesame, and sea salt. Yum! If you try it, please let me know how it turns out!


Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather June 5, 2011 at 7:47 am

Beautiful hamburger buns! I’m all about saving money and love making bread at home. I’ll give these a try the next time I’m BBQing burgers for sure. Thanks for the recipe :)


Bebe June 5, 2011 at 10:05 am

I am trying to make the buns right now and there is no way my dough is coming together with just 3 tablespoons of milk, the honey and an egg…am I doing something wrong? (Deb’s recipe for brioche buns includes a cup of warm water…) Thanks!


Deliciously Organic June 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

Hi Bebe. I’m so sorry! You’re right, there should be 1 cup warm water. I made the edit in the instructions. Thanks for pointing that out!


Susie June 6, 2011 at 9:26 pm

You = AWEsome.


Deliciously Organic June 7, 2011 at 7:22 am

Why thank you, Susie. :)


Cookie and Kate June 7, 2011 at 7:09 am

Yay, thank you! I hate white bread buns. I think these whole wheat buns will go great with the veggie burger recipe I’ve been meaning to try!


Doreen June 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I love your website! I actually found you on one of my favorite and informative websites breadbeckers.com . I saw the video class of you making some delicious recipes from your cookbook… and just had to google you to find out more. Now I’m a fan! I purchase all my bulk organic hard white/hard red wheat from Breadbeckers, plus many other baking items. I’ve really taken an interest in milling my own wheat and baking with the fresh flour. Never realized the MANY health benefits to fresh milled flour. I can never buy store bought flour again. Looking forward to reading your article this summer on milling!


Fenke June 12, 2011 at 2:37 am

mmh – only recently i made up my own recipe for delicious tofu patties. homemade buns to go with them would be perfection! do you think you could freeze the dough? or would you suggest prebaking and freezing afterwards?


Deliciously Organic June 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’d freeze it after baking. Then thaw and put in the oven (300ºF for 10 minutes) to freshen them up.


Kirstin June 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Thank you for this recipe…I’m loving your site. I found a recipe for homemade wheat thins…I love doing what you suggested. I regularly make homemade frozen burritos so they are less “processed”.


Chrissie June 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm

These look delicious and I love the idea of a hamburger made entirely at home. (With the exception of the cow I guess, in my case!)


Caroline June 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

I made this over the weekend but they turned out a bit dry. I double checked your ingredients list and instructions and couldn’t figure out what I did wrong. Any tips? Thanks.


Deliciously Organic June 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hmm…Are you using fresh-ground flour or flour from the store? I’ve found that Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour creates a drier bread/cake/cookie. Did you by any chance substitute any of the whole wheat pastry flour for whole wheat flour? If so, then the buns would be more dry then intended. Was the dough sticky after you kneaded it?

Those are the only things I can think of now, but I’ll test these again this afternoon and get back to you in a few hours.


Caroline June 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

Yes, the dough was sticky after mixing in my Kitchenaid. It looked stickier than my wheat bread recipe but I figured I’d just go with it and see what happens.

How’d you guess that I used Bob’s Red Mill? I used Bob’s pastry flour and King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour. I generally use King Arthur for all my baking but couldn’t find their pastry flour at my local stores. Thank you!


Deliciously Organic June 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Oh that’s funny! I discovered the issue with Bob’s Red Mill when we were testing the recipes for my book so we switched to another brand (every other brand we tried worked well).


Cathrine July 18, 2011 at 8:18 am

I made these yesterday and served them with burgers for one of the kids birthday party. Yummy! They came out so light and airy. Seriously the ones I’ve made before 100% wholegrain has been heavy like rocks. Everybody agreed that these were great!


Deliciously Organic July 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

Yay! Thanks for letting me know! I’m now working on a gluten free version. :)


Aidelis August 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

Hi, I love your website… I have a question, can I substitute the Whole wheat pastry flour? I really want to make this today. But don’t have that… Can I use all purpose organic instead?



Deliciously Organic August 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

If you’d like to go with all-purpose, then I’d follow the recipe I adapted mine from (the link is in the header just under the recipe title). She used all-purpose flour and her recipe is fantastic!


Aidelis August 18, 2011 at 10:31 am



Jennifer August 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I just found you through Heavenly Homemakers. Great site! Your story sounds like us…we have IBS, eczema, migraines, etc. too.

I’ve been looking for a lighter hamburger bun recipe and would like to try this. Do you know how I could modify it to use in a bread machine? Also, I grind my own flour and find the bread was much drier with the hard white wheat than with my pastry flour? Should I add extra liquid?
Thanks! I’ll be adding your blog to my blogroll as well!


Deliciously Organic September 1, 2011 at 8:02 am

Hi Jennifer – I don’t use a bread machine so I don’t really have any tips with that one. My friend Lisa posted a recipe for ww bread in a bread maker that you might find helpful: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/08/17/recipe-honey-whole-wheat-sandwich-bread-for-bread-machine/

I also grind my own flour and yes, hard white wheat can turn out a drier end product. The reason is b/c it has more gluten and protein than whole wheat pastry flour. Extra liquid won’t really help b/c the issue is really the flour that’s being used. I only use hard white wheat (or red hard wheat) when making breads, crusts, crackers, etc. I use whole wheat pastry flour when I want a tender crumb, so I use it in cakes, muffins, buns, etc. I hope that helps. Feel free to email me if you ever have any other questions – deliciouslyorganic [at] yahoo [dot] com.


Alicia September 6, 2011 at 10:43 am

I have been looking high and low for a good hamburger bun recipe…and have tried many. This one is awesome. Thanks! Any tips on shaping them into hot dog buns?


Deliciously Organic September 13, 2011 at 10:44 am

Maybe a hot dog bun pan? Or you could shape them in long ovals. If you try it, let me know how they turn out!


Nikki March 26, 2012 at 2:42 am

Can this be done in a bread machine? I just ordered one because making dough by hand imitates me, lol. Also, I’m on. A low salt diet so I am going to try to make this with no salt.


Deliciously Organic March 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I’ve never tested this recipe in a bread machine, so I’m not sure if it will work. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!


Karly May 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Hey Carrie, I’m planning on grilling burgers tomorrow night as a late memorial day celebration & stumbled upon this at the perfect time. :)
I have whole wheat bread flour I ordered from Tropical Traditions, but now that I have it, I’m having a hard time finding a recipe to use it in. Would it work well in place of the whole wheat flour, as long as I still add the pastry flour too? Or would I be better off grinding my own flour for this recipe?


Deliciously Organic May 31, 2012 at 9:40 am

Yes, that should work just fine.


Lana May 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I have baked all of our bread in a machine for about 12 years now, but never made hamburger or hot dog rolls before. I first tried the King Arthur recipe, but it was way too bready, and I was disappointed. I told my husband I guessed I would have to keep trying different recipes that I found online and to expect a lot of trial and error. Your recipe was the second one I came across. I just dumped all the ingredients as listed into a bread machine and set it on the dough cycle. I had to substitute all purpose flour for the whole wheat pastry flour, but the rest was white whole wheat flour. The dough was enough for me to make 6 hot dog buns and 6 hamburger buns using about 2 3/8 oz dough apiece. I weighed each piece on my kitchen scale for uniformity and then just mashed the dough into the depressions in my King Arthur hamburger bun pan and also their original hot dog bun pan, which they no longer sell. The dough did take a long time to rise, so I might add a little more yeast next time. I didn’t bother with the pan of water in the oven. As soon as they came out of the oven, I put some Applegate Farm organic beef hot dogs in the buns. My husband said, “Honey, you don’t need to keep looking for a different recipe. This is the one!” They were light and fluffy, just what I was looking for. I have never used an egg in any of my bread before because I don’t like an “eggy” taste, but I discovered that the egg could not be tasted at all. Thanks so much for the recipe!


Deliciously Organic May 31, 2012 at 9:39 am

Thanks for the feedback! I’m so glad you all enjoyed the bread!


Jamie August 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

These look great and easy too! Just last night I was at Sprouts, and yes, the buns I will buy now are $5.00 for 6 buns! Yikes! I’m totally going to try these. Question for you… The buns I buy have millet and spelt in them. How can I incorporate these types of whole grains to get more nutritional value in them. I know I wouldn’t cook them right? I guess I would just grind them and add them that way? I think I just answered my question, but if you have any wisdom in this area,l I would love to hear.
Thanks for such a great website!


Dena Norton January 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm

For anyone who’s short on time, I used quick rise yeast and only allowed them to rise for about 30 minutes each time. They turned out amazingly soft, though probably less light and airy than if I had had the time to adhere the the longer rising times called for.

I also used all whole wheat flour (reduced the total amount used by 2-3 Tbsp) since I didn’t have any whole wheat pastry flour.

On a day when I have more time, I’ll definitely try them again, following the instructions to a tee as I’m sure the original version is wonderful! Thanks, Carrie, for another great recipe! :)


April February 8, 2014 at 6:38 am

I made a double batch of these last night (so that I could freeze half for the next time we want burgers). I used King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour and Arrowhead Mills Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. The taste was wonderful, and they looked picture perfect…but they were very heavy and dense, making them hard to eat as burgers. I let them rise a little more than two hours the first time, and only one hour the second time. Any tips or suggestions for making them lighter next time? Thanks!


Deliciously Organic February 10, 2014 at 6:36 am

Hmm..I’m not sure why they were so dense. What kind of milk did you use? Did you make any substitutions?


April February 10, 2014 at 7:12 am

I used organic whole milk, and didn’t make any substitutions. Maybe I forgot to double something since I was doing a double batch? Could humidity have anything to do with it? Maybe I should let them rise longer the second time? Thanks again!


Alison April 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

Hi Carrie – any idea if this recipe will work without the honey? Either way they look delicious!


Deliciously Organic April 28, 2014 at 9:05 am

The honey is needed to “feed” the yeast. If you omit it, the buns won’t rise.


Tara December 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I am very interested in trying this recipe, I am new to bread making and also am now grinding my own organic wheat flour, I need to know do I have to use whole wheat pastry flour? What else can I use or must I buy it? What is the difference between regular ground flour and pastry? Couldnt I just grind my Red hard wheat berries extra fine to make pastry flour? Or is that a different type of wheat I need to grind?


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