Homemade Hamburger Buns or Potato-Buttermilk Rolls

So, lest it appears that all my family eats is bread and dessert, I feel as though I should say that I am constantly trying to get fruits and veggies down us in any way, shape or form. It’s just that I get the most excited about making new breads and desserts, hence the high population on my blog. This week’s task was to find a good hamburger bun recipe. Last time I bought hamburger buns, I felt a little like we were eating soft-ish cardboard. Not pleasant. So, this was the first recipe I found that claimed it was a great bun. And it is. I made them two days ago, and we just finished the last of them for lunch today–they are very light and moist and made my mediocre burgers taste terrific (well, it was a combination of the buns and the raspberry chipotle barbeque sauce).

Hamburger Buns or Potato-Buttermilk Rolls
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking

1 c. mashed potato (peel and cook 1 large russet or use reconstituted potato flakes–the easier option!)
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. buttermilk (you can also squeeze 1 1/2 T. lemon juice into milk and let it sour for 5 minutes before using)
2 packages yeast (4 1/2 t.)
6 c. all-purpose flour (can substitute up to 2 c. with whole wheat flour)
2 T. sugar
1 T. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened or melted

Combine 1/2 c. water and yeast in a small bowl, stir, and let foam for 5 minutes.

If using a mixer: Combine mashed potato, buttermilk, remaining 1 c. water, sugar, salt, butter and 2 c. flour, attach the dough hook and mix for 1-2 minutes. Add the yeast mixture. Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl, but still sticks to the base. Knead with the hook for 5-7 minutes more.

If doing by hand: Combine mashed potato, buttermilk, remaining 1 c. water, sugar, salt, butter and 2 c. flour and stir until shaggy. Add the yeast, stir, and then continue to add the remaining flour, stirring as long as you are able, 1/2 c. at a time. Using your hands, add the rest of the flour, then flip the dough onto a counter, place the bowl on top of it, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Then, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for one hour. Line two baking sheets with parchment or cooking spray. Turn out dough onto a counter, let deflate, then divide into 16 pieces (the recipe says to only make 12 hamburger buns, which I did, and they were huge! I would definitely divide the dough into 16 for rolls or buns, and I’m sure they will still be quite sizeable). Shape any way you want (for buns, pull the sides of the roll under and tuck into the bottom of the roll, creating a nice, taut dome), then place on baking sheets. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another 30-40 minutes (the more rise time, the airier the roll). Preheat the oven to 375.

Before baking, dust the rolls with flour or brush with egg yolk+1 t. water and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool slightly before serving.

Hooray for a good bun!


19 thoughts on “Homemade Hamburger Buns or Potato-Buttermilk Rolls

  1. kristen says:

    I’m excited to try this! I’m not sure what a mediocre burger is, but I have made some really terrible buns before (think very hard cardboard.)


    • Natalie says:

      I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who tries to make burger buns! Tell me how you find these! (and a mediocre burger is a little dense and dry. How do you get them juicy? )


      • Stephanie Lundeen says:

        I’ve heard that the secret is to cook them slowly over low heat. Or to make them really thick. The only burgers I’ve ever been entirely responsible for making are gardenburgers, though, so I don’t have any real experience in this area. . . I’m excited to try this recipe, especially as I too have a large supply of instant potato flakes . . .


      • Chris says:

        One trick make your burgers juicy is to add the salt to them once they are done cooking since salt absorbs moisture and will dry out your paddy. Hope that helps.


  2. Natalie says:

    I’ll keep trying. Sometimes I think that burgers might just be best cooked over open flames, and we don’t really do that around here . . . maybe we’ll gear up for a real barbecue grill in the next few years . . . . (this is a hint for Rex)


  3. kristen says:

    I made the rolls, and they turned out great. Nice and soft. I had to add almost 2 more cups of flour though, just to get the dough un-sticky enough to knead it. Maybe my reconstituted potato flakes were too moist? Very good anyway.

    As for the meat, Josh put himself in charge of frying the burgers a few years ago so I’m not sure what all the secrets are. I think he does cook them on medium low heat. We use 80-20 ground beef and he doesn’t over-drain it — just once when they’re almost done, I believe.


  4. Lin Sherman says:

    Made these rolls today. FABULOUS! They were a big hit with the family. I think that I need to make them just a little bit smaller next time. I made 14 and they were HUGE. Thanks!


  5. Natalie says:

    I’m laughing at the 14 huge buns. My brother made this recipe into 8 buns the other week (which I really can’t imagine), for four guys, and they all went. So funny.


  6. JW says:

    I had to add a lot more flour and I think the yeast was bad because it took all night to rise. When you prep the yeast does the water have to be a certain temp?


    • Natalie says:

      Yes! Make sure your yeast is between 105-115 degrees. Sometimes if your yeast is old, it won’t rise well, either. I always keep my yeast in the fridge to keep it fresh.

      This dough is quite soft–I use less flour than I do with other breads in order to keep the dough soft and the final roll soft as well. How much extra flour did you add?


  7. Faith says:

    I made these this past week, and I must say WOW! This made the perfect burger buns and since I had so much dough I froze some into dinner rolls and again WOW! This will be my go to from now on, perfectly brown and ultra soft but strong enough to hold the burger and all its toppings. The only change I did was used half all purpose flour & half bread flour. Thanks so much!!


  8. 1potatobuns says:

    Wow… I’m 81, and have done a lot of bread baking; but, could not find a great burger bun. I made these today; March 3, 2021, they are perfect! They held together really good, and were not ‘dense and heavy’ Made 6 large, using a hamburger bun pan, 9 medium, free-formed by
    hand, and made one loaf of bread with the remaining dough. Too lazy to get out the mixer;
    and did the recipe by hand. I brushed the tops, prior to baking, with Eggbeaters, and the sesame seeds adhered without the seeds falling off; after baking I brushed the warm buns
    with some melted butter. Just found your website yesterday. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. LaDonna/Ohio


    • Natalie says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you found this good recipe! I try to post only things I feel really exceptionally excited about. It’s fun to hear from you! I can’t wait to hear what else you enjoy!


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