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Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns

Homemade whole wheat burger buns shine with the yummy subtle nutty flavor that comes with whole wheat. They’re soft, like a good dinner roll, and the ingredient list is short and wholesome–flour, olive oil, salt, yeast, egg, and a pinch of honey. You’ll be a burger bun pro after making this easy recipe just once.

Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns | Letty's Kitchen

Start by mixing flour and instant dry yeast in a bowl. In a second bowl, mix hot water, the oil, honey, egg, and salt. The oil cools the water down just enough so you can mix the wet into the dry without worrying if the yeast will die on you.

From there you either let your stand mixer form it into a smooth mass, or you get right in and knead the dough into smooth and elastic with the heels of your hand.

Cutting Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns | Letty's Kitchen

The whole wheat dough rises in the fridge. An hour later, you roll it out and cut circles with a cookie cutter—yes, a cookie cutter makes the buns.

Let them rise 45 minutes, give them an egg wash shine and sesame seed sparkle, and pop them in the oven. 12 minutes later you’ve got homemade whole wheat burger buns. Pat yourself on the bum—nice buns!

Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns | Letty's Kitchen

Give them a few minutes to cool before cutting them in half. I pulled a leftover bun from the freezer today, popped the halves in the toaster and spread them with peanut butter and jam. Toasted outside, soft inside—perfect. What I mean is you can freeze these buns no problem.

When we have burgers, Robbie always toasts the buns first, either on the grill or in a toaster. Then he sandwiches his burger with all the fixings—lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado sauce… He says, “Hook in and hold on.” My lentil quinoa veggie burgers crave homemade whole wheat burger buns. Regular hamburgers crave a good bun too.

A friend of mine says burgers are only as good as their buns.—she gives thumbs down to what might be the best hamburger in the world if the bun is dry and tastes like cotton. She was ready to have a go at homemade and whole wheat, and now she’s a convert. You will be too!

Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns recipe notes:

  • White whole wheat flour is lighter in color and flavor than the whole wheat flour we are most familiar with. White whole wheat flour, ground from white wheat berries, includes the bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat grain, the same as regular whole wheat flour, which is ground from hard red wheat berries. Feel free to substitute unbleached all-purpose flour for all or some of the white whole wheat flour.
  • Instant yeast is part of what makes this recipe easy—practically no fail. No separate mixing on the side to get it to bubble. Just mix in with the flour, and then add the warm liquid.
  • All told, 15 minutes to mix and knead, 1 hour to rise, 10 minutes to cut out the rounds, 45 minutes to rise again, and 12 minutes to bake. Use the down time to get the rest of your meal together, or in my case, type up a blog post.
  • Instead of large burger buns, cut the dough with a 2 ¼-inch cutter and make slider buns.

cut burgers before second rise Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns | Letty's Kitchen

  • There will be dough left after cutting out the buns. You can gently flatten the scraps and cut out a few more circles. If you won’t feel guilty, throw the scraps away.
  • **Bonus: Roll the extra dough into a long thin rectangle, spread with pesto, and sprinkle with Asiago cheese. Roll the long edge up like a cinnamon roll and pinch the edges to seal. Cut about 2-inch lengths and place them on a cookie sheet, flattening with your hand. Let rise and bake.

Tools/equipment used in this recipe:

Wishing you a fabulous weekend–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns | Letty's Kitchen
Homemade Whole Wheat Burger Buns
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
32 mins

Serve with veggie burgers and all your favorite fixings. Makes 8 (3 1/2-inch) burger buns. If you like, make slider buns by cutting the dough with a smaller 2 ¼-inch cutter. 

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: homemade, burger buns, hamburger buns, whole wheat
Servings: 8 buns.
Author: Letty Flatt | Letty's Kitchen
  • 3 to 3 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup hot water (120° to 130°F)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or pure cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 egg , lightly beaten
  • About 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 egg , for egg wash shine, optional
  1. In the workbowl of a heavy-duty mixer, or in a large bowl, mix the yeast with 3 cups of the whole wheat flour.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the hot water, honey, oil, and salt. Add the egg.
  3. With a wooden spoon, mix the liquid ingredients into the flour and yeast. If using a stand mixer, fit it with the dough hook and knead at low speed. Otherwise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand. Knead 5 to 8 minutes, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour a tablespoon at a time, as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place in an oiled bowl at least twice the volume of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator until the dough has doubled, about one hour.
  5. Gently turn the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a rounded rectangle with your hands. Use a rolling pin to roll to a thickness of ½ inch (not thinner.)
  6. Cut 8 circles out of the dough with a 3- or 3 ½-inch round cutter. (see note)
  7. Brush a baking sheet with oil or spray with cooking spray. Arrange the buns on the pan, allowing room for sideways expansion. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  8. Make an egg wash with the egg and a teaspoon of water. (You will have egg wash left over—use it for French toast!)

  9. When the buns have risen, brush them lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  10. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until the buns are lightly golden. Cool before slicing in half. 

Recipe Notes

Make slider buns: cut the dough with a 2 ¼-inch cutter. 


  • Love making my own buns! Can’t beat the fluffy freshness! Reply · 18 June, 2016

  • Love homemade fresh bread! Reply · 19 June, 2016

  • I have made all of my own bread for years. I could never go back to store bought! Reply · 20 June, 2016

  • Rachelle

    Hey Letty,
    Is there a good way to save this dough overnight before cooking it? I would love to be able to prepare the dough the day before hosting a cookout. What do you recommend for make-ahead adjustments to the recipe? Reply · 18 July, 2016

    • Hi Rachelle,
      I would cut the yeast to 1 1/2 teaspoons instead of 2. Then mix the dough, cover with plastic wrap in a bowl (large enough for the dough to double in volume), and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. Roll the dough out cold, and allow a bit more time to rise before baking. Note that the recipe specs instant yeast–if you use active dry yeast you can probably use 2 teaspoons. (for converting recipes: if recipe calls for active dry yeast, you can use instant dry yeast but reduce by 25%.) Reply · 18 July, 2016

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