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How To Toast Hamburger Buns Like A Boss

I never really started toasting buns for sandwiches or hamburgers until recently, and by recently, I mean in the last year. Never even wondered how to toast hamburger buns or hot dog buns.

It seemed like another step, just another thing to keep me from my food, and WHO HAS ALL MINUTE, I ask you??

It’s not like you pop them in the toaster and call it a day, either. It takes some thought and certainly a watchful eye. 

Well, it turns out that both the texture and flavor of toasted buns in an assembled sandwich makes a HUGE difference. 

I’ve now used oil, butter (nondairy, dairy, salted/unsalted), cooking spray, mayo, bacon grease, and none, all to see what kind of effect these different ingredients have on the results.

Edge-to-edge salted butter is MY superior choice for better flavor and best results overall. 

Full disclosure, though, I am an absolute…what’s the blog-appropriate word for someone who cannot live without real butter?…FAN OF BUTTER.

So if you are trying to cut down on your fats, a generous spritz of warm water or cooking spray gives your buns a nice “tan.” No fat at all does heat the bread but meh. Sure, try it.

Mayo tends to burn more easily but creates a rich layer of flavor. Bacon grease is a bit too heavy. But we are talking about YOUR juicy hamburger here, so experimentation is a good idea.

You can liven up leftover hamburger buns or even dry burger buns. Use a higher heat setting over one that’s too low, with a lid or covering so the top of the bun stays moist and to help renew old bread.

As for the bread itself, go brioche. Brioche buns are the best buns that most restaurants use, and they are soft yet sturdy, buttery and tender, and are often three times the price of Wonder Bread buns. WORTH IT. You deserve good food.

Regardless of the type of bun, though, toasting the insides of the buns before assembly creates a hot, crisp layer of flavor. 

Next time, give your sandwich bread, onion rolls, or fresh hamburger buns some time on the hot griddle before you assemble your sammy. 

You may never go back to cold, plain bread.

How to toast hamburger buns

Toasting hamburger buns is remarkably easy to do. And buns left out at room temperature before toasting creates a more uniformly golden surface.

And there are four ways to get your soft buns nice and toasty—onto the grill, in an oven, and a pan or skillet.

Spread the butter or oil on the bun surface edge to edge, not just smeared around in the middle.

Then you need to keep in mind before you start toasting your buns is don’t leave them unsupervised while they’re getting toasted or you’ll end up burning the food.

Just for the record, my favorite way is to use the stovetop—a skillet or frying pan does the job fast and I don’t have to watch the grill and be hot outside, or heat up my big oven. A toaster oven might be fine, but it’s usually my last choice for anything. 

I don’t get cool “grill marks” in a flat frying pan, but who cares—those are going to be on the inside of my favorite burger recipe anyway.

How to toast hamburger buns on a grill

While you’re cooking those patties and veggies on the grill, it’s best to toast your buns beside them to give the bread a golden and toasty texture.

Make the bread and buns the last thing that goes on the grill, because they take very little time to toast up.

In case you want your hamburger buns to be nice and fresh as well, it’s recommended to put a wet rag on the side of the buns and cover them with a bowl. 

Here’s how to do it: 

Tools needed:

    • Hamburger buns, sandwich bread, buns of any kind
    • Knife, serrated or butter
    • Grill, gas or charcoal
    • Melted butter, oil, or mayo, or bacon grease, or room temp butter

Instructions:

    1. Cut the buns in half, unless they are already split.
    2. Brush the cut surfaces with melted butter, or just use a butter knife and spread the room temperature butter on EDGE TO EDGE. Think grilled cheese rather than dark toast.
    3. If you don’t have melted butter on hand, you can use mayo, or a pastry brush and olive oil, or skip step #2 and be sad. 
    4. Place the buns buttered-side down on a hot grill. 
    5. Use a heat-safe lid to cover the buns to help lock in moisture.
    6. Toast the buns on one side, or if toasting bread, about a minute per side.

Learn more tips and tricks on how to toast buns in this video from ChefSteps.

How to toast hamburger buns in an oven

This method is one of the best tips when your grill is full and you don’t have enough space to toast your buns.

Using the oven method, you’ll attain that golden brown color and a little crispy textural nuance just like on a grill. 

Here’s how to do it:

Tools needed:

    • Hamburger buns, sandwich bread, buns of any kind
    • Knife, serrated or butter
    • Melted butter, oil, or mayo, or bacon grease, or room temp butter
    • Oven

Instructions:

    1. Cut the buns in half unless they are already split. 
    2. Brush the insides with melted butter or put a tablespoon of olive oil for each bun. 
    3. Place the buns cut side-down on a baking sheet. 
    4. Toast at 350°F for about 6 minutes until warm and slightly crispy.

The biggest challenge in toasting hamburger buns in the oven is that you might overheat the bread, resulting in a crunchy or hard bun.

To avoid this, wrap the buns in aluminum foil before sliding them into the oven. 

Pro Tip: This is really the same step as making garlic bread, so you can add garlic powder to this oven method and end up with buttery, garlicky buns that may end up with a better texture than when you started! Overheat, though, and you end up with crusty bread instead of toasted bread.

How to toast hamburger buns on a stove

This is MY favorite way to toast buttered anything. It’s fast, I can watch it more easily, and it’s fast, I don’t have to go outside to watch it go up in flames, don’t have to turn on the big oven, and it’s fast.

You can toast or warm up hamburger buns on a stove using a cast-iron skillet or nonstick frying pan with a lid. The lid helps keep the tops puffy and moist while the cut sides get crisp.

Sometimes I need to press down on the tops lightly with a spatula to make sure the centers reach as much heat as the edges. 

This process takes only 2 minutes or so to achieve, but keep checking to make sure they are getting evenly toasted. 

Here are the tools you need and the steps you need to follow:

Tools needed:

    • Hamburger buns, sandwich bread, buns of any kind
    • Knife, serrated or butter
    • Cast iron skillet, stovetop
    • Melted butter, oil, or mayo, or bacon grease, or room temp butter, what the hell use all of them.

Instructions:

    1. Cut the buns in half, unless they are already split.
    2. Good quality butter spread on EDGE TO EDGE of the cut side.
    3. Put a skillet on a stove burner and set it to medium heat.  
    4. Place the buns cut-side down on the skillet. 
    5. Cover with a lid and toast the buns for about 2 minutes.
    6. Sometimes they don’t toast evenly, so check and press down lightly with a spatula so most of the area gets evenly browned.

When should I toast the hamburger buns?

Your summer backyard party isn’t complete without your favorite recipes and savory burgers. 

They’re best to consume fresh off the heat.

That’s why knowing what’s the best time to toast the buns is as crucial as cooking your burger patties.

So when should you toast the hamburger buns?

During the last minute of cooking your patties and veggies, whether on the grill or stove. Just make the toasting the last thing you do before serving.

Once the meat and vegetables are almost done, toast the buns on the grill for a minute per side or until they’re light golden brown–then, assemble!

Can I reheat toasted hamburger buns?

Yes, you can warm up toasted hamburger buns as long as you reheat them no more than 10 seconds in a microwave or about 3 minutes in a conventional oven or toaster oven.

This is to prevent your buns from getting hard or chewy. 

I strongly recommend using the oven method as this reheating technique offers your buns that crispiness as almost as good as it was right off the grill the day before. 

You can also utilize your microwave in case you’re in a hurry to assemble your hamburger or can’t wait to reheat the buns in the oven. 

But don’t expect to achieve the same result as warming them up in the oven. 

Be sure not to overheat the buns and follow the 4Ts (Turn, Time, Test, Taste) when reheating them in the microwave. Wrap the leftover buns in a sheet of paper towel loosely, if desired, with the entire cut side facing up.

The reheating in this case is really that you want JUST ENOUGH heat to melt whatever fat you’ve originally toasted with, not to heat the whole bun. 

Poor baked goods are just the innocent victim in the whole microwave conundrum.

Here’s the best way to reheat your toasted hamburger buns: 

Tools needed for oven reheating:

  • Leftover toasted hamburger buns
  • Oven
  • Rimmed baking sheet

Instruction:

  1. Set 400°F and preheat the oven.
  2. Put the buns on the baking sheet, on either side is fine.
  3. Reheat the toasted buns for about 3 minutes.

Learn the four best ways to reheat your hamburgers in this guide.

The bottom line

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to toast fresh buns, stale buns and everything in between. You can start with the freshest buns, or try your hardest to revive a hard bun. 

Our favorite ways  for how to toast hamburger buns are in the skillet on the stove and the grill. The oven works but it creates a different toasted bread. And the microwave is only good for a fast reheat of an already toasted bun. 

Something we didn’t mention above is a panini press, which is a fast way to grill the whole sandwich, but it’s a special appliance made just for making hot sandwiches. This one by Hamilton Beach is a brand we trust and at a price we like.

How To Toast Hamburger Buns In An Oven

How To Toast Hamburger Buns In An Oven

Here’s one way to toast hamburger buns. We feature essential tips and tricks on how to toast your hamburger using a conventional oven (or a toaster oven).

Ingredients

  • Hamburger buns, sandwich bread, or hotdog buns
  • Knife for spreading butter
  • Melted butter, room temp butter, or olive oil
  • Conventional oven or toaster oven

Instructions

  1. Cut the buns in half, unless they are already sliced.
  2. Brush the sides of the bun with melted butter, use a butter knife to spread the butter EDGE TO EDGE on the cut sides of the bun, or use a pastry brush to dab oil, also edge to edge. 
  3. Place the buns face-down on a baking sheet. 
  4. Toast at 350°F for about 5 minutes until warm and slightly crispy.

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