For the Best Burger – Make Your Own Buns

Potato-Onion Burger Buns


Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Burgers have gone wild over the past few years.  No longer just a patty of ground beef, you can easily find recipes for veggie, salmon, Greek, Southwest, California, Middle Eastern falafel, Japanese pork and shitake, French herbes de Provence burgers– and more. And then there are the add-ons.  Stuff your burger with the best artisan cheese, top it with homemade sauerkraut or kimchee and drizzle it with exotic mustard, salsa, sriracha or something similar. Here’s a link to a recipe I shared for a Smoky Sun-Dried Tomato burger. 

Why ruin an epicurean burger with a factory-made bun?  I always make my own, and this is my favorite recipe. Mashed potato keep the dough moist and supple, and the onion flavor complements any burger. Use half white whole wheat flour for more whole grain goodness and fiber.  Often I make the dough a day ahead and chill it; the next day I shape the buns, let them rise and bake.

I’ve heard of burger bun alternates such as lettuce, cabbage or steamed collard leaves – that won’t satisfy me. I need a real bun. Here it is.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto.




Potato Onion Burger Buns

Here are three ways to make the dough – by hand, in a food processor or a bread machine. The later is great to streamline prep of yeast doughs for bread, pizza and more. This makes 8 beefy burger buns.  For smaller buns, stretch to 9 and shorten the bake time a bit.  To avoid dry bread, measure your flour by stirring, then lightly spooning it into a measuring cup and sweeping off the top with a straight edge. 

Makes 8 buns.

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour (See Tips)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (See Tips)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon instant minced onion

2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast

1 teaspoon table salt

1 large egg

¾ cup mashed, cooked potato

½ cup unflavored Greek yogurt

½ -3/4 cup water, plus more if needed

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Optional Topping:

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Instant minced onion, sesame, or poppy seeds

  1. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, onion, yeast, and salt. Stir to blend. Break egg into a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in potato, yogurt, ½ cup water and oil. Make a well in center of dry ingredients. Add egg mixture and stir to make a soft, kneadable dough, adding more water, a tablespoon at a time, if mixture is dry.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough for a few minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Add a tablespoon of flour is dough is too sticky. Place dough in large, oiled bowl. Lightly oil top of dough and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap.
  3. Let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch dough down and form into 8 balls. Place on 2 lightly oiled baking sheets, spacing buns about 2 inches apart to allow room to rise. Flatten rolls with palm of your hand to about ¾-inch thickness. Oil tops of rolls and cover. Let rise again until almost double in size, 30-45 minutes.
  5. Heat oven to 375ºF. Uncover rolls. If desired, brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with onion or seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until done.
  6. Remove rolls to a wire rack to cool.


  • Instead of potato, try cooked oatmeal or mashed roasted butternut squash (with squash, reduce sugar to 1 tablespoon).
  • To measure flour, stir to lighten, scoop into measuring cup and level off with a straight edge.
  • For moist, light buns, avoid adding too much flour when handling dough. Lightly oiling your hands helps.

Food Processor Method: (Note: You need a large capacity food processor; if yours is small, make the dough in two batches.) In bowl of food processor combine whole wheat and all-purpose flour, sugar, onion, yeast, and salt. Process for a few seconds to blend.  Add potato and oil.  Pulse several times to blend. In measuring cup combine yogurt, egg, and 1/2 cup water.  With machine running, slowly pour liquids through feed tube just until the dough forms a ball, about 20 to 30 seconds. If dough does not form a ball, add water or flour, a tablespoon at a time to achieve a soft ball. Continue to process for about 1 minute to knead the dough. Remove dough and blade from the bowl. Shape dough into a ball and make a hole in the center. Place the dough back in the processor bowl, oil the top and cover with a light towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Go to step 4 to shape, let rise and bake buns.

Bread Machine Method:  In a 2-pound. capacity bread machine pan, combine all Dough ingredients as manufacturer directs, starting with 1/2 cup water. Process on the dough cycle. After a couple of minutes of mixing, open the lid and check the dough. It should form a soft, smooth ball around the blade. If it is too dry or the machine is straining, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time. If dough is too wet you can also add flour, a tablespoon at a time, but for best texture keep the dough moist. The dough cycle should mix and knead the dough and allow it to rise once. Go to step 4 to shape, let rise and bake buns.

© 2024 Lorelle S Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.


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