Selecting the perfect bun for your burger can be a daunting process. With so many options to choose from, you can only wonder if you’re picking the right one. Buns come in all different textures and flavors, each with its own, unique flare.
Whether you are seeking the right bun for your average backyard cookout or something a bit more elevated that’ll woo your guests, we’ve devised a bun guide just for you.
Classic Hamburger Bun
Classic hamburger buns are traditional for a reason. They are easy to find at nearly any grocery store and are clearly great for burgers. While they may not offer an exciting flavor or texture like some other buns, they mostly do their job well and hold up to a classic, backyard burger.
What burgers to serve with classic hamburger buns: smaller burgers, burgers cooked medium-well to well-done, burgers without extra sauce.
Potato buns are a unique take on a bread bun differing slightly via the addition of potato starches. Contrary to its name, the flavor is not “potato-y,” but is just a touch sweet — making it the perfect pairing for a salty, rich burger. Tasting notes aside, potato buns are great vessels for burgers because they retain moisture while holding their pillowy structure.
What burgers to serve with potato buns: thick, juicy burgers, smash burgers, burgers with extra toppings, burgers with extra sauce.
Onion buns are slightly sweet bread buns with flecks of crunchy, delicious, roasted onions baked into them — a great complement to any burger. You may recognize an onion bun if you’ve ever tried a roast beef sandwich at a restaurant because onions and beef make a great pair. Onions on (or inside) hamburgers are already delicious, but onion buns take the flavor to another level. In fact, we recommend a lightly seasoned burger to accompany your onion bun to allow its flavor to shine through.
What burgers to serve on onion buns: hamburgers (no cheese), burgers with BBQ sauce, classic, no-frills burgers (only salt and pepper added to the meat).
Pretzel buns are made from the same dough as a soft pretzel, which makes them a little salty, chewy, and somewhat firm. Some fast-food chains use pretzel buns on their burgers, and we love them for homemade burgers too. Their chewiness helps these buns stand up to juicy, thick burgers without falling apart. If you are a soft pretzel lover, we recommend trying a pretzel bun on your burger asap!
What burgers to serve on pretzel buns: burgers loaded with crunchy toppings (like fresh lettuce, onion, or tomato), burgers topped with any extra sauces, burgers cooked medium or below, burgers with beer cheese sauce, burgers with extra melted cheese.
Brioche buns are made with butter, eggs and a touch of sugar, which creates a soft texture, and noticeable richness in flavor. While this richness and softness makes brioche buns absolutely delicious, the extra softness of the bun can sometimes be troublesome. If your burgers are extra juicy, the brioche buns may become soggy as you dig in. While we love the flavor and texture of the brioche bun, they aren’t the most versatile — so top with caution.
What burgers to serve with brioche buns: burgers cooked medium-well or well-done, smashburgers, plain cheeseburgers, burgers topped with just lettuce and onion
Thank you Kasim Hardaway —culinary photographer, recipe developer and food blogger—for this tip.