Although often underestimated, the bun is a vital part of your hamburger. Those two chunks of bread can make or break your sandwich. So, should you butter the buns for extra flavoring? Grab your basting brush because we've delved into the research and have some savory answers for you!

For maximum taste and texture, we recommend coating your burger buns in butter, mayonnaise, or even bacon grease. Follow up by toasting them to achieve a delicious crispy and golden-brown crust. This will not only liven up that store-bought bread but also enhances its aroma and flavor.

So, what are the best ways to add oomph to your bun? Can you use mayo instead of butter? What is the best way to toast hamburger buns? Continue reading for steamy tips on creating your perfect burger bun!

Cooking delicious juicy meat burgers and buns on the grill. Should You Butter Hamburger Buns

Best ways to flavor hamburger buns

There are several techniques to kick those lifeless buns up a notch. Let's take a bite out of the yummiest methods!

Butter it up

Freshly baked buns glazed with melted butter

Let's face it, butter is a powerhouse ingredient in the culinary world. Its fat content imparts rich, delicious flavor and aroma to any meal. Microwave butter until soft, then use a basting brush to coat both sides of the bun before toasting. Make sure to get the edges, as they are more prone to burning. You can even add garlic or chili powder into the mixture for extra pop. For a similar taste but less fat, margarine may be used as a substitute.

If you don't own a basting brush, click here to see one on Amazon.

Can you use mayo instead of butter?

A white burger bun base that has been covered with mayonnaise using a teaspoon view from the side

According to studies, mayo sales account for two billion dollars in annual revenue -making it perhaps the most popular condiment today! If you're a mayonnaise fan, you can absolutely use it rather than butter or margarine. This ingredient adds moisture and seasoning while also being a tad bit healthier.

Try mixing it with other spices for added punch, such as basil, garlic, paprika, or chili powder. Alternatively, chipotle sauce and aiolis have a similar consistency if you crave a stronger flavor punch. Spread evenly on both sides before throwing it on the grill to brown for a crisp texture.

Click here to see Chipotle & Garlic Aioli on Amazon.

Use roasted garlic oil

Ripe and raw garlic and garlic oil in glass of bottle on wooden table with burlap sack, alternative medicine, organic cleaner

Garlic is one of the most potent and loved spices for cooking. Not only does it have amazing health benefits for your heart, but the roasting process mellows its flavor profile to mild and buttery. Roasted garlic oil is easy to cook at home and makes a scrumptious coating for toasting burger buns! If you already have olive oil in the pantry, all you need is fresh garlic cloves, black peppercorn, and thyme. Visit Epicurious for a wonderful tutorial on preparing Roasted Garlic Oil easily from home.

However, if time is an issue, this cooking additive is available for purchase already prepared.

Click here to see Roasted Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Amazon.

Bacon makes everything better

Sizzling Bacon Frying in a Pan

So, you know that container of bacon grease sitting on your counter? It goes great on hamburger buns! Slathering that fat on the bread before toasting will give it a drool-worthy, smoky essence. Then, pop them in the oven for about five minutes at 350 degrees. If you're a pure carnivore, we promise you won't be disappointed with this method. It's the meat-lover's ultimate guilty pleasure.

Should burger buns be toasted?

Toasted burger buns with sesame seeds on wooden board

While not required, toasting your hamburger buns is recommended to infuse texture and additional flavoring. Not only that, but lightly cooking the buns also helps prevent sogginess from the meat juices. This aids in keeping your burger from turning mushy and falling apart. Everyone wants a pleasant eating experience! Properly toasted, the bread will possess a crispy outside and a soft inside. Yum!

What is the best way to toast hamburger buns?

You have a plethora of excellent choices when it comes to toasting burger buns. Let's take a closer look at a few of the most effective methods!


Summer grilling burgers on the garden grill

If you're already grilling your burgers, you can throw the buns on there and kill two birds with one stone. After brushing them with whichever coating lights up your taste buds, place the bread along the edges of the grate. Be sure that they're cut-side down and not over direct flame. Toast for between 10 and 60 seconds or until you see nice char marks. Watch them carefully to prevent burning.

Bake or broil

hot buns in the oven

Toasting buns in the oven is also easy and effective. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat the buns, then place them on a baking sheet with the cut-side face-up. Place the sheet on the middle rack for an even cook. Give them roughly five minutes to crisp. If they're still too soft, pop them back in for another one to two minutes until they meet your preference.

The instructions for broiling are similar, except you will want to use the top rack. Set your oven to the highest broil setting and let it preheat for five to 10 minutes. Toss the bread in for about 30 seconds, and watch closely because they can burn quickly on this setting.


bagel with sesame seeds popping out of stainless steel toaster

Aside from sandwich bread and bagels, the average toaster appliance can also be great for buns! However, for this method, you would want to skip brushing the buns with anything beforehand. This is because it will just enhance the chances of burning and smoking. Put them in the toaster for a full cycle on medium heat. Machine strengths vary, so eject immediately if they start to burn. Since both sides will be exposed, the toaster actually produces a very crumbly burger bun for those that like that effect.

Pans, Skillets, and Griddles

Veggie burgers on griddle

Griddles, pans, and skillets all offer a similar style cook. You can use a simple non-stick pan for a quiet dinner of two or use an electric griddle for larger crowds. Brush the cut sides of each bun, then place that side down on the cooking surface at medium heat. Toast until they turn golden-brown, about 10 seconds. Avoid turning or moving them, and don't walk away from the stove!


An electric Air Fry on table with blue background showing assembled parts

Air-fryers create excellent, crunchy buns in a quick amount of time. This is especially convenient for those who are already air-frying their burgers, as some prefer to do. Set the device to 350 degrees. Season your buns, then place them in the compartment cut-side up. Cook for three to 10 minutes, depending on your preference.

If you're wondering about air-fryers and everything they can do, click here to see one on Amazon.

How do you soften hamburger buns?

When you have leftover or slightly stale buns, sometimes you want to soften them up before using them. There's a couple of straightforward ways to do this.


Microwave oven open on wooden table

The microwave isn't just for popcorn and TV dinners. It's easy to revive stale or hardened bread in the nation's favorite appliance. Grab a couple of paper towels and wet them. They should be damp but not completely saturated. Wrap your buns in the towels and microwave them on high for 10 to 15 seconds. This will re-infuse them with much-needed moisture.


steam over cooking pot

Steaming old bread on your stove is extremely effective in creating soft buns. Steam moisturizes and plumps up those burger buns in no time, and they taste absolutely exquisite. In fact, some people prefer steamed over toasted altogether!

To employ this method, grab a large pot and fill it roughly 1/3 full of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Now, place a colander or a steaming basket a few inches above the boiling water, add your bread, and cover. You don't want the buns to get wet; you just want to expose them to the steam. So, make sure the water level is low enough. After one to two minutes, you're done!

If you're not familiar with steaming baskets, click here to see Stainless Steel Steamer Basket on Amazon.

To summarize

So, we've established that you should definitely flavor and toast those hamburger buns to get the perfect bite. Butter is often the top choice, but you may also use mayo, roasted garlic, olive oil, and even bacon grease. Whether you choose the grill, oven, toaster, pan, or air-fryer for your toasting needs, it will bring that bread to life. Now, get out there and bun amok!

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