Slider Buns

From Italian sliders to mini burgers to pulled pork, every sandwich is better on a soft homemade slider bun. Once you learn how to make your own, you’ll never have to worry about running out to the store to buy them fresh. These are some of the most useful yeast breads to master because they’ll save you so much money.

If you want perfectly round buns, you need them spaced far enough apart that they won’t touch as they rise. I prefer to have them touch so I can slice them as one big loaf and make pull-apart sandwiches. It’s up to you!

close up of slider buns on a cooling rack

Soft and Fluffy Slider Buns Recipe

These are perfect for mini burgers, pulled pork, or any slider filling of your choice.
Serving Size 24 buns

Ingredients 

  • 3 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg

Optional Topping

  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • seeds sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or everything bagel seasoning

Instructions 

  • Knead In your stand mixer (with the dough hook attachment), bread machine, or mixing bowl (if kneading by hand), add all ingredients including the added egg for the dough. Knead until the dough is smooth, stretchy, and windows can be formed. It should be slightly sticky but should clear the sides of the bowl.
    slider bun dough in a mixer
  • First Rise. Place the dough in a warm spot, covered, for about 1 hour or until very puffy.
    slider bun dough in a mixer
  • Rest. Divide the dough into 16 pieces for slider buns (instead of 8 for larger rolls). This may vary depending on the desired size of your sliders. Loosely shape into balls, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
    an overhead of slider bun dough in a blue bowl
  • Shape. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust lightly with cornmeal (optional). Shape the dough into smooth, round balls for slider buns. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, allowing room for expansion.
    slider bun dough being kneaded
  • Second Rise. Brush the buns with melted butter or for a shinier finish, use an egg wash (beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water). If using, sprinkle your chosen topping on the buns after the egg wash. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until very puffy, about 45 minutes.
    slider bun dough on a pan about to go in the oven
  • Bake. Bake for 15-19 minutes or until golden brown. Start checking at 12-13 minutes, since if you've made small buns they will bake quickly.
  • Cool. Remove the slider buns from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. Ensure they're cooled completely before slicing.
    finished slider buns

Notes

This recipe should yield about 20-30 slider buns, depending on size.
Slider buns freeze very well. Cool completely, then store in a freezer bag.

I’ve got to say, this slider buns recipe has become a bit of a legend in my house. It started one summer when we decided to host a mini burger bar for my daughter’s birthday. I wanted everything to be just right, so I took a chance and made these buns from scratch. And they turned out so soft and fluffy! Now, every time we plan a BBQ or a family get-together, I have to make them.

close up of slider buns

Our favorite thing to make with these is roast beef sliders. They’re an easy dinner to serve with a soup or salad.

Bread Tips

  • Choosing the Right Flour: While the recipe specifies bread flour for its higher protein content, which is great for structure and chewiness, it’s worth noting that not all bread flours are created equal. Brands can vary in protein content. For the fluffiest buns, look for bread flour that has a protein content of around 12-14%. This little detail can make a big difference in the texture of your buns.
  • Temperature Matters: The temperature of the water you use to mix with the yeast is crucial. Too hot, and you risk killing the yeast, too cold, and it won’t activate properly. Aim for water that’s about 105°F to 115°F (40°C to 46°C). If you don’t have a thermometer, the water should feel warm but not hot to the touch.
  • Kneading is Key: Kneading develops the gluten in the dough, which gives the buns their structure. If you’re kneading by hand, it might take a bit longer than using a stand mixer, but it’s worth it for the texture. You’re looking for the dough to become smooth and elastic. A good test is the windowpane test: stretch a small piece of dough between your fingers; if it can stretch thin enough to let light through without tearing, it’s kneaded enough.
  • First Rise Environment: Yeast loves a warm, draft-free environment. If your kitchen is on the cooler side, you can create a perfect rising environment in your oven. Turn it on to the lowest setting for a minute or two, then turn it off. Place the dough inside with the door closed. This can help speed up the rising process without overheating and killing the yeast.

Key Ingredients and Tools

  • Bread Flour. You’ll find bread flour in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, near the all-purpose flour. Bread flour is crucial for this recipe because its high protein content helps create a more structured and chewy bun, which is perfect for holding together all kinds of delicious slider fillings.
  • Instant Yeast. Look for instant yeast alongside other baking ingredients like flour and baking powder. Instant yeast is important because it doesn’t need to be dissolved in water before use, making your dough preparation quicker and more foolproof. If you can’t find instant, active dry yeast can be used in a pinch, but remember to dissolve it in warm water first and you might need to adjust rising times.
  • Vegetable Oil. Found in the cooking oil section of the grocery store. Vegetable oil adds moisture and softness to the buns, ensuring they don’t dry out too quickly. If you’re out, canola oil is a good substitute because it has a similar neutral flavor.
close up of slider buns on a cooling rack
  • Stand Mixer with Dough Hook Attachment. A stand mixer really speeds up the kneading process, ensuring your dough is evenly mixed and develops the right gluten structure without tiring out your arms. If you don’t have one, kneading by hand works too; it just takes a bit more time and effort.
  • Baking Sheet. You’ll bake the slider buns on this. A sturdy, flat baking sheet ensures even heat distribution, helping your buns to rise and brown nicely. Make sure it’s rimmed if you’re going to use the steam method mentioned in the recipe.
  • Parchment Paper. Lining your baking sheet with parchment paper prevents the buns from sticking and makes cleanup a breeze. It also helps in achieving a smooth bottom surface on your buns.
  • Kitchen Scale. For dividing the dough into equal parts. This ensures that all your slider buns are uniform in size, which is not only visually appealing but also means they’ll bake evenly.
  • Wire Rack. For cooling the buns after baking. Cooling on a wire rack prevents the bottoms from becoming soggy, ensuring your slider buns are perfectly fluffy all around.

If you’re a regular baker you probably have all of these on hand.

Serving Suggestions

Make these the star of your dinner with pulled pork, baked beans, and creamy coleslaw.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use whole wheat flour instead of bread flour?

Yeah, you can, but just a heads up, it’s going to change the texture. Whole wheat flour makes the buns denser and a bit heavier. If you don’t mind that and want the extra fiber, go for it. Maybe start by substituting half the bread flour with whole wheat to see how you like it.

What if I don’t have a stand mixer?

No biggie! You can still make these buns. Mixing the dough by hand might take a bit more elbow grease, but it’s totally doable. Just make sure you knead it until it’s smooth and stretchy. Think of it as a mini workout.

Can I make these buns bigger or smaller?

Absolutely! If you want bigger buns for larger burgers, just divide the dough into fewer pieces. Keep in mind they’ll need a bit longer in the oven. For smaller, bite-sized buns, divide the dough into more pieces and reduce the baking time. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t overbake.

How long can I store these buns?

They’ll stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. If you’ve made a big batch, these buns freeze really well. Just cool them completely, pop them in a freezer bag, and they’ll be good for a couple of months. Thaw at room temperature or give them a quick warm-up in the oven before serving.

Storing Homemade Buns

Storing these slider buns is pretty straightforward. Here’s how you do it:

To Store at Room Temperature:

  • Once the buns have completely cooled off, pop them into an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. They’ll stay fresh for about 2 to 3 days. If you’re in a super humid place, you might want to keep them for only a day or two to avoid them getting soggy.

To Freeze:

  • Again, wait until the buns are totally cool. Then, place them in a single layer inside a freezer-safe bag. If you’ve got a lot and need to stack them, put a piece of parchment paper between each layer to stop them from sticking together.
  • Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag before sealing it. This helps prevent freezer burn.
  • Label the bag with the date, so you don’t forget when you froze them. They’ll be good for up to 3 months.
  • When you’re ready to use them, just take out as many as you need and let them thaw at room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, you can warm them up in the oven or microwave for a bit.

That’s about it. Having a stash in the freezer means you’re always ready for an easy dinner!

More Homemade Rolls and Buns for Sandwiches

And there you have it—everything you need to know to whip up a batch of soft and fluffy slider buns right in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a baking newbie or a seasoned pro, these tips and tricks should help you achieve perfect results every time. Remember, baking is as much about the journey as it is about the delicious destination. So, don’t stress if your first batch isn’t perfect. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be cranking out bakery-quality buns that’ll make your sliders the talk of the town.

All of these are perfect for a busy night or a time when you don’t feel like making dinner a big production.

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