Soft Sourdough Burger Buns

A recipe for soft and golden brown sourdough burger buns, made with sourdough starter. The perfect companion for any sandwich.

???? In case you have never baked with sourdough before and need to know more, check out the beginners guide to baking with sourdough.

Ingredients for sourdough burger buns:

flour, salt, sugar, oil, and sourdough starter in bowls
  • 3/4 cup active sourdough starter
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • beaten egg and sesame seeds for topping the buns (look for sesame seeds in bulk for the best price!)

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Let’s make them together

Mixing and kneading the dough

grid of process shots: dough being mixed, kneaded, and placed in bowl to rise

We begin, like many recipes, with an autolyse phase. Don’t be scared. It just means we’re mixing up all the ingredients, except the salt, and giving them a little rest. Cover with a tea towel and let the bowl rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.

When the rest is over, add the salt and knead the dough. You’ll want to knead for about 5-10 minutes if kneading with a stand mixer or about 15-20 minutes if kneading by hand. If you’re using a bread machine, simply choose the dough cycle.

As the dough kneads, make sure it is clearing the sides of the bowl. It is a relatively dry dough and should not feel too sticky. But it should still be smooth and elastic, not dry, stiff, or lumpy. Add more flour or water as needed, a teaspoon or so at a time.

When the dough is smooth, place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and put the bowl in a slightly warm place to rise. I like to use a warmed up but turned off oven. This step will take about 3-4 hours. If you are using the bread machine, let it complete the dough cycle but leave it a few hours more to finish rising.

Shaping the dough into buns

risen dough, cutting into pieces, shaping into rolls

The dough is ready when it is very puffy. It may be double in bulk, or maybe not quite. To see if it is ready, poke it with your finger. Ideally, the indent of your finger with fill in halfway. If it doesn’t fill in, let it rise a little longer.

Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and divide it. For full size burgers, you will want to divide the dough into eight pieces. For smaller burgers or sliders, go for ten, twelve, or even more pieces.

Shape them into a bun shape by pulling the bottoms of the buns to smooth out the top. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with heavily greased plastic wrap and place back into a warm place for another 3-4 hours. You can also place them in the fridge to rise overnight. (If they don’t rise much in the fridge, set them out at room temperature for an hour or so in the morning until they do.)

Topping and baking the buns

brushing buns with eggs, sprinkling on sesame seeds, baked buns

We’re almost done! As you come to the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees with the rack in center. If you want to add steam to the process for a higher rise and fluffier texture, place a spare, rimmed metal baking sheet on a lower oven rack.

Brush the buns with the beaten egg, taking care not to squish them down Spinkle with sesame seeds.

Now we bake! If you’re using steam, pour 1 cup of water onto the spare baking sheet. Place the buns in the oven. Larger burger buns will bake around 18 minutes, smaller ones about 15. (If you add steam, you’ll need to leave them a few minutes more.

Let them cool completely before using.

???? Here’s the recipe!

6 sourdough burger buns on cooling rack

Soft Sourdough Burger Buns

Soft and delicious sourdough burger buns are the perfect companion to any sandwich.   Made with pantry ingredients and no yeast!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Serving Size 10 burger buns


  • 3/4 cup active sourdough starter
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt

for topping the dough:

  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the salt.  Cover and let rest 3o minutes at room temperature.
  • Add the salt and knead for 5-7 minutes, until a soft, smooth dough is formed.  The dough can be kneaded by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine on the dough cycle.  If the dough is sticking too much to the bowl, add flour a teaspoon at a time.  It the dough seems dry or stiff, add water a teaspoon at a time. You want the dough to be smooth, elastic, and just slightly sticky. Place into a clean, lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours, until very puffy.  (It may not quite double in bulk.)
  • Divide into 10 pieces (or 15 for slider-sized buns), shape into balls, and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover with heavily greased plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator, until puffy.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the center.
  • Brush the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake about 18 minutes for larger buns, 15 minutes for smaller, until golden brown.  (For a higher rise, place an empty, rimmed backing sheet in the oven while it is preheating, and pour in 1 cup of water to create steam when you place the buns inside.)
  • Remove burger buns to a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before using for burgers.  Best when served the same day they are made.


These buns freeze very well.  Allow to cool completely before freezing, and defrost in the microwave.
Try topping them with poppy seeds or everything bagel seasoning for a twist.

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  1. This is SO dry my kitchenaid mixer can’t knead it. I measure out 3C flour and it weighed 442g to 1/2C water but your other crusty rolls measure 3 C Flour at 370G with 3/4C water and 1 1/4 C of starter that you weigh at 200g my 3/4 C weighed 170g I’m going to try your other measurements Boooo. I did add about 3 T water and it came together but VERY stiff. That is too bad. I’ll leave this and see if I can knead with pull and fold but would love to have your weights on this recipe too. Thanks

    1. hey leslie… i’m sorry about that! I will say…since you are an experienced baker, never be afraid to add more water if you feel the dough needs it. especially in winter, your flour will be dry and pull more moisture. I’ll recheck my weight measures on this next time i make them!