This brioche buns recipe has been a long time coming. My brioche loaf recipe is very popular on the blog, and a question I get asked often by my readers is can I make burger buns with this dough?
Why yes, YES you can! 🙂 And here I’m going to show you how.
Step by step recipe for soft, buttery brioche buns
- Why this recipe works!
- The process of making the dough
- What’s the consistency of the brioche bun dough?
- Do I have to do an overnight cold proof?
- Shaping the dough
- Proofing the burger buns
- How to store brioche buns
- Can I halve this recipe?
- What if I don’t need that many brioche buns?
- What do the brioche burger buns taste like?
- Can I adapt this recipe to use less butter?
- Final notes
Why this recipe works!
- This brioche burger buns recipe is based on my tried and true, foolproof brioche loaf recipe.
- It uses 50% butter which makes this much richer than other brioche bun recipes.
- Other recipes you’ll find online are lean brioche buns, because they use less butter and/or eggs.
- You can adapt this recipe to use fewer eggs and less butter to make it easier to handle (i.e. a lean brioche dough), though I highly recommend following the recipe for best results.
- I’ll also show you how to make larger burger buns (10 cm) or smaller burger buns (8 or 9 cm) or even slider buns.
I always have so much fun making brioche! It’s the perfect base for so many baked goods like cinnamon rolls, babka etc. But it’s also the base for other goodies like French toast, bostock, bread pudding, sandwiches and burgers. Since brioche is a cross between bread and cake, the texture and taste are uniquely delicious. It’s in the same viennoiserie category as croissants.
If you’d like to learn more about brioche, you can read this post. Here I’m going straight into the nitty-gritty and step by step tutorial on making and baking these beautiful brioche buns.
Making the dough for brioche buns
I use all purpose flour for this recipe, but you can also use bread flour. Bread flour will give these brioche burger buns a chewier texture.
I use active dry yeast for this recipe. The active dry yeast that I use has finer granules than other active dry yeast brands. But I still like to activate it in warm water/milk before making the dough.
You can also use instant yeast and I have had several readers who made my brioche bread recipe with it. The results are the same, except that proofing times will change because instant yeast is more active.
I activate the yeast in milk. You can use 2% or 3% milk. You can also use plant based milk (if that’s what you have at home). And if you have none of that, you can use 1% milk or water (which will yield similar results).
You can use white sugar or brown sugar. Brown sugar will add a molassey taste as well.
Very important ingredient! I use large eggs (2 oz each) for my recipe.
Good quality eggs are also the secret to beautiful yellow brioche dough. Some eggs have a very pale yellow yolk. These are perfectly acceptable for making brioche (and I use these more often).
However, sometimes I purchase eggs that are not only organic, but have been fed nutrient rich feed, which results in deep orange yolks. These give brioche buns or loaves a deep yellow color.
I use 4 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks. Compared to my brioche bread recipe, here I’ve removed 1 extra egg white to make the dough just a tad easier to handle.
This brioche bun dough is also a 50% butter brioche. For 500 g of flour, I use 250 g unsalted butter. Just like with croissants, a better quality butter is recommended, but you don’t need 82% fat butter. Use a brand that you like to use at home. The better the butter flavor, the better the brioche will taste.
To make sure all the flavors of brioche are balanced, I like to add salt and vanilla as well. The vanilla helps balance the flavor of eggs, and the salt brings out the sweet, buttery flavors.
The process of making the dough
Once the yeast is activated in lukewarm milk and a little honey, you’re ready to start making the dough.
Add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and sugar to the activated yeast mixture in any order you like. Break the egg with a fork.
Add the flour, and then salt on top. It’s important that the salt is placed on top of the flour so that it cannot make direct contact with the yeast. Otherwise the yeast is a goner.
Next, mix the dough to form a scraggly, rough dough ball. Now you’re ready to knead this baby.
After kneading the dough for about 5 minutes with the dough hook attachment, you can start to add the softened butter.
Once the butter is added, the dough becomes runny and soft. Almost like cake batter. This is NORMAL. DO NOT PANIC. I repeat, do NOT panic!
The butter interferes with gluten development, so the dough needs to be kneaded more to develop the gluten necessary for brioche. This is true of the brioche loaf as well as these brioche buns.
Knead the dough until it changes from a cake batter-like consistency to a smooth, shiny dough. This can take between 15 – 30 minutes.
What’s the consistency of the brioche bun dough?
Brioche dough is much softer than regular bread dough.
If you develop the gluten well, then you should be able to use the dough hook and pick up almost all of the dough cleanly off the bowl.
And when you take the dough into your hands, it might feel like a water balloon. Smooth, shiny, heavy and it’ll want to droop over the sides. This is good!
Let the dough rise at room temperature, until it proofs to 1.5 – 2 times the original size. The dough will be softer still after this proofing. The first proofing helps the gluten develop further too. You can skip it, and have a longer overnight proof, but I prefer not to skip the room temperature proof.
Do I have to do an overnight cold proof?
The overnight cold proof serves two purposes.
- This dough is really soft and hard to manage. Chilling the dough makes it much easier to portion and shape.
- A long cold proof also helps develop more flavor in your brioche.
If you want to skip the overnight proof, you can instead place the dough in the freezer for a few hours until the dough is chilled.
To do this, place the dough on a baking pan (flatten it with your hands), and cover with plastic wrap really well (do not use a hand towel or napkin for this). Then transfer it to the freezer. Since the dough is thinner, it should chill down faster. But make sure you don’t freeze the dough. If you do freeze it accidentally, simply let it thaw out until the dough is pliable but still cold.
Shaping the dough
Unlike the brioche loaves, the dough will be portioned into small pieces and shaped into smooth balls here.
The size of the dough portions will determine how big the final baked product will be. Here’s a simple chart for you to figure out how much each portion should weigh to make brioche burger buns.
Divide the dough into equal sized pieces with the weights below for the type of bun you want.
|Weight of the dough|
|Size of the burger|
|How many buns|
|85 g||10 – 10.5 cm||12 – 14|
|72 g||9 – 9.5cm||16 – 17|
|65 g||8 cm||17 – 18|
|50 g||6 cm (sliders)||23 – 24|
To shape the portions into buns, flatten the dough slightly with the palm of your hand (smooth side down). Then fold in the edges towards the middle. Pinch all the edges together.
Dip the smooth side of the burger bun in a little flour. Place this on your work surface, with the seam side down (and the floured, smooth side up).
Place your cupped hand over the bun and roll it until it’s nice and smooth. Tighten the dough into a ball with a smooth, taut surface. This can be kept on the parchment paper-lined baking tray to proof.
Proofing the burger buns
The brioche buns require one last proofing before baking. You can simply place the buns on a parchment paper-lined baking tray (or silpat). However, if you want to have the classic ring look around the base of the burger buns, you can purchase burger baking mats or make foil rings.
I learned the foil ring trick from ChefSteps. It’s cheaper but time consuming to make the foil rings. It’s a little finicky, and you have to ensure that they are all the right diameter. Also remember to butter the inside of the foil rings to prevent the buns from sticking as they bake.
The burger mats with cavities are easier to use, but more expensive.
The easiest and cheapest option is to bake the buns on a tray with no mold. There’s nothing wrong with this method and it’s what I use 95% of the time. They still come out perfect and the taste is the same whichever method you use.
I like to place the buns on the baking tray, and then flatten them slightly with the palm of my hand.
How to tell the brioche buns are ready to bake
The dough should have doubled in size, maybe a little more. The rise times / proofing times depend on the size of your portions, temperature of the dough, and ambient temperature.
But here’s the best way to tell when the buns are proofed properly.
Use your fingertip (that is either floured or buttered to avoid sticking), and then press it into the dough gently. This should leave an indentation.
If the indentation springs back up to almost its original state, then the dough is under-proofed. Leave it to proof a little longer.
If the indentation only comes back up a little, then it’s proofed well and can be baked.
However, if the indentation stays with no discernible movement, then the brioche burger buns need to be baked immediately, because they maybe almost or slightly over-proofed.
If the dough deflates when you leave an indentation, the dough has already over-proofed unfortunately. You could bake them, but they might be dense or dry and might have a flat shape. They could also have a very obvious yeasty / beer-like smell and taste.
Baking the brioche dough
Brioche burger buns bake much faster than brioche loaves, but it’s just as important to preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.
To make sure the brioche burger buns have a beautiful, shiny crust, brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash (a beaten egg).
If you like sesame seed topped buns, then you can sprinkle white sesame seeds or black sesame seeds on top. For added flavor, you can go with everything bagel seasoning; not traditional, but delicious!
Bake the buns until they are a deep golden brown on top. The internal temperature should be about 190 F. This can take about 10 – 12 minutes for regular burger buns. And about 12 – 15 minutes for slider buns (since they are baking while in contact with each other).
Allow the buns to cool slightly, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. If you use foil rings, remember to remove them.
How to store brioche buns
Just like other breads, brioche becomes stale the longer you keep them outside.
I store mine in an air-tight container and they’re pretty good for 2 days at room temperature. On the third day, I’d usually toast the brioche and it’s still delicious for sandwiches. After that, the brioche can be pretty stale.
So if you want these burger buns to last longer, I recommend you freeze them. This way they will last for at least 2 – 3 months!
When you’re ready, let them thaw out at room temperature, or in the fridge. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the oven as well.
Can I halve this recipe?
You can. But I find that the dough is harder to knead in a stand mixer when I make half the quantity. The dough hook isn’t able to catch the dough in the bowl, so the kneading process can be longer. I use a 5 qt bowl, so if your mixer is smaller then you might be able to make half a batch more easily.
What if I don’t need that many brioche buns?
How dare you?? How dare you want less brioche buns? Is that even possible?
Fine, I’ll bite.
If you don’t need as many brioche buns as this recipe makes, then you can halve the dough, and then make buns with half of that dough, and use the other half to make a brioche loaf or cinnamon rolls.
Or you can simply freeze the extra buns or loaves for later (after baking).
What do the brioche burger buns taste like?
But really though, these buns are super soft in texture and rich in flavor! The color of the crumb will depend on the eggs that you use, but it can range from a light yellow to a deep yellow color. Gorgeous in other words.
Brioche buns will make any burger or chicken sandwich a work of art. It’s the perfect bun for your favorite fillings! Stick some slices of tomato and cheese between these babies, and your taste buds will be forever in debt to you.
Can I adapt this recipe to use less butter?
You can. You can add anywhere between 125 – 250 g of butter to get a 25% – 50 % brioche dough (lean brioche with 125 g).
This will have an impact on the final yield, so be mindful that the sizes and yield will be different if you omit some of the butter.
If you want to know more about brioche dough, you can check out the FAQ here.
Making these buns is easy. The process of kneading the dough is the most challenging because it takes longer than with regular bread. But the results are so worth your while! You can read all the comments from my brioche loaf recipe to find out how much my readers love it!
With this step by step, foolproof and reader-approved recipe, you’ll be tasting the BEST brioche buns ever! And you’ll NEVER want to buy store-bought buns again!
Perfect Brioche Buns
- ½ cup warm milk around 110 F
- 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast about
- 2 tsp honey
- 4 large eggs
- 2 yolks from large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2.1 oz granulated white sugar
- 17.6 oz AP flour
4cups + 2 tbsp, measured by spoon and level method
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt fine grind
- 8.8 oz unsalted butter (very soft) roughly divided into four portions (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
To brush / sprinkle on top
- 1 egg whisked, for the egg wash
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- Everything bagel seasoning (optional)
Making the dough
- Measure all the ingredients.
- Add the milk, yeast and honey into the mixing bowl and whisk gently to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
- Add the eggs and yolks, vanilla, and sugar, and whisk gently to break the egg yolks.
- Add the flour and sea salt, and mix with a spatula or dough whisk to form a scraggly dough.
- With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on speed 2 or 3 for about 3 - 5 minutes.
- Add the first portion of butter, in increments, after the first minute of kneading. Allow the butter to be mixed well into the dough. This should take about 1 - 2 minutes.
- Repeat with the other 3 portions of butter, kneading the dough for about 2 minutes after each addition.
- Make sure to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl (and the bottom) between adding butter and kneading. You will have incorporated all the butter in about 9 - 10 minutes of kneading time.
- Once all the butter is incorporated, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and knead the dough for a further 5 - 15 minutes on speed 5 or 6.
- The dough will have been kneaded enough when it can be lifted fairly cleanly off the bottom of the bowl when picked up with the dough hook. It will be very soft and tacky to the touch, but shouldn’t stick to your fingertips. Rather than strictly going by time, knead the dough until you have reached this consistency.
- Flour your work surface, and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Lightly flour your hands and the surface of the dough to prevent the dough from sticking to your palms. Then flatten the dough with your hands to deflate.
- Fold in the edges of the dough towards the middle and gently press them into the dough (see pictures in my brioche bread loaf post for more information). Carefully flip the dough over, and then with the heel of your palms, shape the dough to form a tight ball.
- Carefully pick up the dough ball and place it back in the mixer bowl (or another large bowl).
- Let it rise until it has doubled in size, in a warm place (72°F), for about 1 hour.
- Turn the proofed dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and fold in the edges again as before towards the middle and press them in. Carefully flip the dough over (seam side down now). Tighten the dough into a ball with a smooth, taut surface (using the edges of your palms). Transfer the dough into the mixer bowl again.
- Cover and let it chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Portioning the dough
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. The dough will be much easier to work with now.
- Line a few baking trays with parchment paper. Keep a bowl of flour, a scale, and a dough cutter ready.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Deflate the dough by flattening it lightly.
- Measure the weight of the dough, and then divide it into 16 pieces (about 75 g per portion).
- Each portion will bake into a burger bun that is 9 - 9.5 cm in diameter. Please see the table in the post for different sizes and yields.
Shaping the dough
- Place each dough portion on your work surface, with the smooth side down. Fold in the edges towards the middle. Pinch the seams together.
- Dip the smooth side of the dough in a little flour. Carefully flip the dough over, and then using a cupped palm, and with the seam side down, roll the dough portion on your work surface until you get a smooth dough ball.
- Place the smooth, rolled dough on the parchment paper-lined baking tray; 6 buns on a baking tray plus 2 more on another tray.
- Repeat with the other dough portions to get 16 smooth dough balls.
- After arranging the dough balls on your baking trays, flatten them slightly. Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap. This is important to prevent a skin from forming on the dough as it proofs.
Proofing and baking
- Proof the bread in the covered loaf pans for about 2 hours at room temperature, or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C before baking the buns. You can check if the buns are proofed by doing the indentation test (see recipe notes).
- Once proofed, brush the tops with an egg wash. Optional - sprinkle sesame seeds on top. For more flavor, you can sprinkle everything bagel seasoning as well.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on top, and the internal temperature registers 190°F / 88°C. This can take about 10 - 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the buns cool slightly.
- Transfer the buns to a wire rack and let them cool down to room temperature. They’re ready to be served now.
- I prefer to bake one tray at a time. But you can bake two at a time as well, just make sure to switch the tray positions halfway through the baking time. To prevent over-proofing, refrigerate the remaining baking trays with the proofed buns (still covered in plastic wrap) until they're ready to be baked.
Tips & Tricks
- If you make a small indentation in the dough with your fingertip, and it bounces back 90 - 100% of the way, then the dough is still under-proofed.
- If the indentation bounces back only slightly, then it's proofed and ready to be baked. If the indentation stays, it's starting to over-proof, so bake it as soon as possible.
- If the bread deflates when poked with a finger, then it has over-proofed.