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Sourdough Hamburger Buns

These sourdough hamburger buns are a great way to use your starter in the summer, or anytime you’re craving a burger!

Sourdough hamburger buns with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

I’m always interested in new ways to use my sourdough starter. One great way to utilize it in the summer is homemade sourdough hamburger buns.

We definitely eat more burgers in the warm months, and it’s so nice to enjoy them on a sourdough bun.

These are made with an enriched dough do ensure a soft and flavorful hamburger bun.

Plus they only contain natural yeast, no instant yeast or any other type of commercial yeast!

Okay, let me show you how to make them!


Here’s a video tutorial in case you learn better that way. The written tutorial is below!

How to Make Sourdough Hamburger Buns:

A mature sourdough starter in a jar.

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Start with a mature, active sourdough starter. This isn’t the recipe for your 2 week old sourdough discard, sorry.

This is sometimes called a ripe sourdough starter.

Feed your starter 6-12 hours before you want to use it. It should double in bulk, be bubbly and active, and pass the float test.

To perform the float test, simply drop a small amount of starter in a glass of room temperature water. If it floats, it’s ready to use!

Check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter From Scratch guide if you don’t have a starter going yet!

If you’re trying to get a stronger sourdough flavor out of your starter, then make sure to check out my Sourdough Troubleshooting Guide.


Here’s everything you’ll need to make these sourdough burger buns:

For the Dough:

  • 3/4 cup water warm (175 grams): Please use filtered water if your water is treated with chlorine. Your water should be no more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius).
  • 1 cup mature sourdough starter (240 grams): See above section for a discussion of what a mature sourdough starter is!
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled: I like to use grass-fed butter, but you can use whatever you have on hand!
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (465 grams): I used all purpose flour for this recipe since it’s so readily available. You can make a delicious sourdough bun without the added cost of bread flour. I usually use Great Value organic all-purpose flour for my sourdough baking. You can experiment with adding part whole wheat flour, but keep in mind that the final buns will probably be more dense.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt: I use Redmond Real Salt. If you use refined salt, you may want to cut back on the amount a bit since it tends to be saltier than unrefined sea salt.
  • 2 tbsp honey: I use honey from my dad’s bees, but you could substitute sugar, maple syrup, etc. 

To Finish:

  • 1 large egg, optional: If you want that shiny top to your hamburger buns, you’ll want to give them an egg wash before baking.
  • Sesame seeds: This is really pretty on top of the buns, but totally optional. You could use poppy seeds, or a combination of sesame and poppy seeds if you like.

Mixing the Dough:

All of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer bowl.

Place all of the dough ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Mixing the dough with the dough hook.

Turn the mixer on medium-low speed…

The kneaded, elastic sourdough hamburger buns dough.

…and knead for 15 minutes, or until the dough is quite elastic. Ideally, it will pass the windowpane test.

You want it to clean the sides of the bowl, but it might not clean the bottom.

You’re looking for a soft dough that isn’t overly wet. If the dough seems too dry or too wet, you can adjust with more water or flour.

Placing the dough in a buttered bowl.

Place in a buttered large bowl, turn once to butter the top, and cover with a lid, damp tea towel, or plastic wrap.

The risen sourdough hamburger buns dough.

Allow to rise at room temperature for 6-8 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.

The rise time can vary greatly, and take anywhere from 4-12 hours.

You may find that this takes a lot less time in the summer when your kitchen is warm!

If your kitchen is particularly cold, you can put the dough in a warm spot such as next to your stove or the top of your refrigerator.

Shaping Sourdough Hamburger Buns:

Placing the dough on the counter.

The next morning, or 6-8 hours later, gently deflate the dough with a wet hand.

Plop the dough out onto a buttered surface.

Placing a piece of dough on a scale to weigh it.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.

If you want completely equal portions, you can weigh the dough on a kitchen scale and divide it by 12 to determine how much each bun should weigh.

Or you can just eyeball it if you aren’t picky.

Pinching the corners of the dough into the middle.

Grab one of the dough balls, and pinch the corners into the middle to start forming a smooth, tight ball.

Rolling the dough across the counter.

Cup your hands around the dough and roll it across your work surface to create surface tension.

Flattening the dough ball on a cookie sheet.

Place on a greased baking sheet and flatten out into rounds.

You could use parchment paper if you prefer, but I like the results with a greased baking sheet. 

Covering the sourdough hamburger buns with a tea towel.

Cover the shaped buns with a tea towel.

The risen buns.

Allow to rise in a warm place for 2-6 hours, or until quite puffy.

Ideally you want them to at least double. 

Baking the Hamburger Buns:

Whisking an egg in a small bowl with a fork.

Whisk an egg in a small bowl.

I like to use the egg white and egg yolk, because then you don’t have to figure out what to do with the leftover egg!

You can add a tablespoon of water if the egg doesn’t want to get smooth. 

Brushing the buns with the egg.

Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash.

Sprinkling the buns with sesame seeds.

Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. This is optional, but it does add extra flavor. Plus it makes your sourdough hamburger buns look really pretty.

The baked sourdough hamburger buns.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Holding half of a sliced sourdough hamburger bun.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing into the soft buns.

See all those air holes? Or, as my sister calls them, butter holes. 😉

You can slice these sourdough hamburger buns in half, toast, and spread with butter.

Sourdough hamburger buns on a cooling rack with a tea towel in the background.

Now you could also experiment with forming these into hot dog buns instead. Let me know if you give it a try!

I’m curious: what are your favorite burger toppings? I’m usually pretty basic with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and sliced pickles.

But I’d love to try a new combo if you’ve got one to recommend! Let me know in the comments.

Side note: Have you heard of putting mushrooms in your hamburgers? Supposedly it makes them juicier. Here’s a recipe that I’d like to try…

So that’s my sourdough hamburger bun recipe! Here are some more sourdough recipes for you to check out:

Sourdough Bun Recipes:

More Sourdough Recipes:

Yield: 12 buns

Sourdough Hamburger Buns

Sourdough hamburger buns on a cooling rack.

Use your starter in the summer with these naturally leavened hamburger buns!

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours


For the Dough:

  • 3/4 cup water, (175 grams)
  • 1 cup mature sourdough starter, (240 grams)
  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter,, melted and cooled
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (465 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 2 tbsp honey

To Finish:

  • 1 large egg, optional
  • sesame seeds, optional


  1. Place all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Knead on medium-low for 15 minutes, or until the dough is quite elastic. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, but not the bottom. Add more flour as needed to achieve that consistency.
  2. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, turning once to grease the top of the dough. Cover and allow to rise for 6-12 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
  3. Plop the dough onto a greased work surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Grab a piece of dough and pull the corners into the middle to start forming a ball. Cup your hands around the ball and roll it across your work surface to create surface tension.
  4. Place the ball on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten into a bun shape. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces. You may need to use more than one cookie sheet.
  5. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 2-6 hours, or until the buns are quite puffy.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk an egg. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before slicing.


  • A mature starter is one that has been fed 6-12 hours previously, has doubled, is bubbly and active, and passes the float test.
  • The time it takes for your starter and dough to rise will depend greatly on the temperature of your kitchen. If it's quite warm, make sure to check the dough at the shorter time given.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Unsaturated Fat: 0g

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Updated on February 3, 2023

2020: Kitchen Time – The Sojourning Dunns

Monday 31st of August 2020

[…] Friday: 10 minutes making yogurt bowls for breakfast 15 minutes to heat up lunch and prep snack 1 hour to cook dinner: chickpea curry, roasted sweet potatoes, and leftover veggies. I also made BBQ sauce, got black beans soaking, soaking pancakes, and started sourdough hamburger buns. […]

Mike McKinley

Sunday 19th of July 2020

A slice of american or cheddar and a dollop of coleslaw, the creamy kind.

Erica Kastner

Thursday 23rd of July 2020

Mmmm...Reuben would choose the American cheese, I would go for the cheddar! ?


Thursday 9th of July 2020

BBQ, pepper jack, red onion and tomato make a good combination. But I'm fairly partial to adding a sunny side up egg, bacon and mayo too!

Erica Kastner

Monday 13th of July 2020

Oh man, both of those combos sound amazing! I've had egg on a burger at a restaurant, but never attempted it at home!


Thursday 9th of July 2020

I like to add sliced green olives - gives it a bit of zing!

Erica Kastner

Monday 13th of July 2020

What a neat idea! That sounds yummy.

Judith D.

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Those hamburger buns are so pretty! My favorite toppings recently are avocado and red onion slices. Years ago at a tavern in Maryland, I had a burger that was topped with a generous slice of cream cheese and fresh spinach. Really yummy! I would now add a slice of tomato to that and call it perfect!

Rusty Shakleford

Thursday 27th of January 2022

@Erica Kastner, Cream cheese? Try peanut butter. Melt creamy PB on the burger, toast the bun, mayo, onion, lettuce and perhaps pickle. It's called a guber burger.

Erica Kastner

Monday 13th of July 2020

Oh, lovely suggestions, Judith! I especially like the idea of cream cheese on a burger - why have I never thought of that?!

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