These Sourdough Discard Hamburger Buns are the perfect vehicle for summer grilling and outdoor sandwiches! Whether you're making burgers, turkey burgers, black bean burgers, or a really incredible BLT sandwich, these buns have you covered and offer a delicious sourdough flavor.
Why you'll love this recipe
- They're great for hamburgers, but can also be used as sandwich rolls! Make a really amazing sandwich or BLT with these same buns.
- Quick and easy, same-day recipe so you can enjoy these in time for dinner!
- They freeze well so you can enjoy some immediately, and freeze some for later.
- You can modify the toppings to suit your taste. I love these hamburger buns with sesame seeds, but you can also use poppy seeds, flaky sea salt, or everything bagel seasoning.
As long as you have sourdough discard, you are well on your way to making these hamburger buns!
- Non-dairy milk: You'll want this to be warmed to about 110 degrees F (this is lightly steaming, not boiling). I typically use almond milk, but you could use any milk that you prefer (even regular dairy milk).
- Instant yeast: Even though we're using sourdough discard, we do need to use some yeast. Discard is not as active as sourdough starter, so we use a leavening agent (in this case, yeast) to make sure the dough rises predictably.
- Granulated sugar: This is to feed the yeast, so it's just a little bit!
- All-purpose flour: This will be the base of your bun. If you're in a pinch, you could use bread flour, which will make for a chewier hamburger bun with a thicker crust.
- Sourdough discard: Make sure the sourdough discard is unfed and at room temperature for this recipe. This recipe is designed for a sourdough starter with a 1:1:1 ratio (when you feed your starter, it's with 1 part starter, 1 part water, 1 part flour). If your sourdough starter uses a different ratio, you may need to adjust some of the ingredients in this recipe.
- Eggs: There is one egg mixed into the dough, and then we also an egg wash to brush the buns before sprinkling with toppings.
- Toppings: I recommend topping these hamburger buns with sesame seeds, but you could also use poppy seeds, flaky sea salt or everything bagel seasoning!
See full recipe below for detailed directions.
Substitutions & Variations
There are a few easy substitutions and variations you can make so this recipe fits your needs.
- Change up the toppings - I recommend topping the hamburger buns with sesame seeds, but you can also use poppy seeds, flaky sea salt or everything bagel seasoning!
- Make smaller buns for sliders - If you're making sliders and looking for a smaller bun, follow the directions for these Sourdough Discard Rolls.
- Use regular dairy or non-dairy ingredients - This recipe will work with regular dairy as well as non-dairy ingredients (milk, butter), so use whatever is better for you.
I have not tested this recipe with other variations, but if you do, let us know how it turns out in the comments! I always love to hear how you're adapting these recipes and use those as ideas for future recipes as well!
How to Make Sourdough Discard Hamburger Buns
These hamburger buns will need two rises, but the steps for the recipe are very straightforward!
Combine warmed milk, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Add flour, sourdough discard, beaten egg, salt and melted butter.
Mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until a smooth dough forms, about 3-4 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly tacky (not sticky).
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into 8 equal-sized pieces. This does not have to be exact, but you can also weigh your dough to make perfectly identical buns.
Use your palm to create friction and roll the dough until a ball forms. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 minutes, until doubled in size.
Lightly each bun with egg wash. Keep in mind you likely won't use all of the egg wash.
Sprinkle with your desired toppings (I recommend sesame seeds!).
Bake the hamburger buns until golden brown. Let cool slightly, then slice in half before serving with your favorite burgers or sandwich toppings!
Expert baking tips
- Make sure to knead the dough long enough! You want the dough to be smooth (not shaggy) and only slightly tacky once you're done kneading.
- Every sourdough starter (and therefore every sourdough discard) is different. You may need to add some additional flour or water to reach the desired dough consistency. If your dough seems too dry, add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time. If your dough seems too sticky (wet), add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
- Rise times will vary based on the temperature of your room. The recipe shares suggested rise times, but if your room is warm / cold, the rises may take more or less time.
- Change up the toppings to suit your taste. Top with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flaky sea salt, or even everything bagel seasoning!
- Freeze the leftovers! These hamburger buns are best when eaten on the same day. If you have leftovers, freeze them for later.
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is what you have leftover after feeding a sourdough starter. You can either discard it (literally, throw it away) or use it to bake sourdough discard recipes like this one! It gives great sourdough flavor and some lift from the natural yeast generated in the sourdough starter.
Every sourdough starter (and therefore, every sourdough discard) is different. If your dough seems too wet or too dry, add additional flour or water (1 Tablespoon at a time) to reach our desired consistency.
This recipe is designed for a sourdough starter with a 1:1:1 ratio (when you feed your starter, it's with 1 part starter, 1 part flour, 1 part water). If your starter uses a different ratio, you may need to adjust some of the measurements in this recipe.
I like to start the dough in a KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer, but this is optional. You can also make the dough by hand with a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. I also recommend a kitchen scale for weighing your sourdough discard.
Do I need to use a stand mixer?
No! I like to start the dough in the stand mixer, then do the kneading by hand. You could also make this dough in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, then knead by hand. The stand mixer is optional.
Room Temperature Storage: If you're planning to eat these buns in the next 1-2 days, you can store them at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag. If needed, reheat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make them warm and soft again.
Freezer Storage: If you want to save these hamburger buns to eat later, freeze them! Once they're fully cooled, store the buns in an airtight bag or container and freeze them for up to 3 months. To reheat, warm the buns in the microwave for about 60 seconds until warm and soft again.
Baking with sourdough discard is not the same as baking with active sourdough starter. Sourdough discard is not as active, so you need to use a leavening agent (in this case, yeast) to ensure the dough rises predictably.
Yes! These buns have a sourdough flavor from the sourdough discard.
This recipe is designed to be made with sourdough discard. Without it, you would need to modify several of the ingredients.
I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh your sourdough discard, but I have also listed cup measurements in case that is easier for you.
Sourdough Discard Hamburger Buns
- ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon unflavored non-dairy milk warmed to 110℉
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 200 grams (about ¾ cup) sourdough discard unfed, at room temperature
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 egg white plus 1 Tablespoon water for egg wash
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame seeds or other toppings
- Combine the warmed non-dairy milk, instant yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl*. Add the flour, sourdough discard, beaten egg and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in melted butter. Increase speed to medium and mix until a shaggy dough forms, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until a smooth dough forms, about 3-4 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly tacky (not sticky). If needed, add more flour or non-dairy milk (1 Tablespoon at a time) to reach your desired consistency.
- Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size. Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into 8 equal-sized pieces. This doesn't have to be exact, but if you do want perfectly identical buns, weigh the dough and divide that number by 8 to determine how much the dough for each bun should weigh (for me, this was about 106g each).
- Roll each piece of dough into a ball in the palm of your hand, using your palm for friction, then place the buns onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving space between each bun.
- Lightly cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for 60 minutes, until puffed and doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375℉. Lightly brush the buns with egg wash, then sprinkle with sesame seeds or desired toppings. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool, then slice in half before serving.