Versatile Sandwich Buns

Homemade sandwich rolls for barbecue or burgers

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Rising Time: 100 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 12 buns
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
299 Calories
8g Fat
49g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 299
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 242mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 130mg 10%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 161mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The best of sandwich fillings can fall short when you use the wrong bread. The underwhelming feeling of biting into stale bread, or into a bread that's too chewy or too crusty, is not uncommon. The availability of many types of store-bought bread has made us used to loaves of bread and buns that aren't good enough but that keep showing up in our kitchens because they're easy and convenient.

Our recipe for sandwich buns will forever change your sandwich game—and your bun game, too. This recipe can be shaped in whatever form you need and suits a variety of fillings, from pulled pork, grilled chicken, or cheese, to beef and vegetables. No matter what you want to put inside, these rolls will be your new favorite. Even on their own with butter, they are simply delicious.

For our soft yeast buns, we used a kaiser roll stamp to make an impression, but if you don't have a stamp, simply flatten the dough balls slightly with your hand before the second rise. Before you start, plan ahead as you need two and half hours to complete the proofing and baking. Be mindful the buns contain butter and eggs, so they aren't suitable for people with these types of allergies.


For the Dough:

  • 3 teaspoons instant dry yeast

  • 1 cup water, at room temperature

  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon oil

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal

F​or the Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds

  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for versatile homemade sandwich buns recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  2. In a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and water. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes to fully hydrate the yeast. Add the milk, flour, salt, sugar, and melted butter to the yeast mixture. Mix until the dough is formed. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface or with the dough hook attachment of the stand mixer until the dough is smooth and elastic. This should take about 10 minutes. Add more flour in small amounts, as needed, to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, bowl, or other surfaces.

    Combine the ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  3. Grease a large bowl with the oil. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl and roll the dough over to coat it thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free place. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.

    Let the dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 2 or 3 times and let it rest for 5 minutes. The whole ball of dough might be close to 42 ounces in weight. Cut the dough into 10 (4-ounce) portions.

    Weigh the dough for uniform rolls

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  5. Shape the dough into tight balls and flatten slightly with the floured palm of your hand. Place them on the parchment-lined baking sheets.

    Shape the dough into balls

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  6. Stamp the tops firmly with the kaiser roll stamp but do not cut through them. Dust the tops lightly with flour and turn the stamped rolls over so the impression is on the bottom. If you don't have a stamp, simply flatten the rolls. Cover the rolls with a lightweight kitchen towel and let them rise in a draft-free place until doubled in size, or about 25 to 35 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 F.

    Leave them plain or emboss them with a kaiser roll stamp

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  7. Sprinkle the rolls lightly with cornmeal and then, very gently, turn the rolls over so the impression, if you used a stamp, is now on the top. 

  8. Whisk the egg and water to make the egg wash. Lightly brush the egg wash over each bun. Sprinkle with the seeds to taste.

  9. Bake the sandwich rolls for 16 to 20 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. The rolls will be about 200 F to 210 F in the center when done. 

    Homemade buns for barbecue and sandwiches

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  10. Enjoy the buns with your favorite fillings.

Allergy-Free Buns

To make these buns vegan and free of most common allergens:

  • Replace the butter with plant-based butter or margarine.
  • Replace the milk with plant-based milk. Rice milk and oat milk are great, as they don't contain nuts like other plant beverages such as almond or hazelnut milk do.
  • Combine 2 tablespoons of plant-based milk with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to make the egg wash. If not allergic to coconut oil, this is a great oil to use.
  • Substitute the sesame and poppy seeds for pepitas or sunflower seeds, or leave them as is and simply brush with the vegan wash.