Hamburger buns freeze well, and you can have yours frozen in a matter of minutes.
Here’s what you’re going to learn in this article:
- how freezing affects hamburger buns
- when it makes sense to freeze the buns and when it doesn’t
- how to freeze hamburger buns and how much wrapping you really need
- three ways you can defrost frozen buns, depending on how much time you have
Interested? Let’s jump right in.
Can You Freeze Hamburger Buns?
You can freeze hamburger buns, and that’s a great way to keep your leftover buns from going stale. If you do everything right, there isn’t much of a difference between fresh and defrosted buns.
An important thing to remember here is that freezing can’t “fix” or freshen a stale bun. A stale hamburger bun will still be stale after freezing and defrosting.
When To Freeze Buns
Freezing hamburger buns is a great way to store any leftover buns that you might have.
Say you’ve bought a pack of 4 (or 8) and used half of them. Then you’re left with the following options:
- You can make homemade hamburgers within the next few days (which is a great option, not going to lie).
- Freeze the leftover buns and not have to worry about them for now.
- Let the buns go stale.
If making hamburgers again soon or using the buns in a different setting isn’t on the menu, freezing is your best solution.
What’s more, freezing allows you to bake a few batches of homemade buns and freezing the extra ones. That’s an easy way to save some time in the kitchen.
When Not to Freeze Buns
If your buns pack is still unopened and isn’t nearing the printed date, there’s little point in freezing it. The pack might as well sit in the cupboard and wait until you’re ready to use them.
Also, hamburger buns packages usually have a shelf life of about a month and easily keep quality for an extra week or more. Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to freeze yours, even if it’s nearing its date.
If you’re going to use the buns a couple of days after the printed date, they should be okay.
Of course, if you have no idea when you’re going to use the buns, you might as well freeze them now. It’s a much better option than leaving them be only to find them half a year later in the back of the cupboard.
How To Freeze Hamburger Buns
Here’s how you freeze hamburger buns:
- Let them cool. If you baked the buns yourself, let them cool before you continue. Otherwise, there will be lots of condensation in the bag, and you will end up with soggy buns.
- Wrap them. The longer you plan on keeping the buns in the freezer, the more wrapping they need. If you’re going to use them within a couple of weeks, you can just place the buns side by side in a single freezer bag. For prolonged storage, double wrapping is worth considering. I discuss this in detail below.
- Add labels if needed. Some people find labeling foods in the freezer helpful. If you’re one of them, write the name and date on the bag.
- Freeze. Transfer all the bags into the freezer.
That’s it. If you’re not wrapping the buns individually, all of the above shouldn’t take you more than 3 minutes.
Unless you place the buns so that the bottom sides stick or squeeze them super tight, they won’t freeze together. Freezing many buns in a single bag is okay. I do that all the time.
Avoiding Freezer Burn
The longer your hamburger buns will sit in the freezer, the better you should wrap them.
For short-term storage, it’s okay to stick all of them in a single freezer bag side by side.
If you need to freeze yours for 1+ months, consider wrapping each bun individually with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer wrap. That will help protect it against freezer burn.
Once you have the buns single-wrapped, place all of them in a freezer bag. Or many freezer bags, if one isn’t enough.
If you skip individual wrapping and let the buns sit in the freezer for more than a month, nothing horrible will happen. The overall quality will probably be a bit worse, and the buns will feel a bit drier or stale, but that’s it. With tasty hamburger patties and toppings, you can still make some pretty darn good burgers.
How Long Can You Freeze Hamburger Buns?
Try to use your frozen hamburger buns within three months for the best results.
Like pretty much all frozen food products, the longer the buns sit frozen, the worse quality you should expect. But the quality loss process is quite slow, and buns that are frozen for like six months (or even more) should still be quite okay after thawing.
In other words, treat the 3-month period as a “best-if-used-by” date, no an expiration.
For me, I try to use most of the foods that I freeze within a month. Otherwise, I completely forget about it, only to find it buried under other products half a year later.
If that sounds familiar, consider sticking to the one month, and maybe even mark a date in the calendar to make sure you use the buns soon.
How To Defrost Hamburger Buns
There are at least three ways to defrost hamburger buns, and each one has its pros and cons. The options are:
- On the counter. The best option if you have at least 2 to 4 hours until you need the buns. Worst if you don’t.
- In the microwave. If you only have a few minutes, the microwave is great. There are two downsides, though: it’s easy to dry out the buns, and you actually have to have a microwave available.
- In the oven. The oven is another quick defrosting option but needs 5 to 10 minutes to preheat before you can get on with thawing the buns.
Now that you’ve got the lowdown on the available defrosting methods, let’s discuss how to go about each one of them.
Defrosting Hamburger Buns on the Counter
This one is as simple as it gets: you place the buns on the counter and leave them for 2 to 4 hours until they defrost and warm up.
You can either defrost the buns wrapped or unwrap them. Here’s how I choose between the two:
- If there’s a lot of frost on the surface of the bun or in the bag, I unwrap the bun so that it’s not soggy afterward.
- If there’s little or no frost, I keep the bun wrapped. This way, it can reabsorb some of the moisture that’s left.
In reality, more often than not, there’s some frost in the bag (see photos), and I remove the buns from the bags.
Flip the buns upside down after an hour or so of defrosting. This helps spread out the moisture more evenly, so that you don’t end up with a soggy bottom. If you can’t do that, place a paper towel under the buns so that it absorbs any excess moisture.
Defrosting Buns in the Microwave
Here’s how you defrost hamburger buns in the microwave:
- Set the microwave to medium (50-80% power) or defrost.
- Unwrap the buns and place them on a microwave-safe plate.
- Microwave the buns in 15-20 second bursts. Check them after every burst and flip them upside down if they’re not ready.
- Repeat until fully defrosted.
If your buns become too dry, take a paper towel, sprinkle it lightly with water, wrap each bun, and nuke it for 5 seconds. Repeat and replace the water if necessary.
The above trick helps to freshen the buns a bit, but don’t expect miracles. If yours are completely dry or stale, it won’t magically reverse that process.
Defrosting Buns in the Oven
Here’s how you defrost hamburger buns in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake the buns on a baking sheet for 4 to 5 minutes to defrost.
- Leave them for an extra 1 to 2 minutes if you want to toast them.
If the buns are too dry, dab a little water over them, and bake them for a minute.
Creative Ways of Using Leftover Hamburger Buns
Trouble using up your leftover hamburger buns? Don’t want to make burgers again?
Below you can find a couple of creative ways to use yours.
One of the best ways to use any type of leftover bread is to make bread pudding. This fabulous dessert can be enjoyed any time of the day. It’s easy to make too!
Just replace your regular bread with leftover hamburger buns, then prep the ingredients according to the recipe (here’s a simple one).
Want a quick and light breakfast or snack? Instead of using whole grain bread or sourdough for making paninis, use your leftover hamburger buns. The end result is just as delicious.
Fill each bun with your favorite fillings (cheese, salami, pepperoni, etc.), grill the buns, and you have a delicious snack within minutes.
Who says you have to use sliced bread for French toast? Since the recipe calls for thick-sliced bread, leftover hamburger buns make a fabulous alternative to sliced bread.
To make this delectable dessert breakfast, dip the hamburger buns in a mixture of eggs, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Then, pop the buns in the oven or cook on the stove, and voila, breakfast is served!
Just Use It
If you just want to use that last bun and don’t want to make a big mess in the kitchen, here’s a simple solution.
Cut the bun in half, place a slice of cheese (or some frozen grated parmesan) and deli meat between the halves, and microwave until the cheese melts. It shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes to get this one done.