Bought a pack of hot dog buns and have a few leftover buns with no plans of using them soon? Can you freeze hot dog buns?
Or perhaps you bought a few packs on a sale and are wondering what’s the best way to preserve them for later.
The good news is, hot dog buns freeze well, and the whole process is super simple.
Want to know how to go about freezing hot dog buns, what to expect from freezing them, or how to thaw them? This article is for you.
Can You Freeze Hot Dog Buns?
Hot dog buns, both homemade and store-bought, freeze well. Freezing is the recommended way of keeping them from going stale and preserving them for much longer.
The same is true for other popular bakery items, such as bread, scones, banana bread, or hamburger buns.
When it comes to differences between fresh and frozen and defrosted buns, there’s not much to talk about.
Here’s how my half-defrosted buns look like:
They look pretty much the same as fresh buns, right?
Taste-wise, there’s usually no discernible difference (okay, perhaps the buns are a bit drier) if you go about freezing and thawing buns the right way. And it’s not difficult to do at all.
However, if you mess things up, you might end up with buns that are too dry or soggy. Don’t worry, though – these still make for pretty decent hot dogs.
Freezing stale hot dog buns doesn’t “fix” them. The fresher buns you freeze, the better they will be after defrosting.
Freezing vs. Shelf Life
Store-bought often come with a fairly long shelf life, like a month or so, and easily keep for a few extra days.
If you still have a couple of weeks’ worth of storage time, there’s no point in freezing the buns. Unless you already know you won’t use them before they go stale.
But if you baked a whole lot of hot dog buns, it definitely makes sense to freeze the excess as soon as possible. The fresher they are when frozen, the better they will be after defrosting.
How to Freeze Hot Dog Buns
Before you get going, you need to grab something to wrap the buns.
It could be a freezer bag (or a couple), aluminum foil, or a plastic freezer wrap. If possible, go with reusable freezer bags because they are the most environment-friendly option of the bunch.
Once you have them on hand, you’re ready to proceed.
Here’s how you freeze hot dog buns:
- Wrap the buns. If the bag is still unopened, you can use it for short-term (think a few weeks) freezing. Otherwise, wrap the buns individually or place a few in a freezer bag. Try to leave as little air around the buns as possible.
- Label the buns if you like. If you wrap the buns in aluminum foil, you’ll likely forget what’s inside at some point. Adding a label is an easy fix. For me, I go with transparent food bags, so it’s obvious what’s inside.
- Place everything in the freezer. If your buns are wrapped individually, consider placing all of them in a ziplock bag to keep things organized.
That’s it. The whole procedure shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes, even if you wrap the buns one by one.
And in case you’re wondering, the same process works for homemade hot dog buns too.
If you expect the buns might sit in the freezer for a couple of months, consider double-wrapping them to better protect them from freezer burn.
How Long Can You Freeze Them?
The typical recommendation is that you shouldn’t freeze hot dog buns for longer than three months. For me, it’s a pretty arbitrary period.
What’s sure is that everything in the freezer gradually loses quality. So the longer the buns sit in there, the worse the quality.
Moreover, the speed of quality loss also depends on the quality of the rolls themselves. Your great-tasting homemade buns will probably fare better in the freezer than the cheap ones you bought in the supermarket.
In short, try to use the hot dog buns as soon as possible, but don’t get too hung up on the dates. If they sit in the freezer for longer than the mentioned three months, they should still be quite alright.
Defrosting Hot Dog Buns
There are two popular ways of defrosting hot dog buns: on the counter and in the microwave.
The first one doesn’t require much hands-on time but can take anywhere between an hour and 4 hours for large and more dense rolls. And if you’re short on time, that’s not an option.
The microwave is your best bet if you’re in a hurry. It requires only a couple of minutes but can be a bit tricky to get right.
If you’re freezing hot dog buns often, experiment with thawing methods to find what works best for your buns. That’s especially helpful if you always buy the same buns or use the same recipe.
Let’s talk about both of these methods in more detail.
On the Counter
Defrosting hot dog buns on the counter might seem as easy as grabbing them from the freezer and placing them on the counter at room temperature. But there are at least two issues worth discussing here.
First, it’s whether you should thaw the buns wrapped or unwrap them first?
For me, it’s all about how much frost is in the foil or bag.
If there’s a lot, you should probably remove the bun from the bag, or at least leave it half-open so that the excess moisture can evaporate. Otherwise, you will likely end up with a soggy bun.
If, on the other hand, there’s not much frost in there, it’s okay to leave the baked goods wrapped. That allows the buns to reabsorb the moisture they had lost in the freezing process.
Second, turn the buns upside down after 20 to 30 minutes of defrosting, and then every 30 minutes or so. That helps spread the moisture inside them more evenly so that you don’t end up with a soggy bottom.
It’s not the end of the world if you can’t do that, though. In most cases, moisture buildup isn’t a big deal, and your buns will defrost okay.
In the Microwave
If you have only a couple of minutes to have the buns ready for use, the microwave is your friend.
Here’s how you defrost hot dog buns in the microwave:
- Set the microwave on medium (50-80% power). You can also use the defrost setting, but it’s not necessary.
- Place the buns on a microwave-safe plate.
- Microwave the buns in short 15-20 seconds increments. Check them after every burst, and if they’re not ready, flip them upside down before the next round.
If your hot dog buns become super dry after a few bursts, grab a paper towel, sprinkle it lightly with water, wrap around each bun, and nuke for 5 seconds. Repeat and add extra water if necessary.
The trick above helps, but don’t expect miracles – your dry buns won’t magically become perfectly nice and fresh.
Don’t microwave the buns in their plastic bag or the bag you used for freezing them. Unless it’s a microwave-safe bag, doing so isn’t safe.
You can safely refreeze hot dog buns if necessary. But that doesn’t mean you should do that.
Each subsequent freezing and defrosting makes the buns drier and their overall quality worse.
Because of that, it’s far better to defrost only as many rolls as you need and avoid refreezing them whatsoever.
If you’re refreezing a bun that you just warmed up in the oven, let it cool before placing it in the freezer. That will avoid excess condensation and reduce the number of ice crystals in the bag.