Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

When it comes to making mouthwatering burgers, the perfect burger bun can make all the difference. Elevate your burger game with these easy sourdough burger buns. Easy sourdough burger buns are made with 100% natural yeast and bring a mildly tangy flavor to your hamburger or cheeseburger. These buns are soft yet sturdy and toast up to perfection. Welcome summer with these homemade easy sourdough burger buns. Your family and your tastebuds will thank you!

Ingredients in Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

Sourdough Starter: Use an active/ripe sourdough starter (doubled in size/bubbly/mild sour aroma) to mix the levain

Buttermilk: Buttermilk makes these buns tender and gives them great flavor. I love the unique taste and how soft and fluffy the buns are because of the buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute milk (whole milk preferred).

Egg: One large egg weighs about 50 grams. The egg keeps these buns rich and fluffy.

Sugar: Sugar helps activate the yeast just a bit more. It doesn’t make the buns taste sweet, it simply complements the other flavors in the buns.

Bread Flour: I almost always use bread flour for any bread that I am kneading. My bread flour is purchased from a local mill and is about 12.5% protein content. If you don’t have bread flour on hand, make sure to substitute some vital wheat gluten.

Butter: Butter makes these burger buns soft and delicious. Use softened, unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, decrease the salt in the recipe.

Salt: Salt is important to balance the flavors. Don’t leave it out.

Sourdough Sample Schedule

Bread made with 100% natural yeast takes extra time. Because of this I like to start my sourdough recipes with a sample schedule so I can get an idea for what the timing looks like for making this bread. This sample schedule assumes you are using a ripe/active sourdough starter and keeping your dough at a temperature of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Day 1Overnight/12 hours
8:00 PM – 8:00 AMMix levain (1:10:10)
Day 2Mix/Bulk Fermentation/Shape/Proof/Bake
8:00 AMMix the dough
8:20 AM – 12:20 PM (about 4 hours)Bulk Fermentation at 78-80 degrees F
12:30 PMShape Burger Buns
12:45 PM-3:45 PM (about 2-3 hours)Proof Burger Buns at 78-80 degrees F
4:00 PM – 4:20 PMTop and Bake Buns

Making a Levain

I use a levain method for making sourdough. You can read more about that here.

For this recipe I use an overnight levain (1:10:10) ratio.

  • 10 grams ripe/mature sourdough starter
  • 100 grams all purpose or bread flour
  • 100 grams water

Before mixing, take the temperature of the sourdough starter and flour. If it is colder than the 75-80 degree range, use warm water to mix the levain. If the ingredients are warmer than 75-80 degrees, use cooler water. The goal is for the levain to be in the 75-80 degree temperature range. After mixing, cover loosely and let sit for about 10-12 hours (at 75-80 degrees F). If you want to mix levain the same day you mix the burger buns, mix a 1:1:1 levain with 70 grams ripe sourdough starter, 70 grams flour and 70 grams water. Let sit for 3-4 hours until bubbly, doubled in size and barely beginning to fall back down.

Mixing Easy Sourdough Burger Bun Dough

Set the bowl of a stand mixer on a kitchen scale. Add the ripe levain and all the ingredients except for the butter to the bowl. If you want to reserve a little of the flour to add in as you mix, you can to help account for excess liquid or humidity. Start the mixer and knead the dough together for about 3-5 minutes until smooth. Add the softened butter a chunk at a time and mix until the butter is incorporated. Knead together for at least 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny. For an extra check, the dough should pass the windowpane test before moving on to bulk fermentation.

More Delicious Natural Yeast Recipes Here:

Bulk Fermentation

Move the dough to a container for the bulk fermentation. Do your best to keep the temperature of the dough at 78-80 degrees F. I use a bread proofer in the winter to help the dough develop at the right temperature. Cover the container. The entire bulk fermentation will take about 4-5 hours (depending on the temperature). By the end of bulk fermentation, you may notice the dough is more cohesive, strong and aerated. It will have risen a little, maybe as much as 20-30%.

Cold Bulk Ferment Option

If you want to split this recipe up into multiple days, you can refrigerate the dough after the 4-5 hour bulk fermentation. Place the covered dough in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. When you’re ready to shape the buns, pull them out of the refrigerator and shape into burger buns according to recipe directions. The dough may take a little bit longer to rise as it comes up to the 78-80 degree F dough temperature.

Shaping Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

After the bulk fermentation, it’s time to shape the burger buns. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Separate the roll dough into 8 pieces, about 130 grams each. Take each piece of dough and pull/pinch up the sides until it forms a ball. Roll the ball on the counter, holding your hand in a cupping shape (see video here) to seal the balls and create tension. Place the buns on the baking sheet apart from each other.

Proofing Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel and let rise for two to three hours until puffed up and very soft. To make sure the rolls are ready, take a finger and press into one of the rolls. If the roll springs back immediately with no indentation left, the rolls need more time to rise. If the indentation springs back just a little, it’s time to bake. The rolls will be aerated and risen. Don’t bake them if they haven’t risen. Give them a little more time. I often place the pan in my oven with the light on. This provides a pseudo-proofing box for my buns that keeps them warm and encourages a rise.

Baking Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven to prevent the bottom of the buns from burning. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use a baking sheet instead. Whisk together an egg with a splash of water. Gently brush the egg wash over the tops of the buns and sprinkle with sesame seeds or “everything but the bagel” seasoning. Place a handful of ice cubes in a baking pan and place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven. This creates steam, which encourages a big oven spring. Immediately place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the buns for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and baked all the way through. Let cool completely before slicing and enjoying. We love toasting our cooled burger buns and enjoying with burgers or pulled pork. Enjoy!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover easy sourdough burger buns?

I put leftover burger buns in a ziplock bag, squeeze the air out and freeze. They keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Defrost and toast when ready to use.

Can I make these into hot dog buns instead of burger buns?

Yes! Cut the dough into 10 pieces and roll them into rectangular hot dog-shaped buns instead of rolls. Proof and bake according to recipe directions.

What can I substitute for the buttermilk in this recipe?

This recipe benefits from the tenderness the buttermilk brings to the dough, but you can substitute milk instead of buttermilk if desired.

Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

Tender, fluffy and made with 100% natural yeast, these easy sourdough burger buns are perfect for your summer BBQ. Sturdy yet soft, these buns are delicious toasted or eaten plain. Enjoy them with your next meal and make them today!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Fermentation Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 40 minutes
Course Bread, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 buns


Levain (overnight, 10-12 hours at 78ºF)

  • 10 grams ripe/active sourdough starter
  • 100 grams all purpose flour
  • 100 grams water

Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

  • 200 grams levain
  • 240 grams buttermilk see recipe notes
  • 1 large egg about 50 grams
  • 42 grams sugar
  • 515 grams bread flour
  • 11 grams salt
  • 57 grams unsalted butter, softened about 4 Tablespoons


  • 1 large egg for egg wash
  • a splash of water for egg wash
  • sesame seeds or everything but the bagel seasoning to top


Levain (overnight/12 hours at 78 degrees F).

  • Mix together 10 grams of ripe and active sourdough starter with 100 grams flour and 100 grams water. Cover and let rise overnight or about 12 hours until it has many bubbles, doubled in size and peaked.

Easy Sourdough Burger Buns

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer add levain, buttermilk, egg, sugar, most of the bread flour and salt. Mix until completely combined and add the rest of the flour a little bit at a time until the dough is tacky (not super sticky) and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead together for 3-5 minutes until smooth.
  • Cut the softened butter into 4 pieces and add them one at a time into the center of the dough as it mixes. Continue kneading for another 5 minutes until all the butter is incorporated and the dough is smooth and shiny.
  • Put the dough in a container and set it in a warm place for 4-5 hours. Dough temperature should be 78 degrees F during this bulk fermentation. If your dough is colder than 78 degrees F, you will want to extend bulk fermentation. If the dough is warmer, bulk fermentation will be a little shorter.
  • At the end of bulk fermentation, the dough will have puffed up a little (maybe 20%-30%) and feel smooth and airy. If it hasn't done these things, let it sit for a little longer. At the end of bulk fermentation, you have the option to place the dough in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 48 hours. You may need to add a little extra rise time to the dough after shaping if you use a cold ferment.
  • Dump the dough out onto a countertop. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 130 grams each. Take each piece of dough and pull/pinch up the sides until it forms a ball. Roll the ball on the counter using your hand in a cupping shape (see video here) to seal the balls and create tension for the roll to rise. 
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place dough balls on the baking sheet apart from each other. Cover the dough and let the buns rise for 2-3 hours. I like to set my covered dough in my oven with the light turned on. This keeps the buns in a warm (78-80 degree F) environment to rise.
  • You will know the burger buns have risen when they are puffed up and feel light and airy. The dough will not be hard or stiff. When you push in on the dough it will leave a small indentation in the dough, springing back just a little bit. If the dough springs back completely and the dough feels hard or compact, let it rise another half hour and check on it again. You may need to warm up the dough if it doesn't seem to be rising much.
  • Once the buns have risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (remove the buns from the oven first if they are in there for rising). Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven to prevent the bottom of the buns from burning.
  • Mix together the egg with a splash of water and brush egg wash on top of the buns if desired. Sprinkle with your favorite topping, ie: sesame seeds or "everything but the bagel" seasoning.
  • Take a handful of ice cubes and place them in a baking pan. Place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven, immediately adding the pan of burger buns on the rack above the ice cubes. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until light brown and baked all the way through. Let cool completely before toasting or using as burger buns. Enjoy!


Buttermilk: I have made this recipe with both 2% milk and buttermilk. The buns turn out more tender and have a little more flavor if you use the buttermilk, but they are delicious with the milk as well. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, milk will work fine in a pinch.
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    New to working with sour dough. I thought these turned out really nice, very large and soft. My proofing took quite a long time but I was patient and it paid off. Thank you for the detailed instructions and great recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Hi!! Your recipes never lead me astray and this one is no different! Tried these today and they were amazing!! Question – if I wanted to freeze the dough balls, when in the process would I do that? After I shape them before the 2nd rise? We farm and I do meals in the field. I’m trying to stock up on buns. My husband thinks he would like them better fresh than coming from the freezer! Thanks ❤️