Creating the most perfect burger requires getting the best possible ingredients. One of the most important ingredients is the burger’s bun.
There are many different types of burger buns on the market and each one has its pros and cons. Two things they all need to have in common are their ability to be loaded with ingredients and the texture soft and fluffy when bitten into.
With there now being so many different types of burgers on the market like turkey burgers, chicken burgers, and salmon burgers, it is important to pick a burger bun that will work best for the individual type of burger.
Thankfully, there are tons on the market!
So, what are the best burger buns out there? The best burger buns are the original plain hamburger bun, sesame bun, ciabatta bun, brioche bun, pretzel bun, and onion bun.
Keep reading to learn about each bun’s characteristics, what types of burgers they work best with, and qualities to consider before choosing a burger bun.
Qualities To Consider When Choosing a Burger Bun
When deciding on the perfect bun for your burger, there are a few qualities you have to consider to ensure you are picking the best possible option:
When choosing a bun, the first and most important thing to base your decision off is what kind of meat you’ll be using.
Today, almost any meat can become a burger. There are of course classic beef burgers, but also turkey burgers, chicken burgers, vegetarian burgers, and even salmon burgers.
Because each meat has such a unique taste, some buns work best (and some not so great) with certain meats.
For example, salmon has a rich and slight fishy taste to it. If you paired it with a buttery pretzel bun, the flavors would not meld well together. Even the texture of the salmon and the pretzel would not make a good pair.
It is important to think of both the flavors and texture of your chosen burger meat before picking the bun.
Just like meats have a specific flavor, so do buns—not all bread is created equal.
It is important to think about each buns flavor and if it is one you want mixing with your specific burger.
Some buns, like traditional hamburger buns, are mild and can work with just about any meat, where potato buns are starchy and taste slightly like potatoes and would not work well with salmon burgers.
Keep the bun flavor in mind when choosing a bun for your burger.
Another characteristic to keep in mind is bun texture as it can make or break your burger experience.
Some buns tend to be on the thicker and more sturdy side, which works best for heavily loaded burgers or juicy meat, where thinner buns work best for simple burgers or meat with less moisture.
Deciding on a bun with the correct texture could either complement the burger well or be responsible for it completely falling apart. This is why texture is so important.
Condiments And Burger Additions
The last characteristics to consider are the condiments and toppings your plan on including on your burger.
Most traditional condiments like ketchup, mustard or mayo, work well on all sorts of burger buns. However, unique toppings or condiment combinations may not work on some type of buns.
For example, maybe you want to recreate that blue cheeseburger you got at a restaurant last week. It had blue cheese crumbles and balsamic onions on top of a delectable beef patty.
These types of condiments would taste odd on a starchy potato bun. The bun would also soak up all of the condiments’ flavor and take over the taste of the burger.
You would want to use a ciabatta or possibly a brioche bun for this type of burger.
Not only do the flavor of condiments affect your bun choice, but the number of condiments do as well. For fully-loaded burgers, you need something with more stability like a ciabatta or brioche bun.
For burgers with fewer ingredients, plain, sesame, and onion buns work great.
Burger Bun Types
Now let’s look at each type of burger bun to see their different qualities, like flavor and texture, as well as what kind of meats and condiments they pair best with.
Traditional White Bread Burger Bun
This type of burger bun is one you are probably most familiar with. They are the buns most often bought at the grocery store and brought to picnics and barbecues.
The traditional white bread burger bun is also most often used in fast-food restaurants, both chain and family-owned. This is the bun we are all most familiar with.
This burger bun is as simple as they come. Made with white bread, there is not too much flavor; it quite often tastes like a thicker piece of bread, and the texture is just the same.
These tend to be on the smaller side compared to other burger buns and they also are not as durable or sturdy as some other options.
Because they are less sturdy than other buns, it would be best to use the traditional white burger buns when making a burger with simple ingredients.
Traditional smash burgers (which come with just cheese, pickles and ketchup usually) or a hamburger or cheeseburger with minimal toppings would work best for this bun.
I would stay away from using lots of condiments or sauces as the bread could fall apart.
Because they do not have a lot of flavor, these burger buns work well with just about any type of burger.
Beef, turkey, chicken, and vegetarian or vegan burgers would pair well, as long as the burgers are seasoned well (and you do not need too many condiments!)
The sesame bun is also a popular bun choice, like the traditional white bun.
They are usually found right next to the traditional buns at the store and can be found at some fast-food restaurants as well (hello Big Mac!)
The sesame bun however is very simple in its flavor. It is also made with white bread and the only difference between a sesame bun and a traditional bun is the addition of sesame seeds.
However, the sesame seeds add very minimal flavor and seem to be more for looks than anything. Most often, you can hardly taste the sesame at all.
These buns are a bit smaller in size and they are not as sturdy as some other options. This makes them a good option for burgers that do not hold a lot of ingredients or with meats that are extremely moist and juicy.
Though the sesame taste is minimal, it would be tasty when paired with a salmon burger. Add Asian-inspired ingredients like avocado, cabbage, and spicy mayo and you have yourself a unique tasting burger.
However, you also could recreate a Big Mac at home! Add similar ingredients like a spread, lettuce, and cheese, with a beef burger and you have a very classic taste.
The only meat I would keep away from the sesame bun would be chicken or turkey burgers as the flavors may not meld together as nicely.
Ciabatta buns are a popular choice amongst those who prefer a craft or unique tasting burger.
The ciabatta has a thick and crunchy exterior with a soft and airy center. Their shape is unique as well—they are more square than round. However, they are usually bigger than store-bought burger patties and can hold round patties well.
Ciabatta buns are delicious with a buttery and rich taste to them that is a great option for a burger.
Because ciabatta buns are thick, they can hold a lot of ingredients (like condiments that tend to make other bun options soggy) and they are a great choice for meats that are juicy and moist.
Ciabatta buns work well with many different types of burgers. However, choose a ciabatta bun if you want a loaded burger or lots of sauces and condiments as this is the best option for that.
The thick texture of the bun helps keep its integrity and does not fall apart.
Traditional beef burgers pair great with ciabatta as they tend to be the juiciest meat.
Also, try eating your turkey, chicken, or vegetarian burgers with ciabatta buns. As these meats tend to be a bit on the drier side, adding condiments helps with flavor, and the ciabatta can handle the extra condiments.
Brioche buns tend to be considered the “fancy” bun on this list.
Brioche buns can be found at certain grocery stores, but they can also be spotted at nicer restaurants that still have a burger on their menu. Steak houses, for example, will sometimes have a burger with a brioche bun on their menu.
Brioche buns are made with more egg and flour than a traditional bun or other type of bread, and the addition of butter and milk products makes many consider these buns a pastry.
They have a beautiful brown and shiny outside with a soft and airy inside that makes them delicious with all sorts of meat.
Brioche tastes rich and buttery and that buttery flavor adds a wonderful layer of flavor to a burger.
They also tend to handle lots of ingredients and condiments well, therefore just about any type of burger works well with a brioche bun.
Beef works best, but also chicken and turkey taste great on a brioche bun.
The one group who needs to be cautious of brioche buns are vegans. As they are safe for vegetarians, they use milk products and should not be consumed by vegans—so they may not work for all veggie burgers.
Pretzel buns are a fun and unique option that may be hard to find in stores.
However, many pubs and breweries are now making burgers with pretzel buns (pretzels and beer go extremely well together!)
Out of all the buns on this list, pretzel buns have the most unique look and flavor. They are a dark brown on the outside, as they look like a pretzel you would buy at a carnival or in a bag at a grocery store.
The taste is even more unique as they also taste like a traditional pretzel: buttery, yeasty, and salty.
The texture of the bun is strong as it has a tough and crisp exterior with a soft and airy center.
This makes the pretzel bun extremely durable to a lot of ingredients however it also can make the pretzel bun the hardest to control and bite into.
Though it could withstand a lot of condiments, the pretzel bun works best with minimal ingredients as the bun itself is meant to be one of the main flavor profiles.
You want to keep a pretzel burger really simple: meat, cheese, and some ketchup or mustard and you got yourself a delicious burger.
The only meat that truly works well with a pretzel bun is beef. I would stay away from drier meats like chicken, turkey, or veggie. Also, the flavor of pretzel and salmon burgers does not work well together.
Potato buns are another option that are easily accessible in many grocery stores; however, you will not see many burgers served on potato buns out at restaurants.
Potato buns are unique as they are the starchiest and most thick option here on this bun list.
They look a lot like traditional buns; however, they are thicker and tend to have a slight layer of flour on top of the bun.
They also tend to be extremely dense and soft both on the inside and outside and they have a slight potato taste to them.
Their density allows potato buns to withstand many different condiments and toppings as their thickness helps them stay together.
The taste and dense texture of the potato buns can really affect the overall flavor of your burger.
The potato flavor of the bun has the potential to take over and this means it is important to have lots of condiments on the burger (thankfully, it can withstand them!)
Because of this, chicken and turkey burgers are a great option for this bun. Both types of meat need lots of toppings and condiments to ensure flavor, and the potato bun can handle it.
This also would be a great bun for veggie burgers or portobello mushroom burgers as they also both need a bit more sauce for flavor.
I would stay away from salmon burgers here. The flavor of the potato and salmon do not work well together.
Last on our list is the onion bun, which is an extremely flavorful option.
Onion buns are accessible in many grocery stores but don’t expect to find them served at many restaurants.
Onion buns are very similar to traditional white or sesame buns in both looks but also texture.
Made from white bread, onion buns are soft and dense and pretty thin and flimsy compared to some other options here on the list. Both the inside and outside are soft and airy.
However, the bun is infused with onion flavor, and the top bun actually has pieces of caramelized onion in the bun.
Where the sesame seeds do not add a lot of flavor, these onions pop with flavor without compromising the texture.
Second to the pretzel bun, these onion buns have the most flavor and it makes a big difference when building your burger.
If onions are not your thing, stay away from these buns. However, if you like onions, these are a great option.
They do not hold a lot of condiments and ingredients well, but they do not need a lot of additions as the flavor is already great.
Quite honestly, any meat works well with an onion bun as long as you are okay with the flavor. Try beef, chicken, turkey, veggie, or salmon burgers—just keep the condiments to a minimum.
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