Maybe you’re a bulk shopper, or maybe you overestimated the number of hamburgers that were going to need buns at your last BBQ. For whatever reason, you’ve found yourself with a couple (or a dozen) buns that aren’t going to stay fresh between now and your next burger bash.
For reference, hamburger buns will usually last for 5 – 7 days if they’re kept in their original packaging and stored at room temperature. There are a lot of variables that can change that estimation though, including humidity, and how air-tight the packaging is.
So what do you do with the buns, so you know they won’t go to waste? You freeze them!
You can freeze hamburger buns for up to 3 months without worrying about freezer burn, but to protect them from getting soggy or drying out upon thawing, you’ll want to follow a few simple steps.
5 Secrets to Perfectly Frozen Hamburger Buns
1. The First Secret Is to Make Sure Your Buns Are Room Temperature:
If they’re warm at all when you wrap them up for freezing, they’re going to steam when then hit the ice-cold air of your freezer. That will lead to condensation, which is never good.
If you leave them in the freezer too long, that condensation turns to freezer burn. And if you thaw them in time to prevent that horror story from happening, when you thaw them the condensation is going to make your bun soggy, which might even be worse. So make sure your buns are not warm. At all.
2. The Second Secret Is in Individuality:
It may seem like a bit of a waste, but you really want to wrap each bun separately in plastic wrap. This helps protect them from any air getting access to their delicate crusts, making sure they don’t dry out and/or stick together.
As an added bonus, you’ll be able to defrost a single serving any time you want without feeling like you need to wait for the next family gathering so that you can use up the whole bag. Burger for one? Yes, please!
If you aren’t going to use plastic wrap, then make sure you get a quality double-sealed freezer bag.
3. The Third Secret Is to Save the Date:
Once they’re all individually wrapped, consider writing the date on the plastic wrap so you know how long they’ve been in the freezer. 3 months is about as long as they’ll stay fresh, and for best results, try to get them in the freezer as fresh as you can.
4. The Fourth Secret Is All in the Layering:
You can now put them in your freezer, but it’s a good idea to set them out in a single layer, at least until they’re thoroughly frozen.
Once they’re frozen you can stack them, but if you stack them before they’re frozen, they’ll squish under the weight of their fellows, and they won’t spring back to life quite as perfectly when they defrost.
5. The Fifth and Final Secret Is Absolute Bananas:
In my books, this is hands down the most important rule: never, ever, under any circumstances freeze your hamburger buns next to bananas.
The bananas will saturate your buns with their scent and flavor, and not in a good, banana bread kind of way.
How to Thaw Frozen Hamburger Buns
Once you perfect the freezing process, the last thing you want to do is ruin all your hard work in the defrosting phase. There aren’t as many steps here, but there are a few tricks that you can try out.
First, unwrap it as soon as you take it out of the freezer. Place it on a paper towel, which will draw any moisture without drying out the bun.
When you see (or feel) that it’s about halfway thawed, flip it over. This will help keep the right amount of moisture in the bun, without letting it get soggy on the bottom.
Hamburger buns are typically very light and airy, so they don’t take long to thaw or warm up. If you like them warmed or toasted, you can do that straight from frozen.
Toasting Hamburger Buns in the Oven, Stovetop, or Grill
However you’re cooking your burger patties, consider using the already warmed-up heat source to toast up your buns as well.
If you’re using the oven or the grill, simply wait until the patties have only 5 minutes left to go and then put the buns next to them for the last few minutes.
Keep an eye on them diligently though, so you don’t over toast! If you’re cooking your patties on the stovetop, you can use the same pan once your patties are done, and you’ll get a meaty boost to the flavor of your bun in the process.
Defrosting & Warming Hamburger Buns in the Microwave
This can be tricky. Seconds can literally make a difference here. Wrap your bun completely in a paper towel, as this will help prevent it from getting soggy or drying out.
It’s best to keep the top and bottom separate. Start with 10 seconds, check it, and only put it on for another 5 or 10 seconds if it’s not hot enough for your tastes and flip the pieces before putting it on for more time.
Steaming Your Buns
Steaming is also a totally viable way to warm up your buns, but you’ll have to be extra careful not to let them get soggy.
If you have a double boiler or bamboo steamer you can put your buns in either of those for 10 – 20 seconds. It really doesn’t take long!
If you don’t have a double boiler, you can simply boil water in a pot and use tongs to hold your buns over the steam for a few seconds.
Freezing & Reheating Burger Patties
If you’re left with too many buns, there’s a good chance you also have a few cooked burger patties on your hands that need to be dealt with. You can freeze them too!
Follow very similar rules to the buns: wait for the patties to cool completely and then wrap them individually to seal moisture in and air out.
When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them completely in the fridge first.
When they’re no longer frozen, you can warm them back up on the stove or grill. It’ll be much like cooking them for the first time, just quicker!
The one thing you want to be very careful about is making sure the burgers are completely cooked before freezing them. Half-cooked meat is more likely to seal in bacteria, and you definitely don’t want that.
What About Hot Dogs?
Hot dogs and hamburgers are frequently seen in each other’s company, so if you’ve got leftover hamburgers you might just have leftover hot dogs as well.
The good news is that hot dog buns can be frozen, thawed and warmed up in exactly the same way as hamburger buns.
The hot dog wieners themselves are a slightly different question.
Because they have preservatives in them, hot dogs that are not cooked will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, though they can also be put directly in the freezer, where they’ll last for up to 2 months.
You can also freeze cooked hot dogs, wrapping them individually just like the burger patties and buns.
Depending on how they were cooked in the first place, how you thaw and warm them up may differ. If they were boiled, you can boil them again to thaw and warm, or you can toss them on a grill or stovetop.
However, if they were originally grilled, you’re not going to want to boil them. Instead, let them thaw and then reheat the same way they were cooked.
How Do You Keep Hamburger Buns Warm?
If you’ve ever had a barbeque, you know there’s a subtle art to keeping hamburger buns warm without letting them get either soggy or dried out.
If you don’t know the secret to that trick, it’s remarkably easy: wrap them in tinfoil. You can also put them in a basket with a tea towel covering them.
Does Freezing Bread Ruin It?
Actually, freezing bread is one of the best ways to keep it as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Too much moisture in bread can make it go moldy and too little moisture will dry it out, making it taste and feel stale.
Freezing it while it’s still fresh stop both of those things from happening and keeps it fresh until you’re ready to eat it. Of course, there are limitations, and even in the freezer you only want to store bread for a maximum of 3 months.
How Can You Tell if Your Hamburger Bun Has Gone Bad?
One of the most obvious signs is, of course, mold. Most mold that grows on bread is blue-ish in color, but it can also be white and difficult to see.
Smell your bread and look carefully for anything that looks slightly fuzzy. If you see mold on any of the buns, it’s best to discard the entire package.