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Unless you’re on a gluten-free diet, hamburger buns can be a great staple in your cost-effective kitchen.
They are readily available at all grocery stores and come in a variety of sizes and prices to fit every family’s needs.
So what do you do if you’ve gone overboard and bought more hamburger buns than you need?
Fortunately, you have a few options, which include freezing the leftover buns. Let’s dive in to the details…
Can You Freeze Hamburger Buns?
Yes, you can freeze hamburger buns! The length of time they can be frozen will depend on how they were made and how they were frozen.
Commercially prepared hamburger buns can last up to 7 days or more stored at room temperature while commercially prepared fresh bakery items and homemade buns will generally last 3 to 5 days stored at room temperature.
If you find yourself with a number of hamburger buns that can’t be consumed before they go stale and become moldy you can either find recipes to use them up quickly or pop them in the freezer for another time. But is freezing worth it?
Both store-bought and homemade buns will freeze well. Frozen hamburger buns will retain their quality for 1 to 3 months or 1 to 3 years if properly vacuum sealed.
How to freeze hamburger buns
There are four methods you can use to freeze hamburger buns. I’ve actually used all four over the years.
Freezing Method #1
The simplest and easiest method of freezing store-bought hamburger buns is to toss them straight into the freezer in their original packaging. To store homemade hamburger buns with this method, simply toss them into the freezer in whatever container you have them stored in.
Pro Tip: Do not freeze warm buns. Let them cool to room temperature before freezing.
The main advantage of this method is that it is quick and easy. You just toss and you’re done. Another advantage of this method is that it doesn’t cost you any extra money for freezing supplies.
There are three disadvantages to storing hamburger buns this way.
First, hamburger buns frozen this way will only retain their quality for about one month. They will dry quickly and get freezer burn more easily than other freezing methods.
The second disadvantage is that your buns could easily pick up odors from your freezer, especially if you have frozen things like fish and onions in it.
The third disadvantage of this method is that the buns will be frozen together so they must be thawed together. You will not be able to thaw one bun at a time. It’s all or nothing with this method of freezing.
Freezing Method #2
Another relatively quick way to freeze commercially made hamburger buns is to take the original packaging and place it inside of a freezer-safe plastic bag, a freezer-safe container, or to wrap the original packaging in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Should you have homemade buns, simply make sure they are double-wrapped or packaged.
Like the first method, this way of freezing hamburger buns is relatively quick and easy. But the biggest advantage this method has over the first is that your buns have two layers between them and the air and odors in your freezer, allowing them to retain their quality for 1 to 2 months, sometimes longer.
The major disadvantage of using this method is the added cost. When you are trying to maintain a cost-effective kitchen, using an extra freezer bag, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap may not seem worth it. Another disadvantage is that air can still get to your buns causing them to dry out.
Freezing Method #3
Another way to freeze hamburger buns is to wrap each bun individually with plastic wrap or aluminum foil then place your wrapped buns inside of another freezer-safe plastic bag or container.
The main advantage of this method is that your hamburger buns will retain their quality for up to 3 months.
By wrapping the buns individually then placing them in another freezer-safe container, you are keeping more air and odors away from them and extending the length of time your frozen buns will retain their quality.
While this method of freezing will give you another month or two of freezer storage, it is more time consuming and expensive to freeze buns this way and I wouldn’t recommend it.
The effort and expense aren’t cost-effective. With that said, there is a fourth method that I believe has its place in a cost-effective kitchen.
Freezing Method #4
The best way to freeze hamburger buns to retain the best quality is to flash freeze your buns for a couple of hours then vacuum seal and toss into the freezer.
You can flash freeze your homemade or store-bought buns by placing them onto a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap or flash freeze in freezer-safe containers.
The biggest advantage of freezing your buns in a vacuum seal bag is that they will retain their quality 1 to 3 years as long as the bag retains its seal. That’s a big difference over the other two methods.
This method of freezing takes planning, time, and money. You must plan to be available after a few hours to vacuum seal your buns and you must be willing to spend the money on the vacuum seal bags.
If you love to bake but don’t have time to bake often, this method will allow you to bake in bulk then freeze, saving you time and effort over the course of a year or longer.
Pro Tip: No matter what you are freezing, you should always write the date you froze the item on the bag, on a label, or just on a piece of tape stuck to the freezer container.
Related Frequently Asked Questions
How to thaw hamburger buns
The best way to thaw hamburger buns is to simply pull them out of the freezer and set them on the counter for up to about an hour. However, you can also defrost them in the microwave, the oven, or a toaster oven if you’re in a hurry. Or you could also thaw them on the stovetop or grill if you like toasted buns.
How to defrost hamburger buns in the microwave
When defrosting a whole package of hamburger buns in the microwave, the first thing you need to do is remove the clip or tie used to close the bag.
Then, microwave the whole package on your microwave’s defrost setting in 30 to 60-second increments. To ensure more even thawing, separate the buns as they start to thaw.
Be careful not to cook your buns. Leaving them heating in the microwave after they have thawed will result in tough, chewy buns.
To defrost one bun at a time, wrap the bun in a paper towel and defrost using your microwave’s defrost setting in 15 to 30-second increments until thawed.
How to defrost hamburger buns in the oven or toaster oven
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350° F. Lightly dampen the buns with water and reheat until warmed through. This should take no more than four or five minutes max.
You can dampen the buns by lightly spritzing them with a mister or rubbing the buns with wet hands.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your buns in the toaster oven as they may defrost quicker than in the large oven.
How to thaw hamburger buns on the stovetop or grill
For delicious buttery toasted buns, you can thaw them straight from frozen using your stovetop or grill. You can even thaw them on your electric griddle.
Simply brush butter on to the buns and toast over medium heat until they are heated through and toasted to your satisfaction.
How to freeze hamburger buns without freezer burn
The best way to prevent your hamburger buns from getting freezer burn is to flash freeze them and vacuum seal. the next best way to prevent your hamburger buns from getting freezer burn his to wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil then place them inside of another airtight, freezer-safe container.
Can you refreeze hamburger buns?
Yes, you can safely refreeze hamburger buns. However, freezing and thawing and then refreezing your buns will tend to make your bread taste stale. It may also pick up some off-flavors.
How to keep hamburgers fresh
In order to keep your hamburger buns fresh, do not put them in the refrigerator. They should be stored in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. If using foil, be sure the foil is closed completely around your hamburger buns to ensure no air gets inside and dries them out.
How to store hamburger buns
The best way to store hamburger buns is on the counter or in the pantry rather than the refrigerator. You can also store in the freezer to extend shelf life.
Can you store hamburger buns in the refrigerator?
It is safe to store your hamburger buns in the refrigerator but it is not advisable. The refrigerator will cause the buns to dry out quicker and they will likely pick up odors from the fridge.
How to freshen hamburger buns
To freshen up stale hamburger buns, wrap them in aluminum foil and place in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 5 minutes or so until warmed through. Leave the buns wrapped in foil until you’re ready to eat.
How to soften up hamburger buns
To soften up hard buns in the microwave, wrap with a damp (not soaking wet) paper towel and microwave on high in 10 to 15 seconds.
How to soften hamburger buns by steaming
Some people prefer steamed buns over toasted. If this is you then softening them by steaming may be the answer. With that said, this method of thawing requires a lot of attention.
If you own a double-boiler, layer your buns into it and steam for about 15 seconds.
Should you use this method, you must be sure that the water from the bottom of the pan does not touch the buns and you must be sure not to oversteam them. Either one of these mistakes leads to very soggy buns.
Can you freeze hot dog buns?
Yes, you can freeze hot dog buns using the exact same methods to freeze hamburger buns.
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Final Thoughts from Cost-Effective Kitchen
Freezing hamburger buns is a great way to reduce food waste. However, you must decide how much effort you are willing to put into it. And how much money you are willing to spend preserving your buns.
As a cost-effective cook, I value my time as much as I do my money. So, no, I will not put forth ANY extra time, effort, or money to freeze hamburger buns. It’s so not worth it!
Instead, I would always find a way to use up any extra buns within a day or so. If I wasn’t able to use up the buns, I would just toss them into the freezer in their original packaging.
Then, I’d be sure to use them within the next few weeks, usually as a quick sandwich!
One of the best ways to use up leftover hamburger buns is to make a grilled meat and cheese sandwich. Think ham and swiss, turkey and American, or roast beef and provolone.
Or just toss on some deli meat and cheese and pop in the microwave until the cheese is melted.
Remember, whenever you’re looking at freezing an item to reduce food waste, you need to also balance the time it will take and the extra money it will cost you.
Until next time…