Whether from the store or homemade, a cache of hamburger buns in the freezer means you’re always ready to grill up some burgers. Moisture loss is the main enemy that leads to a stale bun, but thawing them properly rewards you with soft, fresh-tasting buns in no time.
You can defrost hamburger buns quickly by simply removing them from the freezer and setting them on the counter. Leave them wrapped in their freezer packaging so they don’t dry out as they defrost. They reabsorb any moisture in the bag so they aren’t overly dry when you’re ready to use them. Defrost times vary depending on room temperature and how many buns are in the package. A single bun may thaw within 15 to 20 minutes, while a full bag may need an hour.
Heating further refreshes the flavor and texture of hamburger buns so they taste almost as good as fresh ones. Warm the buns in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for five to 10 minutes. If you’re cooking burgers on a grill or griddle, brush the inside of the buns lightly with butter or oil and set them on the grill to warm and toast them slightly. Crisping them also prevents the buns from absorbing the condiments on the burger and becoming soggy. After heating, let the buns rest for 10 minutes so the heat can move moisture from the interior to the exterior of the bun.
Thin bread bags alone aren’t good enough for freezer storage. If you’re freezing an entire bag of buns, place the whole bag in a large freezer storage bag and seal it closed. Wrapping each bun individually in foil or plastic wrap further prevents them from drying out, and the buns won’t stick together so you can remove and defrost only what you need. Buns store well in the freezer for up to three months before they begin to dry out.
Thawed hamburger buns are best used the same day, but the buns taste freshest if you use them within two hours of warming them. They dry out and become stale quickly at room temperature. Refrigerating is never a good idea, because the climate in the fridge tends to dry out buns even more quickly than room temperature storage or freezing.