Whether from the store or homemade, a cache of hamburger buns in the freezer means you are always prepared to grill up some burgers. Moisture loss is the main enemy that leads to a stale hamburger bun, but thawing the buns properly rewards you with soft, fresh-tasting buns in just a short time.
Bread doesn’t spoil at room temperature, so you can defrost hamburger buns quickly by simply removing them from the freezer and setting them on the counter. Leave the buns wrapped in their freezer packaging so they don’t dry out as they defrost. The thawing buns reabsorb any moisture in the bag so they aren’t overly dry when you are ready to use them. Defrost times vary depending on room temperature and how many buns the package contains. A single bun may thaw within 15 to 20 minutes, while a full bag of buns may require an hour.
Heating further refreshes the flavor and texture of the hamburger buns so they taste almost as good as fresh buns. Refresh the buns in a 350-degrees Fahrenheit oven for five to 10 minutes, or just long enough to warm them through. If you are cooking burgers on a grill or griddle, brush the inside of the buns lightly with butter or oil and set them on the grill. This warms the buns and toasts them slightly. Crisping the interior 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 are 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. Hamburger buns store well in the freezer for up to three months before they begin to dry out.
Thawed and refreshed hamburger buns are best used the same day, but the buns taste freshest if you use them within two hours of warming them. They will dry out and become stale quickly at room temperature. Refrigerating is never a good idea, because the climate in the refrigerator tends to dry out buns even more quickly than room temperature storage or freezing.
References and ResourcesNational Center for Home Food Preservation: General Freezing Information
The Kitchn: The Best Ways to Store and Reheat Bread
Still Tasty: Hamburger Rolls or Buns, Commercially Baked -- Unopened or Opened