The Only Buns You Should Ever Buy from the Grocery Store

updated May 1, 2019
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For me, part of the appeal of Martin’s Potato Rolls is right there on its quaint plastic packaging. The hearts and tulips surrounding its logo look like something your grandmother might’ve embroidered and framed and, as you place them tenderly in your shopping cart, you’ll spot the words “Delicious to Serve at the Nicest Dinners,” stamped on the side in tidy red letters.

If it didn’t have a Facebook logo on the flip-side, it would look like something out of a 1950s fever dream and, in a way, that’s exactly what Martin’s rolls are. They’re also the best freaking hot dog and hamburger buns you can buy.

(Image credit: Target)

A Brief History of Martin’s Potato Rolls

Martin’s Potato Rolls started in the Pennsylvania kitchen of Lois and Lloyd Martin, as the two local bakery workers worked to perfect their own recipe. In 1955, they turned a converted garage into Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe and, although that might’ve been a bold claim when they started baking their now-signature potato rolls, the couple quickly developed the local cred to back it up.

By the end of the 1950s, they were selling their rolls wholesale to Pennsylvania grocery stores. The couple then outgrew their garage, and expanded into the much larger modern bakery (located at 1000 Potato Roll Lane, because everything about Martin’s is adorable) where Lloyd and Lois’ family members continue to operate the business. Fun fact: The couple’s original garage has been preserved inside the visitor’s center at the current location.

Why Martin’s Potato Rolls Are the Best Rolls

If you’re already familiar with Martin’s Potato Rolls, then you know what I’m going on about because you’ve experienced their pillowy softness and buttery flavor, and the way that every single one somehow manages to taste like it was baked, like, five minutes ago. (I have legit considered sneaking an entire bag of their dinner rolls into a movie theater.)

Buy: Martin’sSandwich Potato Rolls, $4 for eight at Target

And, even if you don’t know Martin’s by name, there’s a good chance you’ve had their rolls: Shake Shack has been serving its burgers on Martin’s rolls since the day it opened. “We wanted to evoke the classic, simple burger of most people’s childhoods,” Shake Shack culinary director Mark Rosati told Eater. “Out of all the buns that were tested in the early days, what we found was great about Martin’s was that it cradled the meat perfectly — it absorbed the juices, but it didn’t become soggy.”

Shake Shake isn’t alone in its assessment. Serious Eats ranked the best buns, and Martin’s was the clear winner. “The gold standard of burger buns,” James Beard-nominated chef J. Kenji López-Alt wrote.

If you’re not convinced yet, that’s fine — MOAR MARTIN’S FOR ME. But here’s more to help change your mind: In the past few years, Martin’s has responded to customer feedback by swapping artificial color additives for turmeric, ditching chemicals like azodicarbonamide, and using all non-GMO sourced ingredients and real cane sugar in place of high-fructose corn syrup. (That’s why I felt kind of OK with my movie theater plan.)

So yeah, whether you’re serving them at “The Nicest Dinners” or just shoving one in your face while you stand over your kitchen sink (shhh — you don’t know me), they’re pretty much the best.

What do you think? Do you share in my love for Martin’s?