Homemade Slider Buns

published Jan 13, 2023
Slider Buns Recipe

A basic baking recipe for yeasted slider buns that can be used to build mini burgers.

Makes18 (3-inch) buns

Prep45 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 15 minutes

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Slider buns on baking sheet
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

What’s a better bread vehicle for a burger or spicy fried chicken sandwich than a soft, squishy golden bun? Well, a cute, tiny version of that pillowy bread — aka a slider bun!

Tender, soft, squishy, and melt-in-your-mouth are all terms associated with a texture of a perfect bun — regular or slider-size. To achieve that delicate crumb, we must use bread dough enriched with fatty ingredients like butter, oil, and egg yolks, and dairies like cream or milk. In this recipe, we add cream cheese, an ingredient that not just helps with a delicate tender texture, but also adds a lovely lactic flavor. Adding fresh cheese to dough can be found in many cultures across Eastern Europe and Asia.

The History of Sliders

The term “slider” is believed to have originated in mid-20th century and was popularized by United Stated Navy sailors who used the term to refer to a greasy miniature burger. The mini burger we know today was first associated with and popularized by the fast-food chain White Castle

Do You Need a Stand Mixer to Make Homemade Slider Buns?

Although this recipe calls for a stand mixer, the dough can be made entirely by hand. Be aware that if made by hand, you must give this dough a good kneading action, most likely lasting 15 to 20 minutes, or until a smooth but softish dough forms. 

Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

What to Make with Homemade Slider Buns

Mini burgers are the most obvious way to use slider buns, but there are so many more possibilities!

  • You can slice the buns in half for your next party and stuff them with various cold, creamy salads for an easy and delicious snack. I suggest Japanese-style egg salad or creamy chicken or tuna salad.
  • For an Italian flair, you can dress the buns with pesto or olive tapenade and layer with cold cuts, cheese, pickles, and arugula.
  • You can also make mini sandwiches with Korean fried chicken dressed with soy garlic or spicy sauce and serve it with mayo and a variety of pickles on the side.
  • Did I mention these buns can be served as dinner rolls?

Slider Buns Recipe

A basic baking recipe for yeasted slider buns that can be used to build mini burgers.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 15 minutes

Makes 18 (3-inch) buns

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces

    full-fat cream cheese

  • 1 cup

    whole milk

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet

    active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 2 3/4 cups

    bread flour (13 ounces), plus more for rolling

  • 3 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons

    neutral oil, such as canola or avocado, plus more for the bowl

  • 3 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Cooking spray

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 tablespoon

    water

  • 1/4 cup

    white sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut 3 ounces cream cheese into 4 pieces.

  2. Place 1 cup whole milk and 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with a whisk or fork until the yeast is dissolved. Add the cream cheese, 2 3/4 cups bread flour, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 3 tablespoons neutral oil, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

  3. Mix with the hook attachment on low speed (#3 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until a smooth, fairly soft dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers forms, about 10 minutes.

  4. Coat a large bowl with neutral oil or cooking spray. Transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

  5. Punch the dough down with your fist to deflate it. Lift the dough, and in your hands, fold it on itself a couple of times to form a ball. Return the dough to the bowl seam-side down. Cover again and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours.

  6. When ready to proceed, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper lightly coated with cooking spray.

  7. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 18 pieces (about 1 1/2 ounces each). To do this without a scale, pat the dough down into a rectangle. Cut the dough lengthwise into 2 even pieces, then cut each piece crosswise into 9 pieces for a total of 18.

  8. Form each piece into a round ball by pushing down with the heel of your hand (lightly flour your hand but not the work surface if the dough is sticky) while moving your hand in a circular motion, then cupping the ball toward the end (here are step-by-step photos). Place them on the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. Flatten each ball slightly with your hand until about 2-inches wide.

  9. Cover the buns with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towels. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 375ºF. Place 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until fully combined. If you want to be fancy like a pro chef, strain it through the fine-mesh strainer into another small bowl to remove any stringy parts of the egg.

  10. Uncover the buns and brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup white sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets before splitting them open and stuffing them with your favorite filling.

Recipe Notes

Topping substitutions: The sesame seeds can be substituted with everything bagel spice, poppy seeds, nigella seeds, caraway seeds, or shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese.

Bread flour substitute: If you don’t have bread flour, you can substitute it with unbleached all-purpose flour. Be aware that due to protein content differences and gluten formation, the consistency of the dough and the structure of the bread may vary, but the final results will still be great.

Storage: The baked and cooled buns can be refrigerated in airtight containers for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. To refresh the buns, pop them into the 375ºF oven until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes if refrigerated or 5 to 10 minutes if frozen.