Do you have more buns than dogs or burgers? We'll show you what to do with leftover hamburger buns! Spoiler alert: these ideas are pretty dang genius!

chicken avocado sandwich with leftover hamburger bun, from Shelf Cooking

It's an unspoken rule of cookouts: grill out hamburgers and hot dogs, and you will have leftover buns. Please don't ask us why that always happens. We don't make the rules, but we can help you game the system!

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The goods news is, you don't need to run out and buy more beef if you're wondering what to do with leftover hamburger buns. Think outside the grill for a minute and try one of these instead! There are TONS of ways to use up leftover buns, and we're about to share some of our favorites.


If you usually toss your leftover buns, it's time to stop! Hamburger and hot dog buns freeze well, so if you don't think you'll use them right away, save them for later. To keep them fresh, wrap each bun individually and then place them all in a freezer bag. For the best taste, use them within three months.

To thaw your frozen buns, you can defrost them on the counter overnight or nuke them in the microwave for a few seconds. They'll be soft and fresh in no time!

Pro Tip: When buns go on sale around a summer holiday, stock up! Buy one pack for now and two for later. You can keep them in the freezer to use later.


breakfast sandwich on leftover bun, from Shelf Cooking

When you think of breakfast, we bet you don't picture hot dog or hamburger buns, but we're about to change that! The next time you're wondering what to do with leftover hamburger buns (hot dog, too!), here are three ideas:

  • Breakfast Sandwich – Fry up an egg, warm a sausage patty, add some cheese, and place it on a toasted bun. Garnish with green onions, spinach, or arugula for a little added color!
  • French Toast – You don't need toast to make French toast! We use leftover hot dog or hamburger buns all the time! Just follow your favorite recipe but use those buns instead of bread.
  • Breakfast Dogs – Grab those leftover hot dog buns! Place a piece of sausage on the bun, top with scrambled eggs and cheese, and boom! You just made a breakfast dog.

Of course, you can also toast a bun and top it with some freezer jam for a yummy breakfast side, too.


pulled pork sandwich on hamburger bun, from Shelf Cooking

There are a lot of other meals that work well on a bun, so don't limit your thinking to burgers! Take a peek at the veggies and proteins you have in the fridge, and get creative. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pulled Pork/Chicken Sandwiches – We LOVE making pulled pork or chicken in the crockpot. It's the world's easiest dinner and the best way to use leftover buns.
  • Meatball Subs – Warm up a few leftover meatballs and place them on a hot dog bun with your favorite toppings. Quick and easy meatball subs for the win!
  • Deli Sandwich – Use your lunch meat before it goes bad! You don't need hoagie rolls for sub night. We like a chicken avocado combo with some leftover spinach and mayo as a garnish, but any toppings work!
  • Pizza – We love to make French bread pizza, but you can use leftover buns as an amazing pizza crust, too.
  • Shrimp Po Boy – Grill or fry a handful of shrimp, mix up slaw, and make shrimp po boys with your leftover hamburger buns. So, SO good!

All of these recipes are shelf cooking gold, and we're not done yet! We're on a mission to stop bun waste, and we've got five more ideas to share.


Alright, aside from main dishes, what else can you do if you have leftover buns? Here are four options:

  • Croutons – We love making homemade croutons! It's the perfect way to use leftover bread, and we think they taste better than storebought.
  • Cheesy Garlic Bread/Breadsticks – Hot dog buns make the perfect breadsticks, and hamburger buns can become cheesy garlic bread. Check out our favorite recipe for easy, cheesy garlic bread.
  • Bread Pudding – Preheat your oven to 350°F, then tear those buns into bite-sized pieces and place them in a greased baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine a half stick of melted butter, four eggs, two cups of sugar, and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over your buns and bake for around 25 minutes. We suggest serving the bread pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Filler for Meatloaf/Casseroles – If you need an oatmeal or bread crumb substitute, toast and crush a hamburger bun or two! Voila. You've got filler for your meatloaf or a topping for that casserole.

Who knew buns were so versatile?! We bet you'll never toss one again.


Now you're ready to make your July 4th cookout spread go even further! Put these leftover hamburger bun ideas to good use this summer, and don't forget to stock your freezer if you see a sale!

How do you use leftover hot dog or hamburger buns? Drop your best ideas in the comments!

Recipes using leftover hamburger buns, from Shelf Cooking

Looking for more of our best tips and tricks for using leftovers?

You're bunstoppable now!