What is a hot dog without a bun? A sad wiener lost in the world. But you can’t just slap that sausage on any piece of sandwich bread and call it a day, which is why we went searching for the best hot dog buns money can buy. (Ina Garten would probably make her own, but we know that in this case, store-bought is fine.) After testing and reviewing so many carbs, here are our picks.
The Best Hot Dog Buns for Grilling Season and Beyond
A wiener is nothing without its carby counterpart
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The Best Hot Dog Buns at a Glance
How We Tested the Best Hot Dog Buns
In our pursuits, we tasted the buns with a few key characteristics in mind:
When you think “hot dog bun,” your mind probably goes straight to the classic white bread, side-split roll—but there are as many types of hot dog buns out there as there are types of bread. The most common buns are white and side-split, but you can also find Hawaiian, whole wheat, brioche, gluten free and even keto (and top-split versions of them, too). If you’re lucky to live in Chicagoland (and don’t mind a few seeds in your teeth), you can even find poppyseed buns.
Read on to find our picks for the seven best hot dog buns you can buy.
The Best Hot Dog Buns
Best Classic Buns
- Pros: pleasantly squishy, neutral flavor
- Cons: prone to sogging out, requires toasting
Odds are, these are the buns you think of when you think “hot dog buns.” They’re doughy in the best way possible with a subtle bready flavor that pairs with everything from beer brats to mystery meat wieners. (Hey, the kids like them.) The only downside? You better toast these babies, unless you like a soggy bun.
Best Whole Wheat Buns
- Pros: slightly sweet, makes us feel healthy
- Cons: dense texture, less soft
When we want to eat hot dogs for dinner but also want to feign #health, we reach for these whole wheat buns. They have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, with the tradeoff being that the texture isn’t as soft as a standard white flour bun. (FYI, the same Arnold buns are sold under the brands Orowheat in the Midwest and Brownberry on the West Coast.)
Best Split-Top Buns
- Pros: versatile, soft yet sturdy
- Cons: hard to find, condiments prone to spilling
If you’re an East Coaster, you know that split-top is where it’s at—the construction of these squishy yet sturdy buns makes them ultra-versatile for sausages, shrimp rolls and lobster salad (if you’re feeling fancy). Caveats: They’reharder to find in other regions of the U.S., and if you’re notorious for topping overload, you might end up with a lap full of relish.
Best Brioche Buns
- Pros: fancy flavor, surprisingly sturdy for brioche
- Cons: hard when toasted
Leave it to Trader Joe’s to serve up some bakery-level buns without the trip to a specialty store. These rolls are buttery, sweet and soft yet surprisingly sturdy for an enriched-style dough, so you can rest assured they won’t melt into nothing when you load them with mustard. In our experience, they’re actually better untoasted than toasted. (When we tried them toasted, they were a little too crunchy and had a tendency to burn.)
Best Potato Buns
- Pros: neutral flavor, soft yet sturdy, good toasted or untoasted
- Cons: harder to find than some hot dog buns
A potato bun is a hamburger no-brainer, so we were pleasantly surprised when we found them in hot dog form. We liked these buns for their neutral yet slightly rich flavor and soft but sturdy texture, and we found them satisfactory both toasted and not.
Best Gluten Free Buns
- Pros: neutral flavor
- Cons: not sturdy, gritty texture
Even if you’re avoiding gluten, you’re not out of the grilling game. These gluten free buns are made with brown rice flour and potato flour, so they have a pleasantly neutral flavor like any wheat bun. As with many gluten free bread products, the texture is slightly gritty and has a tendency to crumble—nothing a quick toast can’t fix, though.
Best Sweet Buns
- Pros: sweet flavor, soft texture
- Cons: can get soggy if not toasted
You say, “Hawaiian roll” and we say, “when and where.” The sweetened buns are irresistible in all forms, so yeah, we’re big fans of these hot dog holsters. We love that they play off the ultra-savory meat of a hot dog and pair with all types of toppings, but we would highly recommend toasting them before serving, since the softer texture can break down quickly when ketchup strikes.
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