This healthy homemade whole wheat vegan hamburger buns recipe transforms nutritious, high protein, high fiber whole wheat flour into reliably delicious buns for vegan burgers or hearty dinner rolls.
If you've tried finding vegan buns with no added preservatives or other unwanted ingredients and consistently strike out, then it's time to make your own.
This post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. Below, you'll find a handy table of contents with links. But if you're in a rush, please use the link at the top to jump to the recipe card at the end!
⭐Why this recipe works
Simple and easy. There are 6 essential ingredients you'll need to make homemade vegan buns using this easy recipe. Because they are tried and true, this recipe is based on our favorite vegan bread recipe with only 1 tablespoon of tahini added.
Healthy whole wheat. Whole wheat flour has a significant amount of protein, is high in fiber, and is a whole-food, plant-based favorite. Substantive, chewy, and satisfying mouthfuls.
Vegan and dairy-free. This recipe was developed and tested with wholesome vegan ingredients, and if you decide to top buns with seeds, plant milk will fill the bill.
📋 Key ingredients, notes, & substitutions
Whole wheat flour – Whole wheat flour has the highest protein of any flour, and beyond nutritious implications, it's the protein that makes bread and buns dense. That's what you should expect with anything whole wheat.
Active dry yeast – Rising dough depends on a leavening agent, which in this recipe is baker’s active dry yeast. Be sure to check the date on your yeast. For alternatives, check out the common questions section of this post.
Maple syrup – A sweetener helps activate the yeast. Besides, it tastes nice. Maple syrup is easy because it's liquid and quickly dissolves. Date paste is a good alternative. You can also use date sugar.
Salt – Salt accentuates the nutty flavor of the wheat flour. Add salt to the flour, not the yeast. Salt can interfere with activating the yeast.
Tahini – Tahini is the healthy fat that creates gluten strands that hold the dough together. You don't need much – just a tablespoon. Seed butter, such as sunflower butter, is a good alternative. You could use vegan butter. However, this is usually laden with oil and highly processed. If you don't want the natural oil in tahini, use a tablespoon of aquafaba.
Plant milk – Plant milk (non-dairy milk) such as oat, almond, or soy milk is the simple ingredient we'll use for the more traditional egg wash on the tops of the buns.
Seed mix – If you want to add seeds to the top of the buns, use one kind or select a combination. I used a mix of pumpkin, flax, and sesame seeds. Sunflower seeds or poppy seeds are also great options.
🔪 Pro tips & notes
- Before adding the yeast, combine 1 ½ cups of warm water and maple syrup in a small bowl. Water that is too cold or boiling hot can kill the yeast.
- Be kind to your yeast. After sprinkling it on top of the water, gently use a warm spoon or fork to break it up. Don't stir it with any vigor. Save your energy for kneading. You’ll know that the yeast is activated when it starts to bubble in the dish.
- Start with 2 cups of flour mixed with the salt. You’ll add at least another cup, but if you start with a small amount of flour, it’s easier to mix in the yeast mixture.
- Set aside another cup of flour in a measuring cup for convenience. Once all the flour in the bowl is moist, add more flour until you can form a dough ball. Personally, I find it easiest to use one hand to mix and one to add flour.
- You may want to set a timer or at least check the clock when you start kneading the dough. Kneading releases the gluten in the flour, making the dough smooth and elastic.
- Don't overdo the flour. I usually end up with just slightly over 3 cups once I start kneading. You should not see or feel any dry flour. The dough will be sticky but shouldn't need to be pried from your fingers.
- For the first rise, form a ball of dough. I find that lightly flouring the rising bowl makes it easier to remove the dough from the bowl after the first rise. Covering the bowl with plastic wrap is optional but helps hold the heat as the yeast gets busy.
- Rising requires a warm place. This might be room temperature or near a sunny window. For another option, preheat your oven to 100 Fahrenheit, turn it off, and then let it cool.
- Once the dough has risen, separate the dough into 6 or 8 equal pieces. The number depends on how large you want to make the buns.
- To form the buns, roll each dough piece into balls and flatten them to about 1 ½ inch thick. When you place them on the baking tray, separate them.
- To add the seeds, simply brush plant milk over each dough bun and then sprinkle them with seeds. Lightly brush the tops with more plant milk to help keep the seeds in place.
- Cover the buns with a cloth and let them rise for another 30 minutes for the second rise. They will increase in size a bit as they bake.
- Preheat the oven before baking. This ensures that the middle of the buns will be done before the outside gets too brown.
💭 Common Questions
Although you may not get the same results, use an equal amount of double-acting baking powder if you need a substitute for active dry yeast. You can also use 1 tablespoon of regular baking soda with 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice to replace 1 tablespoon of yeast.
The density of buns is caused by the amount of protein in whole wheat flour. If you want lighter burger buns, you can consider mixing whole wheat white flour, bread flour, or spelt flour along with whole wheat flour.
1 flax egg made by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds (or chia seeds) plus 3 tablespoons of water can be used to brush on top of buns instead of plant milk or commercial vegan eggs. After mixing, allow the flax egg to sit for 15 minutes to thicken.
This vegan bun recipe makes perfect dinner rolls. Follow the recipe and instructions as written, but make the buns smaller, and if you like, keep them in balls rather than flatten them.
🍽 What to serve with vegan buns
Try out your yummy hamburger buns with tempting veggie burgers! We also highly recommend sloppy joes, which can be made on the stove while the buns bake and cool.
Looking for vegan burger condiments? Here are some of our favorites
🍞 Storage & freezing
Store buns in an airtight container or sealed bag at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days. If the buns start to get hard, brush them with water and reheat them in the oven.
If you happen to let the buns get slightly stale, toss them in the food processor and make breadcrumbs. Use them or freeze them at your convenience.
To freeze hamburger buns, seal them individually in freezer bags. This makes them easy to thaw as you need them. Also, you won’t need to wrestle them apart.
📖 Related recipes
Whole Wheat Vegan Hamburger Buns
This healthy homemade whole wheat vegan hamburger buns recipe transforms high protein, high fiber whole wheat into delicious veggie burger buns.
- Prep Time: 120 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Buns
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 3 - 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons plant milk
- Prepare the yeast. Place the warm (not boiling water) in a bowl and mix in the maple syrup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and gently mix it to moisten it. Leave the bowl alone for 15 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Prepare the dry ingredients. Mix 2 cups of flour with ½ a teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients. Dig a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Add the tablespoon of tahini, and then start mixing until the flour is thoroughly moist.
- Make the dough. Start adding flour, a little at a time, mixing with a spoon, and then your hand until you have a moist dough.
- Knead the dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Work the dough until it is smooth and stretchy.
- Let the dough rise. Form the dough into a ball, brush a clean bowl with flour, and add the dough ball. Cover and let rise until double (1 – 1 ½ hours). Be sure to place the dough in a warm area of the kitchen.
- Make the buns. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Form equal balls, 8 for smaller buns, 6 for larger. Flatten the balls to a thickness of about 1 ½ inch. Place the buns, separated, on the baking tray.
- Add the seeds. Combine the pumpkin, flax, and hemp seeds in a small dish. Add the plant milk to a separate small bowl. Lightly brush each bun with the milk and then sprinkle the seeds over the top. Lightly dab a bit more plant milk over the seeds to secure them.
- Let the buns rise. Place the buns in a warm place and let them rise for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake the buns. Preheat the oven to 400 F. (200 C.). Place the buns in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
- Cool and slice. Allow the buns to cool on a wire rack before slicing them.
- The number of buns yielded depends on how big you want them. You can also turn this recipe into vegan dinner rolls by forming small, round dough balls before the second rise.
- If you need a warm place to rise the dough, consider warming the oven to 100 F., turning it off, letting it cool, and then placing the dough in the oven to rise. Be careful that it isn't too hot. Cover the dough, so it doesn't dry out.
- Whole wheat flour is high in protein and, therefore, dense. If you want fluffier buns, use half white wheat flour or all-purpose flour. In this case, you may need to add more flour as it requires less moisture.
- To freeze hamburger buns, seal them individually in freezer bags. This makes them easy to thaw as you need them. Also, you won’t need to wrestle them apart.
Keywords: vegan buns, whole wheat vegan hamburger buns, vegan burger buns, yeast dough