How to Use a Bun Pan: A Surprisingly Versatile Baking Tool

There are single-use kitchen tools (cherry pitter, citrus reamer, potato masher) and there are multipurpose ones (baking sheet, food processor, Dutch oven). Into which category would you say a hamburger bun pan falls?

If you thought “single-use,” I’m happy to correct you. Designed to bake perfectly shaped homemade burger buns, this pan can do so much more. Just think outside of the box (or pan, as the case may be). The oversized round wells of this USA-made pan are deep enough to bake miniature pies and shallow enough to bake small handheld pizzas.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

The pan is one of my favorites because of all it can do. It’s also exceptionally well-made: sturdy, easy-to-clean (just rinse in warm soapy water but avoid the dishwasher), and built to last a lifetime. Don’t just take my word for it! Here are some customer comments (complete with excellent baking inspiration) on the bun pan:

“I love this pan. I use it for so many more things than just buns. The thing I’ve been using it most for lately is to make individual 2 egg frittatas for my breakfast. Because it makes 6 at a time, I can make breakfast for the whole week in less than 30 minutes.” – Ron, Colorado

“Astonishingly high quality. The pan is heavy and solid-feeling, with carefully welded wells for the buns. The sides of the wells are just high enough to provide a little structure for lift. This pan seriously takes buns to the next level.” – Cas, Pacific Northwest

“Best pan I have added to my kitchen collection. Have made giant blueberry muffins; have a jar of your pecan pie mix and plan to make individual pecan pies. Cleanup on this pan is great, and the best feature: MADE IN USA. Thank you King Arthur for bringing back pride in workmanship of such a simple object.” – Dave, Pennsylvania

So we know I love it, and we know you all love it. Now what should you make in it? I’ll show you a couple of recipes that are on heavy rotation in my kitchen this summer, then offer some inspiration for more ways to use your pan.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Buns & rolls

Let’s start with the obvious! This pan is designed to make homemade burger buns, but it’s a great size for any buns or rolls, particularly if you want to use them for sandwiches. For burger buns, try our hugely popular Beautiful Burger Buns recipe.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

I like making a batch of basic dough (either our Brioche Buns recipe or our No-Knead Chewy Sandwich Rolls recipe), then dividing it into balls to fit in each well of the pan. Brush the dough with an egg wash and top it with anything you like: seedy artisan bread topping, grated cheese, rosemary and flaky sea salt, or savory pizza seasoning.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Miniature layer cakes

If there is something cuter than a tiny layer cake, I don’t know what it is. Luckily, these diminutive desserts are simple to make if you have a bun pan handy. Whip up your favorite cake batter (my go-to is our Golden Vanilla Cake recipe). Grease the wells of your bun pan and fill each one about halfway to two-thirds full with batter. Bake at 350°F for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling. Freezing the cakes briefly will make them easier to slice and frost, if you want.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflourOnce cool, trim any domed tops off of each cake. If you want lots of thin layers, you can slice each cake round in half. Stack the rounds and frost them as you would a regular layer cake.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Does it look like a regular cake? Hand included for scale!

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Individual pizzas

Miniaturizing pizzas is a great trick for feeding kids. It’s quick and less mess than regular pizza, and you can let them fill their own pizzas with whatever toppings they like. The smaller size is also perfect for picnic dinners and is a quick shortcut to making pizza without the fuss and the pizza stone.

Best of all, you can make these ahead and freeze them. When you’re ready to eat, just warm them in a preheated oven until hot.

Start by prepping your dough. An excellent, reliable recipe to try is our Now Or Later Pizza Dough, which can be made ahead and frozen for up to 5 weeks. Lightly grease the wells of your bun pan and preheat the oven to 400°F. Press a thin layer of dough firmly into each well, pressing all the way up the sides.

Fill the dough with your favorite pizza toppings. I used fresh tomato and grated cheese, but anything from pepperoni to pulled pork to sautéed summer squash would be delicious.

Bake until the cheese bubbles and the edges turn golden brown. Serve hot!

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Freeze & serve macaroni and cheese

Use a bun pan to get ahead on meal prep for the month. This tip is perfect for pasta, but will work nicely for stews, chilis, soups, and more.

Make a big batch of macaroni and cheese. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Portion an even amount of the macaroni and cheese into each well of a bun pan. Top the macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs and grated cheese if you like (I usually do half with and half without), then bake until the edges start to turn golden brown.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Let the pasta cool fully, then pop each round neatly out of the pan. Wrap them in plastic wrap, or just transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze. When you’re ready for dinner, take out one or two rounds of macaroni and cheese and reheat. Pre-portioning out the meal this way makes it much easier than reheating an entire batch of frozen pasta.

Bun Pan via @kingarthurflour

Giant scones

If a regular scone is good, then an oversized scone is twice as good, right?

Start with your favorite scone recipe. Press the dough into a lightly greased bun pan, and bake until golden brown. Here, I used our Classic Scone recipe and added Vietnamese cinnamon and cinnamon chips.

Once baked, you can enjoy a scone as is or drizzle with a quick sugary glaze (find an easy recipe here).

Feeling inspired? Pick up your own bun pan and start baking! Here are a few more ideas to get you started, along with some of our best recipes to try. We want to see what you come up with! Share what you’re baking in your bun pan on Facebook or Instagram using #kingarthurflour

comments

  1. NancyC

    Where is the Fantastic Gluten Free bun recipe? I have this amazing pan. Now I need the recipe to put it to use. Come on King Arthur Gluten Free recipe team. Where is that gluten free hamburger/ sandwich bun recipe? ?? 😊

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Nancy, this is the biggest challenge in gluten-free baking–coming up with bread and roll recipes that replicate the texture and rise of baked goods made with wheat flour. In some ways, this is an impossible task, but we will certainly keep on trying! Here’s a gluten-free roll recipe that will work nicely in your bun pan. Barb@KAF

  2. Connie

    I love this pan; bought two of them! Use them often for buns, of course. Thank you for the cake, scone, & macaroni/cheese ideas!!

    Reply
  3. Carolyn

    Thank you for this post. I have this pan and regretted buying it because I wasn’t using it enough – this opens up new possibilities!
    All of the KAF pans are beautiful quality!

    Reply
  4. cindy

    I have this pan and make Mr. Celiac’s burger buns using your gluten-free white bread recipe. I have much better luck turning that into buns than making a decent loaf of GF bread. I also use this pan to make individual GF apple pie (your piie crust recipe using King Arthur baking MIX). I make a parchment sling about an inch wide and use two of them in each well to make it easy to remove the pies. . I freeze both of these individually so he can just pop one out when needed. Quality of this pan is superb though it would be nice if it were a little wider in diameter to hold a good size burger.

    Reply
  5. Heather

    I make muffins in this pan regularly. Here’s why:
    –freeze a regular batch of muffins. Forget to take them out of the freezer before breakfast, then put them in the toaster oven anyway. The result? An overly browned exterior and frozen solid interior.
    –freeze hockey-puck shaped muffins from your bun pan. Take from freezer. Toast. The result? Yum! And easy to split and slather with butter or jam or your chosen deliciousness to boot.

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood, post author

      Brilliant! Nothing like always having a toasted, buttered muffin at the ready 🙂 -Posie

  6. Sue

    I also have two of the bun pans and use them for buns, rolls, muffins, cakes, and anything else that I want to “portion control.” Now, I can make my favorite carrot cake, and instead of having a huge three layer cake to eat, I have 12 frozen mini cakes that are ready when I choose. I tried your banana nut bread recipe the other day in the bun pans and it was so good!

    Reply
  7. Karen Southwell

    I am so inspired by all of these uses for the bun pan. Who knew?????? Since hubby and I are empty nesters, a lot of recipes make way too much for us to eat even over a few days, so being able to make smaller portions and freezing for later enjoyment is a big plus in my book. I already own one pan and have been thinking about buying a second. Don’t you know you’ve now convinced me to make the purchase! Thanks KAF for all that you do to inspire and encourage all of the home bakers out here who love, love, love your products. Finally, thank you that your wheat is grown right here in the US of A by farmers that still take pride in their work!

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood, post author

      Thanks for your enthusiasm Karen, we love hearing from you and knowing that we’re connecting with bakers — so glad you’ll be getting creative with your next bun pan! -Posie

  8. Kelly

    Normally you cut scones into their shape, how would you press the scones into the pan? Just worry about over mixing scones or handling too much.

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood, post author

      Just press them gently but firmly without warming the dough too much with your hands — and try not to press down too much or you’ll lose some of that nice flakiness! -Posie

  9. Carol

    I make meatloaf in my pan, freeze them , then bag them so they can be removed one at a time from the bag. I take them to a friend who can no longer cook for herself and she can just heat and eat as needed.

    Reply
  10. Doeen

    With chicken thighs being so cheap I use my pans to make 6 chicken pot pies at a time. I cool, then freeze them right in the pan. I then pop them out and store them in the freezer in a plastic freezer bag. Great for those nights you are working late!

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood, post author

      So clever! What a great idea for weeknight dinners. Thanks for sharing. -Posie

  11. linda

    Where Can I order these pans? Sounds like something my husband and I can use. I am trying to cook small portions and freeze them for a later day. And I love the recipes.

    Reply
  12. Phyllis

    Thanks so much for these wonderful ideas! I love this pan for hamburger buns but as I was reading all the other ideas for its use I realized I could make our favorite recipe for strawberry shortcake in it! Then, your “additional ideas” named that very idea! 😁

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Kathy,
      We’d love to help but we’re not sure which biscuit recipe you’re looking for, as biscuits weren’t mentioned in this post. Please feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE(2253) or send us an email so we can help you find what you need. Kye@KAF

    2. Kathy Pipkin

      Biscuit receipe that is made with self rising flour and heavy cream. Please send me that receipe.

      Thank you
      Katy

    1. Joanie B

      Cake buns…genius! And the suggestions on the linked thread are AMAZING! I DO NOT NEED ANOTHER PAN IN THIS OVERSTOCKED KITCHEN, DEAR KAF! 😘

  13. Victoria J West

    I take a small round of dough, flatten somewhat, spoon on a portion of leftovers and top with another flattened round. Makes great sandwich pockets for lunch or traveling!

    Reply
  14. Emilie

    Thanks so much for such a great post! I have two of these pans and have mainly just used them for muffins and burger buns. Can’t wait to put them to more use with these ideas!

    Reply
  15. Suzan

    I use this wonderful pan to make personal pineapple upside down cakes. The brown sugar-butter never sticks, one slice of pineapple fits perfectly in each well, and wash up is a dream!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pat, because this pan has a wonderful non-stick coating on the surface, we recommend washing by hand, simply because it lasts longer that way. Bryanna@KAF

  16. Melissa

    Would it be the right size to make individual pineapple upside down cakes (i.e. each well the right size for a pineapple ring)?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Melissa,
      Each well of the individual pie and burger bun pan measures about 3 1/4″ across the bottom. This is just about the right size for rings of canned pineapple. If you use a fresh pineapple that’s a little bit larger than normal, you might have to trim to slightly to get it to fit snugly. But if you use a standard-sized or canned pineapple, you’ll be golden! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  17. Carolyn

    I have a “whoopee pie” pan that was given to me as a gift. I make my whoopee pies using a scoop, so have no intention of using this pan for that purpose. Would the suggestions you have presented for the “bun” pan also work in the whoopee pie pan? It looks like these may be a little bit deeper, but not too much. I LOVE the ideas in this article!!!! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Carolyn,
      I think you’d have good luck trying these in your pan. You may need to make small adjustments as you go along, but for the most part it sounds like a good plan. ~ MJ

  18. Melanie

    My family and I just returned from the UK, where we enjoyed several meat pies. Do you have a recipe for something like this? I think the bun pan might be perfect for these. Great timing!

    Reply
  19. Betsy Wallwork

    I bought this pan to make individual vegetable pot pies! Been a vegetarian for years, and really missed the frozen pot pies of my childhood. It works fantastically! I underbake the pies slightly, and after they cool from the oven, I just stick the whole pan in the freezer for a couple of hours, then take the frozen pies out and wrap them. About 30 minutes baking in the toaster oven and Voila!

    Reply
  20. Betsy Wallwork

    I do use the pan for burger buns as well. We eat Boca burgers, and they are exactly the same diameter as the buns!

    Reply

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