Slider Buns: mini meat.

Sliders.

No, not those kids enjoying a fast ride on the playground equipment.

Nor the guys (and gals) heading towards home plate with the relay from left field right behind them. (Or, to stay in the same ballpark, a particularly tricky breaking pitch.)

I’m talking sliders, as in White Castle, as in small burgers on mini buns that you can eat two or three of at a time without feeling a bit of guilt.

Well, maybe just the tiniest bit of guilt… but hey, how can something this small (and oh-so-cute) possibly have many calories, right?

Still, I’m not here to discuss calories today. I’m here to show you a relatively easy way to make tiny buns, using your favorite homemade roll recipe. Add 1 1/2-ounce hamburger patties, American cheese, a pickle slice, and steam-fried onions, and you have the classic slider.

Note: For a complete deconstruction of classic sliders, check out one of our favorite blogs, Serious Eats, whose regular Burger Lab feature is a delicious exploration of all things burger.

First, the buns.

Let’s go with the most popular recipe on our site, Beautiful Burger Buns.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

Make the dough, and let it go through its first rise, the one in the bowl.

Gently deflate the dough, divide it in half, and shape each half into a rough disk.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on a piece of lightly greased parchment or waxed paper. For easiest rolling, place another piece of greased parchment or waxed paper on top.

Pat and roll the dough to a 9″-diameter circle, about 3/8″ thick. Then use a 2″ round biscuit cutter to cut circles from the dough, cutting close together to leave as few scraps as possible.

Even if you do a really good job, you’ll end up with about 20% of the dough being scrap. You can let it relax for 15 minutes and roll and cut it again; or you can simply shape it however you like.

You should be able to get about 2 dozen good-looking cutout buns before you need to resort to shaping the scraps.

Space the buns fairly close together on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. You don’t want them to rise and crowd one another; but baking buns close together helps them stay soft – and a slider bun should be soft.

Cover the buns, and let them rise for about 2 hours. They won’t get hugely puffy, and that’s OK; you don’t want tall dinner rolls, you want relatively squat slider buns.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Notice the buns have gotten a bit taller, but nowhere near what a dinner roll would look like.

Brush the buns with melted butter; this will give them a soft, golden crust.

Bake the buns for 9 or 10 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown.

Remove them from the oven; brush with additional butter, if desired.

See how these buns reached out and just barely touched one another as they baked? That’s the spacing I was after. If you have a standard half-sheet pan, and you cut 2″ round buns, 2 dozen on the pan is a perfect fit.

And here are the finished buns, ready for their burgers.

See the egg? It’s there for scale, so you can envision the buns’ size: about 2 1/2″.

Disclaimer: Before you true “apprecianados” of White Castle come down on me for an incorrectly shaped bun – you’re right. White Castle buns look like they start out round, but then are sliced straight on four sides to make them more or less square. Go that route if you want; to me, this smacks too heavily of needless playing with your food.

Next: the burgers.

Flatten 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Use a 2 3/4″ round biscuit cutter to cut patties; you want the burgers a bit larger than the buns, since they’ll shrink as they cook.

Fry the burgers (along with onions, if you’re a fan of fried onions).

To make sliders: place some fried onions on the bottom half of the bun. Add a burger, and a thin slice of American cheese. Top with a dill pickle slice or two. That’s it: no condiments.

Move over, White Castle!

Ready to try making your own slider buns? Check out our recipes for Beautiful Burger Buns, Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns, and Cheese Burger Buns; all will work well.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Ali

    I’ve made these beautiful burger buns many, many times and everyone loves them!! I’m making sliders today and notice difference in second rising times..on original recipe it’s one hour…on slider recipe it’s 2 hours…is this correct?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Ali! The slider buns do need about two hours to rise after being shaped. Because you deflate the dough then roll it thin, they take a little bit longer to rise than the regular sized buns which aren’t deflated as much during the shaping. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  2. Kim

    I made these for a brunch where I served Philly cheesesteak Sliders and they came out perfectly. I subbed 1/3 whole wheat flour and they were still perfect. I used a small mason jar lid to cut them out and then placed them fairly close together on the baking sheet so I would be lift up a line of them to slice and place into the baking dish once they baked and cooled off. They tore apart nicely and provided a delicious and sturdy (but not tough) platform for the filling. The leftovers reheated well too even after being filled and stored in the fridge.

    Reply
  3. debi

    Is it possible to make the dough a few days before the event and not bake until hours prior to event? And, if so at what stage would it be ?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Debi, while this is an approach that you can use with some yeast doughs (like our No-Knead Crusty White Bread), the longest this dough should rest in the fridge is overnight (about 12-16 hours). You’re welcome to prepare the dough through shaping and then cover the buns with lightly greased plastic wrap to rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take the buns out of the fridge and let the buns rest at room temperature while the oven preheats. (They’ll have risen in the fridge overnight.) Bake as directed and enjoy! If you need to make the buns further ahead than a single day in advance, you might consider baking the buns all the way through and then freezing the baked buns. You can wrap the thawed buns in foil and warm them in a low oven for about 10-15 minutes to serve warm. Kye@KAF

  4. Patty

    The picture of your buns is so perfect! I can’t get my buns to brown evenly like yours. Any hints would be appreciated.

    Reply
  5. Margot

    Thank you for the great recipe! I also live on Cape Cod, and will be using this recipe for slider buns to make mini-lobster rolls for the next cookout.
    : )

    Reply
  6. Kim

    These are the best sliders ever! I had to tote them to a family member’s last night, so I cooked all 24 of the patties and put them on a baking sheet, topped with cheese and then and covered with foil. I sliced all the buns and put them a separate baking sheet covered with foil. I had previously caramelized chopped onions separately and put in a container. When I got there, I simply assembled the burgers with a schmear of onions and a just a little squirt of mustard (because we have Krystal here instead of White Castle and they use a dab of mustard!), covered with heavy duty foil and heated them in the oven for about 5-6 minutes. The buns remained soft, the cheese melted, and the little burgers were still moist. I served the pickle slices on the side because I didn’t want them to get hot and wilted in the oven. Today for lunch, I reheated a couple wrapped in foil in the toaster oven. The buns got a tad toasty on this second reheat, but they were still delicious! Thank you for such a fun idea! (PS: Thinking like a former caterer, I think you could transport these for a picnic or tailgate by heating them up in foil packets and placing the hot packets in an insulated cooler)

    Reply
  7. Botany Bill

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I will be using it to make sliders for an upcoming party.

    One question: how many total buns will this make, including those made from scrap? I find it much easier to continually divide the dough into to the total number it makes, while checking their weights along the way.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      PJ estimates that you’ll have about 20% scrap dough, so if you start with 24 sliders and add another 20%, that’s roughly 5-6 more buns, depending on the exact sizing. If you want to be precise, you can take the total weight of the dough and divide it by 30; portion out the dough accordingly. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  8. Joy

    Hi! I’m wondering if it is possible to cut the rolls and freeze them for baking later. What would be the best way to do this?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Joy,
      We actually have another blog post that explains the best way to freeze and bake buns or rolls. The method for preparing the dough requires a slight adjustment (skipping the first rise and going straight to shaping then freezing,) so you’ll want to check out the full post here. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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