Slider Buns: mini meat.

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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 was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. audreybrook

    Ohhh, White Castle. Six kids in a station wagon, and a white bag full (okay, several white bags full), 20 for a dollar. No condiments, but no cheese, either; just those onions. I’m already a fan of the Beautiful Burger Buns (isn’t everyone?) so this will be fun. I may just have to cut the edges off, though… Thanks for a fun start to my day!

    Always nice to start the day with something “meaty,” right, Donna? White Castle is still around – I haven’t been to one in ages, though. And yes, everyone is a fan of Beautiful Burger Buns – they’re the #1 recipe on our site, and for good reason; they’re just about perfect. Thanks to one of our original Baking Circle members, Moomie, for her recipe – PJH

    Reply
    1. Theresa

      White Castle! So expensive now compared to the old days, but still so yummy. We get them when we arrive on Long Island and depart from Long Island.

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      I haven’t had one yet but it is definitely on my bucket list…can’t wait to give them a try! Jocelyn@KAF

  2. Anne Marie

    Oh yes, back when they were 20 for $1 !!

    I roll the bun dough out like you did, but instead of bothering with a round cutter, and rerolling scraps, I simply use a pizza cutter and cut square buns. I do the same with the meat. I season it, roll it flat, and cut squares, onto a hot griddle and serve.

    Mmmmmmmmm….although down here, it’s Krystal land, not White Castle.

    Reply
  3. tapestrywm

    Great ideas…however, 2 hours on the 2nd rise seems excessive (especially for squat-shaped buns.) Is that correct??

    Pam

    Pam, 2 hours was fine for me; but perhaps it was a bit cool in the kitchen that day. Let the buns rise until they’re noticeably puffy, but not REALLY puffy (if you know what I mean), however long that takes. PJH

    Reply
  4. lbrecka

    I love the steamed, grilled onions, but just as tasty and faster is to mix in a package of dry onion soup mix into the meat before rolling out and cooking. I use one envelope of soup mix to every pound and a half or two pounds of meat, leanest I can find.

    We still have White Castle in the Detroit area, but you can find them in the freezer case and remarkably in the food car of the Amtrak between Chicago-Detroit :)

    Great tip – I’ll try that next time. Gives you the flavor without the work, eh? Thanks! PJH

    Reply
  5. mumpy

    that repititious sound you’re hearing is my head banging into the wall, trying to knock some sense into it…..i’ve been making slider buns (with the cheese buns recipe – so good!) by dividing the dough, and weighing and shaping it…over and over and over…never thought of using a biscuit cutter….AAARRRGGGGHH!

    I know, Mumpy – that’s what I was considering at first, but I’m about the laziest baker out there… always looking for an easier way to do anything. Round biscuit cutter to the rescue! Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  6. "Lady Bear"

    This idea is perfect for the sausage and biscuits my husband loves. I make ahead and freeze. He can remove one or two from freezer, pop in microwave and he has breakfast!

    How about a printable version of the instructions?

    Printable would be nice, wouldn’t it? There’s nothing we can do automatically on this end – if it were a recipe, I’d send you there for a printable version, but it’s not a recipe… if I were doing it for myself, I’d cut and paste into a Word document. Does that help? PJH

    Reply
  7. "Lady Bear"

    Silly me! I should have thought of that, but I am so used to your printable recipes that I didn’t use my head! I am thinking about trying this with my sour dough recipe. Instead of using the English Muffin rings! Thanks for the help!

    Good idea, sourdough sliders – I’ll have to try that sometime. I see seeds on top, too. Ah, the possibilities… PJH

    Reply
  8. narfing

    Yum! I love sliders and would love to make my own buns. I used to buy them from the store to go with my slider recipe here:
    http://whisktogether.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/restaurant-style-sliders/

    I’ll try yours next time I make them! Thanks so much again for a super awesome recipe.

    Nice picture – they look VERY appetizing. And using ground turkey is a great idea – add these homemade buns, and I think your slider quest is complete! Thanks for sharing the link – PJH

    Reply
  9. mdeatherage

    Ibrecka: If you like onion soup mix in your meat, I will not say you nay. However, speaking from the one and only home of the Onion-Fried Burger, don’t pretend this is anything like a proper Onion-Fried Burger. :-)

    Wow, I’d love to be there for that – looks like a very tasty event! Thanks for the link, much appreciated. PJH

    Reply
  10. AnneMarie

    I’ve also made this in a quarter sheet jelly pan. slap the dough in the pan on parchment and then just cut into squares after it’s baked and cooled. Really fast. I slice the whole thing though, then into squares.

    Reply
  11. robinwaban

    Can I use margarine instead of butter? Can’t do dairy (boo hoo)

    Sure, Robin – try to use “real” margarine, not “lite,” if you can still find it… Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  12. Frieda Loves Bread

    A friend of mine couldn’t understand why someone would want a “mini-burger.” Sliders are great for little kids; usually they would eat a bite or two from a large burger and then they are done. I told my friend that I was having a Slider Burger Bar, which included toppings for the Classic Bacon Cheeseburger, Taco Burger, Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken Burger, Mushroom Swiss Burger, and BBQ Chicken and then she understood: Why have one burger when you can sample several?

    Love the cookie cutter idea to make small patties!

    Great idea, Frieda – like “make your own sundae.” Love it! Thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  13. lisa11795

    Help! M dough was great, smooth and easy to work with, my spacing was great but the end result was a little more like bisquits than buns! Was it in the kneading?

    Lisa, biscuit-like yeast dough can be the result of a couple of things: too much flour, and under-kneading. So, make sure you’re measuring your flour correctly; try to keep the dough on the sticky side. And try kneading it a bit longer next time, OK? You might also want to give our bakers’ hotline a call, to hash this out 1:1… Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  14. "Lady Bear"

    Today I used the KA Sourdough bun recipe to make sliders. I used a 2 inch biscuit cutter and baked them at 375 in muffin pans for about 10 mins. Turned out great. Instead of mini burgers I used the same biscuit cutter to cut circles of salami and cheese for min sandwiches! My husband loved them. Would be perfect for a ladies tea or for part of a buffet or a shower. Crabmeat or egg salad could be a filling :) THanks for the great products and keep the recipe ideas flowing.

    So glad this method worked well for you – and that you’re using it with your sourdough recipe to boot. I didn’t think of that – definitely trying it next time, AND cutting the salami and cheese into rounds… Thanks! PJH

    Reply
  15. Caron

    These were way too sweet but I’m english and am used to unsweet bread. APart from that they were great – could you omit the sugar and still get same results
    caronbaker@comcast.net

    If you reduce the sugar by half then they should be fine. However you will notice that the rolls may take a little longer to rise.-Jon

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Amy,
      The sprouted whole wheat flour is going to behave quite differently than the all purpose flour called for in this recipe. You might try substituting half the flour content and see how this works. It may also help to allow the dough to sit for 30 minutes after mixing the dough, but before kneading. This gives the whole grain flour time to fully hydrate. You might also need to add a bit more water to your recipe to adjust for the sprouted whole wheat flour, which will absorb more water than all purpose flour does. If you wanted your slider buns to be entirely made from sprouted wheat flour you might want to check out this recipe for Super Sprout Bread. I think you could make slider buns out of this recipe, using the techniques described in this blog. Barb@KAF

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