Hot dogs are often associated with summertime and baseball games, but I also associate them with bonfires, long holiday weekends, football games, and tailgating. These days, we’re enjoying hot dogs at home, so why not serve them with homemade buns? I am a long-time devotee of New England hot dog buns, which are also known as split top or top loading hot dog buns.
These Homemade New England Hot Dog Buns are Tops for Loading
The split-top rolls just make sense to me. They are easy to fill without tipping over. The flat sides make them perfect for grilling or pan frying. The toasted buns taste great with either hot dogs or sandwich fillings such as egg salad, seafood salads, or chicken salad.
Unfortunately, New England style buns can be difficult to find outside of New England. You can order them online for a higher price. You can also buy them in New England and bring them home and freeze them. This is the method I used for several years, but it’s inconvenient, and the buns just aren’t as tasty after several months in the freezer.
A few years later, we attended my high school reunion. While there, we chatted with my friend Jason about baking. He shared that he is the senior design engineer at USA PAN, the company that makes bakeware for King Arthur, among other places. And Jason designed the New England hot dog pan!
As if this story doesn’t make me a big enough fan of their products, they also make purple-coated allergy pans for professional kitchens to avoid cross contamination. I’m sure they could also be used at home for the same purpose.
The buns in the photographs are plain homemade New England hot dog buns with sausage from our local meat market. For a Chicago-style/New England hybrid hot dog that is also egg free, check out this recipe from Speedbump Kitchen.
Special Diet Notes: New England Hot Dog Buns
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free (choose your buttery spread wisely), and vegetarian.
- For egg-free and vegan New England hot dog buns, see our Egg Substitute Guide. I recommend using 3 tablespoons of aquafaba for the easiest and most seamless substitute, but some of the other options might work well.
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup potato flakes
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 large egg (see post above for egg-free options)
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free buttery spread, softened or melted
- Add the flour, potato flakes, sugar, yeast, and salt to the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the water, egg, and buttery spread. Mix and knead the ingredients together for about 5 minutes in your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. The dough is smooth and sticky; add more water if the dough is too dry.
- Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly greased large bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise for 1½ to 2 hours. Punch the dough down.
- Lightly grease a New England Hot Dog pan.
- Gently stretch the dough and press it into the pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let the buns rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until they are within ½ an inch of the edge of the pan.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F, and grease the bottom of a baking sheet.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the bun pan, and place the baking sheet, greased side down, on top of the buns.
- With the baking sheet on top, bake the buns for 18 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet, and bake the buns for a few more minutes if they need to brown a little more on top.
- Turn the buns out onto a cooling rack.
- When cool, make a cut in the center of each bun without cutting them all the way through.
- Then cut the buns apart.
- Before serving, grill or pan fry the sides of the buns with oil or dairy-free buttery spread until browned.