Oil-free, whole grain hot dog buns are rare (the only brand we’ve found is Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Hot Dog Buns, which can be hard to find). But never fear: Our recipe for homemade buns is here, and it’s the perfect one to get you through grilling season. Make a batch or two of these tender, fluffy buns the night before a big cookout so you can impress your guests with their superb flavor and beautiful golden brown color. We recommend pairing them with our incredibly popular carrot dog recipe that transforms the stiff orange veggie into a delectable animal-free replacement for your meatless BBQs.

Tip: To make hamburger buns, divide dough into eight to 10 portions during Step 4. Shape into balls, tucking edges under. Place on prepared baking sheet. Lightly flatten balls. Continue as directed.

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 3½ to 4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
  • 1 package fast-rising active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional)


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a small bowl combine flaxseed meal and ¼ cup water. In a large mixing bowl combine 3 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix well.
  • In a small saucepan combine the ½ cup milk, the applesauce, flaxseed mixture, and ½ cup water. Heat over low until very warm (120°F to 130°F). Add to flour mixture and beat with a mixer on medium 3 minutes. Stir in as much remaining flour as you can.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (5 to 7 minutes total). Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide dough into eight portions. Shape each portion into a roll 7 to 8 inches long, tapering ends. Place on prepared baking sheet. (Place ½ inch apart for a traditional hot dog bun or 2 to 3 inches apart for a sub-style roll.) Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (30 to 45 minutes).
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly brush buns with the 1 tablespoon milk and, if desired, sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until rolls are light brown and bottoms are golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Comments (7)

(5 from 2 votes)

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These were great. I used regular yeast instead of the quick stuff. So I added sugar to my water and let the yeast activate there before mixing into other wet ingredients. I extended the initial rise by about 30 minutes. I also didn’t heat up the liquids. I did that on another recipe and it killed the yeast. I don’t have a thermometer. Instead I let all the ingredients come to room temp before starting. It came out good. More moist and sweet than other vegan bread recipes I’ve done. It has a great texture, with an interior that is fluffy but more dense than what you buy in the store.


I made these and they are far too dense.


I've purchased yeast from two different places (in case the first batch was bad), used a kitchen thermometer to get the liquids to the right temp . . . and twice now I've just ended up with dense, flatish bread. What am I doing wrong?

Rede Batcheller

I guessed it! Thank you!



Sandra Vasquez

Hi Nancy, can you let me know how many calories are in each hot dog bun? Thank You

Kim Engel

Is there ANY way to make these gluten free?

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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