7 Smart Ways to Use Up Leftover Buns

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If your eyes were bigger than your stomach when you bought that economy-size bag of burger or hot dog buns, odds are you didn’t even make a dent, no matter how much of a blowout your backyard barbecue was. Now the fate of that not-so-empty bag is undoubtedly hovering dangerously near your trash can. Have no fear. Instead of wasting buns simply because you’re out of hot dogs and hamburgers, rest assured that there are plenty of other ways you can put them to good use.

Transform Buns Into Breading

You better bet that leftover burger and hot dog buns can be transformed into crispy breadcrumbs. After drying the buns out in the microwave or oven and pulsing them into crumbs in a food processor, use them as breading for Food Network Kitchen’s crispy Breaded Chicken Cutlets.

Toast Buns for a Classic Italian Bread Salad

Crisping up leftover bread and tossing it with vegetables and dressing for Giada De Laurentiis' Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella is one vibrant, summery way to give leftover buns a second chance. The recipe may call for cubed whole-wheat bread, but leftover buns are a smart swap.

Think of Bun Breadcrumbs As a Topping

Give Ina’s Mac and Cheese that extra crunch by finishing it off with homemade breadcrumbs, which have a whole lot more texture than the store-bought kind. Not only that, this mac and cheese puts more of your leftover burger ingredients to use than just the bun by incorporating juicy tomatoes and cheddar.

Go for a Different Bun Classic

Use leftover hamburger buns for their rightful sandwich-specific purpose. Go for Ellie Krieger’s Sloppy Joes and pile a meaty mix of beans, tomato sauce and veggies inside a plush bun.

Use Them to Make Meatballs

Alternatively, incorporate homemade breadcrumbs into Ina Garten’s Real Meatballs and Spaghetti. Ina incorporates a mix of both store-bought and homemade breadcrumbs in her recipe, which results in meatballs with the perfect texture.

Eat Leftover Buns for Breakfast

Leftover burger and hot dog buns lay the perfect foundation for Coconut-Almond French Toast Casserole, which calls for thick-sliced bread. Soaking the buns in a mixture of eggs, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon for no less than six hours ensures that the finished, baked product is delectably moist, sweet and decadent.

Banana Dessert Dog Sundae for Kids By Jackie Alpers

Have Buns for Dessert

You can put your extra buns to use even at the last course. Nestle a peeled banana into a peanut butter-slathered hot dog bun for a riff on a banana split with a Banana Dessert Dog. Drizzle your dessert with chocolate sauce and top with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry.

If you want to use your buns up the old-fashioned way, with straight-up burgers and hot dogs, we’ve got you covered.