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At the end of a family reunion, neighbourhood barbecue or kid’s birthday party, you can count on having leftover burger buns and rolls. These eight tasty ideas will help you use them up before they go stale.

How Long Do Buns Stay Fresh?

Commercial hamburger and hot dog buns usually stay soft for up to one week. Freshly made rolls from the bakery section of the supermarket will only last a couple of days before they toughen up. In both cases, wrap them tightly in plastic and keep them at room temperature. When they get too hard to enjoy, try these solutions.

1. Make bread pudding: This is classic comfort food—and it doesn’t have to be sweet! Savoury bread puddings make great side dishes. Use leftover rolls or burger buns that are a few days old and a bit dry. Switch things up with ingredients you have on hand, such as cooked vegetables for savoury versions, and dried fruit and nuts for sweet.

Try it:
Savoury Ham & Cheese Bread Pudding
Sweet Walnut Bread Pudding with Vanilla Caramel Sauce

2. Toss a salad: Seasoned croutons are easy to make at home. Cut buns into 1/2- to 3/4-inch (1 to 2 cm) cubes, and put them in a bowl. Drizzle with oil or melted butter, and season with your favourite herbs and spices. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or shredded cheese makes a nice addition, too. Bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven, shaking the pan a couple of times, until golden and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Or, to make the best-tasting caesar salad croutons you’ve ever tried, toast cubed buns in fat from a roast chicken. Sprinkle croutons on salads and soups.

Try it:
Grilled Bread & Tomato Salad

3. Toast and top: Leftover buns make tasty pizza crusts. Get all hands in the kitchen and set up a topping bar so everyone can make their own. Or try making bruschetta using buns instead of baguette slices. Brush cut sides with olive oil and broil until golden. Rub with a halved garlic clove, and top with juicy chopped tomatoes and fresh basil.

Try it:
Grilled Burger Bun Tomato & Cheese Pizzas
Rustic Bruschetta

4. Make sandwiches: You don’t need burgers and dogs to fill up buns. Stack on layers of meat, cheese and roasted veggies, and then wrap and refrigerate overnight. You’ll have a head start on tomorrow’s lunch, and the flavours will have time to mingle. For an East Coast–style lunch, toast leftover hot dog buns, fill with lobster salad and serve with Compliments Salt and Vinegar Chips.

Try it:
Roasted Chicken & Sweet Pepper Sandwiches

5. Grind up breadcrumbs: It’s so easy to make your own crumbs. In a blender or food processor, grind up cubed rolls—that’s it. You can use soft bread for fluffy, fresh crumbs or harder stale bread to make dry crumbs. Add them to meatballs and meat loaf, or season them with your favourite herbs and spices, and coat fried or baked chicken, veal or pork cutlets, or fish fillets. Homemade crumbs are an excellent substitute for panko in a recipe; the coating will be just a bit less crisp but still flavourful.

Try it:
Chicken with Crunchy Salsa Topping

6. Grill and dip: Before you turn off the barbecue, grill leftover rolls or burger buns to serve with dips and spreads. The smoky flavour and crunchy texture are especially good with veggie dips and hummus. For a fast after-school snack or before-dinner munchie, serve them with Compliments Hummus.

Try it:
Roasted Red Pepper Spread

7. Bake a strata: Serve this easy egg-and-bread casserole instead of quiche or a frittata for brunch. Strata tastes best when it’s assembled the night before so the flavours have time to mingle. In the morning, it just needs a quick bake to be ready. Once you’ve mastered the recipe, get creative with different veggies, meats or cheeses you have on hand.

Try it:
Mushroom, Spinach & Goat Cheese Strata

8. Stir up stuffing: Stuffing gets a lot of love during the holidays—and for good reason. But it’s easy to make, so why not use it to dress up a simple Sunday dinner, like roast chicken? Stuffed vegetables are another delicious way to add more stuffing to your meals, and these recipes adapt easily to what’s in your fridge. Don’t have artichokes? Try zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes or other favourites.

Try it:
Sausage, Chestnut & Onion Dressing
Stuffed Artichokes

Tip: Any type of bread (even gluten-free) will work in these suggestions if it’s prepped the same way—so don’t worry if you don’t have exactly what’s called for in the recipe.


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