How To Steam Hot Dog Buns (Without A Steamer)

Hot dogs are such an iconic and versatile food option that fits right in with almost any social event. From birthdays to cookouts, hotdogs are bound to make an appearance and elevate any meal. While they are very easy to prepare, the secret lies in how they are prepared if you are looking for that distinct taste.

The preparation method creates a distinction between a good and a great hotdog. More often than not, people will ask, what makes the perfect hotdog? Well, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that I am willing to share.

Instead of using regular buns, use steamed buns. Yes, that is the big secret. Regular buns are okay but steamed buns are special and will create a splash of flavors bursting in your mouth. So how do you steam hot dog buns the right way? There are a variety of methods so I’ll share my top ones that guarantee you a delicious hotdog and keep you wanting for more.

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns Without A Steamer

The quickest way to steam hot dog buns is to do so in a microwave. Simply spritz a paper towel with water (don’t soak it), wrap the buns with the dampened paper towel, and microwave for 10 seconds or so on high. A better method for a cookout is to use a crockpot. Simply place the buns in the crockpot and set it to the “warm” setting. This isn’t as quick but is more convenient for larger gatherings.

Choose the Right Hot Dog Buns

Before you start steaming your hot dog buns, you need to ensure you have the right kind. I mean you can steam all your buns you want but if they are not the right kind, you will not achieve that iconic taste. So, what should you look out for when making the perfect hot dog?

  • Whole-grain products.
  • Avoid bread products with high amounts of added sugar.
  • Steam Buns On Grill 

I know you think your grill is best left for barbecues but hear me out. This is one of the perfect ways to warm up and moist your buns. For the perfectly steamed buns, follow the steps below.

  • Fill up some clean water in a spray bottle. If you would like more flavor, you can fill it up with chicken or beef stock.
  • Spritz the water lightly around the bun and some inside. Make sure not to make the bun soggy.
  • Using aluminum foil, gently wrap the buns to avoid disassembling them.
  • Place the wrapped buns on the upper rack of the grill. You want to avoid burning the buns by placing them near the flame where the temperature is too hot.
  • Flip the buns and remove them after two minutes.
  • Remove the foil and voila! You have your steamed buns.

Steam Hot Dog Buns In Rice Cooker

Using your rice cooker is another excellent option to keep your buns moist and tasty. Here’s a step-by-step method of how to perfectly steam using a rice cooker:

  • Fill the inner bowl of the rice cooker with water.
  • Cover and press the cook button until the water comes to a boil.
  • Place the steamer basket and put the buns inside. Add them in batches to ensure they are not overcrowding.
  • Cover with the lid and give it about a minute. You can increase the time by up to two minutes if you like super moist buns.
  • Turn off the rice cooker, remove the buns, and start assembling.

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns In A Roaster

  • Pour about two cups of water into the oven roaster.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • You can apply some butter to the buns for additional flavor.
  • Insert the rack on top of the steaming water and place the buns on top.
  • Cover the roaster and let the buns steam for one minute. Do not open the roaster during this time.
  • Using tongs, carefully remove the buns slowly as they are a bit delicate at this point and could easily break.

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns In A Microwave

If you do not have time to set up your grill or use any of the above methods, you can also use your microwave. It is a simple pop-in and pop-out. 

  • Take a paper towel and spray it with a few drops of water or flavored stock. Don’t make it soggy just damp it a little.
  • Cover the buns with the moistened paper towel carefully and place them on your microwavable plate.
  • Set the temperature to high and time for 10 seconds. Note that time may vary depending on the type and make of your microwave.
  • Remove your buns and serve with your chosen condiments.

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns In A Crock Pot

This is one of the most effective ways of steaming your buns. Not only do you steam them but also, you get to keep them warm for longer. If you are having a large gathering, this is probably the best way to steam your buns. The steps to follow are:

  • Place the hot dogs in the slow cooker and cover with the lid for three to four hours.
  • Once ready to eat, place the buns inside. There is no need to add water as the steam from the hot dogs will be enough to heat the buns.
  • You can keep the hot dogs inside to keep them warm but be sure to turn the crockpot to warm after they are done to avoid overcooking them. 
  • Anytime you need warm buns, you can slip them inside between 30 to 60 seconds and the moisture from the buns will steam them up.

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns In Instant Pot

  • For this method, you can choose to put the hot dogs in water or use a steamer basket. 
  • Pour a cup of water into the instant pot.
  • Place a steam basket just above the water and place your buns inside.
  • Seal the pot and select high pressure for 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Release the pressure and open the lid.
  • Enjoy your warm buns. 

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns On The Stove

If you only have a stovetop, you too can steam your dog buns. The good thing about steaming buns is all you need is moisture. Here is how to go about it.

  • On the stovetop, fill and set a pot of water to at least a quarter inch.
  • Place your steam basket inside the pot. Remember, the water level should be below the steam basket.
  • Bring the water to a boil and place the buns inside the basket.
  • Cover the pot for up to half a minute.
  • Remove the buns from the boiling water using tongs.

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns In A Ninja Foodi

This is one of my personal favorites. The Ninja Foodi is perfect for its versatility and offers even steaming. You don’t have to worry about uneven warm buns or soggy buns when using it. It basically works the same way as a rice cooker only thing is that you can skip all the other steps and simply throw in the buns. After 30 seconds, you will have your moist buns!

How To Keep Hot Dog Buns Warm

Perhaps you are on an adventurous trip and would like to carry hot dogs as your choice of snack. You will only eat them after some time and they may not be as warm as you want them to be at that time. Well, there is a way to keep your buns warm and enjoy them once you reach your destination. 

  • Steam your buns using one of the methods above.
  • You can place the hot dogs inside the buns but do not add any condiments yet.
  • Carefully and individually, wrap the hot dogs with foil.
  • Place them in a cooler or insulated bag.
  • Alternatively, you can use a travel hot pack to keep them warm until you are ready to eat them. 
  • Keep the bag closed at all times and your buns will stay warm for longer.

How To Steam Hot Dog Buns For A Crowd

If you are having a party and serving hot dogs as a delicacy, it can be a struggle warming the buns for everyone. You will need a large surface area to warm them up all at once. A grill or oven will be your best option.

For the grill, simply place all the buns on top of the rack and some water at the bottom or on a pan. Turn the heat up and steam your buns. You can also use steaming baskets and a lid. Leave them for a minute then remove them. The trick is to place them all at once and remove them at the same time. That way, they all get equal steaming time and none get too soggy. 

If you choose the oven, stack the buns in a baking tray and wrap them up in foil. The foil holds in the moisture and keeps them soft. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then place the buns inside. The ideal time is two to three minutes but you can extend up to five minutes depending on how warm and soft you like your buns. 

Steamed buns elevate your hot dogs and make them special. You can choose from a wide range of methods and get the perfectly steamed buns. The trick is in terms of timing. Do not let the buns become too soggy by leaving them in for too long. A few seconds in and your buns are ready. Take them out and serve using your favorite condiments.

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Final Thoughts

We’ve covered many methods to steam hot dog buns but the best 2 methods and the ones I recommend are to simply microwave them with a moistened paper towel or use a crockpot to keep them warm if you’re cooking out.

If you don’t have either of those items, there are a plethora of other methods. Many of which we’ve covered but you should be able to come up with your own method based on what we’ve outlined above if you don’t happen to have any of these kitchen tools handy.

Good luck and happy cooking.

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