The Last Thing To Do Before Throwing Out Stale Hot Dog Buns

On the surface, hot dog buns seem to have one very niche purpose — holding a hot dog (or other sausage varieties) and its condiments in place. However, beyond this very useful function, these long and lean buns can also be repurposed in a creative way. If you've purchased too many hot dog buns and are now facing the threat of stale bread, this can actually be a good thing. Rather than toss week-old buns, use them to make breadcrumbs.

A sustainable hack that cuts down on waste and helps stretch your dollars a bit further, repurposing stale hot dog buns into breadcrumbs is ridiculously easy whether you make them fresh or dried. That said, while fresh breadcrumbs are more absorbent, rendering them ideal for binding meat or bulking up sauces, dried can instead shine when used as a crunchy coating or topping. Once the choice is made, processing can commence.

To craft fresh breadcrumbs, cut buns into bite-sized chunks before pulsing for several seconds in a food processor. For more pristine crumbs, you can even freeze the pieces prior to pulsing, and then finely grate them by hand. Alternatively, to make dried breadcrumbs, once the buns have been torn, toast them in the oven over low heat until browned. Then, either stick them in the food processor or crush them with a rolling pin. Making breadcrumbs is literally that easy.

How to jazz up hot dog bun breadcrumbs

Convenient as hot dog bun breadcrumbs may be to make, working with a standard white bun doesn't necessarily produce the most complex of flavors. Although a basic bun can remain usefully neutral in certain recipes, should you want to make breadcrumbs more exciting, you have options. Beyond toasting (which can impart an almost caramelized quality), they can be elevated with the addition of dried herbs and spices, a dose of grated Parmigiano, or even mixed with other crumb toppings like panko or crushed graham crackers.

Likewise, it can also be worthwhile to experiment with different hot dog bun varieties. A fluffy Hawaiian bun can add a delicate sweetness to breadcrumbs, whereas salt-topped pretzel buns can add a savory element. Charcoal buns can instead play with color, meanwhile, poppy seed-laden or sesame seed-crusted hot dog buns are able to heighten texture. Kaiser buns or French rolls can even give breadcrumbs a more artisanal vibe. The bottom line is that basically, any bun (even hamburger buns) can be turned into breadcrumbs.

Regardless of which ingredients and methods you decide, always take care to properly store the ingredient in an airtight container. While they can be kept in the pantry for a few days or even weeks in the fridge, the best way to maximize the shelf life of freshly made breadcrumbs is by freezing them — that is until you've found a suitable recipe to put them on display.