Rice Burger Buns!! – A photo tutorial on how to make gluten-free rice buns using sticky rice. This fun method results in deliciously crispy yet squishy buns for any type of meat burger or sushi burger.
A few weeks ago, my partner discovered sushi burgers on social media. My mind threw a massive party, my heart swooned, my soul soared, and all the happy heart emojis flew all asunder.
Missing sushi greatly and completely enamored by the concept of sushi burgers, I knew we had to try making them ourselves at home.
Making salmon poke and crab salad is easy, so I knew the complicated part would be the rice buns.
For our first attempt, I followed this recipe for classic Alton Brown’s Sushi Rice Recipeusing white rice, vinegar and sugar – the type of rice that is classically used for rolling actual sushi . I thought it would be wise to use cookie cutters to form the bun patties in order to help hold them together, and alas, this method works great!
Having made rice burger buns multiple times now, I don’t think it is necessary to make a sushi rice recipe using vinegar and sugar, although you certainly can! I simply make a batch of sushi rice without the vinegar and sugar and it works marvelously.
We still use circular cookie cutters to make perfectly round buns, but you can definitely still make the buns without cookie cutters by forming patties with your hands. Just note if you go this route, the buns will likely fall apart on you…but they will still taste delicious!
Some people deep fry the rice in order to make ultra crispy buns that hold together like a dream, but neither of us were keen on deep frying, plus we are fine with a small amount of crumble. Now that we have the hang of making rice buns, we have it down to a system, and it’s really quite easy.
A few weeks after making the first round of sushi burgers (so, a couple days ago), I found myself craving a big beef burger. I thought it would be ultra fun to employ the rice buns we made for the sushi burgers for actual burgers.
And now, we are experts. JK. But seriously, we love these things.
This post covers everything you need to know to make burger buns using rice, from what type of rice to use, how to form the buns, and how to fry the buns so that they hold together.
Let’s dive in!
What Kind of Rice to Use for Rice Burger Buns:
Use sushi rice or short-grain white rice to make rice buns. Both are very starchy, and the starch helps hold the rice buns together!
While I haven’t tried making buns with other types of rice, I imagine it is possible to use other types, but you may need to add ingredients to help bind them, such as egg, breadcrumbs, tapioca starch, or potato starch.
The overarching goal is to end up with buns that hold together while you’re consuming the burger, which may be difficult to achieve using a less starchy rice like basmati or brown rice.
If you try making buns using a different type of rice, feel free to report back on the results!
What Kind of Oil Should I Use for Frying?:
Be sure to use a high-temperature cooking oil, such as algae oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. I like using coconut oil because it adds a natural sweetness/nuttiness to the bun. Avocado oil and algae oil are flavorless so if you’re going for a different flavor than the coconutty taste, be sure to use a flavorless oil.
Now that we have the most important bits of info laid out, let’s make them!
How to Make Rice Burger Buns:
Add the rice to a saucepan along with the water, vinegar (if desired) and sea salt. Cover and bring to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cook, keeping covered, for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on package instructions).
Remove rice from the heat and stir well. Replace the lid and keep the rice covered off the heat for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a tupperware container and refrigerate until chilled.
There are two easy ways to form the rice bun patties – you can either use your hands or use a round cookie cutter.
If using your hands, take about ½ cup to ¾ cup of rice in your hands and form into a ball. Press into a round patty about ½ inch thick.
If using a round cookie cutter, place the cookie cutter on a plate, cutting board or baking sheet (a flat surface). You can use any size round cookie cutter, but obviously base it on the size of bun you’re looking for. My partner normally eats ⅓ to ½ pound burgers, so he uses a 3.5-inch cutter, where my burgers are usually right around ⅓ pound, so I use the 3.1-inch cutter.
Measure ½ to ¾ cup (amount dependent upon size of cookie cutter) of cooked rice and place inside the cookie cutter.
Press the rice down firmly, making a very compact patty. Aim for a bun that’s about ½ inch thick.
Carefully release the rice bun from the cookie cutter mold.
Repeat for remaining rice (2 cups of dry rice will make about 8 (3-inch) rice buns).
Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or high temperature cooking oil of choice) in a large non-stick skillet over medium high or high heat (heat level will depend on your stove top). You’ll want enough oil to generously coat the surface, so don’t skimp on it! Wait for a few minutes to allow the skillet to get completely hot.
Carefully transfer the rice bun patties on the hot surface. Pro Tip: I find it is easiest to use a spatula to transfer the rice bun to the hot skillet since it will be firmly pressed into the plate. They should sizzle when they touch the hot skillet.
Cook without touching for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the rice bun is golden-brown and crispy (this could take less time at lower elevations, so for your first round, you may want to check on the buns after 6 minutes).
Carefully flip and cook another 10 to 12 minutes, until the both sides are golden and crispy.
Repeat for remaining rice bun patties.
Note: one batch of rice will make 8 (3-inch) rice buns, so 4 burgers assuming you aren’t doing open-face.
Now you’re ready to put the rice buns to use! Use them as buns for your favorite burger. Here is what we did for the Teriyaki burgers in the photos:
For the Teriyaki Beef Burger Meat:
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 3 Tbsp teriyaki sauce (I use paleo teriyaki sauce)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 stalks green onion, finely chopped
- Pineapple rings
- Teriyaki sauce for drizzling
To review, here are some tips for successful rice buns:
Tips For Rice Buns That Hold Together Well:
- Make them THICK! – Rice buns will still work if they are less than ½ inch thick, but we found ½ inch is the sweet spot. Yes, it requires a lot of rice, but it helps the buns hold together.
- Use a form, such as a round cookie cutter – while you can make the buns using just your hands, they will be easier to maneuver and will hold together better if formed using a round mold.
- Use a high-starch rice like sushi rice.
- Use plenty of oil – Cook buns in plenty of high temperature cooking oil – we love coconut oil because it adds amazing flavor and generates an amazing crisp on the outside of the rice buns.
Enjoy all your rice bun burgers! Drop me a comment and let me know what kind of burgers you make!
In case you need burger inspiration, here are some of my favorite burger recipes:
- Skillet Cooked Bison Burgers with Havarti and Pesto
- Baked Salmon Burgers
- Avocado Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Aioli
- Pesto Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
- The Ultimate Grilled Portobello Burger
My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!
If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!
Rice Burger Buns (gluten-free)
- Add the rice to a saucepan along with the water, vinegar (if desired) and sea salt. Cover and bring to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and cook, keeping covered, for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on package instructions).
- Remove rice from the heat and stir well. Replace the lid and keep the rice covered off the heat for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a tupperware container and refrigerate until chilled.
- Form rice patties using your hands or round cookie cutters. You're aiming for a rice patty that is 1/2-inch thick.
- Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or high temperature cooking oil of choice) in a large non-stick skillet over medium high or high heat (heat level will depend on your stove top). You’ll want enough oil to generously coat the surface, so don’t skimp on it! Wait for a few minutes to allow the skillet to get completely hot.
- Carefully place the rice bun patties on the hot surface (they should sizzle when they touch the hot skillet) and cook without touching them 10 to 12 minutes, or until the rice bun is golden-brown and crispy.
- Carefully flip and cook another 10 to 12 minutes, until the both sides are golden and crispy.
- Repeat for remaining rice. Use rice buns for your favorite burgers!