Suvir’s Lamb Burger on a Sesame Seed Bun!


Jeff and I are just back from doing a presentation at the Tucson Festival of Books. Nothing like baking bread outside and under a perfectly blue sky to get me in the mood for summer. When we returned to MN the snow was all melted and my grill had reemerged ready for use. Burger time. Many of you have asked us for a bun to match your favorite patty. I like my burgers on a light, vaguely sweet brioche bun, topped with sesame seeds and loaded up with condiments. Others have asked for a bun sturdy enough to hold up to a mega-burger. No matter what dough you choose to use these directions will get you the right shape.

I make a decent burger, but nothing really to write home about. The one I want to introduce you to came from my friend Suvir Saran’s book American Masala. It is a combination of ground lamb, mint, lemon and a kick from cayenne pepper. The burger is so full of flavor and a touch of heat that you don’t need anything else with it, but in case you are like me and want it dripping with a cilantro-yogurt sauce and a bit of crunchy salad for texture I’ve included Suvir’s recipes for those as well. This burger is loved not only by me, but my boys said it was the best I’ve ever made! This recipe first came to fame on the pages of Food & Wine magazine and now Suvir’s lamb burgers are also available through Allen Brothers Catalog.

Makes 6 burgers and buns

The Sesame Seed Bun:

18 ounces (large grapefruit) size piece of Brioche dough (page 189 ABin5), Whole Wheat Brioche dough (page 275 HBin5) or any other dough you happen to have on hand.

egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)

sesame seeds (optional)

The Lamb Burger from American Masala:

2 1/2 pounds ground lamb

2 jalapenos, cored, seeded, and minced

6 scallions (white and light green parts only), finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

zest of 2 lemons

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce:

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 jalapenos, cored, seeded, and minced

2 cups fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

a 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup plain yogurt

Salad topping:

1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped into small pieces

1 small cucumber, halved, seeded and chopped into small pieces

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon hot red pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the buns:


Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (3 ounces).


Gently smooth the pieces into round balls of dough.


Grease 6 English English Muffin Rings and after flattening the dough into 1/4-inch disks place them in the molds. I also baked some without the molds to show you the difference in the final buns.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the buns to rest for 20-40 minutes depending on the type of dough you use and the temperature of your kitchen.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.

Use a Pastry Brushes to paint on the egg wash.


Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Bake for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.


You can see the bun baked in the English muffin ring (right side) is a nicer shape, but they will all taste the same! Let them cool completely before eating.


To make the sauce, salad and burger:

Sauce: In a food processor combine the lemon juice, jalapenos, the cilantro, ginger, sugar, onion, and salt and process until fine. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. Just before serving fold in the yogurt.

Salad: Toss all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and let sit until burgers are done.

Burgers: Preheat the grill (or grill pan on the stove) to medium-high. While it heats, combine the lamb, with the jalapenos, scallions, mint, cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne in a large bowl. Mix with your hands and then pat into 6 burgers.

Grill the burgers until nicely charred on outside and pink within, 5 to 8 minutes per side.


Split the buns, slather the sauce on the bun, place on the burger and top with more sauce and the salad.



122 thoughts to “Suvir’s Lamb Burger on a Sesame Seed Bun!”

  1. Eva: Yes, there’s that tricky little detail about portion size and blood sugar… sorry we can’t help you with that!

  2. It unfortunately is inherited at least in my family, so will just have to learn to control myself! 🙂

    I have bought some peppers to try doing like the onions and see if its as good. Of course nothing beats a good onion, and it was soo good. However the peppers might be a bit better for the sugar levels having less convertable starch.

    If it works out, I shall probably call it the John Barrymore Pepper Pletzle just to keep the tradition going.

  3. I made slider versions of these burgers (buns and all) for an Easter party and they were fabulous! (Yes I’m an overachiever and made 60 of them…) I had leftover meat so I made them into meatballs and served with swiss chard for different but equally scrumptious dinner. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Its been one of those weekends and its dragging into the week, today I have to do the dough, didn’t get it done before, due to getting my water tank filled (from the well which goes dry in winter) and then had to take my van in for a drs visit! Its fine but needs more and more expensive repairs later. So today is bread dough day, and hope the temps are good, they have been fab all weekend, we went from around 44F to 70+F overnight it seems, and the snow is finally just about gone, and we do have some leaves out. So for this part of the country the weather is superb, so need to get with the stuff before it heats up in here.

  5. I am going to try that for sure, I already bake shortcakes on the grill, because it was so hot last summer, I was desperate, it was over 90 in my kitchen for most of June, July and August and that was at 6 am, don’t ask what it was by 6 pm. :0

    I want to build an wood fired oven this summer if I can, may be a dream but I want it!

    I did learn a handy trick about the shortcakes which are just a baking powder biscuit really, with more shortening and a bit of sugar, the trick was to place the number of biscuits needed for the fruit IE: 6 on the baking sheet, and butter the tops, place another 6 on top, and bake the whole for about 10 minutes in the grill, which has a large cast iron griddle in it preheated to 450F on the gauge on the top of the grill. They bake in about half the time of my oven, because the lidded grill is more like a convection oven so quicker to cook. When done, you can simply peel the biscuits apart and fill with the fruit, top with whipped cream or simply pour the whipping cream over the whole thing.

    I got the dough ready yesterday and it rose well, so now to bake, will try out the Pepper Pletzle today, and take some pictures to post in my Picture Trail account.

    I wanted to do half recipe of the brioche dough I made a mistake, putting 1.5 cups of water instead 3/4 cup that is the half quantity. What can I do? throw away it?
    It is in the fridge

    1. Hi Nora,

      You can fix it by making a full batch of the dough. Just add the remaining ingredients to prepare the full batch. It will be easiest to do this with a stand mixer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. Hello,
    So I just made my first batch of Hamburger buns, and they both smell and taste delicious. However, the buns stuck to the rings – did you grease your English muffin rings? Should I use butter or cooking spray? Thank you. -Katie

    1. Katie: Yes, the muffin rings are greased; you can use pretty much anything you like to accomplish the task, butter, lard, shortening, oil, or cooking spray.

  8. I just got out some ground lamb for dinner, wondering what to do with it. Decided to have a look at your site before I googled ground lamb. Surprise! Looks like you’ve made my dinner plan. I just got your HBin5 book. Can I bake the same day I mix the dough (after the 2 hour rise) or does it need to be refrigerated first?

    1. Jodi: Can bake same day, but it will be better the next day (and continues to improve through the storage life). Texture and flavor both improve. Definitely easier to work with when cold, which is another consideration.

  9. OK, now seeing that the buns are now homemade for Suvir’s lamb burgers..I have to order my rings from KAF and put that on my To Do fun list. These look awesome. I know they taste fabulous…just know it.
    having so much fun baking bread in 5 way!

  10. Has anyone made the buns and frozen them? I was just thinking of making some for aget together and it would be alot easier if I could make some each day instead of all at once. How do you sotre them?

    1. Erica: You can always store baked breads or buns in the freezer, but you lose some of the crust character and fresh flavor. Wrap well, as airtight as you can make it.

  11. Very nice, I’ve never seen those rings used to neaten the edges of a bun… Mine always look a bit rustic. Thanks for sharing, I may refer back to this once summer rears its head again!


  12. If you don’t have the rings for this you can do like me: Home made rings!
    All you need is aluminium foil and a stapler. For each ring I tore off a square piece of foil, folded it onto itself until it was about an inch tall by 12 inches wide, made the circular shape, overlapping about a 1/4 inch, and stapled it in place. Works like a charm.

  13. Yesterday, I made hamburger buns from the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread dough recipe in HBin5. Wow! The crowd went wild! I know what I’ll be bringing to every summer BBQ this year.

    I’ve been having so much fun with your books and I’m looking forward to your 3rd.

  14. Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, amazing blog!

  15. i just made your whole wheat brioch recipe for hamburger buns , in the directions it says divide dough into 6 pieces…it seems like a lot of dough for only 6 buns. With 4 cups of wheat flour and 3 cups of white does it really only make 6 rolls? Please help.

    1. Hi Tina,

      In the directions (p.94 HBin5) calls for 1 1/2 pounds of dough, then split that into 6 buns. However, you can make them any size you wish, to suit the burgers.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  16. Hi, I am so pleased to say that I have not thrown out a single hamburger bun since I started using this recipe–usually I end up ditching half the store-bought ones, but my kids are sneaking back into the kitchen and eating these plain as snacks long after dinner’s over! I have one question, though. I had success with making beautifully shaped buns with the brioche dough, but since then I have tried the Oatmeal Flour Bread dough and the Buttermilk White Bread dough, and I find that some of the buns (not all) form little peaks, and so they look sort of like Hershey’s kisses. Am I doing something wrong?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      You can try letting the buns rest a bit longer before baking, but sometimes the dough just does this when it hits the hot oven. You can try slashing them on the top, so they open up a bit, instead of peaking.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. Hello!
    I’ve tried the European peasant dough (ABin5) yesterday for burgers, and I found it a little stiff (e.g. you bite in the burger and the meat patty slips out on the other side, very chic). Is the brioche dough softer? I don’t recall having this problem with the buttermilk dough(ABin5)…

  18. Hey y’all! Is there something obvious and wonderful I should be doing with the (inevitable) delicious brioche breadcrumbs?

  19. Just made these for dinner to go with homemade pulled pork BBQ…wow they were so good! Held up perfectly to the sauce too! Never going back to store bought! Even my super picky toddler ate a whole bun and asked for more!

  20. I’m using the master white boule recipe for these buns and I followed your directions,but the buns are a pale color, not “golden brown”. I even moved them to the top rack after 20 minutes and let them bake another 5. The internal temperature of the buns was 210 when I took them out. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Jose,

      Are you painting the buns with egg wash? The color comes from caramelization, so adding a bit of sugar or honey to the dough can also help.

      Thanks, Zoë

  21. Hey! I love your book, it’s been very helpful. Do you know which recipe the sesame seed buns would work well with besides Brioche? I would still like that “hamburger bun” taste, but I currently can’t have eggs.

    1. The buttermilk dough is a nice choice too. I typically make this with an unenriched dough, so anything in the book, really.

      1. I made these with Buttermilk dough last night and my husband said they were the best hamburger buns he’s ever had! I will be selling them at our SE MN Farmers Market in a couple of months now that they passed the test. Thank you so much for all of your great recipes (I have the new AB in 5) and posts.

      2. Fantastic Nancy! So nice to hear, wish we lived closer so we could check out the Farmer’s Market…

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