Steamed Bun Dough (包子皮)


I love steamed buns. Pork, vegetarian, red bean, lotus, salted egg– the possibilities for fillings are truly endless. The hallmark of a great bun is a soft fluffy outside and a delicious filling. Growing up, we usually bought our buns frozen at a supermarket, but in the past year, I’ve been teaching myself to make my own buns.

2016-03-13_19.34.26I’ve made red bean, black sesame, and taro, but while the fillings have been delicious, I always felt the dough wasn’t quite right. I felt a bit like Goldilocks. I’ve tried dozens of different dough recipes but some either turned out too tough or too gummy due to bad steaming technique or the wrong mix of ingredients. Recently, I’ve tried my hand at barbecue pork buns (char sit) and vegetarian buns and while I have the steaming technique down, the dough was just never perfect.

Then, I stumbled upon my most recent mix of adding a dash of baking powder and by golly–this was the softest, fluffiest steamed bun I have ever made. I can’t stop gushing about how amazing it tastes. It’s the perfect recipe for anyone craving steamed buns. Plus, for more savory fillings, you can up the salt content in the dough and the same for the sugar in sweet steamed buns.

2016-03-13_19.36.18I find that letting the buns proof before steaming in a warm place will enhance the flavor and final resulting product will be nice and large. Also, don’t turn the heat on until you have the steamer and buns in place. The gradual heating of the buns will give it more time to proof again. Finally, don’t disturb the buns right after they’ve finished cooking. This will cause the buns to collapse and the outside will become doughy and wrinkly–a huge disappointment. With these simple tricks, you’re all set to making the best homemade fluffy steamed buns (pau/pao/bao) you’ve ever tasted!

Note*** This version of the recipe is solely mine. When reposting, please cite me and my website.

Copyright march 2015 ©

Steamed Bun Dough (包子皮)


Soft and fluffy asian steamed bun dough– a perfect vehicle for any filling
>>> Yields 18 buns

-Prep: 30 min
-Steam: 20 min


  • 1 C warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 4 C AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt


1) Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar together in a bowl and let stand until foamy for about 5 minutes.
2) Add in the flour, salt, and baking powder and stir until combined.
3) Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes in a mixer until the dough is smooth and springs back at the touch.
4) Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or slowly for 5-6+ hours in the fridge.
5) Lightly punch down the dough and knead lightly with flour if the dough seems wet.
6) Divide the dough into 18 pieces and fill with a pork or vegetarian filling.
7) To cook: Let the buns rise for 20-25 minutes in a warm place. Put the buns in a bamboo or metal steamer with cool water. Turn on the heat to high and let the water come to a boil. Once the water is boiling, let it steam for 20 minutes. After, turn the heat off and DON’T open the cover. Let the buns cool slightly for 2-3 minutes before removing the cover.
8) Serve hot and freeze leftovers once cool.

Happy eats!


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