Learn how to make basic soft, fluffy Chinese steamed bao buns, which can be made with or without filling and in different shapes and flavors. With this recipe, we’ll give you all the tips you need to make smooth, soft steamed buns.


Chinese steamed buns have been around since the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–255BC). Scholars from the Ming Dynasty say that the original name for these buns was “barbarian’s head,” or “mantou.”
Chinese tea is often served with these soft, white buns that have been steamed.

Why you should try this recipe?

  • I looked at a lot of recipes to come up with this steamed bao buns recipe, I knew I had to make the PERFECT recipe because this one is the basis for so many others.
  • This Chinese recipe for steamed bao buns will show you step-by-step how to make the fluffiest steamed buns.
  • This recipe for steamed buns takes its time to make sure they taste great and have the right texture.

To make this recipe you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 120ml (½ cup) warm full-fat milk
  • 5g (⅛oz) baking powder (baking soda)
  • 10g (¼oz) caster sugar
  • 5g (⅛oz) dried yeast
  • 200g (1½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1½ tsp olive oil

For the pork filling:

  • 80g (3oz) Chinese Roast BBQ Pork
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • natural red food colouring
  • 1 tbsp yellow bean sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • ½ tbsp vegetable oil

How to make steamed bao buns:

  1. Pour the milk into a jug, then add the yeast and sugar. Stir it up and let it sit for 5 minutes. Put the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and mix well to make a dough. 5 minutes: Knead the dough.
  2. Secondly, lightly rub 12 teaspoon of olive oil over the surface of the dough. Leave the dough in the bowl, covered with a damp cloth or cling film, to rise for 30 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
  3. Cut the pork into 5mm (1/4-inch) cubes. Everything else, except the oil, should be mixed in a bowl and set aside. after that, In a wok, heat the oil and cook the pork for 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture and stir quickly for 2–3 minutes. Pour the filling back into the bowl and let it cool.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it to get rid of the air bubbles, making sure to keep the surface floured. Roll the dough into a long sausage shape with your hands, then cut it into 6 equal pieces. Form each piece into a 7 cm (234 in) flat disc by rolling it between your fingers. Put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each disc, then bring the edges together to make a round package and twist the top to seal it.
  5. Place the filled dough balls on perforated baking paper in a bamboo steamer with a lid. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise again for 30 minutes.
  6. When you’re ready to cook, put the bamboo steamer over a pan of boiling water and steam the buns for 9 minutes. Serve while they’re still hot.
  7. Finally, you can make buns that aren’t filled by putting the same-sized pieces of dough right into a lined steamer and cooking them the same way as for filled bao. Other common fillings are lotus seed paste and custard and red bean paste, which are not too sweet but are very tasty.

What do you eat with steamed bao buns ?

In many northern Chinese homes, mantou is the main food that is eaten. So, just like you eat steamed rice, families ate mantou with a variety of savory dishes, often with something less solid like congee, soups, etc.
People often eat sweet snacks by dipping mantou into condensed milk, but0 you can also eat it with honey or jam.

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