Steamed Buns

Steamed Buns

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This is my go-to recipe for steamed buns that can either be served plain, filled, or folded over to be filled after steaming.

These Steamed Buns make a regular appearance as a side dish to our meals. They are fluffy, soft and are basically bread with no crust. What’s not to love about that! They can be left plain, or they can be filled, and this recipe also includes instructions on how to make them folded so they can be filled after steaming. 

Making Steamed Buns

Making steamed buns requires a steamer. There are fancy steaming kitchen tools, but I use a simple bamboo steamer over a pot of boiling water. One new thing I’ve done is add a silicone liner to the bottom of the steamer. However I used to cut squares of parchment paper to go under each bun, which you can do if you don’t have the silicone liner, it works just as well!

Shaping the buns is really up to your preferences. I some times like just cutting them into mantou, but other times I will roll them into balls of dough. Another excellent use is folding them to make filled Bao, or Baozi. Do do this, you will need to roll out the dough, cut them into rounds, and to achieve the folded bun that can be stuffed, brush each with vegetable oil, and then fold over. 

Steamed Buns

Steamed Buns

I highly suggest adding steamed buns to your cooking repertoire. They are so delightful and much easier to make at home then you realize!

Steamed Buns

Steamed Buns

This is a go-to recipe for steamed bun dough that can be made plain, filled, or folded to be filled after steaming.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 12 Buns


  • 300 grams All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • 170 grams Water warm, or lukewarm//plus 20-30 grams more if the dough is too wet


  • In a measuring cup, measure the lukewarm water and add the yeast and pinch of sugar and mix together. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the all purpose flour and the salt.
  • When the yeast is frothy and active, add it to the flour mixture and mix together to create a shaggy dough.
  • Tip the dough out to a work surface and knead the dough until it's soft and stretchy, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, knead the dough in a stand mixer for about 5 minutes).
  • Place the dough back into the bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, or until double in size.
  • After the dough has risen for 1 hour shape the dough into your preferred shape:

Plain Mantou

  • If you'd like plain mantou, roll the dough out into a log.
  • Cut the dough with a pastry cutter into 12 equal pieces.
  • Leave them as squared off cuts, or roll them into balls.
  • Place them into a lined steamer.

Folded for filled Bao Buns

  • Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" in height.
  • Use a 3 inch cookie cutter and cut out 8-12 rounds.
  • Flatten the rounds with a rolling pin then brush each with vegetable oil.
  • Fold the rounds in half and place on a tray or surface, cover lightly with a towel and let them rest for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, place the buns in a lined steamer.

To Steam the buns

  • Add water to a pot (the proper size in relation to your steamer) and bring it to a boil.
  • Place the steamer over the boiling water, lower the heat so the water boils gently.
  • Steam the buns for 12-15 minutes, until the buns are puffy and soft and cooked through with a shiny, smooth surface.
  • Serve the buns immediately, but they can be stored in an air tight container and eaten the next day.
Keyword bao, mantou, steamed buns

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