Bao (Chinese steam buns)

Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Bao, Steam buns
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 365kcal
Chinese steam buns that can be filled with many types of delicious meats and vegetables
Print Recipe


  • Bamboo steamer (or equivalent. I've used a chafing dish with a perforated pan, and one of grandmas old umbrella-style vegetable steamer baskets)


  • cup water lukewarm
  • ½ cup milk warm
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp sugar divided in half
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour use blenched flour if you want complete white buns
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, milk, active yeast, half of the sugar and oil. Whisk together briefly, and let stand for 10 minutes until yeast is foamy.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. With the dough hook attachment fixed, start the mixer on low speed and begin adding the dry ingredient mixture a little at a time, until all dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough for 3-4 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Remove the dough hook and form the dough into a ball. The dough should not stick to your fingers. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and set in a warm (but not hot) location and allow it to rise for 2 hours. Dough should triple in size.
  • Divide the dough in half. Keep one half covered in the bowl, and place the other half on a work surface. Roll into a log and divide into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball by rolling between your palms. Roll each dough ball until about ¼" thick. Spray the top generously with cooking spray, fold into a half moon, and place in a steamer basket lined with parchment.
  • Bring some water to a boil in the wok. Place the bamboo steamer over the water and cover. Steam for 10 minutes, then remove steamed buns to a baking sheet lined with parchment to cool a bit.
  • Stuff with fillings and garnish of your choice.


Sodium: 214mg | Calcium: 77mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 61IU | Sugar: 14g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 171mg | Cholesterol: 3mg | Calories: 365kcal | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fat: 3g | Protein: 10g | Carbohydrates: 74g | Iron: 4mg