Steamed bao buns filled with barbecued pork

Steamed bao buns

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 24 mins plus 3 hrs 30 mins rising and proving

A challenge

Makes 18 buns

Fill these steamed Chinese bread rolls with BBQ pork and pickled vegetables for a perfect Chinese New Year party nibble

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily halved

Nutrition: per bun

  • kcal119
  • fat1g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs23g
  • sugars2g
  • fibre1g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.2g
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  • 525g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1½ tbsp caster sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 50ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…


  1. Mix together 525g plain flour, 1½ tbsp caster sugar and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl (see tip).

  2. Dissolve 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1 tbsp warm water, then add it to the flour with 50ml milk, 1 tbsp sunflower oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 200ml water. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed.

  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-15 mins, or until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hrs, or until doubled in size.

  4. Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and punch it down. Flatten the dough with your hands, then sprinkle over 1 tsp baking powder and knead for 5 mins.

  5. Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about 3cm thick, then cut into pieces that are about 3cm wide – you should have 18.

  6. In the palm of your hand, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 mins.

  7. Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, one by one, into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Rub the surface of the dough ovals with oil and brush a little oil over a chopstick.

  8. Place the oiled chopstick in the centre of each oval. Fold the dough over the chopstick, then slowly pull out the chopstick.

  9. Cut 18 squares of baking parchment and put a bun on each. Transfer to a baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hr 30 mins, or until doubled in size.

  10. Heat a large steamer over a medium-high heat. Steam the buns for 8 mins until puffed up (you’ll need to do this in batches).

  11. Prise open each bun and fill with our barbecue pork and pickled carrot & mooli. Eat while they’re still warm.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Ruth Anna's picture
Ruth Anna
1st Feb, 2020
The recipe is fantastic! The video is not as it is a completely different method!! Do not watch the video, read the instructions carefully!! The buns freeze really well, just pop them back in the steamer from frozen to reheat! Bao buns for days in the freezer to fill with all kinds of fillings!!
24th May, 2019
Just finished a great family meal around these bau buns. The recipe is 100% accurate ( not always tne case with online recipes). The video is only good for general guideline. I followed the written instructions and they turned out wonderful- soft white light.. a sure keep
Claire Anderson's picture
Claire Anderson
7th Mar, 2019
Fantastic recipe, all the family love these steamed buns. Read the recipe from start to finish before you make them as I misread it the first time and didn't realise there was a second proving time. They still worked out.
25th Nov, 2018
My review is based on the instructions overall and not based on the flavor of the bao bun. This recipe and video are confusing. The recipe instructions do not include baking powder, while the ingredient list and video does. The instructions state to rest the dough for 2 hours while the video states to rest the dough for 1 hour. There is no consistency overall.
spindoctor's picture
11th Feb, 2019
The recipe states 1 tsp baking powder and the recipe method N04 states "Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and punch it down. Flatten the dough with your hands, then sprinkle over 1 tsp baking powder and knead for 5 mins." Read the instruction carefully before you mark down an excellent recipe!
18th Nov, 2017
Brilliant and rewarding as they taste so good. Went really well with korean fried chicken.
Minoo's picture
6th Feb, 2017
This recipe is amazing - I'd never made steamed buns (or even used a steamer) before and by following this recipe to the letter I got an amazing result. If you have some time and fancy a challenge, give it a go!
28th Jan, 2017
Agree with the comments. You need to follow this recipe exactly and you end up with perfect, light buns. I did let them prove for ages. We had them with pork and pickle. Delicious!
Katyboo84's picture
5th Dec, 2016
We have made these twice now and used different fillings both times. These buns are simply delicious, though they need care and attention they are relatively easy and guaranteed to work - provided you follow the recipe to the absolute letter.
30th Mar, 2016
A brilliant recipe; yes it takes time but it really is worth it. I made it with the pork and pickle from the magazine article and it was loved by everyone who ate it.


Shivani Kotecha's picture
Shivani Kotecha
8th Jan, 2020
Can we use a vegan substitute for milk?
9th Jan, 2020
Hello, We haven't tested this without milk but I can see from other recipes that you can use water instead. If you try it then please let us know how you get on.
Shivani Kotecha's picture
Shivani Kotecha
8th Jan, 2020
Can we substitute milk with a vegan alternative (almond or soy)?
7th Oct, 2019
Can the Bao buns be frozen? If so at what stage in their preparation?
goodfoodteam's picture
8th Oct, 2019
Thanks for your question. Yes, the buns can be steamed, then frozen. Once defrosted, simply reheat in a steamer.
Ebony Lewis's picture
Ebony Lewis
6th May, 2019
The ingredients list does not state 200ml of water but the method does, when I put the method in the dough is like water, extremely wet and cannot be kneaded. I've now wasted 2 batches trying this recipe can someone please confirm how much water should be used.
goodfoodteam's picture
7th May, 2019
Thanks for your question. We don't list water or table salt in the ingredients lists of our recipes. 200ml is the correct amount and the dough will be quite sticky but is less so once kneaded. If you're finding 200ml is too much which can sometimes come down to the flour used, try adding 175ml instead and then adding more as necessary. We hope this helps.
18th Jan, 2019
Hi i don’t have an adequate bamboo steamer- is it possible to make this in a metal vegetable steamer? / any tips for this?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Jan, 2019
Thanks for your question. You can simply replace the bamboo steamer with a metal one and use as above.
Naz Ka's picture
Naz Ka
23rd Oct, 2018
Wouldn’t adding baking powder counteract Yeast and prevent the dough from rising?


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