Steamed bao buns filled with barbecued pork

Steamed bao buns

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(13 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. While cow…

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

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • 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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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.
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.
24th Jan, 2016
This recipe works perfectly. I used a dough hook as recommended without any problems. As with jonbeck2 comment below, the second prove worked well in oven that had been heated to 50C (and turned off - my oven holds heat well). Also definitely recommend putting a circle of baking paper under bun while steaming - I tried with and without!
Katyboo84's picture
5th Dec, 2016
That's a great tip about the baking paper - thank you!
25th Oct, 2015
Great recipe...wonderful buns. The second prove needed good warmth ( I sat the buns on the AGA lids) and I separated the buns with squares of baking paper when steaming.
Naz Ka's picture
Naz Ka
23rd Oct, 2018
Wouldn’t adding baking powder counteract Yeast and prevent the dough from rising?
goodfoodteam's picture
2nd Nov, 2018
Thanks for your question. This recipe has been carefully balanced and triple tested so don't worry, it does work!
8th Apr, 2017
Are these buns suitable for freezing and if so, at what point in the process should they be frozen?
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Apr, 2017
Thanks for your question. The buns can be steamed, then frozen. Once defrosted, simply reheat in a steamer.
21st Mar, 2017
Can I use premade frozen yeast roll dough to make steamed buns
goodfoodteam's picture
27th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately not but you can buy the buns in some Asian food stores.
11th Mar, 2017
I measured all the ingredients but I have way too much flour left, is there a misprint in the recipe? Does it really need 525 G of flour?
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. 535g is the correct amount. You need to add 200ml water to the mixture but can add a splash more if necessary. Hope that helps.
1st Mar, 2017
Any particular reason why sunflower oil? Can I use canola?
goodfoodteam's picture
4th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question - yes, you can!


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