Sticky pork belly bao buns

Sticky pork belly bao buns

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(4 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 2 hrs

More effort

makes 10

These soft Chinese bao buns are stuffed to bursting with spicy pork and topped with crushed chilli peanuts

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per bun

  • kcal570
  • fat22g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs66g
  • sugars17g
  • fibre3g
  • protein26g
  • salt1.4g
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    For the pork

    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

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

    • 800g piece boneless pork belly, cut into thick slices
    • 4 tbsp light muscovado sugar
    • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
    • thumb-sized piece ginger, sliced



      Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

    • 2 star anise
      Star anise

      Star anise

      star an-eese

      Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

    • 100ml Shaosing rice wine
    • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • large pinch of Chinese five-spice powder

    For the buns

    • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 1 tbsp white caster sugar
    • 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…

    • 2 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
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

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

    For the crushed chilli peanuts

    • handful roasted peanuts
    • 1 tsp togarashi spice mix (see tip below)

    To serve

    • coriander leaves
    • cucumber batons
    • shredded spring onion
      Spring onions

      Spring onion

      sp-ring un-yun

      Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…


    1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. In batches, brown the pork belly well, then transfer to a plate. Tip the sugar into the dish and cook over a medium heat until starting to dissolve and caramelise, then quickly stir in the garlic, ginger and star anise, and cook for 1 min.

    2. Carefully pour in the rice wine and soy sauce – watch out, it will spatter – and simmer to dissolve the sugar. Stir the pork into the caramel to coat, then add 100ml water and the five-spice, and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 1 hr 30 mins. Remove from the oven, uncover, put on a high heat to simmer and reduce the sauce until sticky. Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and chilled. Reheat with a splash of water.

    3. To make the chilli peanuts, mash most of the peanuts using a pestle and mortar, then add the rest of the nuts and roughly crush for a chunky texture. Stir through the togarashi powder. Can be made 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container.

    4. For the buns, tip the dry ingredients and a large pinch of salt into a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour in the milk, oil and 100ml tepid water, and work the mixture for about 10 mins until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size (for about 1 hr)

    5. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a sausage shape. Cut the sausage into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a bun, then use a rolling pin to roll each bun out into an oval. Lightly grease each one, then fold them over a greased chopstick or skewer and place on a lightly oiled baking tray to rest for 1 hr or until doubled in size. Remove the chopstick or skewer before steaming.

    6. Heat a steamer and steam the buns on circles of baking parchment in batches for about 10 mins until puffed up. Split the buns and stuff each one with a slice or two of the pork, drizzled with some of the sauce. Scatter over some coriander, cucumber and spring onions, then sprinkle with the crushed nuts and tuck in.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Harriet Hart's picture
    Harriet Hart
    25th Apr, 2020
    These were delicious! We didn’t make the chilli peanuts and didn’t have spring onion so we had crunchy carrot batons instead. Perfect sticky pork if like the previous commenter your worried about your pork being burnt you could remove it while you reduce down the sauce.
    16th Mar, 2019
    Cook length is far too long. Pork burnt to crisp if you follow it. Omit the final reduction stage completely or you’ll waste several hours getting nothing to eat
    22nd Aug, 2017
    Delicious! Followed the recipe to the letter; the pork was melt in your mouth tender, the bao buns were soft and fluffy. 6 year old stated it's his best meal ever, not much more to say :)
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