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Freshly made steamed buns stacked on a serving plate ready to eat
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5 from 1 vote

Steamed Buns

These Steamed Buns are soft and delicate, great for on the go snacks as well as parties and potlucks!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: bao buns, chinese steamed buns, steamed buns
Servings: 24 buns
Calories: 74kcal
Author: TipBuzz


  • 1 cup warm water 105-115°F (41-46°C), divided
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast 1 envelope or ¼ oz
  • 3 tbsp sugar divided
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp salt fine salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour see note
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp oil canola or similar



  • In a medium-large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup warm water, yeast and a large pinch of the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes (see note).
  • While waiting, cut parchment into 24 squares about 3-inch (7 cin size.
  • Whisk in the remaining ¾ cup water, sugar, salt and the milk until dissolved.
  • Using a large wooden spoon, stir in the flour cup by cup until it forms a sticky dough that starts to pull away from the bowl (see note).
  • Turn dough out onto a floured work surface.
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes by hand or 1-2 minutes using a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add small amounts of flour to help the dough become elastic.
  • Form dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in size, about 90 minutes.
  • Punch down the dough and transfer back to floured work surface.
  • Add baking powder to center of dough and fold in outer edges of the dough to seal.
  • Knead dough for several minutes more until baking powder is incorporated.
  • Return dough to the oiled bowl loosely covered and let rest 10 minutes.


  • Shape the dough into a long about 1-foot (30 cby 3 inches (7 cm).
  • Slice into 1-inch (2.5 cthick pieces and place onto cut parchment squares. Optional: forms the pieces into a ball shape if desired (see note).
  • Place the buns in a bamboo steamer ½-inch (12 mapart. Rest 20 minutes loosely covered.
  • Fill wok or steaming contraption one-third full with water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the bamboo steamer and steam for 12-15 minutes until puffy.
  • Remove cooked buns from steamer. Repeat steaming in batches for remaining buns.


  • The yeast mixture should puff up and become frothy. If it doesn’t for any reason, start over with fresh ingredients.
  • The amount of flour may be slightly more or less than 3 ½ cups depending on flour brand and humidity. Stop adding when the dough pulls away from the bowl.
  • You can also stuff with a filling such as custard or BBQ pork by rolling it into a 5-inch (12 cm) round, bringing the edges together and pinching them to seal.


Serving: 40g | Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.9mg