Jun 042012

Hello! I am back and I hope you all had a great weekend…we went to Beijing for vacation. Being that this was my first time in China, I must tell you, it was amazing…I will, in the future, share some of the pictures that we took.

Being in China and exposed to all the Chinese food, all of a sudden I asked myself “how come I have not made Chinese steamed bread/bun?” Well, most of the time I would buy them frozen at the local Asian grocery store, either plain or filled with savory meat/vegetarian or the sweet version. Very different from when I used to live in Brazil.  Because the Asian goods were not ready available, we had to make everything from scratch. After moving to US, we just got spoiled since we could find all the goodies easily available.

I remember the first time  I introduced this buns to my husband, he looked at me and said “are you sure that this is cooked? It seems raw…” Even as I place the bun into my mouth, he was still hesitant but finally gave in and tried…Now he loves the homemade ones; he even spreads the buns with peanut butter and jelly or makes a sandwich with it.

These buns are very soft and pillowy… I love “playing” with the dough and making different shapes or into simple rolls. You can store the buns in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Just place them in the steamer for 10 to 15 minutes and you have a hot and steamy bun. Believe me this recipe is very simple!


Starter dough

1/3 cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Main Dough

1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch, complete with all-purpose flour to final measurement of 1 ½ cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup warm water


Starter dough

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and add the yeast. Mix gently and let it rest for approximately 5 minutes, add the flour. Mix and let the starter dough rest in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, until the surface is bubbly.

Final dough

In the bread machine bucket add the starter dough and the remaining ingredients from the main dough, except the water. Set the bread machine to the dough setting, slowly add the water until the dough is soft and smooth. When the dough cycle finishes, remove the dough from the bucket and place in a medium bowl cover with a plastic film and let the dough proof until it doubles its original size. It will take approximately 1 to 2 hours, depending of the room temperature.

Once the dough double its original size, knock the dough back (punch in down) gently and it is time to shape them…now the fun begins!

In this particular case, I divided the dough into 10 equal pieces and shaped them differently. I even added green onion in a couple of them.

Once you shape the buns, place them on parchment paper, cover with plastic film and let them rise in a warm place for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, or until almost double in size.

In the meantime get the steamer going. Place the buns in the steamer, making sure that there is enough space between the buns. Steam the buns in boiling medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful when removing the buns from the steamer so the steam condensation does not drip on the buns.

Transfer the buns to a rack to cool. Serve them hot/warm.

Store them in the refrigerator or freezer.

If you enjoy this Chinese steamed buns you may want to check on this other Asian bread recipes like Red Bean Buns or Asian Style Sandwich Loaf from Simple Recipes.

Curiosity Corner Jan 2013
Did you know that the steamed buns were typically eaten in the northern part of China, where wheat was grown abundantly? These steamed buns have mainly two textures, the soft and fluffy and the dense and firm, being that the first one was served in elegant restaurants and the latter one was mainly used for the working man (high carbohydrates).

Thank you for stopping by Simple Recipes and have a great week!

  70 Responses to “Chinese Steamed Buns”

  1. I have had these at Dim Sum restaurants I think. They do look uncooked but are wonderful. How cool to see them made from scratch. Have a great week!

  2. It sounds like a great trip!! How fun! The description that these are pillowy is perfect – pillowy they are!

  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful time with lots of great memories. I am so impressed you made these Chinese buns; they are so much nicer looking than the one I have eaten at the dim sums. And you made these in the bread machine;

  4. I know what you mean by getting spoiled by all the goodies available at the Asian markets. But home made still taste a whole lot better. I have not made these in a while, time to bring our my kitchenaid I do not have a bread machine.

  5. Welcome back! The buns are beautiful!

  6. I am embarrassed to say – I’ve never had them. I love steamed dumplings – it must mean I would love these steamed buns. And they are so pretty – not sure about smearing peanut butter and jelly on them! What a time you must have had Juliana – I am so looking forward to reading more about your time in Beijing. Welcome home!

  7. You make it look so easy to make your own buns! I really must give it a try (I usually get the frozen ones, too). Glad you enjoyed your holiday =)

  8. Oh Juliana, I love the look of your buns, so pretty and fluffy, now I am inspired to make some for myself too, it’s been a while since I make some!

  9. These look divine! I can eat a lot of them at one go. We love dim-sum and have to eat it at least once a week. I would love to make this at home. Just not sure whether they would be as good as your’s . You have done a fantastic job of it.

  10. I have SO always wanted to make steamed buns! These sound great!

  11. Welcome back with a killer recipe my friend – these look wonderful 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. I love the different shapes you made…they are lovely. Welcome home from your wonderful trip.

  13. Gorgous, gorgeous buns! Steamed buns are my absolute number one in Chinese dim sum menu! My favourite are filled with caramelised sweet pork, but the ones you have made with spring onions sound equally fabulous. Wait, have you tagged it as “Simple”??? I am really surprised because I have always been afraid to even try such buns. They seem so complicated… You have done excellent job and maybe even convinced me to give these a try.

  14. Welcome back, Juliana! It sure sounds like you had a yummy time! You have no idea how long I have been wanting to make steamed buns. I shall someday so I had better save this link!

    Thank you so much for sharing…

  15. They look so light!

  16. These really do look so light and delicious. I had never come accross them before but your step by step recipe really helps. Hope you enjoyed your first trip to China.

  17. I have to say these are just so gorgeous. I’ve never actually had steamed buns but I am just dying to try them now.

  18. I love using these to mop up delicious sauces! Thanks for the recipe! 😀

  19. I have never tried these, they look so interesting, and yes, they don’t really look “done” yet. Are they stickey on the outside or smooth? They look beautiful!

  20. Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation! I’ve seen them but never had one. I’m sure I’d love them, yours look very light and delicious!

  21. I find this type of bread terribly intimidating, but those swirls are so graceful, and the buns look so soft and fluffy, it’s on my list of “dream baking projects”! I’ve never made any sort of steamed bread before. I wish I could have your hands-on guidance the first time through- Yours look flawless.

  22. I love steamed buns and have never thought about making my own but why not give it a try? Yours look wonderful and they would be fun to serve at home;-). Welcome back!

  23. I love how much fun you make these amazing buns sound to make, but you obviously have much experience making them. I’m not so sure mine would turn out nearly as beautiful!

  24. Welcome back, Juliana! You must had a lot of fun on your trip. I love steamed buns with or without stuffing. The good thing about steamed buns is that you can freeze them and just re-steam them and they taste the same. Great to see you back, Juliana! Have a great week.

    ~ ray ~

  25. I can never resist steamed buns. They harken to my childhood and bring back such fond memories and tastes. Even plain ones are irresistible to me. 😉

  26. I have never had steamed buns before. They sound delicious. It sounds like you had a nice vacation, but it is nice to have you back.

  27. So you enjoyed the foods in Beijing too : )!?
    These steamed buns plus a bowl of soy bean milk is already a good meal for me.

  28. I love steamed buns with some pickles and congee for the breakfast!

  29. Easy to follow and turned out fabulous!

  30. I never tried steamed buns so far, yours look perfect and fluffy!

  31. Nice buns 😉 haha, welcome back!

  32. welcome back, glad you had a good trip. the buns you made look so cute, love the twirls.

  33. Welcome back, Juliana! Glad to know that you had a wonderful time in Beijing!
    I love steamed buns…and yours look so beautiful and perfectly made!

  34. Looks great, I love the flower buns! I have one easier recipe using a bread maker and without a starter dough.

  35. I haven’t had steamed buns in so long — I’m definitely craving them now! Yours look delicious. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

  36. So pretty and tempting! I love steamed buns and those look marvelous.



  37. These look delicious and cute! Hope you had a wonderful time on your trip to China!!

  38. Look amazing Juliana!

  39. I have been to Beijing at all and love to visit this city one day. Can’t wait to see your holiday photos.

    Your flowery Chinese buns are very pretty… Love them 😀

  40. i LOVE chinese steamed buns! heheh i look to stuff strawberries and almond butter in mine. now i need o try making a gluten free version :). so glad you enjoyed your trip to beijing! hope all is well and you are enjoying the week, juliana!

  41. The buns look great. Can’t wait to see some China photos!

  42. Looking forward to reading about your fabulous vacation, Juliana. And welcome back!
    Your steamed buns look wonderful. I love the idea of green onions in them.

  43. Hi Juliana, glad to see you back in action again. Hope everything is fine on your side. You’ve just tempted me to make some steamed buns. Hmmm….Yummm…
    Hope you’re having a great day, dear.

  44. Welcome back!
    Your buns looks wonderful! We love eating steamed plain buns like this dipped in leftover braised pork gravy.
    My kids favourite!
    Thank you for sharing, have a lovely day!

  45. Welcome back!

    Steamed buns are a favorite in my house. We call them siopao regardless of the filling. LOL.

    Your baos look beautiful specially the flower-shaped. I will follow this method next time I make. Thanks.

  46. I have seen steamed buns but I have never tried them yet… I absolutely must try your recipe 🙂

  47. these look wonderful how cool you got to visit China look forward to your posts

  48. I hope you had a great holiday. I have a sister who lives in Beijing. I haven’t made buns before. Yours look great. Looking forward to hearing about your holiday xx

  49. Welcome back Juliana!!! I bet your trip was great… we always want to visit China but when we go to Asia direction, our parents tend to say “why don’t you spend more time with us”… so we haven’t really been to many Asian countries because of that. I should have traveled before married or having kids! Mistake! =P

    Your buns look so good! I’ve never seen any creative buns like you made. Those are so unique and delicious… My daugther loves Chinese buns – even we order Peking duck, she just eat those buns and we’re end up having not enough buns for the duck. >_< I have bread maker too, maybe I should try it one day!

  50. Dear Juliana,

    Welcome back from your vacation, trust that you had a great time.

    These buns look so fluffy and pillowy all I can think about is dunking them into some lovely Sichuan gravy like a Kung Po chicken with cashew nuts.

  51. I’m glad that you enjoyed your vacation – it sounds like a fabulous trip! These buns look so soft, and they do look fun to make!

  52. i’ve seen these so many times on blogs, but never in person! isn’t that sad! if i had one in front of me, i’m confident i would devour it in a matter of seconds. 🙂

  53. Hi Juliana, glad that you had an enjoyably trip. Your bun sure look soft and fluffy, love the flowers shape.

    Have a nice weekend.

  54. What beautiful buns! I’m glad you enjoyed your vacation :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  55. Yum yum yum. I am drooling! Chinese steamed buns has been in my to cook list but not yet get round to it. Yours look perfect.

  56. I can’t resist these soft pillowy buns!!!!

  57. Now I have the bread maker but will need to buy a steamer to try these. I’ve always been intrigued by them and need to stop thinking and try them. I love the way you shaped yours – so pretty.

    Looking forward to seeing photos of your trip!

  58. Lol, I would say the same thing as Stan Juliana! Indeed they look raw but I suspect they are delicious! I always like to try new things. I am bookmarking this. Welcome back!

  59. Oh wow…Juliana, u made Chinese steamed buns! That’s fantastic. They look so successful, soft and delicious. I’m amused how your husband thought they were not cooked…haha. Wonderful to know you enjoyed your China trip. Would love to see more pictures.

  60. beautiful steamed buns, Juliana. I hope you enjoyed your first visit to Beijing. I was there 12 years ago, when my daughter was attending Peking University.

  61. What beautiful buns you have made 🙂 The green onions are definitely a great addition to the buns too.

  62. I must try making steamed buns. Yours look so great! I’m so glad you had a nice vacation. My husband has been to Beijing, but I have not yet. It is very high on the list!

  63. i love how you twisted and shaped the buns, they look very pretty!

  64. Im glad you enjoyed your vacation and its great to have you back and with a stunning recipe., that I never tried, but I would love to have ago at it.
    Cheers and thanks for sharing,

  65. The buns look so lovely, although I must say I have never tried them with peanut butter and jelly before! Welcome back and I’m looking forward to your China stories 🙂

  66. I Just had these for the first time ever last weekend and they were amazing! I can tell there will be a lot more dim sum in my future. Thanks so much for sharing how to make these, I can’t wait to try it out.

  67. Love these buns! Especially the ones with the green onions. I can’t figure out how you shaped the buns though…they look so pretty!

  68. Welcome Back!! I can’t wait to see your pics! I have always wanted to make steamed buns, you make it look so easy… will have to try them! thanks

  69. Do you have a recipe to make chinese steam buns without yeast? but with sourdough?

  70. Hi Karine,
    I have not tried to make bread without yeast. Moreover, I yet have to try to bake with sourdough, therefore cannot help you in this issue. Hope you find the answer to your question…and thank you so much for stopping by 🙂