bao bun recipe

Homemade Bao Bun Recipe | Fluffy & Tasty!


Looking to recreate the deliciousness of bao buns in the comfort of your own home? Look no further! In this article, we’ll guide you through an easy homemade bao bun recipe that will leave you with irresistibly fluffy and tasty buns. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, our bao dough recipe is sure to impress.

Imagine sinking your teeth into a soft, cloud-like bun that envelops your favorite fillings. From succulent meats to flavorful vegetables, bao buns offer endless possibilities for customization. And the best part? You can make them from scratch using simple ingredients you already have in your pantry.

The History and Origin of Bao Buns

Bao buns, also known as lotus leaf buns, have a fascinating history that dates back to Fuzhou, the capital of the Fujian province in China. The original type of bao bun, known as gua bao, has a special place in Chinese culinary tradition. Traditionally filled with succulent red pork belly, mustard greens, and peanuts, gua bao buns have been enjoyed for centuries.

Over time, bao buns and their fillings have evolved, resulting in a wide variety of delicious options. Today, bao buns can be filled with an array of ingredients, including crispy fried chicken, tangy kimchi, tender Peking duck, and so much more. This versatility has contributed to their popularity not only in China but also in a range of Asian cuisines, such as Vietnamese and Korean.

Let’s explore the origins and evolution of bao buns, from their humble beginnings to their global popularity.

Traditional Name Main Ingredients Modern Fillings
Gua Bao Red pork belly, mustard greens, peanuts Braised beef, fried chicken, kimchi, Peking duck, vegetarian options

Lotus leaf buns image

  1. Gua bao was the original name for bao buns, which were filled with red pork belly, mustard greens, and peanuts.
  2. Bao buns have evolved over time, and now they can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including braised beef, fried chicken, kimchi, Peking duck, and even vegetarian options.
  3. Bao buns have gained global popularity and are widely enjoyed in different Asian cuisines.

Choosing the Right Ingredients for Bao Buns

The key ingredients for making bao buns include all-purpose flour, wheat starch (or cornstarch), yeast, sugar, milk (or water), and vegetable oil. All-purpose flour provides the base for the dough, while wheat starch or cornstarch adds a soft and bouncy texture to the buns. Yeast helps the dough to rise and creates a light and fluffy texture. Sugar adds a touch of sweetness, while milk or water and vegetable oil provide moisture and richness to the dough. It’s important to use the right balance of ingredients to achieve the perfect texture and taste for your bao buns.

If you’re looking for a recipe that yields the best results, consider using the following quantities:

Ingredients Quantity
All-Purpose Flour 2 cups
Wheat Starch (or Cornstarch) 1/2 cup
Yeast 1 tablespoon
Sugar 2 tablespoons
Milk (or Water) 3/4 cup
Vegetable Oil 2 tablespoons

Adjusting the quantities of these ingredients may impact the texture and taste of your bao buns, so it’s important to follow the recipe closely. The combination of all-purpose flour and wheat starch or cornstarch helps create the signature light and fluffy bao bun texture. The yeast is responsible for the dough’s rise, so make sure it is fresh and active. The sugar adds a touch of sweetness and enhances the flavor, while milk or water and vegetable oil provide moisture and richness to the dough.

bao bun ingredients

By using the right ingredients and quantities, you can confidently create bao buns that are soft, fluffy, and packed with flavor.

Tips for Making Fluffy Bao Buns

Making fluffy bao buns requires some specific techniques. Follow these tips to ensure your buns turn out light, airy, and absolutely delicious.

Kneading the Dough

To create even air bubbles and a smooth texture in your bao buns, kneading the dough thoroughly is essential. Here’s how:

  1. Start by combining all the ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl.
  2. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or knead the dough by hand until it becomes very smooth. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes of kneading.
  3. Ensure that the dough is elastic and doesn’t tear easily when stretched. This indicates that the gluten has developed properly.

Proofing the Dough

During the proofing process, the dough rests and rises, allowing the yeast to work its magic and create a light and airy texture. Here’s how to properly proof the dough for fluffy bao buns:

  1. After kneading, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
  2. Let the dough proof in a warm, draft-free place for approximately 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  3. Do not rush this step, as proper proofing is crucial for fluffy bao buns.

Steaming the Bao Buns

Properly steaming the bao buns ensures that they puff up and become fluffy. Follow these guidelines for perfect steamed buns:

  1. Prepare a steamer by bringing water to a gentle boil in a large pot or wok.
  2. Place the bao buns on parchment paper or cabbage leaves to prevent sticking.
  3. Arrange the buns in the steamer, giving them enough space to expand during cooking.
  4. Steam the buns with gentle heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until they are fully cooked and have puffed up.

With these tips, your homemade bao buns will turn out fluffy, soft, and absolutely irresistible. Now it’s time to fill them with your favorite ingredients and enjoy!

Filling Options and Serving Suggestions

Bao buns are not only versatile when it comes to the dough, but also in terms of fillings. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to create unique combinations that suit your taste preferences. Here are some popular filling options for bao buns:

  • Char siu (barbecue pork): Tender, marinated pork with a hint of smokiness.
  • Roasted duck: Succulent slices of roasted duck, packed with rich flavors.
  • BBQ chicken: Juicy chicken marinated in tangy barbecue sauce.
  • Shredded scallions and greens: Fresh and vibrant vegetables for a refreshing crunch.
  • Vegetarian options: Tofu, mushrooms, or mixed vegetables for a tasty plant-based alternative.

Feel free to experiment with different combinations or create your own signature filling recipes. The key is to select ingredients that complement each other and offer a balance of flavors and textures.

Once you have chosen your fillings, it’s time to serve your bao buns. Here’s how:

  1. Open the bao buns: Gently separate the bun at the top to create a pocket for the filling.
  2. Add the desired ingredients: Fill the buns with your chosen fillings, layering them for optimal taste and presentation.
  3. Serve warm: Bao buns are best enjoyed when warm, so serve them immediately after filling.

Whether you’re serving bao buns as a snack or as part of a larger meal, they are sure to impress your guests with their fluffy texture and delicious fillings.

Reheating Leftover Bao Buns

If you have any leftover bao buns, don’t worry! You can easily reheat them for later enjoyment. Here are two methods:

  1. Steaming: Place the leftover bao buns in a steamer or steaming basket and steam for a few minutes until heated through. This method helps retain the buns’ softness and moisture.
  2. Microwave: Wrap the bao buns in a damp paper towel and heat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on low power. This method is quick and convenient, but may result in slightly drier buns compared to steaming.

Once reheated, your leftover bao buns will be ready to enjoy once again, ensuring that no delicious morsel goes to waste.

Now that you’re armed with a variety of filling options and serving suggestions, it’s time to get creative and start filling and serving your bao buns with delicious combinations that will impress your family and friends.

Where to Buy Bao Buns?

If you don’t have time or prefer not to make your own bao buns, you can find pre-made frozen buns at Asian grocery stores. These frozen bao buns can be reheated easily at home by steaming or heating in the microwave. They still retain their fluffy texture and are a convenient option for enjoying bao buns without the need for extensive preparation. Additionally, some Chinese restaurants may also offer bao buns as part of their takeout or delivery options.

where to buy bao buns


Making homemade bao buns is a delightful culinary journey that is both fun and rewarding. By following the right homemade bao bun recipe and mastering the techniques, you can create irresistibly light and fluffy buns that will tantalize your taste buds. The possibilities for filling these little delights are endless, with a wide array of bao bun filling ideas to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer traditional options like char siu or roasted duck, or if you opt for a vegetarian twist with tofu or mixed vegetables, you can experiment and create unique combinations that will leave you craving for more.

If you’re short on time or prefer a convenient option, pre-made frozen bao buns are also a fantastic choice. These fluffy bao buns can be easily reheated at home, maintaining their soft texture and delicious flavor. Whether you choose to make your own bao buns from scratch or opt for the convenience of pre-made ones, the joy of biting into a fluffy bao bun will always bring a smile to your face.

So, get ready to unleash your creativity, whip up your homemade bao buns, and indulge in the delectable flavors they have to offer. Whether you enjoy them as a satisfying snack or incorporate them into your Asian-inspired meals, the versatility of bao buns is sure to impress. So grab your steaming basket, gather your favorite fillings, and savor the pillowy perfection of homemade fluffy bao buns.


What are bao buns?

Bao buns, also known as lotus leaf buns, are soft and fluffy steamed buns that can be filled with a variety of delicious ingredients.

What ingredients are needed for bao buns?

The key ingredients for making bao buns include all-purpose flour, wheat starch (or cornstarch), yeast, sugar, milk (or water), and vegetable oil.

What tips do you have for making fluffy bao buns?

To make fluffy bao buns, it’s important to knead the dough thoroughly, allowing it to rest and rise during the proofing process, and steaming the buns properly with gentle heat.

What fillings can I use for bao buns?

Bao buns can be filled with a wide variety of ingredients, including char siu (barbecue pork), roasted duck, BBQ chicken, shredded scallions, greens, tofu, mushrooms, or mixed vegetables.

How should I serve bao buns?

Bao buns are typically opened and filled with the desired ingredients before being enjoyed as a snack or part of a larger meal. They can be served warm and are best eaten fresh.

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