How to Make Steamed Pork Buns

How to Make Steamed Pork Buns

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Makes: 8 | Prep Time: 90 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Adapted From: Jun-blog

Steamed pork buns (aka char siu bao) are a classic dim sum dish, a must order item at the restaurant. Pork is roasted or barbecued, wrapped in white dough and then steamed.

Steamed pork buns are one of the “Guangdong Big Three,” along with shrimp dumplings and siu mai, a true staple of the original Cantonese dim sum tradition. If you want to be a true dim sum chef, this would be one of the dishes to master, from the sweet white dough to the savory filling.

There’s a tendency when making these buns to roll the dough too thinly. You want the dough to be tapered slightly from thick to thin, as you move away from the center of the dough circle before adding the filling. If the center of the bun is too thin, it will tear on the bottom while steaming.

Can you share any expert tips from your experience making steamed pork buns? Want to ask a question before you try making it yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Steamed Pork Buns Recipe

Makes: 8 | Prep Time: 90 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Adapted From: Jun-blog


Yeast Dough:
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons canola oil
salt and ground white pepper to taste
2 scallions, chopped white and green parts
1/2 pound char siu, diced
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water


1. Combine sugar, salt, white, pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce and water in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute. Add the char siu and stir well. Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce mixture and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, until the pork is heated through.

3. Add the Shaoxing rice wine to the dissolved cornstarch. Add the wine and cornstarch mixture to the warm pork and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute until the mixture has come together into a mass that you can mound. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool at room temperature before using.

4. Put the yeast in a small bowl, add the water and set aside for 1 minute to soften. Whisk in the oil to blend and dissolve the yeast. Set aside.

5. Combine sugar, baking powder and flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly stir with a wooden spoon, moving from the center toward the rim, to work in all the flour. Keep stirring as a ragged but soft dough forms. Then use your fingers to gather and pat the dough together into a ball. Transfer to a clean work surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and slightly elastic.

6. Place the dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 45 minutes until the dough has nearly doubled.

7. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Cut the dough in half and roll into a foot-long log. Cut the log into eight pieces.

8. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten gently into a small disc. Using a small rolling pin roll the edges and only the edges. There should be a small bulge at the center of the dough.

9. Place a tablespoon of the char siu filling in the center of the dough. Wrap the filling by pressing and pulling the edges of the dough. Gather the edges and twist the top to fully cover the filling.

10. Place each bun on a square of wax paper before steaming. Steam the buns in a bamboo steamer for 15 minutes, being careful to leave 1-2 inches between each.

Learn more about Steamed Pork Buns from these Experts

Watch Jessica Gavin make delicious Steamed Pork Buns (VIDEO)
Rasa Malaysia shares a Malaysian spin on Steamed Pork Buns
A real find: the heavenly Steamed Pork Buns from Momofuku in New York

HT: Photo by Alpha via Wikimedia Commons.

4 Responses

  1. Pwave

    Thanks for the recipe, In progress. I added 1/2 cup 60g of corn starts because I used a stronger flour (King Arthur all purpose) also added an extra cup of water, because of the strength of the flour.

    I made your har gao and taro dumplings this past two days without changing the recipe. They both came out excellent!!!

    • Dim Sum Central

      Great tips! Please let me know how your white bun dough comes out…that’s almost worth a post on its own! Very glad to hear that your har gao and taro dumplings came out successfully!

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