Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)

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Have I said it yet – have I said Happy New Year!? I can’t believe it’s 2016 – insane! If I haven’t, let me take this chance to wish you a happy and healthy new year; I hope it brings you everything your heart desires. So far 2016 has seemed extra busy and just a little bit chilly. We’ve had a little bit of snow, which is super exciting around these parts. Mike and I have been making an effort to walk around our little neighborhood because it looks like a winter wonderland with frozen tree branches and dripping icicles.

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (1) Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (2)

Whenever we go on a walk, we inevitably pass by people and I have this instinctual urge towave at random people. I do it all the time when I see someone waving in my direction. It’s an automatic gesture for me. Wave at me and I’ll wave back, if I know you or not. It’s led to some comic situations, whereupon after waving, the person will give me a confused look. I’ll look around, realize that they’re waving at someone behind or beside me and my face will turn a colorful shade of beet-red.

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (3)

The reason I do it is because I’ve waved at people before (people I know) only to have them not wave back. I always feel like an idiot. I suspect that these people that don’t wave back at me are a little too cool for school. Or maybe they have bad eyesight? Maybe they’d wave if they knew that waving could lead to an invite to eat these chashu pork buns?

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (4)

I used the slow-braised chashu from this post and tucked them into fluffy white buns made from this recipe. I’m kind of sort of obsessed with folded over Chinese steamed buns. Actually, I’m kind of sort of obsessed with all steamed buns. There are so many delicious ones out there, but the fold over guys are perfect I think because they’re kind of a like a steamed bun taco and you can basically stuff them with anything and they taste delicious.

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (5)

The recipe for the steamed buns is pretty straight forward. Like most bread recipes, it’s time consuming because of the rise time, but if you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded with light and fluffy buns that are perfect for filling. And if you have leftover chashu in the fridge, you’re golden. Or you could stuffthem with bacon and eggs,fried chicken, or banh mi fillings? Really, the possibilities are endless. In fact, I’m wishing I doubled the recipeso I could have hadextra frozen buns in case of a bun-mergency. Next time for sure!

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (6)

Fold Over Steamed Bao Recipe via Lady and Pups
yield: makes 6 large bao
1 hour
1 hour
2 hours

  • 140 grams warm water (100°F), about 2/3 cup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 10 grams heavy cream
  • 300 grams Asian bread flour

In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together the warm water with the sugar. Sprinkle on the yeast and let proof for 10 minutes. There should be tiny bubbles on the surface.

Add the heavy cream and flour and knead on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. The dough will start out quite dry, but continue to knead until all the ingredients are incorporated. The dough should be stiff but not sticky. If sticking to the sides of the bowl, add an extra tablespoon of flour. If it doesn’t come together as a dough, add an extra teaspoon of cream.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cover with a kitchen towel. Let proof until doubled in size, about 1 and half to 2 hours.

Once doubled, place the dough on your work surface. You shouldn’t need flour it; the dough shouldn’t be sticky. Punch the dough down and use a rolling pin to shape into a rough rectangle. Roll it up into a jelly roll. Rotate it 90°, roll out again into a rough rectangle and then again into a jelly roll shape. Cut into 6 equal pieces, cover and let rest for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, prep 12 3.5 inch squares of parchment paper.

Once rested, shape the dough into a rough oval with your hands. Roll out into a long rectangle. Fold in half with a piece of parchment paper sandwiched in the center. Place bun on another square of parchment paper.

Arrange buns in a steamer with 1 1/2 inches of space in between. Cover the steamer with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour. The buns will be puffy but not quite doubled.

Add water to a pot or wok and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium and place the steamer (with the lid on) on top. Steam on medium for 10 minutes. Open the lid at 3 minutes to let some steam out – you don’t want the temperature to get too high as this leads to inflating and deflating buns. Once steamed, the buns should be puffy. Remove from the steamer.


Mike thought these buns were a touch on the sweet side, so feel free to dial the sugar down to 1-1 1/2 tablespoons.

Asian bread flour or Hong Kong bread flour can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Asian bread flour makes your buns more white and fluffy – it’s very very white with a slightly lower gluten content. I haven’t tried this recipe with all purpose so I’m not sure what the result would be but many bbq pork bun recipes online use all purpose flour, so I expect that you would get a similar result.

Chashu Pork Bao Recipe
yield: as many as desired
5 minutes
5 minutes
10 minutes

  • bao, as many as desired
  • slow braised chashu slices
  • hoisin sauce, to taste
  • cucumber slices
  • sliced green onions
  • sriracha, if desired

Assemble the buns: spread on a touch of hoisin on the bottom bun and layer on a couple slices of pork, cucumber, and green onions. Enjoy with sriracha, if desired.


  1. January 6, 2016 at 1:48 am

    OMG I wanna tuck myself inside these buns (even more than my own)!!! I do like my buns a little on the sweet side :P I think it’s a childhood pet-peeve that never left.

  2. Tori says:

    January 6, 2016 at 2:46 am

    These look entirely fab! I love that it’s simple and so warm and cozy! Happy 2016 to you too!


  3. Melanie says:

    January 6, 2016 at 5:29 am

    I’m excited to try this recipe! I’ll report back on how all purpose flour turns out :) Just a question: What does “10 Heavy Cream” mean? Thanks!


    1. Stephanie Le says:

      January 6, 2016 at 11:04 am

      whoops! it’s 10 grams. i fixed it, thanks for the heads up!


  4. Allyn says:

    January 6, 2016 at 6:57 am

    We actually just bought some frozen steamed buns last night to go with pork belly tonight, but only because we somehow don’t own a bamboo steamer yet. Next time, I’m making these suckers from scratch. David Chang just calls for regular bread flour in his recipe, BTW.


  5. Haha I have definitely waved back at people before! I actually like to wave at people if I notice they are staring or looking at me for an unusually long time (no idea why) and then they feel awkward and look away. I’m Chinese and… well, baos are everything!! So warm, soft, inviting :D


  6. January 6, 2016 at 8:59 am

    put hoisin on a steamed bao and i’m there. at banquets, i’d just eat that and leave the roast duck for everyone else (though now i’ve matured enough to steal bits of the crispy skin and tuck those into the bun as well). this sounds like such a tasty way to serve chashu, especially with the crunch of the cucumber!


  7. January 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    yum, these look so light and fresh! I love a steamed bun. can’t wait to dig into these bao!


  8. January 7, 2016 at 8:49 am

    These look amazing! I have never steamed bread before. They steam pretty quickly. Oh and I do not like when I wave and they don’t wave back but I also get pretty embarrassed when I wave to someone who was not waving to me. Who would like saying hi would put you into such a complex situation? To wave or not to wave?


  9. January 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I think this is going to be dinner on Sunday. I love slow cooking meals on a Sunday, it feels so cozy. How would you suggest freezing and reheating the buns? I want to double the recipe and save half of them for later. :)


  10. Sylvia says:

    January 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

    *waves* Happy New Year, Steph!


  11. Maggie says:

    January 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    This sounds amazing! I LOVE bao buns and I will be making these for sure.



  12. Elizabeth says:

    January 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    These buns! I’m definitely waving at them from over here. I’m adding “make my own steam buns” to my resolution list right now. This recipe is stunning, as always. Hope the holidays were good to you, Stephanie!


  13. January 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Ah, so cute!! I need to get myself a steamer…


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Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)


Why is my bao rubbery? ›

Preboiling the water can sometimes lead to a firmer texture if the bao has not fully leavened or proofed.

What is the difference between baked and steamed char siu bao? ›

Steamed cha siu bao has a white exterior, while the baked variety is browned and glazed.

Is eating bao healthy? ›

The fiber content in bao aids digestion and contributes to maintaining a healthy gut. Bao filled with vegetables or lean meats provides essential vitamins and minerals, supporting overall nutrition.

Are bao buns Chinese or Japanese? ›

A gua bao, also known as a pork belly bun, bao, or bao bun, is a type of lotus leaf bun originating from Fujianese cuisine in China. It is also a popular snack in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Nagasaki Chinatown in Japan.

Why add vinegar to bao? ›

In order to get white bao, many Chinese American cooks use low-gluten (low-protein), bleached cake flour for their bao dough; cake flour is milled from soft wheat and has 8 to 10% gluten/protein. To make up for the flour's lack of gluten a touch of vinegar is added to result in more chewy dough.

Why is my bao not fluffy? ›

Either water or milk can be used for bao dough (or use a mixture of both if you like). Milk tends to produce a softer, fluffier texture thanks to its fat content. If you'd like to achieve this but you're lactose intolerant, replace 1 tablespoon of water with neutral-flavored cooking oil.

What to serve with steamed pork buns? ›

A comforting bowl of egg drop soup or wonton soup is also a great complement. If the steamed pork buns are appetizers, pair it with sesame noodles with lots of sautéed veggies.

Is bao a dumpling or bun? ›

Made with a mix of flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder, milk and oil, the bao is a tad sweeter than its closely related cousin, the dumpling. It is a type of filled bun or bread-like dumpling that originates from Chinese cuisines. Renowned for being light and fluffy, the perfect bao should be light, round and soft.

What is Chinese steamed pork buns called? ›

Steamed Pork Buns (Baozi) This baozi recipe makes delicious Chinese steamed pork buns that can be enjoyed fresh or frozen and reheated for a quick/tasty meal or snack.

What sauce goes with bao buns? ›

Soy-ginger sauce: This simple dipping sauce is quick to make. I mix soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos), finely chopped ginger and sesame seeds. The ginger will infuse the soy sauce. So sometimes I make this ahead of time so the ginger flavor will be stronger.

Is bao healthy for weight loss? ›

If you like bao buns you can consume them but opt for bao buns made from whole wheat flour as they are more healthy and have fibers. Concerning the issue of gaining weight, in order to avoid it, try to consume them accompanied with vegetables and low-fat meat or dairy products such as cheese.

Do you eat bao buns hot or cold? ›

Eat while they're still warm.

What to eat with bao? ›

When it comes to the dip, hoisin sauce, sweet chilli or a simple soy sauce with sesame oil make great pairings. We love to eat bao alongside some bouncy or zingy veggies. For zingy veg, we suggest some quick pickled cucumber.

What is the difference between pork buns and bao? ›

Pork buns are traditionally baked or pan-fried, resulting in a slightly firmer outer layer. Because the buns are baked, they are drier and, therefore, are less sticky to pick up with your fingers. Bao is unmistakably steamed, which imparts its characteristic soft and airy texture.

How many bao buns per person? ›

The bao buns need 10-12 minutes to steam, so I recommend steaming the bao buns (homemade or frozen) just before serving. Allow about 3 buns per person as a main meal.

Why are my bao buns soggy? ›

You will need to cover the inside of the pan lid with a tea towel or a couple of sheets of kitchen roll to prevent condensation from dripping on the buns and making them soggy. Can I freeze them? Yes these bao buns freeze really well.

Is bao supposed to be doughy? ›

The wrapping around the sweet bao buns is normally a white wheat-based dough that's wrapped around the filling and then steamed, resulting in a soft fluffy bun.

What if my bao bun is too sticky? ›

If the dough became too sticky to work, add more bread flour. Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a container that has room for the dough to double in bulk.

How to know if bao buns are cooked? ›

Position the buns inside the steamer and place it over the pot of boiling water. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Steam for 6 - 8 minutes, or until the buns are soft and heated all the way through.

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