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Chinese pork buns recipe

Chinese pork buns recipe

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These Chinese BBQ pork buns are famous around the world! When you follow the tips and techniques in this recipe, you’ll be rewarded with these juicy authentic-tasting buns. So you can save your time by reading this because I am only sharing the best!

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • Ingredients for 1st dough
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 130g water
  • 270g cake flour
  • Ingredients for 2nd (sweet) dough
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
  • 70g cornflour
  • 60g cake flour
  • 80g sugar
  • 40g cooking oil
  • Barbecued pork filling
  • 3 slices root ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 spring onion, diced
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • White pepper to taste
  • 200g Chinese barbecued pork

MethodPrep:1hr10min ›Cook:30min ›Extra time:5hr resting › Ready in:6hr40min

    To make the first dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients to make the 1st dough: 2 teaspoons yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar and just one teaspoon of the flour with 130 ml of warm water. Let stand for about 20 minutes.
  2. You'll know the yeast is active and ready when you see a layer of white foam on the surface (as shown in the picture). Dispose of the mixture and try again with a different package of yeast if you don't see any foam within 20 minutes.
  3. Add the 270g cake flour for the first dough.
  4. Stir gently with chopsticks and then knead to smooth dough.
  5. Cover with cling film and let stand at around 30 C for about 4 to 6 hours.
  6. This is how it looks after 6 hours.
  7. To make the filling:

  8. Mix ginger, spring onions, 150ml water, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, plain flour and cornflour; stir well. Heat and stir constantly until thickened. Season with white pepper to taste. Set aside to cool. Chill in the fridge and let set.
  9. Slice the bbq pork into 2mm thick pieces.
  10. Add the chilled ginger and green onion paste to the pork; mix and set aside.
  11. To make the 2nd dough which is sweeter:

  12. Mix the baking powder with cornflour and cake flour; sieve together. (This is to ensure that the baking powder will be evenly absorbed and buns will be smooth and pretty after steamed). Add the sugar and oil. Mix with the first dough, kneading until smooth. Roll into a ball.
  13. Cover with a upside-down bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
  14. Divide dough into 12 to 15 pieces and roll into balls.
  15. Flatten the balls into rounds. Spoon about 25g to 30g of the filling in the centre of each circle and seal. It’s fine if the top is a bit thick, it just helps creating the top flower look.
  16. Line bamboo steamers with baking paper and arrange the buns on top. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes. Bring 1.5L to 2L of water to the boil in a wok over high heat for about 10 minutes. Place the steamers in the wok and steam over medium heat for around 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Make sure the lids of the steamers are tightly closed.


To avoid killing the yeast with hot water, simply mix 2 portions of cold water with 1 portion of boiling water. That makes it around 40 degree C, which is perfect. I used about 45 ml of boiling water and 85 ml of 26 to 28 degree C cold water in this recipe.

Different filling:

To make spring onion and ginger soup for the filling, simply put smashed ginger and spring onions in the water and squeeze out the juice. Otherwise, using plain water is fine too.

Whiter buns:

Replace water with milk or sugarless soya milk for whiter looking buns. Otherwise adding a little cream of tartar or lemon juice will whiten the buns too.

Prep tip:

In order to get the beautiful flower look on top, try not to make it too tight when bringing the edges together to seal. BBQ pork buns are meant to be thick and soft unlike other Chinese buns.

Make your own marinade for Chinese bbq pork:

Easy seasoning to try if you make your own BBQ pork: Try a combination of minced garlic, sugar, salt, five spice powder, soy sauce, sesame oil and red colouring.

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Baked Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns, 叉燒麵包)

Baked char siu bao ( 叉燒麵包 ) are classic pastries from Chinese bakeries. The soft and light bun surrounds a mouth-watering sweet and savory filling made with Chinese BBQ pork, shallots, sauces, and spices. Here is a comprehensive recipe on how to make delicious baked char siu bao at home.

Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post!

Char siu bao (叉燒包, also spelled cha siu bao) were a staple of my childhood. I have fond memories of Mama Lin buying me char siu bao to eat after school. It felt like heaven biting into the pillowy soft golden brown bread that encased a sweet and savory BBQ pork filling.

There are two common varieties of char siu bao: steamed and baked. In this recipe, I am explaining how to make baked char siu bao. The baked version is often called 叉燒麵包: 叉燒 means barbecued or roasted pork 麵包 is a term used to describe baked breads. I have seen this style of bun referred to as 叉燒餐包 (baked BBQ pork buns) or 港式叉燒包 (Hong Kong-style BBQ pork buns). The word 包 is a more general term that means bread or bun.

I’m very excited to partner with Bob’s Red Mill to bring you this baked char siu bao recipe. For the dough, you will need Bob’s Red Mill’s Artisan Bread Flour . If you are familiar with my other Asian bread recipes like Japanese milk bread or scallion bread , you’ll know that I use Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour in those recipes. The flours work very well for various Asian-style breads and are convenient for me to purchase. In this recipe, I decided to use bread flour because I wanted the dough to have more structure to hold the pork filling.

I tested this recipe 6 or 7 times, so I have a lot of tips below on how to bake a delicious batch of char siu bao. I’ve tried to anticipate some of the issues that might come up as you make them. Below, I’ve also provided photos and videos to give you visual references on how to make the bao. Hope you find all these tips helpful!


Char siu bao or cha siu bao is the Cantonese pronunciation of 叉燒包. Technically speaking, cha siu bao is a more accurate spelling of the Cantonese pronunciation as there is no “r” sound in Cantonese. However, since “char siu” is the more common spelling in English, I will use it throughout this post. For those of you who are curious, 叉燒包 is pronounced cha1 shao1 bao1 in Mandarin.

Steamed Chinese BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)

Steamed pork buns are an absolute must-have when you go to a dim sum restaurant. The sweet and rich flavor of the barbecued pork, housed in a light and fluffy bun, is something to behold.

If you've never had the pleasure of having dim sum, we encourage you to try it. Think of it as the Chinese version of Spanish tapas. You can go and order a variety of smaller plates that you can share with your table. A lovely way to broaden ones horizons and try new dishes, without feeling like you have to commit a whole meal to one item, that you are not sure if you will enjoy. This way, you can try a bunch of different items and perhaps find a new dish that you never would have thought you'd really like. Win-win!

If you happen to really enjoy the pork buns, also known as Char Siu Bao, then the below recipe is a great way to create these delicious buns at home. The recipe happens to be courtesy of Sylvia Schulman's cookbook, Madame Wong's Long-Life Chinese Cookbook.


  • Filling:
  • ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (about 14 2/3 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

To prepare the filling, rub five-spice powder evenly over pork. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan cook 18 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155°, turning pork occasionally. Remove pork from pan, and let stand 15 minutes.

Cut pork crosswise into thin slices cut slices into thin strips. Place pork in a medium bowl. Add onions and next 7 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt) stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare dough, combine 1 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl let stand 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups level with a knife. Add flour, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down let rest 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a clean surface knead in baking powder. Let dough rest 5 minutes.

Divide dough into 10 equal portions, forming each into a ball. Working with one dough ball at a time (cover remaining dough balls to keep from drying), roll ball into a 5-inch circle. Place 1/4 cup filling in center of dough circle. Bring up sides to cover filling and meet on top. Pinch and seal closed with a twist. Repeat procedure with remaining dough balls and filling.

Arrange 5 buns seam side down, 1 inch apart, in each tier of a 2-tiered bamboo steamer. Stack tiers cover with lid.

Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Place steamer in pan steam 15 minutes or until puffed and set. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Steamed Pork Buns (菜肉包)

This recipe of steamed buns comes late, a bit behind my original schedule. These pork buns were cooked last week and posted on my Chinese food blog a few days ago.

Over the past few days, south-east Queensland has experienced a very devastating flood, so called “inland tsunami”, similar to 1974 tragedy. The family was spared as we are not in the flood zone. Sadly, countless suburbs, the CBD of Brisbane and Ipswich are inundated, awaiting for clean up once the flood waters are clear. My mind was totally occupied by all those images and news about the flood through the media. It’s so sad to see many people lost their houses, their business, their property and even their loved ones. I’ve ever seen such a horrible flash flood since I moved to Australia. Hope I won’t see any again. My thoughts and hearts are out to all those affected in this traumatic flood.

The flood came so quickly, much quicker than anyone expected. So, be thankful and enjoy what you have right now. Even if it’s something as simple as eating a few buns, it's a bliss by itself. Speaking about the buns, they can be kept in freezer for up to two to three weeks once they are steamed and cooled down. I usually take one or two out form the freezer, needless to defrost, and quickly bring their softness and freshness back by steaming in a wok/steamer for breakfasts.

Steamed Pork Buns (菜肉包) (Printable recipe)

Prepare 10 6cmx6cm baking paper/wax paper

  • 200 gm plain flour
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup, warm milk (should be under 40C)
  • a pinch salt
  • 130 gm Taiwanese cabbage (or other vegetables you like), shredded
  • 170 gm pork mince
  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp freshly grated ginger
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp chicken powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • pepper, to taste

  1. Mix pork with seasonings well. Chill in fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes. Combine pork with cabbage. Set aside.
  2. Use a measure cup or a bowl, pour in milk. Add ½ teaspoon of sugar and yeast. Rest for about 5 to 10, until bubbles arise.
  3. Combine flour, 1½ teaspoon of sugar, water, oil and yeast mixture, knead into a smooth dough.
  4. Place the dough in a bowl, covered with a cling film. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough onto a clean surface. Cut into 10 equal portions. Shape each in round balls, then roll into a disc with a rolling pin, with edges thinner than the middle. Wrap a spoonful filling inside, pinch seam tightly. Place on a piece of baking paper. Repeat this step with the rest of the dough. Transfer to a steamer/wok, covered, let rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Add cold water into steamer/wok. Steam buns over medium-high heat. When steam is vigorously releasing, continue to steam for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat, let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

  • You can substitute with other vegetables, like baby bok choy, chive, or any vegetables you like.
  • The buns you steamed might look a bit yellowish if you use ordinary flour. Except you use the bleached flour, then your buns would look as white as those bought from shops. But I used the ordinary, unbleached flour, and made it whiter by adding some milk in the process of making the dough. So the buns shown in this post were quite white. If you use only milk without any water to make buns, they’d look even whiter. As I don’t want these Chinese buns taste heavy milk flavour, I just incorporated water to milk, with a ratio of 1:1. You can adjust the ratio according to your preference. You can skip the milk if you don’t like, of course. Just replace it with the same amount of water. That’s easy.
  • Please refer to this post on how to wrap Chinese buns with video shown.

***If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #christinesrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.


    • pork belly
    • dried red chillies (seeded)
    • garlic
    • star anise
    • ginger
    • whole white peppercorns
    • dark soy sauce
    • light soy sauce (plus 2 extra tbsp for the sauce later)
    • sugar (plus 2 extra tbsp for the sauce later)
    • cornflour (mixed with 60ml (¼ cup) water)


      • thinly sliced cucumber (or other vegetables)
      • toasted peanuts (finely chopped)
      • A handful of coriander leaves
      • boiled eggs (sliced)
      • Sriracha hot sauce (optional)

      Pickled Carrot

      Gua Bao Dough: (or you can buy the dough in any Asian market)

      • 200 ml water (at room temperature)
      • 7g dry yeast
      • 150 g high gluten wheat flour (plus extra for dusting)
      • 150 g low gluten wheat flour
      • 10 g dry milk powder
      • 4 tbsp caster sugar
      • A pinch of salt
      • ½ tsp baking powder
      • ½ tsp baking soda

      Ching-He Huang's Chinese pork buns recipe

      This recipe is inspired by traditional Chinese barbecue. Delicious roasted pork pastry puffs and pork steamed buns are often found on dim sum menus.

      Ching suggests garnishing these buns with sliced spring onion curls.


      • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
      • 2 garlic cloves, crushed, peeled and finely chopped
      • 2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
      • 350 g pork fillet, sliced thinly
      • 1 tbsp rice wine OR vegetable stock
      • 180 g packet of sticky Chinese barbecue glaze
      • 6 brioche (or hotdog) buns
      • 40 g unsalted butter
      • 10 slices cucumber
      • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
      • 2 garlic cloves, crushed, peeled and finely chopped
      • 2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
      • 12.3 oz pork fillet, sliced thinly
      • 1 tbsp rice wine OR vegetable stock
      • 6.3 oz packet of sticky Chinese barbecue glaze
      • 6 brioche (or hotdog) buns
      • 1.4 oz unsalted butter
      • 10 slices cucumber
      • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
      • 2 garlic cloves, crushed, peeled and finely chopped
      • 2.5 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
      • 12.3 oz pork fillet, sliced thinly
      • 1 tbsp rice wine OR vegetable stock
      • 6.3 oz packet of sticky Chinese barbecue glaze
      • 6 brioche (or hotdog) buns
      • 1.4 oz unsalted butter
      • 10 slices cucumber


      • Cuisine: Chinese
      • Recipe Type: Main
      • Difficulty: Easy
      • Preparation Time: 5 mins
      • Cooking Time: 10 mins
      • Serves: 2


      1. Heat a wok (or large sauté pan) over high heat. Add the sunflower oil, giving it a swirl to coat the side of the wok.
      2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, stirring quickly to release their aroma. Add the pork slices and let them settle in the wok for a couple of seconds before tossing and flipping to cook.
      3. As the pork starts to turn brown, add the rice wine or vegetable stock. Follow with the sticky barbecue glaze. Toss, stirring until all the pork is coated in the sauce giving it a sticky glaze. Take off the heat and cover the top of the wok with foil.
      4. Heat a large frying pan on high heat and slice the brioche buns in half. Place the middle side of each bun down in the pan and toast for 10 seconds. Spread some butter on one side and remove the foil from the wok.
      5. Spoon the wok-fried BBQ pork on the bun and top with cucumber, repeating until all buns have been filled. Serve and eat immediately.

      Ching-He Huang has created a range of recipes for Amoy&rsquos brand new Amoyzing Meals in a Minute Campaign. For more information and recipes please visit:

      You might also like:


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      Chinese steamed pork buns

      Gently heat the milk, 25g of caster sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved and the milk is warm. Mix the flour and yeast in a large bowl, add the warm milk and mix with a wooden spoon to a rough dough. Knead briefly in the bowl, then knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface. Put the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 90 minutes, until doubled in size.

      Meanwhile, for the filling, whisk 125ml of water with the oyster sauce, ketchup, cornflour, sugar and soy sauce. Trim any sinew and fat from the pork and cut into 1cm pieces. Heat half of the groundnut oil over a high heat in a wok or a large frying pan and fry the pork for about 2 minutes until golden transfer to a plate. Add the remaining oil and fry the onion, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes until golden. Return the pork to the wok and cook for 2 minutes stir in the rice vinegar. Reduce the heat to medium and pour the sauce into the centre of the wok. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes until thickened. Take the wok off the heat, add the sesame oil and leave to cool.

      Cut out 12 x 10cm squares of baking paper. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out on to a surface and knead for 30 seconds. Divide it into 12 (roughly 60g each). Roll into 15cm discs about the thickness of a pound coin.

      Add a heaped tablespoon of filling to the centre of each, fold up the edges to encase the filling and place on a baking paper square. Cover with a clean tea towel to rest for 15 minutes. Set up your steamer.

      In batches of 4, place the buns, still on their baking paper, in the steamer and steam, covered, over a medium heat for 12-15 minutes. Serve with soy sauce for dipping.

      Get ahead: make the filling up to a day ahead, cool, cover and chill.

      Kitchen secret: leftover buns? Freeze and steam from frozen for 12 minutes, or until piping hot right through &ndash a great midweek meal.

      How to Make Baked Pork Buns

      Baked pork buns are filled with the same roast pork, known as char siu, found in their more traditional steamed counterparts. This version is made with a slightly sweet and yellow-colored dough that is usually found in cha chaan teng (a type of Chinese diner) dinner rolls.

      Baked pork buns are a quintessential Chinatown pastry — you’ll find them for sale alongside pineapple buns, butter buns and egg tarts at any neighborhood bakery. I also enjoy stopping to buy a baked pork bun to bring home and enjoy with a cup of tea.

      This recipe uses a “sweet dough” that’s ready to start forming into buns after only an hour of rising time. If you invest an hour to make all 20 buns, you’ll be left with a freezer full that will last you for weeks to come.

      November 7, 2019 Update: The recipe below has been updated to reflect reader feedback about the amounts of water and yeast necessary for the dough!

      Can you share any expert tips from your experience making baked 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!

      Baked Pork Buns Recipe

      Makes: 20 | Prep Time: 3 Hours | Cook Time: 30 Minutes
      Adapted From: Chubby Hubby


      2 cups bread flour
      2/3 cups all-purpose flour
      2 teaspoons active dry yeast
      2/3 cups sugar
      1/4 cup lard
      1 egg
      3/4 cup water

      1/2 cup water
      1/2 pound char siu, diced
      1 tablespoon sugar
      2 teaspoons soy sauce
      1 teaspoon rice wine
      1 tablespoon oyster sauce
      1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
      1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
      1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water


      1. If using dry yeast, take 1/4 cup of the water and warm it up. Pour the yeast into the warm water. Stir once and let it sit for 5 minutes or until the surface becomes foamy.

      2. For the dough, combine the remaining ingredients together and knead until soft and elastic. The texture should be silky and smooth. Pat the dough into a ball. Oil a large bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm spot of your kitchen for an hour so that the dough can rise.

      3. For the filling, in a small saucepan, mix together water, the sugar, the soy, rice wine, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil. Cook the sauce over medium heat until it bubbles. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook for 1 minute, stirring. The sauce should thicken considerably. Remove from the heat and add in the diced char siu. Cool to room temperature.

      4. Divide the dough into 20 equal sized pieces. Work one at a time. Take one piece and knead to a round shape then press it flat. You should try and work so that the edges of the dough circle are thinner than the middle of the circle, which you want a bit thicker.

      5. Take a heaping teaspoon of the char siu filling and place it in the middle of the circle. Pull the edges over the filling and try to pinch the dough together so that the bun is completely sealed. Bring the edges together, pinching gently and also twisting.

      6. Set aside the buns on either a floured tray or tray with greaseproof paper on it. Place it so that the side with the pinched seal is at the bottom. Do this with all 20 pieces until you have 20 buns.

      7. Set the buns aside for 30 minutes so that the dough can ferment a little more. Preheat your oven at this time to 350 degrees.

      8. Before you put the buns in the oven, brush the surface of each bun with some of the egg wash (beaten egg). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. To check for doneness, tear one of the buns in half and see if the bread is baked through or if it is still doughy.

      9. As soon as they come out of the oven, quickly brush the surface of the buns with a touch of sugar syrup. This gives the buns a lovely glaze. You can eat a couple of these now but if you want to store them, you can keep them in the fridge or freezer. If reheating from the fridge, warm them up at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. If from the freezer, let them defrost first.

      Learn more about Baked Pork Buns from these Experts:

      Mix baking powder and flour. Pour on a clean work surface. Make a room in the middle. Add yeast, sugar, water into the middle area. Then stir until sugar melt.

      Mix flour and sugar mixture. Knead into a dough. Keep knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

      Use a preservative film to wrap the dough. Let it rest for 25 minutes.

      Cut the dough into small pieces, about 30g each. Flaten the small doughs into thin bun’s skin.

      Mince pork and green onion. Add to a bowl. Then add all stuffing seasoning into the bowl and mix well to make it as the stuffing.


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