Perfectly Steamed Bao Buns

These soft and fluffy bao buns are the perfect vessel for your favorite fillings! I like to make a big batch of these ahead of time because they store really well in the freezer. To reheat, I simply steam them for 10 minutes and they’re ready.

These bao buns are the perfect blank canvas for your meal so feel free to get creative with the fillings!

Need some inspiration? Check out my bao recipes:

5 from 4 votes

Steamed Bao Buns

Servings 10 buns
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 14 mins


  • 2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp (4g) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1.5g) salt
  • 1 tsp (3.5g) active dry yeast
  • 4 tsp (20g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk warmed to 100-115 F
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil


  • Combine yeast, sugar and milk in a bowl and whisk to mix well. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  • Once the yeast has bloomed, pour the yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour. Using your hands or a spoon, mix until a rough ball of dough forms.
  • Lightly dust cutting board or work surface with flour. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel or saran wrap and let it to rest for 10-12 minutes.
  • Knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes and form into a ball. Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel or saran wrap. Set aside and let the dough rise for at least 1 hour in room temperature.
  • While the dough is resting, prepare 10 (3×3) pieces of parchment paper for steaming.
  • After the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch the air out and cut into 10 pieces. Each piece should weigh approximately 45-50 grams. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or saran wrap to prevent them from drying out.
  • Lightly flour cutting board or work surface and form the dough into a round ball. Using the palm of your hands, press down to flatten the dough. Roll the dough out into a long oval shape, approximately 4 inches by 2 1/2 inches and 1/4 inch thick.
  • Gently brush oil on one side of the dough. Then fold the dough in half length-wise. Place the dough on top of a parchment paper. Repeat for the remaining dough
  • Transfer the dough onto a sheet tray and cover with saran wrap or kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once the dough has risen, assemble onto a steam basket. Set the steam basket over a pan with boiling water, cover, and steam for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 minutes making sure to keep the lid on.
  • Serve while hot and enjoy!


  1. These baos can be made in advanced and stored in the freezer. Steam the baos then allow them to cool down completely. Once cool, individually wrap each bao with plastic wrap then transfer to the freezer. 
  2. To reheat the baos from the freezer, steam for 5 minutes.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese

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  1. 5 stars
    so easy to follow and the video really helps

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Kristine, So happy (and proud) you made these from scratch!!

  2. amna sarsour says:

    5 stars
    hi! i was wondering how to cook these if i dont have a steamer ?

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Amna! Here are a few ways you can make this without a steamer:

      1. Place a round wire rack (something like this) on the bottom of a wide deep pan or wok. Fill the pot with hot water until it reaches right below the wire rack. Arrange the steamed baos on a heat-proof plate then cover and steam!

      2. If you don’t have a round wire rack, place two chopsticks on the bottom of the pot by making an X so they cross over each other. Fill the pot with hot water until the chopsticks are submerged. Then place a heat-proof plate with the steamed baos on top. The chopsticks should hold the plate up. Cover and steam!

      I hope this helps! 🙂 If you have any other questions, please send them my way <3

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