Steamed Bao Buns or (Baozi 包子), is a tasty bun filled with meat and vegetables. The bun is extremely soft and fluffy while the inside is so very juicy, making each and every bite a magical experience. Plus, it is very healthy to eat as well as being easy to make. Learn how to make it today with our authentic recipe guide.
When I was a kid, my parents would always walk me around to the local Asian supermarkets where I would constantly see a bunch of items being on display.
These items were actually foods made fresh from the store and being sold to customers to eat for lunch or dinner.
One of these foods is something called a Steamed Bao Bun.
It caught my eye because it was so large and round and looked like a fatter version of a dumpling. And as you all know, dumplings are my all time favorite food items to eat, which is why this large and round bun caught my eyes.
In my mind, I thought it would be the same as a dumpling. So I asked my parents if they can buy me one, and oh man was my life changed forever. This steamed bao bun was one of the tastiest things I ever had. It was almost exactly like a dumpling except that the skin was a fluffier doughy version compared to the dumplings soft and slippery skin.
It was love at first sight.
And everyday since, anytime I passed by a restaurant or shop serving these delicious steamed bao buns, I just had to get my hands on some.
Fortunately for me, my parents actually know how to make this delicious buns. They just don’t like making it because it is time consuming. But I managed to convince them to teach me their ways so that I can also make it in the future anytime I want.
Because of this, I also want to share the recipe with you all. This way you all can enjoy it just as much as me.
What Is Steamed Bao Buns (Baozi)?
Have you ever seen or heard about a Steamed Bao Buns / Baozi / 包子?
If so, then you’ll know that it is a beloved food item eaten in many areas across Asia. From China to Taiwan or even Korea or Vietnam, you can find it all being served in those countries.
If you haven’t seen it or heard of it before, just know that it is a large bun with a variety of different fillings inside.
Depending on where you go, you’ll find many different varieties. Sometimes there’s no vegetables, sometimes there is no meat, sometimes theres even sweet custard inside the buns, the options are endless.
It’s also a very healthy and delicious item to eat and can be eaten almost any time of the day or year. Plus, it’s also very easy to make, although it can be a bit time consuming if you are making it for the first time.
But do not worry, in this recipe guide I will show you the way. I will be sharing with you all my families special recipe for making the tastiest steamed bao buns you have ever had.
Ingredients To Make Steamed Bao Buns (Baozi)
The ingredients needed to make these Steamed Bao Buns / Baozi / 包子 are all relatively easy to find.
You will need the following ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour – 2 Cups
- Water – 3/4 Cup
- Sugar – 1 Teaspoon
- Vegetable Oil – 1 Tablespoon
- Active Yeast – 1 Standard Packet
Bao Bun Filling:
- Ground Pork – 1/2 Pound of Ground Pork (8 oz)
- Napa Cabbage – 2 Pounds Chopped Into Tiny Pieces
- Green Onion – 3 Stalks Chopped Into Tiny Pieces
- Ginger – 1 Tablespoon Ginger Chopped Into Tiny Pieces
- Oyster Sauce – 1 Tablespoon
- Soy Sauce – 1 Tablespoon
- Vegetable Oil – 1 Tablespoon
- Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon
- 5 Spice Powder – 1 Tablespoon
- Water – 3 Tablespoon
And that’s basically it!
Why Is Kneading Important?
Have you ever seen a Steamed Bao Buns / Baozi / 包子? It’s evenly made and smooth all throughout that makes the bao buns look so amazing. This is the result of kneading. After all, when you knead the dough before hand, it will help create even air bubbles inside the dough which will give your bun a smoother and more beautiful appearance.
Now obviously if you do not care about the shape of the bun, then you can most likely skip this step. However I definitely suggest you to knead it beforehand as it will make your bao bun so much better.
Plus, it doesn’t take long at all so why not just try it?
Here are some tips for kneading:
- If you are somewhat lazy and want to save some time, you are certainly able to start with a stand mixer to mix your dough around for a few minutes. After that, you can simply use your hands for a quick knead here and there and you are done.
- After the resting stage, your dough will usually be puffed up and risen to a larger size. During this phase, I highly suggest you to knead the dough again so that it will become an even smoother dough to work with.
- Use both hands when kneading as it will help make the kneading process a lot easier. One hand will help rotate the dough while the other hand will knead the dough.
How Long To Rest The Dough
Did you know that when you let the dough rest for awhile after making it, it will typically rise and become larger in size?
This process is called fermentation and is the result of the yeast being very sensitive to temperature. During this process, your dough will rise to a size almost doubling the beginning size. Typically it will rise faster in room temperature areas of your house, but it can also rise in the cold as well (although a bit longer in time).
To make the process faster, you can do the following:
- When resting, place the dough somewhere warm so that it can rise faster. Typically my favorite area is inside a turned-off oven.
- Use a damp cloth and cover your bowl as the humidity will also help effect the fermentation.
In this steamed bao bun recipe, we will be resting our buns at least two times. First is after the dough is kneaded and formed. The second is when we form and shape the bao buns. Then it is off to the cooking stages.
How To Make Steamed Bao Buns (Baozi)
Making a Steamed Bao Buns / Baozi / 包子 is actually a really simple thing to do.
However it is pretty time consuming.
The process to make these buns is as followed:
Making The Dough
Making the dough is probably the easiest thing for you to do in this process.
Basically, all you’ll need to do is to grab a large mixing bowl and add in your dough ingredients. This will consist of the all-purpose flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and active yeast. Then while mixing the contents together, slowly pour in the water while mixing.
After combing everything together, use your hands and start to work the contents into a dough shape.
Knead the dough for a few minutes.
Then cover it up and let it rest someplace warm for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Making The Filling
Before you make the filling, you have to do some prepping before hand.
Prepping The Cabbage
First you’ll want to chop up about 2 pounds of Napa Cabbage into tiny pieces. Then set it inside a large bowl.
Into that cabbage bowl, you’ll want to add a pinch of salt on top of the napa cabbage. Then mix it around and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will drain the excess water from the napa cabbage.
After 10 to 15 minutes, set another bowl besides the current napa cabbage bowl. Then using your hands, grab a handful of napa cabbage and squeeze all the water out. Then place it into the clean bowl. Continue doing this until you have squeezed out all the water from all of the chopped napa cabbage.
Now it is ready to use.
Prepping The Meat
Now you can skip this step entirely, however I assure you that you should definitely want to do this step.
Doing this method will give your meat a lot more flavor and the end result will taste fantastic.
Basically, grab your green onion and ginger, chop them into tiny pieces and set them aside.
Grab your ground pork and place it on your cutting board. Then take the chopped green onions and ginger and place them on top of the ground pork.
Using your knife, start chopping into the ground pork. Your goal here is to incorporate the juices and flavor from the ginger and green onions into the ground pork. Do this for about 10 minutes.
Then the ground pork is ready to use.
Making The Filling
Grab a large mixing bowl and add in your ground pork, napa cabbage, oyster sauce, vegetable oil, salt, 5 spice powder, and water.
Then using a chopstick or spoon, start mixing everything together until everything becomes incorporated together.
Once that is done, you are ready to make your bao buns.
Making The Bao Buns
After your dough has rested for about 30 minutes to an hour, take it out.
Dust your work surface with some flour and then place your dough on top.
Knead the dough again for a few more minutes and then you are ready to make your buns
Making The Dough Wrapper
Cut the dough in half with a knife.
Then roll eat half into a long log shape dough about 1 inch thick.
Using your knife, cut the log shape into equal 1 inch wide sections.
Using your palm, gently smash down onto each section. This will make it easier to work with.
Then using a rolling pin, roll each section into a large circle wrapper. Roughly about 4 inches wide in diameter.
Continue doing this until you have used up all of your dough and have made enough wrappers for your bao buns.
Making The Bao Buns
Grab one of the wrappers you have just made and place it in your palm.
Using a spoon, scoop out about 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling, depending on how big your wrappers turned out to be. Then place the filling into the center of the wrapper.
Now using your fingers, gently pinch the sides together in a uniform fashion until the entire bao bun is sealed. This may take some practice, but here is a simple picture tutorial showing you how to do this.
Once you have sealed the bao buns, place them on a lightly floured plate.
Continue to make your bao buns until you have used up all of your ingredients.
Now it is time to steam.
Steaming The Bao Buns
Once you have formed all of your bao buns, it is now time to steam them.
Using your preferred method of steaming, prepare your steamer until it is ready. to steam the bao buns.
I’m using a bamboo steamer to steam so i’m going to be adding some water into a wok and waiting for the water to boil.
While the water is boiling, you’ll want to arrange your raw bao buns in the steamer basket. Make sure to give them a little bit of space between each other as they will expand during the steaming process.
Once the water starts boiling, put the steamer basket into the boiling water to start the steaming process.
Let the bao buns steam for about 15 to 20 minutes. During this time, do not open up the cover for the steamer basket as that will deflate the bao buns.
Once time is up, turn off the heat. You can now uncover the lid from the steamer basket and start serving your bao buns.
How To Store/Keep Steamed Bao Buns (Baozi)
Storing the Steamed Bao Buns / Baozi / 包子 you have just made is actually a really simple thing to do.
All you really need to do is to simply wrap them up in a plastic wrap or put them in an air-tight container. Then you can store them in the fridge where they will be good for up to 3 days.
You can also store them in the freezer as well where they should keep well for up to 3 months at the most.
As for re-heating these buns, simply steam them again for another 5 to 10 minutes until hot and they should be just like new.
Steamed Bao Buns Recipe (Baozi 包子)
- 2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 3/4 Cup Water
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 Packet Active Yeast
- 1/2 Pound Ground Pork
- 2 Pound Napa Cabbage Chopped
- 3 Stalks Green Onion Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 5 Tablespoon 5-Spice Powder
- 3 Tablespoon Water
Making The Dough (Step 1)
- First thing you'll want to do is to make your dough.Grab a large mixing bowl, and add in your dough ingredients. This will consist of the All-Purpose Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, and Active Yeast. Then grab a chopstick or something to mix with and start mixing the ingredients together.While you are mixing the contents, slowly add in the water as you mix. This will eventually form the dough that you are looking for.
- Once everything is nicely combined, use your hands and start to form the contents into a dough. Then start kneading for 10 minutes or until the dough starts to resemble a smooth dough.
- After you have kneaded your dough, its time to let it rest.Place a cover on top of the dough and place the dough somewhere warm. (I like using the oven as that is the warmest place in my house).Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, you can proceed with the other steps until the dough is ready to use.
Prepping The Nappa Cabbage (Optional) (Step 2)
- First you'll want to prep your napa cabbage.Chop your napa cabbage into small pieces until you have 2 pounds of it ready to use. Then put it inside a large bowl. Sprinkle some salt on top of the cabbage. This will remove the water content from the cabbage.Wait 10 minutes or more until water starts leaving the cabbage.
- Then grab another large bowl and place it right next to the cabbage bowl. Using your hands, grab a handful of napa cabbage and squeeze out all of the excess water from the cabbage. Then transfer the cabbage into the new bowl.Now it is ready to use.
Prepping The Ground Pork (Optional) (Step 2)
- Now it's time to prep your ground pork.Grab a cutting board and place your ground pork on top of the cutting board.
- Take your chopped green onions and chopped ginger and place them on top of the ground pork.
- Using your knife, start to chop into the ground pork so that the ginger and green onion flavors will infuse together with the ground pork.Do this for about 5 to 10 minutes.Then it is ready to use.
Making The Filling (Step 2)
- Grab a large mixing bowl. Then you'll want to add all of your filling ingredients into the large mixing bowl. This will consist of (Ground Pork, Chopped Napa Cabbage, Chopped Green Onions, Chopped Ginger, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Oil, Salt, 5 Spice Powder, and Water.)
- Then you'll want to mix everything up until they are nicely combined together.Now they are ready to be used to fill your bao buns.
Making The Steamed Bao Buns (Step 3)
- By this time, your dough should have been well rested by now.Dust your work surface with some light flour and place your dough on top of your work surface.You'll want to knead the dough for a few more minutes.
- After you have kneaded the dough, cut it in half. Then roll both halves of the dough into log shaped dough about 1 inch thick.Using a knife, cut the log shaped dough into 1 inch wide sections. Each log should give you about 6 sections to use.Then gently with your palm, press down on each section to kind of flatten them out.
- Take a rolling pin, and roll each section into a large circular shape wrapper. The wrappers should be about 3 inches in diameter.Repeat this step until you have turned all of your dough sections into wrappers.
- Grab one wrapper at a time and place it on your hand. Then using a spoon, scoop up 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling to put inside the middle of your wrapper. (Note: this may vary depending on how big your wrapper is).Then gently pinch the sides of the wrapper together in a uniform fashion until you have sealed together the wrapper into a bun shape.
- Once you have formed your bun, place it on a lightly floured plate.Repeat these steps until you have formed all of your bao buns.
Steaming Your Bao Buns (Step 4)
- Now is the time to steam your bao buns.You can use your favorite steaming method for this step.My personal favorite is to use a bamboo steamer as it is the easiest to work with.
- Grab a large wok or pot and fill it with some water. Then turn the heat on to high and wait for the water to boil.During this time, you'll want to line your bamboo steamer basket with the bao buns you have just made.
- Once the water starts boiling, place the bamboo steamer basket onto the water and let it steam your bao buns.Let the bao buns steam for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once time is up, turn off the heat and uncover your steamer basket.Serve immediately.
Did you try making my Steamed Bao Buns / Baozi / 包子? If so, how were they? I would love to hear all about it down in the comment section below or you can connect with my on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
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