What are Steamed Pork Buns?
Steamed pork buns (Baozi, 包子) are popular in China as street food and an everyday household staple, especially in the Northern and central regions of the country. They are Chinese-style buns filled with meat or vegetables and are one of my favorite foods to make.
This recipe makes delicious Chinese pork buns that can be enjoyed fresh or frozen and reheated for a quick savory meal. Let’s use my easy-to-follow, step-by-step homemade recipes to make some steamed pork buns:
To create a tasty and moist filling, I used pork and green onions as my base ingredients for this recipe, which takes flavorful pork filling and wraps it up with a gluten-free steaming pastry. Of course, with this unique recipe, you can use different fillings.
Steaming bao buns (Baozi) have a savory filling, and although they are easy to make, they can be tricky to make right, particularly when it comes to making a good bun that rises correctly, has a nice look, and has a soft, puffy texture. I like making my own steamed buns, as I get to create buns with tasty fillings.
To Prepare the Dough
In a large mixing bowl, completely dissolve the yeast and sugar in lukewarm water. Wait for one hour until the yeast activates and turns into foam. Slowly add one cup of flour at a time and knead for 15 minutes. Adjust the last cup of flour accordingly. The dough should be soft, not sticky, and not too stiff.
Shape the dough into a ball once it is flat and smooth. Cover with a damp cotton cloth and leave for an hour in a warm place. (If you are kneading by hand, knead the dough until it is smooth.)
I recommend that you try to start two hours in advance to let the dough fully rise.
To Make the Filling
Prepare your filling. The filling should have enough liquid to cook in its juices, so if you're using ground meat, make sure to add water or broth. I use “onion ginger water” in this recipe. It is a typical Chinese thing to add ginger, green onion, and Sichuan peppercorns in hot water and let it soak for 10 minutes at least. Then we save the water to add to the meat filling to add extra flavor. Add ground pork to a large bowl and stir in three tablespoons of “ginger onion water” until the mix is well combined.
Then add the Shaoxing cooking wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, one egg, black pepper, roasted black sesame, seeds, and sesame oil. Stir everything until it is well combined. After the filling has been set, finely cut up green onions so that they'll cook quickly and evenly. Add and mix the chopped green onions lastly.
There is one last step you don’t want to miss: put a tablespoon of filling in the skillet to taste the filling, and then adjust the seasonings if necessary.
To Assemble Pork Buns
After proofing the dough, turn it out onto a clean floured surface. Knead for at least 2 minutes to get rid of any air pockets. Weigh the dough and divide it into 20 equal pieces (each piece should be the size of a walnut; adjust the bun size recording your preference).
Take each dough ball and, using a rolling pin, roll it from the edge toward the center, without rolling the center of the dough. The goal is to flatten the dough into a rounded circle with a thinner edge and a thicker center. It may take several rounds of practice, but you will be able to assemble a pork bun in no time!
You can start with less padding until you get the hang of folding/bending. The pork buns are folded by using one hand to hold the skin and fill, and the other hand to fold the edges of the dough disk like an accordion. While folding, the goal is to make it around the circle, until you close it at the top. You will make about 10 folds.
If you prefer not to fold the buns, simply pinch the edges of the dough around the filling with a fold and seal tightly. Then flip the bun seam side down, cover, and proof for 15 minutes.
Whether you choose to fold, be sure your hands are fully dry when making the homemade steam buns. Moreover, avoid getting any liquid from the filling onto your hands or the outside of the dough close to the fold point.
Set up your steaming tools. I use the stainless-steel steaming pot; you can also use a traditional bamboo steamer. If you use a bamboo steamer, make sure that the bottom tier of your two-tiered bamboo steamer sits on top of another pot with about 2 inches of water in it so that steam can rise.
Lay the buns on a small piece of parchment paper and place them directly on a steaming ironing rack. Alternatively, use a steam cotton cloth as I did. Repeat until everything is assembled. Leave the buns covered for another 15 minutes before steaming them.
When the buns are in the pot, add cold water to the bottom section and set the heat to medium. Set the timer to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the lid closed. Let the buns "rest" for 5 minutes before opening the lid. Missing this step will cause the pork buns to collapse.
For Vegetarian lover
You can use mushroom, tofu, or sweet potato glass noodles to substitute all the meat filling. Believe me—they just taste as good!
How Do You Store it?
Place the pork buns in an airtight container once they are steamed and cooled. You can keep them in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six weeks.
How Do You Reheat Them?
Out of the refrigerator, put the buns in the microwave for one to two minutes. Alternatively, re-steam for five minutes. If you reheat the frozen pork buns, there is no need to thaw them beforehand. You only need to steam for eight to ten minutes. You can also reheat the frozen buns with an air fryer at 180 degrees for 8 minutes.
This steamed pork buns recipe features one of the staples in my freezer that I cannot live without. Try making this dim sum at home, and you'll forget all about the one available at your local Chinese restaurant. The puffy bread and sufficient filling in this steamed pork buns recipe are guaranteed to leave you satiated. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below
Steamed Pork Buns
For the dough
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup and 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 4 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading and rolling
For the filling
- 1 pound of ground pork can substitute for ground chicken or beef
- 3 tablespoons “onion ginger water” hot soaking water of 6 slices of ginger, 2 green onions, and a few Sichuan peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 cup green onions finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of black toasted sesame seeds
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dissolve the yeast, and sugar in lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Let it sit for one hour, it is ready when the mixture starts to foam up and activate.
- Slowly add flour to the yeast mixture and knead for 15 minutes until it’s soft and not sticky. Once the dough is ready, set it aside and cover it with a damp cotton cloth or kitchen towel. It takes about one hour to proof dough in a warm place.
- In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, add ground pork and mix soy sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and roasted black sesame seeds. Slowly stir in the “onion ginger water” in the same direction until the mixture is fully combined. The mixture should be like a paste texture. Set aside in the refrigerator to firm up.
- Shape dough into balls, about 2 inches in diameter. Roll each out into a circle. Put 1 tablespoonful of prepared meat mixture in the center of each circle and wrap the dough around the filling. (See detailed assembling section above) Set the buns aside and cover them for about 15 minutes, the buns will grow a little more.
- Bring water to a boil in a steamer pan. Place the buns on a cotton steamer cloth (or wax paper), leaving 1-2 inches between the buns. Cover with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for about 20 minutes.
- Continue steaming batches of pork buns until all are cooked.
- Serve warm and enjoy!