Kitchen & CookingRecipesAsian

How to Make Fluffy Bao Buns? Steamed Perfection Every Time!

Steamed buns, also known as baozi or bao buns, are a popular Asian snack enjoyed throughout the day, especially for breakfast in Shanghai. Bao buns are made with a simple lean dough that includes ingredients like flour, water, yeast, sugar, and baking powder. The dough is mixed and kneaded until it becomes smooth, then left to rest and rise until it doubles in size. Portioning the dough into balls, flattening them into disks, and filling them with various fillings of your choice creates bao buns. The filled buns are then steamed until they expand and become fluffy.

The wide range of fillings includes minced pork, tofu, vegetables, sesame, or red bean. Steamed buns can be made using a bamboo steamer or a metal steamer, ensuring that the bao buns are cooked to perfection. The steaming process requires rapid boiling water and sufficient space between the buns to prevent them from sticking together. Steamed buns are a staple food in Shanghai and are enjoyed for their delicious flavors and fluffy texture.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bao buns are a popular Asian snack made from a simple dough and filled with various ingredients.
  • The dough is mixed, kneaded, and left to rise before portioning and filling.
  • Steamed buns can be made using a bamboo or metal steamer for the perfect fluffy texture.
  • The wide range of fillings allows for endless flavor combinations.
  • Steamed buns are a beloved part of Asian cuisine, particularly in Shanghai.

The Wonderful World of Buns

Lillian Luk, the founder of Shanghai Supper Club, is an expert in Shanghainese homestyle comfort and street food. Inspired by her grandmother’s cooking, Lillian started Shanghai Supper Club in 2014 to share the regional cuisine that she grew up with. Her expertise lies in creating distinctive Shanghainese dishes, including the signature juicy, soup-filled fried Sheng Jian Bao and slow-braised pork belly in rich sauces.

Lillian’s passion for cooking and feeding people delicious and nourishing food is evident in her creations. She aims to evoke memories of home through her cooking and believes that food has the power to emotionally connect people to faraway times and places. Lillian’s dedication to preserving the flavors and traditions of her childhood can be tasted in every bite of her authentic Shanghainese buns.

Signature Shanghainese Dishes by Shanghai Supper Club

Dish Description
Sheng Jian Bao Juicy, soup-filled fried buns with a crispy bottom
Braised Pork Belly Slow-cooked pork belly in rich sauces
Xiaolongbao Delicate steamed soup dumplings
Scallion Oil Noodles Ribbon-like wheat noodles tossed in fragrant scallion oil

Whether you’re craving the comforting flavors of traditional Shanghainese cuisine or looking to explore the diverse range of buns that Lillian has to offer, Shanghai Supper Club provides an unforgettable culinary experience. Each bite of Lillian’s authentic Shanghainese buns is a journey back in time to the streets of Shanghai, where the aroma of street food wafts through the air and tantalizes the taste buds.

All About the Dough

Making the perfect bao dough is essential for achieving fluffy bao buns. The dough consists of basic ingredients that create a soft and pillowy texture. Here is the recipe for bao dough along with the key ingredients:

  1. Warm water: Dissolves and activates the yeast.
  2. Instant yeast: Helps the dough rise and adds the characteristic fluffy texture.
  3. Sugar: Provides food for the yeast to thrive and produce carbon dioxide.
  4. Canola oil: Adds moisture and enhances the softness of the dough.
  5. Bread flour: Contains more gluten than all-purpose flour, resulting in a chewier texture.
  6. Kosher salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the flavor of the dough.
  7. Baking soda: Helps the dough rise during steaming.

To make the bao dough, follow these steps:

  1. Dissolve the instant yeast in warm water, then add sugar to activate it.
  2. Mix in canola oil to add moisture and improve the dough’s softness.
  3. Sift the bread flour, kosher salt, and baking soda together to remove any lumps.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients with the yeast mixture, gradually adding additional flour if the dough feels sticky.
  5. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest and rise until it doubles in size.
  7. Punch down the dough to release any excess air and flatten it.
  8. Portion the dough into balls, ready to be filled with delicious ingredients.

Now that you know the secret to making perfect bao dough, you can create fluffy and delicious bao buns that will impress your family and friends. Get ready to enjoy the authentic flavors of Asian cuisine right in your own kitchen!

Bao Dough


Making perfect bao buns is an art that requires attention to detail and understanding of the steaming techniques. By following our recipe for bao dough and using the right steaming methods, you can achieve steamed perfection every time.

The key to fluffy bao buns lies in the simple ingredients used to make the bao dough. This dough forms the foundation for the delicious fillings that make each bao bun unique. It’s important to use high-quality flour, yeast, sugar, and other ingredients to ensure the dough’s texture and flavor are just right.

When it comes to steaming the buns, choosing the right equipment is crucial. Whether you opt for a bamboo steamer or a metal steamer, both methods can yield excellent results. The steaming process helps the buns expand and become fluffy, giving them their signature soft, pillowy texture. Properly steamed bao buns are a beloved part of Asian cuisine, especially in Shanghai, where they are enjoyed for their flavorful fillings and comforting nature.

With the right techniques and ingredients, you can master the art of making fluffy bao buns in your own kitchen. Let the aromas of Asian cuisine fill your home as you create these delightful snacks. So why not try your hand at making perfect bao buns today and indulge in the taste of authentic Asian flavors?


What are bao buns?

Bao buns, also known as steamed buns or baozi, are a popular Asian snack made with a simple lean dough that is filled with various ingredients and steamed until fluffy.

How do you make bao dough?

Bao dough is made by combining warm water, instant yeast, sugar, canola oil, bread flour, kosher salt, and baking soda. The dough is then mixed, kneaded, and left to rise until it doubles in size.

What fillings can be used for bao buns?

Bao buns can be filled with a wide range of ingredients, including minced pork, tofu, vegetables, sesame, or red bean, allowing for diverse flavors and options.

How do you steam bao buns?

Bao buns can be steamed using a bamboo steamer or a metal steamer. They are placed in the steamer, ensuring sufficient space between them to prevent sticking, and cooked over rapid boiling water until they expand and become fluffy.

What is the best way to achieve fluffy bao buns?

To achieve fluffy bao buns, it is crucial to use the right recipe for bao dough and pay attention to the steaming process. The dough should be kneaded until smooth and allowed to rise properly, while the steaming should be done with care to ensure the desired texture is achieved.

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