Char Siu Bao (Steamed Pork Buns)


These buns are a grab-and-go street food in China. Use a multi-tray bamboo steamer can cook all the buns at one time. To make them up to two months ahead, fill the dough, and freeze unsteamed buns on a tray in the freezer before placing them in a freezer-safe zip-top plastic bag. Steam directly from the freezer for an additional five minutes. Serve these for a meal or as a fantastic appetizer for entertaining.

Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
Active Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 5 mins



  • 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


  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. Cut pork crosswise into thin slices; cut slices into thin strips. Place pork in a medium bowl. Add onions, hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

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

  4. 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°F), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.


Kick up the spice level with some red chili peppers, cilantro, or jalapeños. Tiny cubed cucumbers make a fresh, crunchy addition. Hint: The beauty of this recipe is that you don't have to stick with pork. Make it a veggie, bean or even seafood bun.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

259 Calories
6g Fat
36g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 259
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Protein 14g 28%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 343mg 15%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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