Bolo Bao (Chinese Pineapple Buns)

I love making these Chinese pineapple buns (bolo bao). They're my favorite treat. Being Chinese, my parents would always go to the Chinese bakery during the weekend and buy these to eat for breakfast or for a snack. Now that I learned how to make these myself, it has saved a lot of money.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 40 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins
36 buns


Bread Dough:

  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • 1 cup lukewarm water

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk

  • 2 packages active dry yeast

  • cup salted butter, melted

  • 2 eggs

  • 7 cups bread flour, or more as needed

Cookie Topping:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • ½ cup butter

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 4 tablespoons milk

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder


  • 1 cup canned red bean paste, or as needed (Optional)


  1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, lukewarm water, and 1 cup lukewarm milk in a very large bowl. Add yeast and let stand until yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add 2/3 cup melted butter and 2 eggs to the bowl with the yeast mixture and mix well. Add 7 cups flour, 1 cup at a time and mix in; when dough comes together, start kneading until elastic but still sticky. Cover the bowl and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

  3. Divide dough into 36 equal pieces; cover and let buns rise for 1 hour more.

  4. While buns rise, beat 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter together in a bowl. Add egg yolks, 4 tablespoons milk, and baking soda. Combine 2 cups flour and baking powder in a separate bowl; add to the sugar-egg yolk mixture. Refrigerate cookie topping at least 1 hour.

  5. Flatten 1 bun in your palm; place a spoonful of red bean paste inside. Squeeze edges together to cover filling and roll bun back into a ball. Let filled buns rise again, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  7. Divide cookie topping into 36 equal balls. Flatten the balls and use a knife to make shallow hash mark lines resembling pineapple skin on each. Place 1 topping on each bun and place them on a baking sheet.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook's Note:

Make sure the water and milk aren't too hot. It may kill the yeast.

You can use any type of filling you prefer, including lotus paste or egg custard.

You can also just flatten the cookie topping without making "pineapple" marks.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

242 Calories
7g Fat
40g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 36
Calories 242
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 38mg 13%
Sodium 127mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 5g
Calcium 43mg 3%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 82mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love