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.


Recipe Summary

15 mins
2 hrs 40 mins
3 hrs 40 mins
45 mins
36 buns


Original recipe yields 36 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Bread Dough:
Cookie Topping:


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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

242 calories; protein 4.9g; carbohydrates 39.8g; fat 7.1g; cholesterol 38.2mg; sodium 126.9mg. Full Nutrition