You don't need much experience at all to make beautiful barbecue pork buns, aka. char siu bao. Instead of that mysterious, gelatinous red sauce that Chinese restaurants use, I filled these buns with regular barbecue pork for a more savory version. Regardless of what filling you choose, I hope this helps shape your technique.

Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
15 mins
additional:
2 hrs 55 mins
total:
3 hrs 40 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
12 pork buns
Advertisement

Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Dough:
For the Filling:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Pour water into a bowl. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand until yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam, about 10 minutes. Add vegetable oil, sugar, and self-rising flour. Mix using a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough comes together.

    Advertisement
  • Turn dough out onto your counter and knead into a smooth ball, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl. Flip to lightly coat. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

  • Combine pork, green onions, cayenne pepper, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce in a separate bowl. Mix well and refrigerate.

  • Add a couple inches of water to a Dutch oven and set a bamboo steamer on top.

  • Poke dough down to deflate and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Cut dough in half and roll each half into a long tube. Divide each tube into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and press into a disk. Roll each disk until about 1/8-inch thick and 4 to 5 inches wide. Roll out edges so they are slightly thinner than the center.

  • Transfer a spoonful of filling onto the center of each dough circle. Pinch edges together to form multiple small pleats, moistening edges with water if needed. Squeeze pleats together at the top to seal in the filling. Place pork buns on individual squares of parchment paper. Transfer them to the cold steamer, cover, and let proof until noticeably puffed, 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Bring the water in the Dutch oven to a boil over high heat. Set timer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave buns covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and transfer to plate.

Chef's Notes:

If you don't have self-rising flour, you can use 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted with 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon fine table salt.

You can season the filling with sugar and salt or soy sauce. You may have some filling left over.

Nutrition Facts

150 calories; protein 10.7g 21% DV; carbohydrates 18.7g 6% DV; fat 3.2g 5% DV; cholesterol 23.3mg 8% DV; sodium 369.1mg 15% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (20)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
08/09/2018
The dough was so much easier to make than I expected. It was actually fun to make and it turned into a really hilarious family event to see who could make the worst shaped bun! We are FAR from professionals in this house so it was really entertaining for us to try and make these look even remotely normal. After we let them sit and after steaming though, they really did look like it was done by someone who knew what they were doing. I changed up the filling and used ground pork with sauteed onions and cabbage, sesame oil and hoisin sauce and it came out great! I will definitely make these again! Read More
(24)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
09/07/2018
Haven t made it yet... so to make the 12 dumplings you would need 2 steamers? Or do you cold proof the other six in an alternate container? How does that work? Read More
(2)
32 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 24
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
08/08/2018
The dough was so much easier to make than I expected. It was actually fun to make and it turned into a really hilarious family event to see who could make the worst shaped bun! We are FAR from professionals in this house so it was really entertaining for us to try and make these look even remotely normal. After we let them sit and after steaming though, they really did look like it was done by someone who knew what they were doing. I changed up the filling and used ground pork with sauteed onions and cabbage, sesame oil and hoisin sauce and it came out great! I will definitely make these again! Read More
(24)
Rating: 5 stars
08/14/2018
Will keep on making it! How Yum!!! Read More
(3)
Rating: 3 stars
09/07/2018
Haven t made it yet... so to make the 12 dumplings you would need 2 steamers? Or do you cold proof the other six in an alternate container? How does that work? Read More
(2)
Advertisement
Rating: 4 stars
03/13/2019
REALLY READ THE RECIPE! I planned on making this for dinner and didnt notice the 2hr then 45-60minute waiting steps. So i was cooking until 10pm and had to scramble a dinner for the wife and kid together. Other than that it tasted great and was pretty easy to put together. The only change ill make next time is to do a pulled or shredded pig instead of diced. Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
01/05/2019
Easy to make, harder to fold the wrap but I bet that just takes practice :) Read More
(1)
Rating: 1 stars
12/17/2018
I vo Read More
Advertisement
Rating: 4 stars
03/28/2019
These were good it was the first time we made pork buns so they didnt come out pretty. They were definatly tasty though but simple! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
08/02/2018
As recommended the buns were very bready on one side and very thin on the other. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/17/2020
Amazing! I made these for Valentine's day for my husband. They turned out perfectly! Read More