best food blog Sweet Savant Barbecue  buns

We LOVE steamed Barbecue Buns in this house and we buy them anytime we see them. If we go out for Dim Sum  barbecue buns, or bao, are a MUST HAVE! Sometimes I buy frozen bao from my favorite Asian market or from Trader Joe’s, they make a convenient snack that my son likes to heat in the microwave when he gets home from school. This is my first attempt making the buns from scratch but I have high hopes. My daughter is home early from school today so she’ll help me fill the bao (I made the dough early so it would be ready when she got home) she’s also my camera man UMM camera woman…camera chick?? yeah, we’ll go with camera chick. A while ago she requested that we make bao from scratch so here we are.

best food blog Sweet Savant Barbecue  buns

To make the steamed buns you will need a steamer (bamboo or stainless steal) a pot to fit the steamer and parchment paper to keep the buns from sticking.

For the steamed bun dough I used all purpose flour and two kinds of leaveners, yeast and baking soda. A little oil in the dough gives it a more tender texture. I’ve found that some store bought buns have a very sweet dough, some recipes I’ve seen call for 1/2 cup of sugar. I feel that the barbecue filling is quite sweet and a too sweet dough is overkill. I add just a bit of sugar in the dough, it helps with the tender texture as well.

best food blog Sweet Savant Barbecue buns

Steamed Barbecue Bun Dough Recipe

Demetra Overton
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 16 buns


  • 1 cup warm water about 105-110 degrees The water should just be warm to the touch, not hot
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil


  • Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Put the sifted all purpose flour into the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl
  • Mix salt and baking powder into 3 cups of flour
  • Add the water/yeast mixture and oil to the flour
  • In your stand mixer with the dough hook, mix on low for 1 minute increase the speed to medium and knead for 3-4 minutes
  • If needed add additional flour a tablespoon at a time to make a smooth firm dough. The dough should not be sticky and wet.
  • If you are making this by hand, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and knead on the counter for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth
  • Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl for 1 hour
  • Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.
  • Keep dough covered in plastic when not using.
  • Flatten each piece into 3 inch disks, fill and let rise again (covered with plastic) for 15 minutes

When forming the buns flatten the divided dough portion into a 3 inch diameter circle, I just used the heel of my palm but you can use a rolling pin. Make the edges a bit thinner than the center of the dough so the dough won’t be too thick when you gather it on top of the bun. The dough disk should be about a millimeter thick in the center and half as thick on the edges. Add a tablespoon or so of filling, pinch it closed and let it rise a bit before steaming. Once you get the hang of it, the process will move more quickly.

After you fill the buns place them on a square of parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the steamer. Let the buns rise for 15 minutes, meanwhile bring water to boil in the pot for your steamer. Place the buns in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes or until they are hot all the way through.

Leftover buns reheat well in the microwave, cover with a damp paper towel and cook on high for 45 seconds (more or less depending on your microwave)







24 Comments on Take a BAO! How to make Homemade Steamed Barbecue Buns

  1. Ann Bacciaglia
    May 25, 2015 at 1:14 am (9 years ago)

    I have never tried to make anything like this before. I will have to try this recipe on the weekend. It looks delicious.

  2. Tonia
    May 24, 2015 at 8:03 am (9 years ago)

    Yummmm, just yum! I have never had the pleasure of trying these, but I would love to.

  3. Christie
    May 24, 2015 at 1:31 am (9 years ago)

    I didn’t know you could even steam a bun? I’m so intrigued now, I totally want to try one!

  4. Yolanda @ Seeing It Their Way
    May 24, 2015 at 1:26 am (9 years ago)

    I have never had a bun before, but I am intrigued now. Will have to share this with my personal chef (hubby)!!!

  5. Veronica
    May 24, 2015 at 12:35 am (9 years ago)

    My seamstress makes these and I just love them! They are so yummy

    May 24, 2015 at 12:13 am (9 years ago)

    I definitely have to try to make these myself. How yummy!

  7. Kate K (My Mommy Brain)
    May 23, 2015 at 11:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh YUM! These sound delicious and easy to make. I will be adding to my list of things to try asap!

  8. Crystal
    May 23, 2015 at 9:37 pm (9 years ago)

    Yum, I have never made these before. It’s probably something I need to perfect over time but you make it look so easy.

  9. Chrystal @ YUM eating
    May 23, 2015 at 6:08 pm (9 years ago)

    These look great. My husband is a huge fan of Dim Sum so he is going to be thrilled when I show him these.

  10. Valerie
    May 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve never heard of steamed buns but they do sound good. I would love to try them!

  11. Jeanine
    May 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm (9 years ago)

    Yum! These look great. I’ve never made anything like that before!

  12. Travel Blogger
    May 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm (9 years ago)

    So would you like to come over for dinner?! lol Those look so good!

  13. Debbie Denny
    May 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm (9 years ago)

    That is fantastic. I will be trying this.

  14. Ronni
    May 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm (9 years ago)

    I love the one’s we find at Trader Joe’s a Whole Market!
    I’m totally going to save this to make over a weekend!

  15. Amber C.
    May 23, 2015 at 12:17 am (9 years ago)

    I have never had those before! They look absolutely delicious! I will have to make these and try them out!

  16. Kecia
    May 22, 2015 at 10:18 pm (9 years ago)

    Okay, these sound really good! I love my some barbecue and these handy little buns would make it much easier to get my fill.

  17. Megan @mnmspecial
    May 22, 2015 at 10:10 pm (9 years ago)

    We just had these from the store the other day and loved them. I’m excited to be able to make these at home preservative free.

  18. Liz Mays
    May 22, 2015 at 9:40 pm (9 years ago)

    Ooh that sounds like serious comfort food! I need to try this out !!

  19. Pam
    May 22, 2015 at 5:45 pm (9 years ago)

    These look so good! My son would love to make these.

  20. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    May 22, 2015 at 3:58 pm (9 years ago)

    Those look amazing! I’ve never tried anything like this before. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Debbie L
    May 22, 2015 at 2:26 pm (9 years ago)

    I have a steamer and I never use it. I will be using it now. These look delicious!

  22. Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    May 22, 2015 at 11:38 am (9 years ago)

    Um YES please. Wow, those sound awesome. I am definitely trying those.


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