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The BEST Bao Buns

  • Author: Seonkyoung Longest
  • Total Time: 2 hours 8 mins
  • Yield: 14 to 16 1x


  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp sugar, divided half
  • 2 tbsp avocado, vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (use blenched flour if you want complete white buns)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Combine warm water, milk, active yeast, sugar, and oil. Whisk to let yeast and sugar dissolve, then let it sit until yeast activates, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer. You can mix with your hands too if you prefer.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture. Start on low speed to slowly incorporate all the ingredients together then on medium speed until it becomes a dough shape. Keep kneading for 3 to 4 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be elastic and really soft but not stick to your fingers or on the mixing bowl.
  4. Take the dough off the hook and form it into a ball. Place back to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it becomes triple in size, about 2 hours. Let it sit longer if needed.
  5. Place the raised dough on a working surface. Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle flour if necessary, but if you do, use as minimal as possible. Cut the dough 3 1/2-inch circle with a ring mold or glass (I used a wine glass). This recipe will make 14 to 16 baos.
  6. Lightly brush or spray oil on one surface of the baos and fold them in half as a half moon shape. Gently press each bao with a roller and place on a parchment paper or coffee filter lined steamer. Cover with a lid and let it rest for additional 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a wok or steamer pot. Carefully place the steamer with the baos on top of boiling water wok/pot. Make sure water is not touching the baos. Cover and steam for 8 to 12 minutes. When they are done cooking, tilt/open the lid slightly for slow air circulation, about 2 to 3 minutes before opening the lid all the way. Spray some water on coffee filter to prevent the dough from sticking. You can serve this bao as a side or make sandwiches! Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 8 mins

Keywords: Bao, Bao Buns, Steamed Buns