A bun for breakfast….

Chinese Style Chicken Steamed Buns

For a lot of Asians, Chinese-style steamed buns are something we grew up with. The combination of lightly sweet steamed bread and savoury filling works really well. For us, the dough must be white, soft and fluffy. The fillings can be anything although it seems that cha siu pork is the most popular version here in the West.

The version I make today is a lot lighter and delicate with the use of chicken alongside with other Asian ingredients like dried mushrooms, spring onions, sesame oil & ginger. I particularly like the use of ginger here, giving a lift of flavours to the overall taste.


To make these buns, I have opted to use a shortcut in making the dough. To make real good buns, pau flour, which is highly bleached flour, should be used to achieve the desired white color and soft texture. It is impossible to get it here, so I have used the ready mix steamed bun package instead (see photo). This should be available at Asian shops. It contains all the necessary ingredients for the dough, and you just need to add water and some sugar. I am quite happy with the end result using this mix.


Shaping steamed buns is the skill I am yet to master. But I find this video on youtube extremely helpful. Hopefully it will give you an idea, too!

These buns would be perfect with some fresh home-made soy milk. Or, if you prefer, hot tea is good, too…

Chicken Steamed Buns

Ingredients (for 12 small buns):

The Dough: Use the package shown above. Follow package instructions, but reduce the amount of sugar from 1/2cup to ¼ cup.

The Filling (inspired from this book)

300g (10oz) boneless chicken thigh, diced

8 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, stems removed and discarded, caps diced

2 spring onions, minced

1 tbsp freshly minced ginger root

1 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp sugar

1 ½ tsp cornstarch

1 tsp sesame oil

1 ½ tsp ground white pepper

½ tsp vegetable oil

A pinch of chicken stock powder (optional)



  1. Prepare the dough and set aside
  2. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Form into 12 balls, and refrigerate for ½ hour.
  3. Cut 12 square pieces, each about 5cm across.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. On a floured surface, using a rolling pin to form each piece into a thin circle. Make sure that the center is thicker than the edge. Place one ball of chicken filling into the circle. Gather the edges to the middle to enclose the filling. Then pinch the top to seal and twist slightly. Place the bun with pinched side up on a square piece of baking paper. Repeat with the rest.
  5. Steamed the buns for 15 mins or until cooked through. Serve hot.

36 Responses to A bun for breakfast….

  1. SteamyKitchen says:

    I use a mix as well – but I wonder how to make the dough super smooth like the professionals?

  2. Andaliman says:

    ohhh I love this for snack too:D

  3. myfrenchkitchen says:

    This looks delicious. I wish you were closer, so I could just put in an order with you..it looks so perfect!

  4. Rachel says:

    reminds me of momos that i had!!!I love the steamed taste of the dough..

  5. Dana says:

    Mmm, these look really good. Do you line your steamer with anything to prevent them from sticking??

  6. eatme_delicious says:

    Even though I can’t eat that, I think that they look really yummy and wish I could! :)

  7. Wendy says:

    Must look out for that dough mix. I love asian steamed buns. Used to grab one from the convenience store in Japan when I came home from the pub! :)

  8. katiez says:

    Those look perfect! What a great breakfast…or lunch, snack….

  9. Peabody says:

    I always get the ones that are kind of BBQ like…I have yet to venture out into any other kind…but these are making me see that I should.

  10. Pravs says:

    Oh i would love to have one of those buns, please !! 😀 so tempting.

  11. Mishmash ! says:

    never tasted this but with that chicken filling, the whole stuff sounds interesting. Do you use that bamboo steamer for this?

  12. Anh says:

    Jaden, I think the key to achieve the smooth dough with the mix is to let it rest for a while. Although the package says 30 mins, I always let it rest for at least 1 hour, which gives me a smoother dough. Plenty of initial kneading will be good, too.

  13. valentinA says:

    Hey Anh!

  14. Kevin says:

    Those look pretty good. I tried making cha siu pork once. I like the sound of mushrooms, spring onions, sesame oil & ginger steamed buns!

  15. Callipygia says:

    I have never seen this kind of mix before, makes things so much easier. Looks like you have the shaping perfect! And you even have the little papers.

  16. Anh says:

    valentina, *hugs hugs*

  17. Manggy says:

    Wow, those look fantastic. Here they’re called siopao (obvious derivative), and they’re probably at the top of my list of comfort foods.

  18. Elle says:

    The buns may not be perfect, but they look wonderful to me. The contrast of the soft and white dough with the chicken, green onion and ginger sounds heavenly. Do you like this for breakfast? It sounds like perfect for tea time in the afternoon.

  19. tigerfish says:

    I love bak pao! You reminded me of the convenience of getting nice paos (chicken pao with eggs etc) back in Sg.

  20. Sandeepa says:

    I have seen these buns, you do have the right shape. Since I don’t eat pork or beef i couldn’t try them out at our fav. chinese restaturant.

  21. maybahay says:

    anh, char siu bao are my favourite dim sums. yours put a very interesting spin on the filling flavours, a must try.

  22. Kate / Kajal says:

    hi anh these look fantastic.I usually make them with strong flour and yeast and then make balls, roll them out n stuff them. I adore these and am glad u did a post on them.Mine are due for a long time now, but every time i make them, we finish them right away … haha no time to click :)

  23. Deborah says:

    These look so delicious!!

  24. winedeb says:

    I have seen these on TV and in books but have never had one. Is the dough sticky? The look of that dough is so inviting! Lovely photos of them:)

  25. Nora B. says:

    Hi Anh, good that you told us this – I didn’t know that one can get steamed bun mix! This is such a time saver. I’ll have to tell my mom. We usually make the sweet ones like red bean (filling also made from scratch).

  26. Anh says:

    Manggy, thanks! These are my fav food, too.

  27. Maven says:

    I am planning on having a Chinese New Year party for some gals in my knitting group–I have bookmarked this recipe, and I think I’ll give it a try for that party:)

  28. joey says:

    I love these! Over here we call them siopao :) I have never made them at home though…your’s look great!

  29. Nan says:

    Ah, that looks good. I am a big fan of dumplings, although I am also not the master-dumpling-folder!

  30. Happy Homebaker says:

    Anh, nice buns you have made! The last time I helped my mum made some Chinese buns were ages ago! You have inspired me to try to make them!

  31. Jen Yu says:

    omg yum!!! this is yet another project on my todo list :) they look amazing and delicious. childhood favorites of mine.

  32. Arfi Binsted says:

    i like the sweet versions of these buns, which are stuffed with mung beans or red kidney beans paste. my childhood snack. until today, i would still look for it when i get back to indonesia. lovely lovely buns, anh.

  33. Mansi Desai says:

    I’ve always read and heard about your photos, and now I know that it’s all true!! you have a great blog with stunning phots, and I loved browsing through it!!!

  34. Nabeela says:

    lovely looking buns. My husband once brought some sweet steamed buns from work (his colleagues are asian) and the buns were extremely good!

  35. sher says:

    Oh my! I adore those buns. I made them a long time ago, but I didn’t have that mix. I will go to my Asian grocery and pray they have it.

  36. Marc says:

    The YouTube video is private. :(

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