Skip to Content

Steam Bread Recipe: How to Make Chinese Steamed Bao Buns

Love the fluffiness of steamed bread and always wanted to recreate it at home? Well, you’re in luck. Today, we are diving deep into the world of the steam bread recipe, specifically focusing on the Chinese Steamed Bao Buns, also known as Gua Bao. This is a great recipe to make with basic ingredients and a simple process. Let’s get started!

Getting Started on Your Steam Bread Recipe

An assortment of ingredients assembled on a kitchen countertop ready for making homemade steam bread.

To start with, gather all your dry ingredients. For best results, use purpose flour, which can be either white flour or cake flour based on your personal preference. If you’re feeling experimental, you can also try whole wheat flour for a different approach. In addition to flour, you’ll need active dry yeast or instant dry yeast, and a pinch of salt.

Preparing the Dough

A hand kneading dough on a smooth surface.

It’s time to mix flour and other ingredients in a large bowl to form a soft dough. If you have a stand mixer, it would come in handy at this stage. However, it’s not the only thing you need. Having a rolling pin is also crucial for this process.

Letting the Dough Rise

A large bowl covered with plastic wrap, containing dough that's rising.

One crucial part of any bread recipe is letting the dough rise. For our steam bread recipe, cover your dough with a piece of plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place. This process typically takes about one and a half hours. But the great thing is, there’s no rush. You can leave it for a long time, even overnight (which I did last night!), and it would still yield excellent results.

Shaping the Buns

A hand shaping the dough into round ball.

After the dough has risen, it’s time to shape it into buns. This buns recipe is quite flexible, allowing you to mold your dough into different shapes based on your preference. Whether you prefer medium steam breads, mantou buns, or the classic round ball shape, it’s all up to you.

Steaming the Buns

Steamer basket filled with uncooked buns placed on top of a large saucepan with boiling water.

The steaming process is the heart of our steam bread recipe. You can use a bamboo steamer, metal steamer, or even a steamer pot. The size of your steamer depends on how many buns you’re planning to make. Before you place the buns in the steamer, make sure to apply a thin layer of oil to prevent them from sticking. Also, remember to leave at least 2 inches of space between each bun to avoid them sticking together.

Cooking Time

The cooking time for steamed bao buns typically ranges between 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the buns steam until they are fluffy and fully cooked.

Storing and Reheating Steamed Buns

A stack of steamed buns stored in an airtight container.

The best way to store your cooked steam bread is in an airtight container at room temperature. To reheat, simply steam them again for a couple of minutes, and they will be as good as new!

Enjoying Your Homemade Steamed Buns

The great thing about this steam bread recipe is that it’s versatile. You can enjoy your Chinese steamed buns as they are, or use them as a vessel for your favorite fillings. Whether you prefer a savory filling or a sweet one, these buns are a delicious treat that’s worth the effort.

So, why wait? Roll up your sleeves and start working on your own homemade steam bread recipe today!

Heavenly Steamed Bread: A Wholesome Delight! Recipe

Heavenly Steamed Bread: A Wholesome Delight! Recipe

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Get ready to experience the joys of making your own fresh, fluffy steamed bread at home. This simple, easy-to-follow recipe is perfect for those who want to explore the art of bread-making beyond the traditional oven-baked method.


  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Gradually add the milk to the mixture, stirring continuously.
  3. Add the vegetable oil to the mixture and stir until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough.
  4. Place your dough on a floured surface and knead gently for about 5 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a loaf by rolling it into a log, then tucking in the ends.
  6. Prepare your steamer by bringing water to a boil.
  7. Place the dough in the steamer basket.
  8. Cover the steamer with a lid and let the bread steam for about 20-25 minutes.
  9. Once done, remove the bread from the steamer and let it cool on a wire rack.


This recipe for steamed bread is a wonderful culinary adventure that brings you the satisfying experience of bread-making without the need for an oven.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 210mgCarbohydrates: 28gNet Carbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Skip to Recipe