Chinese BBQ Pork Baked Buns (Char Siu Bao)

Perfectly light golden round buns stuffed with bbq pork (Char Siu).

This is is one of my favorite Cantonese bakery items! If this is your first time trying this, I guarantee you it will be love at first bite! You have a sweet soft bun and a delicious meat filling, what’s more to ask for? The filling for this baked goody is a sweet bbq pork (Char Siu). You can simply buy your own pork at your local Asian restaurant or you can make your own. I have a recipe for a delicious Char Siu if you would like to check it out.

The bread dough is a sweet milk based bread with a nice light and fluffy bite.

Traditionally you would achieve the magical texture by using a Tangzong method. I personally have never used this method on any of my baked goodies so I won’t be using it in this one. But just trust me, my recipe still comes out perfectly soft and airy without all of the hard labor. 

Now this doesn’t mean you will have buns in the oven in an hour hun! 

With any baked goods you still need to give the yeast time to develop gluten. So I suggest you plan accordingly. The baking time itself will only take about 14-16 minutes. Letting your dough rise is what takes the longest. Rising times can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on the temperature of your house. The weather plays a huge roll on how long it may take. If you live in a hotter climate, your dough shouldn’t take too long to rise. I do also have some tips on how to get a faster rising dough.

Equipment used:


  • – Before making your dough, pre heat your oven to the lowest temperature and turn it off once it reaches it’s temperature. Turn on the oven light and leave the door closed. 
  • – You don’t want your dough to over rise, or you will create a sour taste and smell. It will also fall flat while baking if it’s over risen. So checking on your dough periodically will prevent you from over resting your dough. 
  • – My recipe calls for instant yeast. YES, it may say instant but take the extra step to still proof the yeast. This will also let you know if you have an active yeast or not. If it isn’t frothy after 5 minutes toss it out.
  • – You should be mix your yeast with WARM milk or water with a tsp of sugar. The yeast needs to eat, so the sugar is its food.
  • – NEVER mix your yeast with hot liquids or salt. It will kill your yeast. 
  • – Make sure the Char Siu filling is completely cooled before wrapping in the dough.
  • – Put hot water in a pan at the bottom rack while baking. This keeps the buns moist while baking.
  • – I used a kitchen aid to make my life easier, but if you don’t have one you can still hand kneed everything.
This recipe makes approximately 10 buns.


  • 2 cups Char Sui chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup Char Sui Sauce
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onions
  • 1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp cold water, mixed


  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 215 ML warm room temperature milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp for yeast mixture
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 large egg
  • 1 large egg + 1 tsp of water to brush at the end

Directions for Char Siu Fillings:

  1. In a large wok, lightly coat with oil and sauté the onions until it becomes translucent.
  2. Add Char Siu and stir fry with onion. Drain out any excess oil.
  3. Next, add Char Siu Sauce. Let it come to a simmer and add in the corn starch mixture. Stir frequently until it thickens.
  4. Place Char Siu filling in the refrigerator to cool down.

Directions for dough:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together warm milk, yeast and a tsp of sugar and let it proof for 5 minutes. In your standard mixer bowl, add flour, salt, remaining sugar, and stir it together.
  2. Using your hook tool, slowly add in wet mixture to the flour.
  3. Whisk together honey and eggs and gradually add it to the flour.
  4. Set the speed to “4” and let it kneed for 6 minutes.
  5. After 6 minutes, you would add in your butter. Add your butter 1 tbsp at a time and let it kneed for about 7 minutes or until your dough is smooth and shiny. This is a fairly wet dough.
  6. Shape your dough in a nice ball. Grease a large bowl and place dough in the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towl. Put the bowl in the oven to let it rise. Check it every 20 minutes to see if it doubled in size. You don’t want to over rest it or it will collapse when you bake it.
  7. Once dough has risen, punch out any air and begin to roll your dough. Lightly dust your surface area with flour to prevent it from sticking. Divide the dough to make 10 buns weighing at 90 grams each.
  8. Shape each dough in a ball and flatten with a rolling pin. Roll out the edges creating a disk with a thick middle. Carefully remove the dough and place it in your palm.
  9. Place a heaping tablespoon of char sui mixture in the center of the dough. To seal the dough, crimp together the two sides until it is closed.
  10. Flip the dough over and slowly roll it with your hand in a circular motion to create a perfect ball. Be careful to not tear the bottom. Repeat until all the dough is rolled out and filled.
  11. Place buns on a parchment paper 1 inch apart and cover to let it rest for another 15 minutes.
  12. Pre heat the oven to 375°F. Next brush egg wash mixture on top of the buns and bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
  13. Once done, brush with butter (optional). Let the hot buns cool down and enjoy your homemade Char Siu Baos!


  1. Pingback: Chinese BBQ Pork Baked Buns (Char Siu Bao) — Beautifflyeats | My Meals are on Wheels

  2. KasperAnne December 5, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Hello! Am I able to use a milk substitute for the dough like soy or almond milk as I have a milk allergy? Or will this not work out? Thank you in advance!

    1. beautifflyeats December 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm


      You certainly can substitute it with soy or almond, just make sure it’s plain and no extra added flavors. It might change the flavor slightly because of the soy or almond. Just use it cup for cup for the measurements.

  3. Sandra April 4, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Are the quantities correct? I just tried it and my dough is super wet.

    1. beautifflyeats April 16, 2021 at 4:35 am

      Yes. The dough is supposed to be wet. You can add a bit more flour to make it easier to work with but that might change the texture.

  4. mahal2y December 12, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    I spent the afternoon making these, I used the exact dough recipe and the dough came out very wet so I added more flour until it was usable in my hands, I let it rise for about a hour and a half and than rolled the dough out and cut them into 6 inch circles, I tried smaller but the table spoon would not fit. I filled them up with a Korean style ground beef with soy and garlic and ginger all chopped fine, and Brown sugar and mixed veggies and chopped potatoes, another one I used a sweet spicy pork curry, i did have leakage after I had baked them but I did the egg wash and I am very happy with how they came out, and boy did they ever rise again in the oven before and after I baked them. I will definitely try this dough recipe again to make it better.


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