How to Make Steamed Buns with Pork from Scratch – Step-by-Step Instructions

steamed bunson stainless steel strainer

Homemade Chinese steamed buns with pork are delicious Pillowy soft steamed buns filled with a sweet, savory pork, chicken or vegetable filling.  Also known as Yum Cha, steamed pork buns have become a Sunday morning ritual in some countries. Restaurants that offer the traditional dim sum experience have trolleys of steamed buns and dumplings. And, no doubt, all this food at the side of your bottomless tea is received with heartfelt appreciation.

One very popular dish a part of the whole dim sum meal is steamed buns, right? So how to make steamed pork buns at home?

If you or your guests don’t eat pork, you can replace the pork filling with chicken filling or even sweet or savory vegetables.

The Best Steamed Buns Recipe

dim sum on white plate

Ingredients You’ll Need for Steamed Buns with pork

For yeast activation

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast powder
  • 1/4 cup of warm water (65 ml)

For dough

  • 4 tablespoon of white sugar (70 grams)
  • Half a cup of warm water (125 ml)
  • 1 cup of cornstarch or cornflour (155 grams)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose, plain flour (300 grams)
  • 2-1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (65 ml)

For pork filling

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of white onion or escalot (finely chopped)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon of light or regular soy sauce (not dark)
  • Half a cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1-1/2 cup of diced Chinese barbecue pork
  • 1 tablespoon of cornflour dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water

Now it’s time to start the preparation!


Don’t want pork?  Try Chicken Filling for Steamed Buns:

dim sum in pot

  • 8 oz skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced cabbage
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soak in hot water to soften, then diced into thin strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 dashes white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallion


Vegetable Filling for Steamed Buns:

Follow directions to cook your favorite vegetables, such as mushrooms, carrots, onions and bok choy.  For vegetables cooked in water.  Remove all excess water.

Finely chop vegetables and heat the chopped vegetables in a wok over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil for about 3 to 4 minutes, until they become fragrant. Next, turn off the heat and let it sit to cool.

Follow directions for filling the steamed bus.

Directions to Follow to Make Steamed Buns

Let’s start with the dough first…

  • Add water, sugar, and yeast into a small-sized bowl. Mix these ingredients and set the bowl aside for at least 10 minutes. It should become foamy by the end of it.
  • Now combine sugar, cornflour, and flour in a stand mixer bowl attached with the dough hook. And mix all of it together for a short time.
  • The next step is to bring in water, oil, and the yeast mixture. Let this mix on a low speed setting for at least 3 minutes. The dough should become elastic, soft, and smooth to roll with your hands. But make sure it isn’t sticky, which means you can adjust the texture using a touch of water or flour if you like.
  • Cover using cling wrap, then place it in a dry and warm place for around 2 hours. This is done for increasing the volume twofold. In the meanwhile, start making the filling.
  • Then get rid of cling wrap and add baking powder. Back to the stand mixer now for blending on low speed for at least 2 minutes.
  • Finally, it’s time for you to place the dough onto the work surface, just sprinkle some flour first. Knead very lightly and begin to form a round, smooth disc.

Making the steamed buns…

  • Cut up the dough into 4 parts. Take each piece of the dough and roll that into one even log, which you then cut up into 3 parts. So that should give you a total of 12 pieces.
  • What you do next is take a piece of the dough, and cover the rest of it using a tea towel or cling wrap.
  • Roll this piece into a round shape (4.5 inches in diameter) with very thin edges.
  • Hold the dough in your hand and add 1-1/2 tablespoon of the filling into the center.
  • Then pinch 8 pleats along the edges. Gather these pleats together one at a time for sealing the bun. And pinch at the top and twist.
  • Do the same with the remaining pieces of dough you’ve prepared. That means you would be doing this a total of 12 times.
  • Once all 12 buns are prepared this way, cover them up using cling wrap. And make sure you leave the buns in a dry, warm place for around 15 minutes.

Time to steam…

  • The steamer, bamboo or otherwise, should be a large one. Line it up using parchment paper that’s punctured with holes.
  • Lay out 6-8 buns and cover the steamer with its lid.
  • Then fill a pot or wok with 1-1/2 inches of water and allow the water to simmer on medium-high heat. The steamer, needless to say, shouldn’t touch the water.
  • Let the pork-stuffed steamed buns steam in there for around 12 minutes. Feel free to add water, if required, halfway through.
  • You know the buns are thoroughly cooked when the skin becomes smooth and they spring back on contact. Remove the steamer from the pot then, and serve the buns warm.

The filling…

  • Over medium heat, make the oil hot in a saucepan. Add the eschalots into the pan to cook them for 2 minutes.
  • Then bring in water, sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix them up.
  • While stirring and mixing, pour cornflour slowly into the pan. Mix well to achieve a smooth consistency.
  • Now add the pork. Cook the ingredients till the sauce becomes thick, which shouldn’t take more than 1-1/2 minutes. Then set aside the filling to thicken some more and to cool.

Nutritional Value of Steamed Buns with pork

person holding white ceramic bowl with dim sum

226 calories (11% daily intake) per serving of 102 grams of steamed pork buns.

  • Saturated fat – 1 gram
  • Trans fat – 0.1 gram
  • Polyunsaturated fat – 1.7 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat – 4.7 grams
  • Cholesterol – 11 milligrams (4% daily intake)
  • Sodium – 482 milligrams (20% daily intake)
  • Potassium – 138 milligrams (4% daily intake)
  • Carbohydrates – 32 grams (4% daily intake)
  • Protein – 6.9 grams
  • Vitamin A – 1.6% daily intake
  • Vitamin C – 0.5% daily intake
  • Calcium – 7.7% daily intake
  • Iron – 9.4% daily intake


How to Make Pork Buns Without A Steamer?

If you don’t have a steamer, then just use a medium pot. Fill it with 1/2 inch of water. Make three large and solid aluminum foil balls and put them onto the bottom of the pot. Now place a heat-proof plate on the aluminum balls. Then cover the pot and let the water reach boiling point. Once that happens, you can keep the pork buns on top of that plate and cover it again.


There’s no chance that even this simple recipe of steamed buns is quick. Whoever tells you otherwise has certainly not cooked them single-handedly at home. But Wong’s King assures you that once you learn how to make these sweet and savory pork-filled buns, there’s no turning back. And the cooking process does indeed get easier eventually.

Also, preparing them at home means saving money. Because homemade steamed pork-stuffed buns are way more affordable in comparison to any restaurant.

Furthermore, you can freeze the leftovers for later. And no need to thaw or anything after freezer storage. Just put them in your microwave right from the freezer. Just one minute of reheating is more than enough for the buns to taste fresh, like they’ve just come out of the bamboo steamer.

Ken Weiss

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