I made that!

Homemade Pork Buns!

Posted in All Things Pork, I Like Salt Too, Playing With Yeast by brandi on March 26, 2011

Dear Pork,

We meet again. This time things got intense. As per usual I was dabbling in vegetarianism, reading books like “Animal Factory” and “Eating Animals” and having thoughts like “I just can’t keep eating meat”. Then I bought a groupon for Barnes and Noble. Dammit, I blame it on them. I was perusing the shelves, looking for just the right present to myself (I’ve imposed a cookbook moratorium on myself so this was a big day). Then I saw it. A book I’ve been dreaming about since I read about it online: “Asian Dumplings” by Andrea Nguyen. My Lord, it’s like she wrote a book just for me. I snatched it up and stayed awake that night reading it cover to cover. But I’ve been so busy with my new business that I just didn’t have time to make anything from it for months! But finally, I got a day off. And what did I do? I made pork buns. Sticky, messy, slightly sweet, cracktastic pork buns.

First I marinated you in a magical sauce with all kinds of delicousness: five spice powder, hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce and much more.

Then I laid you on a rack to go in the oven.

And roasted you until you were all glossy and charred and happy looking.

From there I took it a step further. I chopped you up into itty pieces and cooked you with more delicious sauciness.

While you waited patiently, I made a dough, a dough not too different from my favorite hamburger bun dough. I cut that dough into chunks.

And then I encased you in that dough, giggling with every pleat.

You made adorable dumplings.

I let your dough rise until soft, and then I roasted you again. I pulled you from the oven and glazed you with honey. And then me and friends devoured you. Oh my, sweet pork, you do continue to surprise me. Thank you, for setting me straight again.

PORK BUNS RECIPE (Andrea Nguyen):

Char Siu Pork:

1 lb bonelss pork shoulder

1 big clove garlic

1 1/2 TBSP sugar

1/4 + 1/8 tsp five spice powder

2 TBSP 3/4 tsp hoisin sauce

1 1/2 TBSP honey

1 TBSP + 1/2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

2 1/2 TBSP soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

– Cut the pork into strips that are 1 1/2” thick.

– Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl large enough to fit the pork, this will be the marinade. Remove 1/3 of the marinade to a small bowl and store in the fridge. This will be used later on for basting the pork as it roasts. Toss the pork in with the rest of the marinade to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, turning the pork 2-3 times.

– Remove the pork and reerved marinade from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a roasting tack on top. Put the prok on the rack, leaving an inch between the pieces for heat circulation. Discard the used marinade.

– Roast for 30 minutes, basting both sides of the pork with the marinade every 10 minutes. Flip the pieces over at every interval. T]he pork is done when it is glazed and slightly charred, Remove from the oven. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before using.

Pork Bun Filling:

1 TBSP sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of white pepper

1 TBSP soy sauce

2 tsp oyster sauce

1 TBSP water

2 tsp canola oil

2 scallions (white and green parts), chopped

1/2 pound Char Siu Pork, diced

1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine

1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in

2 TBSP water

– To make the flavoring sauce, combine the sugar, salt, white pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and water in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

– Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, or until aromatic and slightly softened. Add the pork and combine well. Add the flavoring sauce and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, or until the pork is heated through. Meanwhile, add the rice wine to the dissolved cornstarch. When the pork is hot enough, add the wine and cornstarch mixture. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together into a mass that you can mound. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely before using. (The filling can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before using.)


10 TBSP whole milk

4 TBSP butter

2 tsp rapid-rise (instant) dry yeast

2 1/2 TBSP lukewarm water

1 large egg

2 1/2 TBSP sugar

12 1/2 oz All-purpose flour

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 TBSP honey mixed with 1 TBSP warm water

– For the dough, melt the butter with the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes, or until warm (about 110°F).

– Put the yeast in small bowl, add the water, and set aside for 1 minute to soften. Whisk in the milk mixture and the egg to blend.

– Combine the sugar and flour in a food processor. Pulse two or three times to blend. With the machine running, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube in a steady stream. After a sticky mass of very soft dough forms, about 5 seconds, continue processing for 45 to 60 seconds to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough that mostly cleans the bowl. The finished dough should stick a bit to your finger when pressed. Alternatively, to make the dough by hand, combine the sugar and flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly stir with a wooden spoon to work in all the flour. (Add water by the teaspoon if this doesn’t happen with relative ease.) Keep stirring as a ragged, soft mass forms. Then use your fingers to gather and pat the dough into a ball. Transfer to a work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth, fingertip soft, and slightly elastic. (You should not need any additional flour on the work surface if the dough was properly made. Keep kneading and after the first minute or two, the dough should not stick to your fingers. If it does, work in a sprinkling of flour.) Press your finger into the dough; it should spring back, with a faint indentation remaining.

– Regardless of the mixing method, lightly oil a clean bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place (for example, the oven with the light on) to rise for about 45 minutes, or until nearly doubled.

– Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper before beginning to assemble the buns.

– Remove the dough from the bowl and put on a lightly floured surface. Knead it a few times, then cut it in half. Cover one-half with plastic wrap or an inverted bowl to prevent drying. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch log, and then cut it into 8 or 16 pieces for medium or small buns, respectively. (Halve or quarter the log first to make it easier to cut even-size pieces. The tapered end pieces should be cut a little longer than the rest.) Lightly roll each piece between your hands into a ball and then flatten each one into a 1/4-inch-thick disk. Use a wooden dowel-style rolling pin to roll the pieces into circles, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter for small or 31/4 inches in diameter for medium buns. The rim should be thinner than the center; keep a 1-inch-wide belly. The finished circle will rise as it sits. Lay the finished circles out on your work surface, lightly dusting their bottoms with flour if you fear they will stick.

– To form a bun, hold a dough circle in a slightly cupped hand. Use a spoon or fork to center about 2 teaspoons of filling for small buns, or about 4 teaspoons of filling for medium ones, on the dough circle, pressing down very gently and keeping about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the dough clear on all sides; your hand will automatically close slightly. Use the thumb of the hand cradling the bun to push down the filling while the other hand pulls up the dough edge and pleats and pinches the rim together to form a closed satchel. Pinch and twist the dough closed at the end. Place the bun pleat side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough circles, spacing them 11/2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Set in a warm, draft- free place (for example, the oven with the light on) for 30 minutes to rise. Meanwhile, work on the other dough half to form more buns.

– To bake the buns, about 10 minutes before the rising time is over, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. (Let the buns finish rising at room temperature if you’ve had them in the oven.)

– Bake one baking sheet at a time, brushing the top and side of each bun with the egg right before baking. Bake small buns for about 14 minutes and medium buns for about 18 minutes, or until a rich golden brown; the cooked buns sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove them from the oven, set on a rack, and let cool for 5 minutes.

– Brush the honey mixture on the buns for a sweet-glaze finish that will also soften the crust. Enjoy warm and out of hand. Refrigerate left- over buns for up to a week and reheat at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, until hot. When making the buns in advance, wait to brush on the glaze until after you’ve reheated the buns. These buns may also be frozen for up to a month. Thaw them completely before reheating.


68 Responses

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  1. Lena said, on March 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Wow! They sound SO GOOD! Recently there was a recipe on The Bitten Word, that was similar to yours, but the buns were steamed. Since then I wanted to cook them. But I hadn’t the time until since. Yours are marked, too! Mmmh, two chinese dumpling recipe waiting… how good is that?!

  2. olga said, on March 26, 2011 at 9:55 am

    oh my lord. seriously. must make. we’re doing a vegetarian weekend this weekend, but next weekend – this looks absolutely unbelievable!!

  3. Stephanie Tramontozzi said, on March 26, 2011 at 10:00 am

    If you didn’t already have me at pork, asian dumplings or buns, you reeled me in at cracktastic! Those look amazing!

  4. A plum by any other name said, on March 26, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Can pork be sexy? If so, your pictures support it. And your buns look divine. 😉

  5. Shalet said, on March 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Oh my goodness. My mouth is absolutely watering. I do think I’ll have to give these a go. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  6. fancyfoodfancy said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Those look amazing. I want to eat one right now. Maybe two. Very impressive. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Jessie Stankey said, on March 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    you continue to change my perceptions about pork. first carnitas, now pork buns… i know what i am doing next weekend.

  8. Stacy said, on March 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    These look absolutely picture perfect, not to mention delicious!

  9. Annie said, on March 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    That looks like it would be yummy with tempeh. And maybe some veggies.

    Just sayin’

  10. MarmandeintheKitchen said, on March 27, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I love pork buns, and these look amazing! Can’t wait to try them.

  11. Mikaela Cowles said, on March 27, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Book stores are VERY dangerous aren’t they? Looks like your walk on the book buying side had obvious benefits. These look amazing. I can’t wait to try them. They’ve always seemed like something best left to the professionals, but you make it look accessible. I think I’ll have to give it a go.

  12. Buffy said, on March 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Poor little piggies. Even this vegetarian has to admit those look good. The rolled up dumplings are super cute.

  13. Brenda said, on March 27, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Okay now I’m just plain mad at myself for having passed these beauties up on Saturday. Whimper 😦

    Great meeting you and your friends this weekend. See you Thursday.

  14. Elizabeth said, on March 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    These look SO GOOD! My mouth is watering, I must make them immediately. Thanks for the recipe! This is an amazing blog you have by the way, I just spend the last 20 minutes browsing your old recipes. Very impressive!

  15. Sasha (Global Table Adventure) said, on March 28, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I might try your pork recipe in a steamed bun recipe – maybe on the weekend. I’ve been looking for a good filling – never had too much luck. Thanks 🙂

  16. Michelle said, on March 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I could jump on the pork trail with these roasted nibbles. Geez!

  17. linda said, on March 29, 2011 at 4:32 am

    OMG brandi: beautiful & luscious recipe/photographs!
    i am going to re-create your little beauties with chicken! i love your verbiage as well.

    i am jealous that i do not live nearby…”the pantry” sounds fantastic…& those who are lucky to partake in cooking workshops…LUCKY!!
    wishing you all…all the BEST!

  18. Sense of Home said, on March 29, 2011 at 5:10 am

    These look really good, I do prefer the baked rather than the steamed buns I have had.


  19. bootbead said, on March 29, 2011 at 6:20 am

    These look and sound wonderful. I too try the vegetarian dream, reading “Eating Animals” and have several great vegetarian cook books, to no avail. Bacon and pan roasted chicken always win.

  20. Julie said, on March 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Bless you, the timing of this post! I’ve made steamed char siu bao a number of times, but never baked. My sister came into town this weekend and requested bao upon her arrival. Then I saw this post. Seriously, I had made the char siu and was about to make the dough and sauce and I saw this post and did a 180 and decided to give this recipe a try instead. They sounded amazing, and they didn’t disappoint! I am a convert to the baked bao! The dough was really amazing. A really great texture. Thank you so much for sharing!

  21. Annika Karr said, on March 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Great buns! I’m really excited to make these next week! Great pictures and instructions too 🙂

  22. carol gourley said, on April 1, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Hi Brandi:
    Just discovered “I made that”, thru buying where woman cook, checking out “Orangette”, then getting to you. I love your presence, you’re recipes, your humour and your captive stories. I’ve read back to June 2010, (hopefully summer with arrive earlier this year) and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the past posts and the ones to come. Good luck to your wonderful place “The Pantry”. What a wonderful concept. I can’t wait to get my self out to Seattle (I live in B.C.) and experience both places, Delaney’s and The Pantry.

  23. jaclyn said, on April 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

    wow, these look amazing! i feel compelled to make these, immediately, if not sooner. i found your blog linked on orangette, and i’m so happy to have stumbled across your site! both delancey and the pantry and delancey sound wonderful and exciting, and hopefully i’ll make it out to that side of the country one day to check them out.

    the oatmeal cream pies on your site look devilishly good, too!

  24. Julie said, on April 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Perfect timing of this recipe, Brandi! My sister was coming into town and had requested that I make her pork bao. I usually make the steamed variety, and I had roasted the char siu. Then I saw your recipe and knew I needed to try it, and I’m so glad I did! Your dough recipe was spot on. Easy to make, came together beautifully, and tasted just right. Good sweetness, soft texture, and so tasty. Thank you so much for posting it! I know have a new favorite bao recipe.

  25. Ann said, on April 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    This just absolutely blew my mind. I haven’t had much in the way of Chinese food since I quit gluten a couple of years ago, and DANG, this set off major pangs of jealousy. So – I’m going to convert this to gluten free. I’m sure my buns won’t be as pretty, but I bet I can come pretty close.

  26. Chelsea said, on April 10, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Oh man these look ridiculously good!

  27. Ashley said, on April 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Let’s be friends. You feed my pork buns and I’ll share my Cadbury Creme Eggs. Deal?!

    • brandi said, on April 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      I agree! Though we ate all our pork buns. But I’m experimenting with homemade cotton candy this week…

  28. Jane Steele said, on April 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Love pork, love your blog, love you – off to eat lentils because I too flirted with being vegan this week. Next week though, the gloves are off and I eat the pig –

  29. tone said, on April 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    God. I made this 2x in 4 days. The first batch of char siu didnt make it to buns.. we ate it with brown rice.. The second batch I made today and they are delicious! I was a little heavy handed with the sugar so they’re a bit on the sweet side. But. DAMN!

    I used my go to dinner roll recipe from allrecipes.com (see:best dinner rolls) and it was perfect.

  30. hannah @ Bake Five said, on April 18, 2011 at 2:38 am

    omygosh! MMM….!

  31. Looks Good To Me! said, on April 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Okok, I am going to try and make these for Easter this weekend! I am excited (and a little scared). One question, about how many buns (I am going to do mini-size) does one recipe make? Should I double for a group?

    If these are a success, Krispy Kreme doughnuts up next!
    Love the blog & Thanks!!

  32. Laurel said, on April 22, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Great site! I love making things like this at home. It is a little labor intensive, but its always worth it!

  33. Looks Good To Me! said, on April 26, 2011 at 7:15 am

    I made them and it was a big success!! I ended up doubling the recipe and then over stuffed my buns so I ran out of pork.
    I used up the remaining dough to make buns with PB & J filling which actually worked. Next time I am going to try peanut butter and banana and honey inside!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  34. Meister @ The Nervous Cook said, on April 28, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Well thanks a lot: Now I’m officially obsessed with your blog! Off to start compulsively perusing your archives — as if I have time for that! Sigh… 😉

  35. Andrea Nguyen said, on April 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Nice buns!!! Glad you enjoyed the Asian Dumpling cookbook!

  36. […] Pork Buns from I Made That! – Does it get any better than sweet, sticky glazed pork stuffed into soft […]

  37. Andrew said, on May 18, 2011 at 6:02 am

    ah! so much win!

    I make something like this frequently. They are so delicious. I think the five spice powder is so wonderful. It has flavors that still taste somewhat exotic to me when used in savory dishes and I just enjoy it so much.

  38. Angela said, on May 26, 2011 at 10:52 am

    OMG! These look RIDICULOUSLY amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  39. Kitchen Witch Jenny said, on May 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    oh, well, good Lord. Life is too short to be vegetarian past your mid-twenties:)

  40. Link Love! | said, on June 14, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    […] Homemade Pork Buns […]

  41. Tiam said, on June 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I love these little buns and try to grab some everytime I pass by Chinatown. THANK YOU !!!

  42. Joe said, on June 23, 2011 at 7:12 am

    This is awesome! There used to be a restaurant by my house that made these, now they are closed. I’m def doing to make them! 🙂

  43. shapewear said, on July 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

    This is very common in our country but it is baked here, not steamed.

  44. Adam Atkinson said, on August 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I was sadly unable to find five spice powder 😦 I’ll be making this tomorrow night for supper/lunch the next day, hopefully it will still turn out well!

  45. Pork Buns | Ant's In The Kitchen said, on August 27, 2011 at 7:51 am

    […] They sounded really good, so I thought I would give them a try. You can find the recipe here: https://lookimadethat.com/2011/03/26/pork-buns/ at the I Made That Blog. […]

  46. Amy Ferguson said, on September 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

    making these now! that dough was great to work with. can’t wait to taste the finished product.

  47. Diana said, on September 26, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    These look amazing! I cannot wait to make them. I adore your blog! Keep up the great work!

  48. Kevin Chamow said, on December 9, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Great blog. Great recipe.

    Kevin Chamow

  49. Dominic I'mdoinme King-Chase said, on January 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I like these right here! I have even tried them streamed!

  50. Mary Reade said, on January 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!!!!!! I have been trying since I left NYC in 2006 to re-create those delicious bites of pork heaven that it seems only the Chinese in Chinatown can make. It seems all the Asian markets every where else in the world want to steam them, thanks but no thanks. And every time I try, after three days of work, they come up just short. Oh but not these, these are DEAD ON. I will never be without them again. You’re my new hero, (so is Andrea Nguyen). God bless your heart and all your other bits.

  51. amie@familyrecipeworld said, on February 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Love the idea! Thank you for making them look so easy!

  52. Chinese | Pearltrees said, on February 29, 2012 at 8:11 am

    […] Homemade Pork Buns! & I made that! – StumbleUpon Dough: 10 TBSP whole milk – Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, or until aromatic and slightly softened. Add the pork and combine well. […]

  53. Leah said, on March 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I am seriously going to try this recipe – your instructions are very clear so I am
    hoping to follow step by step. Can’t wait to try this with my sisters.

  54. ryanmcmillan21 said, on March 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Reblogged this on meatnight and commented:

  55. Connie said, on March 11, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I have got to give these a try. My husband would love them!


  56. […] night we had one of our favorite treats, char siu bao! Or manapuas, if you’re all Hawaiian-ish. Here is the recipe I used to make these little bad-boys, though I didn’t stick to the recipe […]

  57. Latest Loaf said, on January 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I’m making this today! So excited. Looking forward to how they turn out.

  58. […] is how to create these yourself, as adapted from the I Made This […]

  59. aeriel said, on April 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I love these so much! I’ve made them a few times now and my husband absolutely adores them! thank you for posting the recipe. Here’s the first batch I of them I made 😀 http://imgur.com/gallery/lvXrK

  60. Jailor Moon said, on May 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    This is the best thing I’ve ever made! I’m just jealous it’s not an original recipe. 😦

  61. Cuban Pork Buns | DAVE BAKES said, on October 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

    […] Cuban Pork Buns (based on this recipe from I Made That!) […]

  62. Hilary said, on November 19, 2013 at 7:54 am

    These are amazing!! I made them last spring and will be working up another batch this weekend to bake off and freeze for a “2nd Giving” party that we are having for friends the Friday after Thanksgiving. Can’t wait – makes your kitchen smell so yummy!!

  63. Carie said, on March 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    So I’ve had this on my pinterest board for ages now and consistently go back and make them. I swear, I use this recipe about once a month and my step-sons LOVE them. Thank you so much for posting these!!

  64. […] char siu utilizing boneless pork nation-fashion ribs, you should use it to make steamed pork buns, baked pork buns, this delicious noodle soup, this delicious rice noodle stir-fry, fried rice, and the record goes […]

  65. […] From lookimadethat.com […]

  66. K said, on September 30, 2014 at 12:44 am

    I have made these a few times, now, though they are a treat because of how long they take to make 🙂 My husband adores them. He begs me for them and would exist purely on them if I made enough haha. I love them too, but he is crazy in love, I’m almost jealous lol Thanks for the recipe!

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