Vegan Steamed Bao Buns

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Vegan Steamed Bao Buns

Treat yourself to these delightful vegan steamed bao buns! A soft steamed bun with a juicy filling, this recipe will help you create the perfect side dish.

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Steamed bao buns are a typical Asian dish. While they would traditionally be filled with meat, this vegan version opts for a deliciously savoury and well-spiced mushroom filling.

What are bao buns?

Bao buns or ‘steamed buns’ are fluffy buns that are packed with a tasty filling.

In this version, the buns are filled with mushrooms and Asian flavours like ginger, soy sauce, Chinese five spice and hoisin sauce.

The buns are easy to make – a combination of flour, soya milk and yeast.

Where do bao buns originate from?

Bao buns are a popular dish in China and originally came from Fujan. These steamed buns differ in different regions of Asia.

In northern China, they’re often filled with a spicy mixture of pork or beef and vegetables. The dough is made of wheat so they’re thick and fluffy.

In Hong Kong, they’re made with rice flour that’s popular in Southern China so the bun is lighter, and the filling more noticeable.

Xiaolongbao are soup filled dumplings that are famous in Shanghai and have been for almost 40 years.

Tips for making bao buns

Be sure not to let the dough rest for too long, otherwise the dough will weaken and collapse on steaming.

Just knead out the air bubbles for ten minutes, and set aside for half an hour while you combine the ingredients for the filling.

Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Calories: 191

Servings: 11


Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Calories: 191

Servings: 11




(Servings: 11)

  • For the dough bun
  • 27.272727272727 27.272727272727 g plain flour
  • 0.36363636363636 0.36363636363636 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 0.18181818181818 0.18181818181818 tsp fast acting yeast
  • 21.818181818182 21.818181818182 ml soya milk, warmed
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tbsp vegetable oil
  • For the bun filling
  • 0.18181818181818 0.18181818181818 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 onion, finely diced
  • 36.363636363636 36.363636363636 g mushrooms, chopped
  • 9.0909090909091 9.0909090909091 g bamboo shoots, finely chopped
  • 9.0909090909091 9.0909090909091 g water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 0.18181818181818 0.18181818181818 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 0.18181818181818 0.18181818181818 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 0.27272727272727 0.27272727272727 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp sugar, adjust to taste
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tsp black pepper
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tsp cornflour
  • 0.27272727272727 0.27272727272727 tbsp water
  • 0.36363636363636 0.36363636363636 spring onions, sliced
  • 0.18181818181818 0.18181818181818 tsp sesame seed oil
  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • For the dressing
  • 0.18181818181818 0.18181818181818 stalks spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tbsp sesame oil
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tbsp soy sauce
  • 0.090909090909091 0.090909090909091 tbsp maple syrup


  1. To make the bun dough, add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to a bowl and mix them together. Then add the warm soya milk – a little at a time – along with the oil.
  2. Stir the ingredients together to make a dry-ish dough (not too dry, but not sticky either). Knead for about 10 minutes, before setting aside in a warm place while you make the filling.
  3. For the filling, begin by heating the vegetable oil in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the diced onion. Fry until it starts turning soft and brown.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry until they are soft. Then add the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.
  5. Fry for a further few minutes before adding the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, Chinese five spice and black pepper.
  6. While this is all heating through, make an emulsion with the cornflour and water, then add this to the frying pan, followed by the spring onions and coriander.
  7. Turn the heat off and stir in the sesame oil. Set aside to cool.
  8. Once the dough has been resting for about 30 minutes, tip it out onto a very lightly-floured surface and split it in two.
  9. Roll each half into a sausage, about 12cm in length, and slice each sausage into 5-6 pieces. Roll out each of these pieces into a small circle shape, about 1mm thick.
  10. In the palm of your hand, cup the circle of dough so there is a well, and place a tablespoon of the filling in the centre. Then, bring together the outside edges of the circle and pinch to seal the filling inside; so that the dumpling resembles a little sack of money.
  11. Once you have made three or four buns, steam them either in a parchment paper-lined steaming basket, placed above a boiling pan of water or a lined metal steamer. Steaming should take 10-15 minutes. While the buns are steaming, make your dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients together.
  12. When your buns are cooked through, you can either brown the bottoms in a frying pan by cooking them for a few minutes in a little oil, or just serve them straight out of the basket with a drizzle of the dressing over the top.
  13. Serve with steamed vegetables, such as bok choi or just eat on their own.

Each 157g bao bun provides:

3.4g Fat, 0.5g Saturates, 35g Carbohydrate, 7.2g Sugars, 3g Fibre, 6.3g Protein, 1.3g Salt.


Need another bite? Try making these delicious vegan sushi sandwiches!

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Vegan Food & Living

Vegan Food & Living is a magazine dedicated to celebrating the vegan lifestyle. Every issue is packed with 75 tasty recipes, plus informative features.

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