Instant Pot Steamed Buns (Bao)

instant pot steamed buns | instant pot bao | bao buns | baozi | steamed buns | bao recipe | pork bun | chinese steamed buns #AmyJacky #recipe #chinese

Learn how to make Instant Pot Steamed Buns (bao or baozi; Chinese: 鮮肉包子). Fluffy, soft, & slightly sweet bao buns wrapped with aromatic, juicy, & flavorful filling. These pork buns and beef buns are so deliciously satisfying to eat! Chinese steamed buns are the ultimate comfort food that packs your tummy with joy.

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In November, we accepted the challenge to make a yummy Instant Pot Bao Recipe from one of our dear friends & readers. Since then, we’ve been working on perfecting these Chinese Steamed Buns from scratch. Super excited to finally share it with you!! 😀

What is Bao (Chinese Steamed Buns)?

Bao (Chinese: 包) means bun or bread in Chinese. It’s also known as Baozi (Chinese; 包子), Bun, Bao Buns, or Steamed Buns.

Baozi is a type of yeast-leavened Chinese Steamed Buns that can have a variety of vegetables, meat, beans, custard, or other fillings. These Chinese steamed buns can be savory or sweet.

Some of the most popular Baozi includes Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Buns; Chinese: 叉燒包), Shengjian Bao (Pan-Fried Baozi; Chinese: 生煎包), Steamed Cabbage & Pork Buns (Chinese: 菜肉包), or dim sum Steamed Custard Buns (Chinese: 奶黃包). 

They are very popular in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and many other Asian countries.

instant pot steamed buns | instant pot bao | bao buns | baozi | steamed buns | bao recipe | pork bun | chinese steamed buns  #AmyJacky #recipe #chinese

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Let’s make Steamed Buns in Instant Pot!

Step by Step Guide: Instant Pot Steamed Buns

instant pot steamed buns | instant pot bao | bao buns | baozi | steamed buns | bao recipe | pork bun | chinese steamed buns  #AmyJacky #recipe #chinese

In this bao recipe, we’ll make the bao dough first. So we can let the dough rise and develop flavor while we prepare the meat filling ingredients. 

Here are the ingredients for making bao buns:

bao buns ingredients

Here are the ingredients for making pork buns filling:

beef bao filling

Step 1

Make Bao Dough

In a large mixing bowl, add 500g all-purpose flour, 2 tsp (8g) baking powder, 5g fine salt or table salt, and 25g granulated sugar. Mix them very well.

bao dough

Then, add in 6.25g instant yeast, and make sure to mix them very well.

Now, push all the flour mixture to the side by creating a well in the middle.

Gradually pour 250ml (108°F/42°C) lukewarm water and 2½ tbsp (37.5g) vegetable oil into the well, then mix the flour mixture until blended to form a relatively dry dough.

*Note: The dough shouldn’t stick to the hand too much once it’s fully mixed. 

bao buns

*Pro Tips: Make sure all the flour is mixed in. Depending on your flour, you may need another tablespoon (15ml) of lukewarm water. However, be careful not to add too much additional water. The dough should not feel sticky.

Form a large ball with the dough.

*Pro Tip: If the dough is a bit hard to knead, cover the dough and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes. If the dough is soft enough to knead, proceed to step 2.

Step 2

Knead & Rise Bao Dough

Here’s the labor of love part of this Instant Pot steamed buns recipe. 

We’ll need to knead the bao dough for a good 8 – 11 minutes until the dough is relatively smooth.

knead dough

*Pro Tip: If you want to skip this workout, take out your stand mixer and let it do the work. Depending on your stand mixer, it’ll take roughly 6 – 8 minutes for it to knead the dough.

Finally, form the dough into a ball shape, then place it back into the original large mixing bowl.

Then, cover it with a damp kitchen towel or food wrap.

Now, place the mixing bowl in a warmer part of your kitchen, then allow the dough to rise. 

*Dough Rising Time: You’ll need to rise the dough for roughly 45 minutes – 1 hour.

*Note: You can proceed to prepare the filling ingredients as you wait for the dough to rise

Step 3

Make Bao Fillings

First, finely slice the green onions.

We used a microplane grater to grate the garlic and ginger directly into the mixing bowl.

Be careful not to grate your own fingers! 

beef buns

*Pro Tip: In our 5 tests, we found that the filling’s texture is a bit better when we mixed it with our hands instead of using chopsticks. 

mix ground beef

We’ve developed this steamed buns recipe for making both pork buns and beef buns. So, you can choose to make steamed buns with a beef filling or pork filling. 

1) Pork Buns Filling: In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1lb (454g) ground pork, 1 (60g) large egg, 3 grated garlic cloves, 2 tsp (14g) grated ginger, 1 tbsp (15ml) regular soy sauce, 1 tsp (5ml) dark soy sauce (optional), 1 tsp (6g) oyster sauce, tsp (0.2g) five spice powder, tsp (0.3g) ground white pepper, and ½ tsp (3g) table salt.

2) Beef Buns Filling: In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1lb (454g) ground beef, 1 (60g) large egg, 2 grated garlic cloves, 1 tsp (7g) grated ginger, 1 tbsp (15ml) regular soy sauce, 1 tsp (5ml) dark soy sauce (optional), 1 tsp (6g) oyster sauce, tsp (0.2g) five spice powder, tsp (0.3g) ground white pepper, ½ tsp (3g) table salt, and ½ tsp (1.8g) ground cumin powder.

When the beef or pork filling ingredients are well mixed, mix in ½ cup (125ml) cold water one third at a time (around 42ml each time).

*Pro Tip: Let the filling fully absorb the water before adding in more water.

Add the finely sliced green onions and 2 tbsp (10ml) roasted sesame oil to the filling mixture, then mix well.

Finally, cover the filling mixture with food wrap, then place it in the fridge for now.

Step 4

Make Dough Balls

*Note: Your dough should be almost double in size now.

First, stick your finger into your dough and it shouldn’t bounce back that much (as shown in photo below).

proof bao dough

Then, place your dough on a clean surface.

Now, deflate the dough by pressing on it.

Fold the dough a few times, then divide it into 16 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh around 50g.

bao buns dough

If you like, you can form each small dough into a ball shape (shown in the photo below). This will make it easier to roll the dough when you make the bao buns.

make dough balls

Place the 16 dough balls on a plate, then cover them with a damp towel (or food wrap) to prevent the dough from drying out.

dough balls

Step 5

Roll Bao Dough

Flatten Dough Balls

First, lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour.

With the lower part of your palm, flatten the dough into a circular shape by pressing down on the dough ball.

make bao buns

Then, roll the flattened dough 2 – 3 times with a rolling pin.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll the dough for another 2 – 3 times.

*Note: The dough should look like a circle at this point.

bao buns recipe

2 Methods to Roll Bao Dough

Now roll the edges of each dough so the center is thick while the edges are thin.

*Pro Tip: It’s very important to have a thick center in order for it to hold up the filling & the delicious meat juice.

bao rolling methods

Method 1: Use your rolling pin with an outward rolling motion to flatten all the edges to thin them out.

Method 2: Rotate the dough with one hand while using the rolling pin to thin out the edges.

*Note: Each round dough should be roughly 5″ in diameter. Don’t worry if they’re not completely round, it’ll be fine. 🙂

Dust both sides of round dough with flour to prevent them from sticking onto one another.

Finally, place the flattened bao dough on a plate, then cover it with a damp towel.

Step 6

Add Filling to Bao Buns

First, take out the meat filling from the fridge.

Then, place a round dough on your left hand.

With a spoon, place 34g – 36g meat filling in the center of the round dough.

Then, flatten out the filling a little with your spoon.

how to make bao

Step 7

Wrap Steamed Buns

First, your right thumb should be on top of the round dough and your index finger should be on the outside.

Then, use your right index finger to fold and pinch the edges against your right thumb. 

wrapping baozi

Rotate the dough as you fold the edges.

Make sure to keep the filling inside the dough with your left thumb.

*Note: You can also use the left thumb to help with the folding.

It’ll take some practice to be good at wrapping baozi!

close bun

If you did it correctly, there will be a hole on top once you finish folding the bun. Close the hole by using the same folding method.

*Pro Tip: It’s best to properly close off the hole on top of the bao, or else the delicious meat juice may leak out when you steam the baozi.

Step 8

Rest Steamed Buns

buns in bamboo steamer

Finally, place the assembled steamed buns into a steamer basket with parchment paper at the bottom.

Let the steamed buns rest for 30 minutes before cooking.

*Note: If you’re not cooking the steamed buns immediately, place them in the fridge.

Step 9

Cook Steamed Buns in Instant Pot

Method 1 (Small Batch):

*Note: Use this pressure cooking method if you’re only cooking a few steamed buns in Instant Pot.

*Pro Tip: 8″ bamboo steamers will fit in a 6 quarts Instant Pot.

First, add 1 cup (250 ml) of cold water and a trivet in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

water trivet

Then, place the steamer basket on the trivet. Close the steamer basket lid if you’re using a bamboo steamer.

steamed buns

Close the Instant Pot lid, then turn Venting Knob to the Sealing position.

Pressure Cooking Method: Pressure cook at High Pressure for 4 minutes, then Natural Release for 10 minutes.

instant pot high pressure 4 minutes

After 10 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to the Venting Position.

Once the Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.

steamed buns instant pot

Method 2 (Big Batch):

*Note: Use this steaming method if you’re cooking a lot of yummy steamed buns. You can stack the bamboo steamers into tiers, then batch cook them and freeze for later. 🙂

For 6 quarts Instant Pot: we recommend using 10″ bamboo steamers.

For 8 quarts Instant Pot: 10″ and 12″ bamboo steamers will work with this method.

First, fill the Instant Pot’s inner pot with 2 cups (500ml) of water.

Bring the 2 cups of water to a rapid boil with the “Saute High” function or “Steam” button.

Then, carefully stack the bamboo steamers on top of the Instant Pot’s inner pot.

how to steam in instant pot with bamboo steamer

You don’t need Instant Pot’s lid, but make sure the bamboo steamer’s lid is closed properly.

Steam the bao for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat. 

Step 10

Serve & Store Instant Pot Steamed Buns

Your Instant Pot steamed buns are ready! Serve the piping hot Instant Pot Bao with some tea on the side. 😀

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Storing Leftover Steamed Buns (Cooked):

To prevent them from sticking to one another, place the steamed buns on an oven tray, and partially freeze them in the freezer.

Then place the partially frozen bao in Ziploc bags. Remove the excess air in the ziploc bags and seal tight. 

For best quality, you can store the bao in the freezer for up to 3 months (longer if they’re vacuum-sealed).

Steamed Buns Meal Prep

You can double this bao recipe and store them in the freezer after you cook them. This is really convenient because you only need to reheat them later.

Enjoy Deliciously Fluffy Instant Pot Steamed Buns!

4.96 from 21 votes

Instant Pot Steamed Buns

Learn how to make Instant Pot Steamed Buns (bao or baozi; Chinese: 鮮肉包子). Fluffy, soft, & slightly sweet bao buns wrapped with aromatic, juicy, & flavorful filling. These Chinese steamed pork buns and beef buns are so deliciously satisfying to eat!
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Servings 16
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Rate this Recipe

Ingredients

Bao Dough:

Beef Filling:

Pork Filling:

Share this Recipe so We can create more yummy recipes for you.  Thank you 🙂

Instructions 

  • Make Bao Dough: In a large mixing bowl, add 500g all-purpose flour, 2 tsp (8g) baking powder, 5g fine salt or table salt, and 25g granulated sugar. Mix them very well.
    Add in 6.25g instant yeast, and make sure to mix them very well.
    Push all the flour mixture to the side by creating a well in the middle. Gradually pour 250ml (108°F/42°C) lukewarm water and 2½ tbsp (37.5g) vegetable oil into the well, then mix the flour mixture until blended to form a relatively dry dough.
    *Note: The dough shouldn't stick to the hand too much once it's fully mixed.
    *Pro Tips: Make sure all the flour is mixed in. Depending on your flour, you may need another tablespoon (15ml) of lukewarm water. However, be careful not to add too much additional water. The dough should not feel sticky.
    Form a large ball with the dough.
    *Pro Tip: If the dough is a bit hard to knead, cover the dough and let it rest for 5 - 10 minutes. If the dough is soft enough to knead, proceed to step 2.
    bao buns
  • Knead & Rise Bao Dough: Knead the bao dough for 8 - 11 minutes until the dough is relatively smooth.
    *Pro Tip: You can use a stand mixer to knead the dough. It should take roughly 6 - 8 minutes.
    Form the dough into a ball shape, then place it back into the original large mixing bowl. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel or food wrap.
    Place the mixing bowl in a warmer part of your kitchen, then allow the dough to rise for roughly 45 minutes - 1 hour.
    knead dough
  • Make Bao Fillings: Finely slice the green onions. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic and ginger directly into the mixing bowl.
    a) Pork Buns Filling: In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1lb (454g) ground pork, 1 (60g) large egg, 3 grated garlic cloves, 2 tsp (14g) grated ginger, 1 tbsp (15ml) regular soy sauce, 1 tsp (5ml) dark soy sauce (optional), 1 tsp (6g) oyster sauce, ⅛ tsp (0.2g) five spice powder, ⅛ tsp (0.3g) ground white pepper, and ½ tsp (3g) table salt.
    b) Beef Buns Filling: In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1lb (454g) ground beef, 1 (60g) large egg, 2 grated garlic cloves, 1 tsp (7g) grated ginger, 1 tbsp (15ml) regular soy sauce, 1 tsp (5ml) dark soy sauce (optional), 1 tsp (6g) oyster sauce, ⅛ tsp (0.2g) five spice powder, ⅛ tsp (0.3g) ground white pepper, ½ tsp (3g) table salt, and ½ tsp (1.8g) ground cumin powder.
    When the filling ingredients are well mixed, mix in ½ cup (125ml) cold water one third at a time (around 42ml each time).
    *Pro Tip: Let the filling fully absorb the water before adding in more water.
    Add the finely sliced green onions and 2 tbsp (10ml) roasted sesame oil to the filling mixture, then mix well. Cover the filling mixture with food wrap, then place it in the fridge.
    mix ground beef
  • Make Dough Balls: Your dough should be almost double in size now. Stick your finger into your dough and it shouldn't bounce back that much.
    Place your dough on a clean surface. Deflate the dough by pressing on it. Fold the dough a few times, then divide it into 16 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh around 50g. Form each small dough into a ball shape.
    Place the 16 dough balls on a plate, then cover them with a damp towel to prevent the dough from drying out.
    make dough balls
  • Roll Bao Dough: Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour. With the lower part of your palm, flatten the dough into a circular shape by pressing down on the dough ball. Roll the flattened dough 2 - 3 times with a rolling pin. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll the dough for another 2 - 3 times.
    *Note: The dough should look like a circle at this point.
    2 Methods to Roll Bao Dough: Roll the edges of each dough so the center is thick while the edges are thin.
    Method 1: Use your rolling pin with an outward rolling motion to flatten all the edges to thin them out.
    Method 2: Rotate the dough with one hand while using the rolling pin to thin out the edges.
    *Note: Each round dough should be roughly 5" in diameter.
    Dust both sides of dough with flour to prevent them from sticking onto one another. Place the flattened bao dough on a plate, then cover it with a damp towel.
    bao buns recipe
  • Add Filling to Bao Dough: Take out the meat filling from the fridge. Place a round dough on your left hand. With a spoon, place 34g - 36g meat filling in the center of the round dough. Flatten out the filling a little.
    how to make bao
  • Wrap Bao: Your right thumb should be on top of the round dough and your index finger should be on the outside. Use your right index finger to fold and pinch the edges against your right thumb. Rotate the dough as you fold the edges. Make sure to keep the filling inside the dough with your left thumb.
    *Note: You can also use the left thumb to help with the folding. Close the hole on top by using the same folding method.
    close bun
  • Rest Bao: Place the assembled steamed buns into a steamer basket with parchment paper at the bottom. Let the steamed buns rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
    *Note: If you're not cooking the bao immediately, place them in the fridge.
    buns in bamboo steamer
  • Cook Bao in Instant Pot:
    Method 1 (Small Batch): 8" bamboo steamers will fit in a 6 quarts Instant Pot. Add 1 cup (250 ml) of cold water and a trivet in Instant Pot. Place the steamer basket on the trivet. Close the steamer basket lid if you're using a bamboo steamer. Close the Instant Pot lid, then turn Venting Knob to the Sealing position. Pressure cook at High Pressure for 4 minutes, then Natural Release for 10 minutes. Open the lid carefully.
    Method 2 (Big Batch): Stack the bamboo steamers into tiers, then batch cook them and freeze for later.
    For 6 quarts Instant Pot: use 10" bamboo steamers.
    For 8 quarts Instant Pot: use 10" or 12" bamboo steamers.
    Fill Instant Pot's inner pot with 2 cups (500ml) of water. Bring the 2 cups of water to a rapid boil with the "Saute High" function or "Steam" button. Carefully stack the bamboo steamers on top of the inner pot. Make sure the bamboo steamer's lid is closed properly. Steam the bao for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat.
    steamed buns
  • Serve Steamed Buns: Your Instant Pot steamed buns are ready! Serve the piping hot Instant Pot Bao with some tea on the side. 😀
    instant pot steamed buns | instant pot bao | bao buns | baozi | steamed buns | bao recipe | pork bun | chinese steamed buns #AmyJacky #recipe #chinese

Notes

1) Beef or Pork Fillings: You can make Beef Buns or Pork Buns by choosing between the 2 lists of filling ingredients.
2) Make Bao Dough First: We're making the bao dough first in order to let the dough rise and develop flavor while we prepare the meat filling ingredients.
3) Mixing Filling by Hand: In our 5 tests, we found that the filling's texture is a bit better when we mixed it with our hands instead of chopsticks.
4) Storing Leftover Steamed Buns (Cooked): To prevent them from sticking to one another, place the steamed buns on an oven tray, and partially freeze them in the freezer. Then place the partially frozen bao in tightly sealed Ziploc bags. For best quality, store the bao in the freezer for up to 3 months (longer if they're vacuum-sealed).
5) Meal Prep: You can double this recipe, store the steamed buns in the freezer after cooking, then reheat later.
*Rate Recipe: If you've tried the recipe, don't forget to Rate the Recipe in the Comments Section. Thank you!
Author: Amy + Jacky
Calories: 225kcal
Course: Main, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: bao buns, bao recipe, baozi, chinese steamed buns, instant pot bao, instant pot steamed buns, pork bun, steamed buns

Nutrition

Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg
instant pot steamed buns | instant pot bao | bao buns | baozi | steamed buns | bao recipe | pork bun | chinese steamed buns  #AmyJacky #recipe #chinese
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