steam red bean buns

Steam Red Bean Bun “Soft and Fluffy” | 豆沙包的做法

Grew up eating Steam Red Bean Buns. Reminds me of breakfast with my family early in the morning at the coffee shop with those steamy buns, dim sum, kaya toast and eggs and hot milk tea.

This recipe makes soft and fluffy buns and the filling is packed with smooth red bean paste. The texture for the bun dough is soft and cake like texture, not the chewy type. The dough skin is still not smooth as I would like. Will try to perfect it next time 🙂 As for the filling, it is smooth and have a bit of texture to it. It is not as smooth as mooncake type of red bean filling as I didn’t sieve the bean skin. Also, the red bean filling is slightly different from those served at the coffee shop. Those at the coffee shop, the red bean filling is more liquid and flow out like lava custard bun. To make the softer type of red bean filling, the difficulty level is higher as wrapping the dough will be tricky. These steam buns are served warm. The buns will not be as soft when it becomes cold.


One key ingredient is Hong Kong Flour. In Chinese its called “香港水仙面粉”. Directly translated it is Hong Flour Waterlily Flour. It makes the bun whiter and have a softer, cake like texture just like the Hong Kong Dim Sum Restaurants. The texture is very different from using all purpose flour or cake flour to make the dough. I use different types of Hong Kong flour, in the picture below is the unbleached Hong Kong flour. I find that for this particular one, the bun texture is not as delicate and soft compared to standard Hong Kong flour. I used another one before called “Prima Fairy Hong Kong Flour”, the buns are softer, whiter and more delicate.

I have another soft and fluffy custard bun recipe using Hong Kong flour. It seems to be very popular. See link

You may not have it now but its definitely worth the effort buying them later. You may be able to get them from specialty baking shop or chinese grocery shops. See picture

Top Tips:

  • Use a non-stick pan to fry to red bean
  • Recommend using good quality red beans and I also prefer normal to organic beans. Also, I find that organic red beans take longer to get soft and tend to be more dry. Good quality red beans makes the red bean paste more aromatic
  • While using the rolling pin to flatten to a disk, make sure the middle part is thicker than the sides. Ensure that the middle part of the dough is not too thin. If it is too thin, the bun will wrinkle or collapse
  • The red bean filling cannot be too moist, remove as much moisture as possible while frying. Moisture will affect the bun dough while steaming resulting in wrinkly buns
  • Timing of red bean buns softening depends on the type of red bean and material of pot used, and the level of heat used. I used low heat so that I don’t have to watch it so frequently. You may use medium heat, but will have to keep an eye on the red beans and add water more often.
  • Water content depends on the quality of the flour. I.e. the water absortion rate for the flour
  • While rolling into a ball, gently press out as much air bubble as possible to get a smooth surface bun
  • Flour the table surface to avoid the dough from sticking to the table
  • Steaming wok has to be filled with water and the water at boiling point before placing the steam basket in to steam. Make sure the level of the steam basket is above the water level
  • Serve the baozi warm right after steaming. Best eaten warm. Baozi is soft and fluffy when its warm

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why is red bean filling dry?

If you reduce the sugar and oil content from the recipe, the filling will be more dry. Also, organic red beans tend to be more dry. I used 120 ml vegetable oil in my video. If you like it more moist, you can stretch it to 150 ml. Oil makes the red bean paste more moist but difficult to mould because adding oil makes it softer. When the filling is soft, it will be more tricky when wrapping the buns. Also, after steaming, the top of the buns might wrinkle if not wrapped properly. If you are just beginning to make buns, I would definitely start off with 120 ml of oil first and adjust the amount the next time.

I do not have a bamboo basket, how do I steam the buns?

The bamboo basket is ideal for steaming because the water condensation will not drip on the buns. If you use a lid from the wok, recommend to wrap the wok lid with a cloth to avoid the water from dripping onto the buns

How to keep Steamed Baozi?

Let the steam bun cool to room temperature. Recommended to keep baozi a airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

If kept in the fridge, it can last for about 1 week. When ready to eat, remove from fridge and steam for about 10 minutes on high heat. (note: water preboiled before steaming). Serve warm to enjoy.

If kept in the freezer, it can last for about 2-3 weeks. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and steam for about 20 minutes on high heat. (note: water preboiled before steaming). Serve warm to enjoy.

Why is my baozi not as soft and fluffy when cold or at room temperature?

Baozi or any steam cakes or breads becomes tougher when left at room temperature or cold. Baozi is always served warm or right after steaming from the steamer.

Once its cold, steam the baozi again to enjoy it the soft and fluffy baozi when its warm

Can I use all purpose flour to substitute Hong Kong flour?

Its not ideal to use all purpose flour to substitute Hong Kong flour because the the texture of the baozi is very different. All purpose flour will produce chewy buns. But Hong Kong flour will produce soft finer texture.

Also the process and the water content required is different when using all purpose flour. So its not ideal to substitute with all purpose flour

What is the best flour to substitute Hong Kong flour?

There may be other brand that sell flour specifically to make baozi. They are usually labelled as pau flour, low gluten pau flour. You may be able to find it at the Chinese Supermarket or Specialty Chinese Baking Shops. In Malaysia, I get from Bake with Yen


Red bean filling:

  • 150 grams red bean 红豆 150克
  • Water 750ml (add water when necessary) 水 750毫升
  • 150 grams brown sugar 红糖 150克
  • 120 ml vegetable oil 菜油 120毫升
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 20 ml water 玉米淀粉 1汤匙 + 水 20毫升
  • a pinch of salt 盐 少许


  • 200 grams (1-1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon) Hong Kong flour 香港水仙面粉 200克 1-1/2杯+2汤匙
  • 70 grams ( 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoon) Wheat starch 澄粉 70克 1/2杯 + 1 1/2汤匙
  • 45 grams (1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon) icing sugar 糖粉 45克 1/3杯 + 1茶匙
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 泡打粉 1/4茶匙
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast 酵母粉 3/4茶匙
  • 135 ml (1/2 cup + 2 teaspoon) room temperature water 室温水 135毫升 1/2杯 + 2茶匙
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) vegetable oil 菜油 15毫升 1汤匙

Video on method to make Steam Red Bean Bun “Soft and Fluffy” | 豆沙包的做法: