How to Make Perfect Char Siu Bao: A Step-by-Step Guide

Char Siu Bao, also known as Chinese barbecued pork buns, are a popular dim sum dish that is loved for its soft and fluffy steamed buns filled with savory and sweet barbecued pork. This recipe will guide you through the steps to make the perfect Char Siu Bao, with a mouth-watering filling that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.


  • For the dough:

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1/2 cup warm milk
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
  • For the filling:

    • 1 lb boneless pork shoulder, sliced into thin pieces
    • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry
    • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. To make the dough, mix together the flour, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

  2. In a separate bowl, combine the warm water, warm milk, vegetable oil, and egg.

  3. Gradually pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a sticky dough forms.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by marinating the sliced pork in a mixture of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, rice wine or sherry, oyster sauce, minced garlic, five-spice powder, sesame oil, and cornstarch.

  7. To assemble the buns, punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces.

  8. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and flatten it into a round shape. Place a spoonful of filling onto each dough round.

  9. Gather the edges of the dough around the filling and pinch together to form a seal.

  10. Place the buns in a steamer lined with parchment paper or a greased steamer basket. Steam the buns for 10-15 minutes, until they are fully cooked.

  11. Serve the Char Siu Bao hot and enjoy!

Note: If you don’t have a steamer, you can use a wok or pot filled with a few inches of water and a heat-proof plate on top to create a makeshift steamer. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level and replenish as needed to avoid boiling dry.

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