Char Siu Bao Recipe

Char Siu Bao

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Char siu or BBQ pork doesn’t always have to be served with rice. With this delicious recipe, you can enjoy them on the go! Char siu bao are soft, fluffy steamed buns filled with Chinese char siu.

What is Char Siu?

Char siu on the go sounds great and all, but what is it?

Char siu is a type of Cantonese roast meat. It gets its name from the traditional cooking method, char meaning ‘fork’ and siu meaning ‘to burn/roast’. Long strips of boneless pork marinated in sweet BBQ sauce and then skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire.

Dumpling Connection has its very own recipe. You can make everything in this char siu bao recipe from scratch or buy some from the store. Either way, these baos are going to taste delicious!

About the Bao

Since it uses a type of Cantonese-style meat, char siu bao is a treat from Cantonese cuisine. They can also be called “BBQ pork buns” too. They’re usually seen at dim sum restaurants or in the freshly made food sections of Asian supermarkets. You can also get them frozen so you can take them home and enjoy them freshly steamed.

You might think the char siu filling is the best part of the bao, but for some, it’s the bun! Soft, fluffy and slightly sweet, the bun is what makes it such a popular recipe. The filling compliments the bun very well. It’s savoury and packed with tons of flavour.

They make great breakfasts or snacks. Kids really seem to love them which makes them perfect for the entire family. Although the recipe might seem intimidating, it’s actually very easy! The hardest part is waiting to eat them. Don’t forget to try our other bao recipes like our Peach Buns or Hot Dog Buns. Now let’s start this recipe!

Char Siu Bao Recipe

Char siu or BBQ pork doesn’t always have to be served with rice. With this delicious recipe, you can enjoy them on the go! Char siu bao are soft, fluffy steamed buns filled with Chinese char siu.
Prep Time3 hours
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: cantonese, char siu, char siu pork, chinese, steam bun
Servings: 10 buns



  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp water, (optional)


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ lb char siu pork (Chinese BBQ pork), (homemade or store-bought)



  • Begin by prepping the dough. Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. If you are using an electric mixer, use the bowl for the mixer. Then sift together the flour and cornstarch before adding it to the yeast mixture. Add in the sugar and oil as well.
  • Mix everything together using the dough hook attachment on your mixer on the lowest setting. Or knead everything together by hand. Continue mixing or kneading until a smooth dough ball is formed.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 2 hours.


  • While the dough is resting, let’s get started on the filling. Chop the onions finely and dice the Chinese roast pork. If you decided to make your own roast pork, let it cool completely before dicing.
  • Heat the tablespoon of oil in a wok or pan over medium-high heat. When the oil becomes hot, stir-fry the onions for a minute. Then, turn down the heat to medium-low and add the sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and dark soy sauce. Stir everything together and cook until the mixture starts to bubble.
  • After, add the chicken stock and flour and continue to cook for a couple more minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Once the mixture is thick enough, remove the entire wok or pan from the heat and stir in the diced roast pork. Make sure the sauce covers the pieces of pork completely. Then, set aside to cool. If you decided to make the filling first, cover and refrigerate to prevent it from drying out.


  • When 2 hours have passed, your dough should have risen quite a bit. Add in the 2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and mix it in using the low setting of your mixer or by hand. If the dough looks dry or the baking powder isn’t incorporating well, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water. Knead until the dough becomes smooth again. Then cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for another 15 minutes.
  • While waiting for the dough to rest again, cut a large piece of parchment paper into ten 4x4 inch squares. Prepare your steam by filling it with water and bringing it to a boil.
  • After 15 minutes have passed and your dough is ready, roll it out into a long tube. Divide the tube into 10 equal pieces and flatten each piece into a round disc. Each disc should be about 4 ½ inches in diameter with the center being thicker than the edges.
  • Assemble the buns by scooping some filling into the center of each disc and pleat the edges together until the top is closed. If you find pleating too difficult, just bunch the edges together at the top and pinch to close.
  • Place each bun on a parchment paper square.


  • When the water is boiling, carefully open up the steamer and place the buns in. Make sure the buns are about 1 to 2 inches apart and the boiling water does not touch them. You may have to steam in 2 batches depending on how large your steamer is.
  • Steam each batch for 12 minutes over high heat. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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