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Chinese Steam Bun Mantou

Soft and fluffy, Mantou is a type of Chinese steamed bun with nothing inside! Plain and simple, it’s a great substitute for when you get tired of rice or need a quick snack to-go.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time2 hrs
Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: chinese, mantou, steam bun
Servings: 10


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water


  • Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Then add the yeast and mix everything together. Let it sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes or until a head of foam forms over the water. The sugar will feed the yeast and help with the activation process.
  • Sift together the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl. When 10 minutes have passed and the yeast water mixture is ready, slowly add it to the bowl of dry ingredients.
  • Knead the flour and water together until it becomes a smooth ball of dough.
  • Cover the ball of dough with a cloth and let it rise for about 2 hours in a warm spot. The dough should rise to at least double and maybe even triple its original size.
  • Once the dough has finished rising, sprinkle your work surface with some flour.
  • Roll out the dough into a long log and use a sharp knife to cut it into however many equal pieces you’d like.
  • Cut out small squares of parchment paper, one for each bun, and place each bun seam side down on a paper.
  • Arrange them in a steamer, about 2-inches apart. Cover the steamer and let the buns rise again for another 15 to 20 minutes or until they are springy to the touch.
  • When the buns are finally ready to steam, turn on the heat to medium-high and fill the bottom of the steamer with water. Steam the buns for 20 minutes.
  • After the buns are finished steaming, let them cool for 5 minutes before serving! To re-heat them later, it is recommended to re-steam them for 5 minutes. Microwaving them can dry the buns out. Enjoy!