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Steamed Buns

by myroilist


Traditional Chinese steamed buns or mantou (馒头) is one of the most popular steamed bun recipes in Chinese food.

In this post, you are going to learn the easiest way to make homemade steamed buns or mantou buns.

This recipe is so quick, easy and 100% fail-proof.

The active time is only 20 minutes and a tray of steaming hot buns will be ready in less than 1 1/2 hours, including proofing time!

Steamed Buns Recipe

While you can buy mantou buns from Chinese grocery stores or restaurants, they are very easy to make at home.

My steamed buns recipe calls for only four (4) basic ingredients below:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Yeast

I love milk in mantou recipe, but you can also use water or soy milk. I used whole milk in my recipe, but you can certainly choose to use low fat milk or skim milk.

How to Make Steamed Buns?

There are two ways of making mantou. Traditionally, mantou are 100% hand-made. The dough is kneaded by hands.

My method is the quickest and easiest method. First, combine milk, yeast and sugar together. There is no need to “activate” the yeast first so you save time.

Next, I used a stand mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough for 6 minutes.

After than, I shaped the dough into a log and cut it into 8 portions.

Steam the steamed buns mantou dough for 10 minutes and you will have cotton soft, fluffy and delicious buns ready to serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Freeze Mantou Buns?

I don’t recommend freezing but you can certainly keep them in the refrigerator.

Pack the leftovers in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

To serve, just reheat them in a steamer or microwave for 1 minute.

How to Make Chinese Steamed Buns Whiter?

Add 1 teaspoon of Chinese white vinegar to the water inside your steamer before steaming.

It will make the buns extra white in appearance.

Can I Use this Recipe to Bake Baozi or Bao?

Yes, you can. Baozi (包子) or bao is a type of steamed buns with fillings. Steamed bao buns are basically mantou with a filling.

It uses the same dough recipe.

Is Chinese Steamed Buns the Same as Korean or Japanese?

Some recipes in Korean recipes and Japan recipes originated from Chinese recipes.

Korean and Japanese versions of steamed bao buns are very similar to Chinese buns.

How Many Calories Per Serving?

Each bun is only 183 calories.

What Dishes To Serve with this Recipe?

Serve mantou with condensed milk or soy milk. For a wholesome Chinese breakfast, I recommend the following recipes.

Yield: 8 Buns

Steamed Buns – Mantou

Cotton soft, puffy and fluffy steamed buns or mantou. This Chinese steamed buns recipe is easy, quick and 100% fail-proof, with only 20 minutes active time!

Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Additional Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 350 g (12.3 oz. or about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour


  1. Add the milk, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer attached with a dough hook. Stir the mixture with a pair of chopsticks or a spoon.
  2. Add the flour to the yeast mixture. Turn on speed 1 and knead the ingredients until it forms a smooth dough, about 6 minutes. If the dough starts to “climb up” the dough hook, stop the stand mixer and push the dough down to the bowl.
  3. Transfer the dough out and cover it with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. On a slightly floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, from bottom to top.
  5. Turn the dough horizontally and roll from bottom to top.
  6. Continue to roll out the dough to form a 14×10″ rectangle.
  7. Roll up the dough into a log, from left to right. Make sure you tuck and roll the dough so it forms a tight log.
  8. Roll out the log a few times or until the surface looks smooth and reaches 12-inch in length.
  9. Cut the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces using a sharp knife. Transfer each dough to a 3×4″-inch parchment paper. You may roll each dough into a round ball after cutting.
  10. Place the dough into a steamer. Cover the lid of the steamer and let rise for 60 minutes, or until the dough balls expand in size. Make sure you leave enough space between each dough ball so they don’t stick together.
  11. Add water to the bottom of the steamer. You may add 1 teaspoon of Chinese white vinegar to make the steamed buns whiter. Cover the lid tightly.
  12. Turn on high heat and steam for 10-12 minutes, or until the dough expands to soft, puffy and fluffy steamed buns. Turn off the heat and serve the steamed buns warm. Dip with condensed milk if you like sweet steamed buns.


Please use the metric measurement for the flour.

You may use whole milk, low fat milk or skim milk. You can replace milk with water or soy milk. For the best flavors, you may use 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream plus half cup full milk.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, knead the dough by hands, for 15-20 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth on the surface.

If the dough is still sticky after kneading for 6 minutes, you may add 1-2 tablespoons of flour to bind the dough.

If you don’t have a steamer, you may steam the steamed buns using any pans or skillet. First, add water to the pan or skillet, then add a small bowl.

Next, add a plate on top of the bowl. You can place the steamed buns on the plate, cover the pan or skillet with its lid to steam.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving

Calories 183Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 2mgSodium 17mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 6g

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