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Steamed Chinese Buns

By The GreenPan Kitchen Team

Fill these soft, fluffy buns with pickled vegetables and our Chinese BBQ pork and elevate your expectations for what a sandwich can be. Our steamed buns require a little extra time and effort, but they make a fun (and delicious!) family cooking project.

Steamed Chinese Buns

Yields: 18 buns

Time: 2hr 30 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking, 3hr total



For the buns:

  • 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt



  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt until evenly combined.

  2. In a small bowl, gently heat 1 tablespoon of the milk until it is just warm to the touch. Stir in the yeast, along with a pinch of sugar, to dissolve. Allow the yeast mixture to sit for a few minutes until you start seeing a few small bubbles on the surface.

  3. Once the yeast is producing bubbles, add it to the dry mixture along with the rest of the milk, the water, oil, and vinegar. Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon to combine, until a shaggy dough forms. If it seems very dry, add a bit more water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together.

  4. Dust a clean work surface with a little bit of flour and turn the dough out of the bowl. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth. Shape the dough into a uniform ball and place it in a new mixing bowl coated lightly with oil. Turn the dough in the oil until evenly coated, then cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm area of your kitchen and allow the dough to double in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the pickled vegetables by placing water, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan on the stove, over medium high heat. Bring to a heavy simmer and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pack the daikon and carrots into a heatproof glass jar and pour the pickling liquid over the top. If the vegetables aren’t completely submerged, add enough water so they are. Allow the pickles to cool, and then store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use or for up to a week.

  6. Once the dough has doubled in size, uncover it and turn it out onto your work surface that once again has been lightly dusted with flour. Using your palms, punch the dough down into a rough square shape and sprinkle the baking powder evenly over the top. Gather the dough into a rough ball and again knead the dough for another 4 to 5 minutes, just to ensure the baking powder has been evenly distributed throughout.

  7. Using your hands, roll the dough out into a long cylinder about 1 inch thick. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the cylinder into 18 pieces that are about 1 inch wide—to get uniform pieces, it’s easier to cut the cylinder in half and line both pieces up next to each other, then cut 9 pieces from each at the same time, yielding the 18 total pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball by rolling it between the palms of your hands, then set aside and let them rest about 5 minutes.

  8. If needed, lightly dust your work surface again with flour. Roll each ball of dough out into a circle about 1/8 inch using a rolling pin. Using your hands, very lightly stretch the circle into more of an oval shape. Using your fingers, very lightly coat the surface of one oval with oil. Place one finger across the middle of the oval (the shorter distance) and fold the dough over itself, then remove your finger, leaving a D-shaped bun. Repeat with the remaining buns.

  9. Place each bun on a small square of cut PFAS-free parchment paper and place them on a baking tray. Cover them with a towel or loosely with plastic wrap and again set aside to double in size, about 1 hour.

  10. Pour enough water into the Premiere Slow Cooker so that it comes one inch up the side of the insert, and place in the steaming tray. Select the steam mode and set the timer for 30 minutes. Once the water is steaming, place six buns onto the insert, handling them by the PFAS-free parchment paper. Cover and steam for about 8 minutes, until they’ve puffed up nicely. Repeat with the remaining buns, in two more sets of six, adding more water to create steam if needed.

  11. Gently peel open each bun and fill with the Chinese BBQ pork and a bit of the pickled vegetables, making sure to serve them while the pork and buns are still warm.



Mix It Up! – Our pickling recipe works great with a variety of veggies—from cucumbers and summer squash to ginger and red onion.

Some Don't Like It Hot – If yeast mixture doesn’t produce bubbles, you may have overheated the milk. Err on the cooler side when you try again.

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