Char Siu Bao

BBQ pork bun
Char Siu Bao

This Char Siu Bao recipe is another recipe I originally learned how to make from my super talented friend Christine. These buns are soft and fluffy and filled with a delicious sweet and savory filling of bbq pork. If you have not had them, they are one of the more delicious things I have ever eaten in my life. They can seem intimidating, because they take some time to make, but they are actually not all the difficult.

You need a few things to make them. One is a steamer of some sort since they need to be steamed. I have a bamboo one I got at H Mart but they sell them on amazon here:

You also need some Char Siu sauce. You can get that at the Asian market or on amazon here:

The first step to making this dish is to marinate and cook some pork shoulder for the filling. I love to use my sous vide machine to cook the pork because it comes out perfectly, but you can also cook it in the oven. Once you cook the pork, chop it and combine it with some shallots and a few other sauce ingredients to make the most flavorful pork filling you have ever tasted.

BBQ Pork
BBQ pork

The next step is to make the bao dough and let it rise. After that, you portion it out and roll into circles. Add the filling to the center and the close up the bao at the top to form a delicious package.

I will fully admit that even after making these many times, I cannot get the closing correct. I’ve watched Christine, and watched you tube videos of people doing it, and it looks easy enough, but I haven’t quite got the hang of it. The great news is that it doesn’t matter! 🙂 As long as you seal them up, they taste just as good even if they don’t look perfect.

These are a treat and fun to make, so I hope you will give them a shot.

Char Siu Bao

Soft and fluffy bao filled with delicious Chinese bbq pork
Prep Time 1 day 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese


  • 1 steamer
  • 1 sheet parchement paper cut into 8 squares
  • silicone brush


For the Pork:

  • 2.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder
  • 4 inch piece fresh ginger roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice powder
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey

For the bao filling:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1-2 shallots chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups diced chinese bbq pork

For the buns:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt


To make the pork:

  • Cut the pork into about 4 inch sections. Remove excess fat but some is fine. Combine with all the pork ingredients and seal into a sous vide bag if using this method. Allow to sit in the fridge for 24 hours. Cook at 158 for about 20 hours.
    There are many recipes online for how to cook Char siu in the oven, so I am not going to write it out here. I love the woks of life site and they have a good recipe there on how to cook in the oven.
  • Once your pork is cooked, remove from the sous vide bag and brush off the garlic/ginger chunks. Heat oven to broil and on a foil lined baking sheet brush the pork with char siu sauce and roast until it starts to char a bit.

To make the bao filling:

  • Once the pork has cooled a bit, chop into bite sized pieces and set aside.
  • Heat the tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Add the shallots and let stir fry for a minute. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and let it cook until you have a thick sauce. Add extra char siu sauce to taste to this mixture. Allow to cool and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.

To make the dough:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in the stand mixer and mix on medium with a dough hook until the dough comes together into a cohesive ball. It should be stretchy and not too sticky. If it is too dry add some extra water. If it is too sticky add some flour. Knead until it can pass windowpane test.
  • Let the dough rest for an hour or so in a covered container until it doubles.
  • Cut into 8 pieces and shape into balls. Allow to rest 10 minutes.
  • Roll each ball into a 4-5 inch circle. Add 2 tbsps or so of filling to the center and close up. (Google char siu bao shaping on you tube for help on how to close).
  • Brush a square of parchment with sesame oil and place each bun onto them as you shape them and put into your steamer. Once they are all done, allow to sit for 30 minutes until the puff up again.
  • Start your steamer and once steam is coming out, cook them for 12-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the steamer sitting for 5 minutes. Then they are ready to eat!
Keyword Asian, BBQ, Main Dish, Pork

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