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Jun 16, 2022

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns (Baozi)

These steamed chicken and vegetable buns are deliciously warm, fluffy, and soft treats filled with a mix of tender chicken and vegetables. 

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns on plates.


Make a filling of chicken, peas, carrots, and Chinese chives and wrap it in a soft and fluffy yeasted dough to make a delicious Chinese-style steamed bun, also called bao or baozi. 

If you like making different types of breads, you will love exploring the world of filled and steamed yeasted Chinese-style buns. 

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns on plates.

As a "bread head," I love exploring different styles of yeasted doughs and breads. While I adore a good crusty sourdough loaf, it's a lot of fun experimenting with other methods of making breads. 

At first it might be hard to get used to the pale look of steamed bread, once you try it, especially when it's filled with meaty and savory fillings, you will love it. It's like a dream come true for kids who want the crusts cut off of their sandwiches and all that's left is the fluffy white part. 

As a grown up person, I do like the toasty flavor of a crust, so I browned the seam side of the buns on a dry skillet until they turned brown. I love the look and the flavor. 

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns on a serving plate.

Perfecting the shaping the dough for these buns takes a lot of practice. While I may have conquered (sort of) the folds to make filled dumplings, I'm still working on mastering shaping of these buns. Typically, in a restaurant, the buns might have a perfect little twisty top that is created by folding the dough into about 12 to 16 "Zs" and into a circle. 

You need to tame the gluten in the dough so that it will be easy to work with and you will need a mini dowel for rolling out the edges of the dough (which I finally just ordered). I also used a fairly high protein flour that would not be tamed and was working with a French rolling pin. I finally gave up on the pleated top and steamed these buns seam side down.

Thankfully, it doesn't really matter how perfect you get them. The flavor is still amazing. Plus, I made the most of the shaping of these buns by toasting the bottoms in a hot pan after steaming. 

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns on black plates.

I'm particularly excited about the flavor and ease of this dough. Also, while a lot of Chinese bao dough recipes don't include salt and rely on the filling to balance the sweet dough, this recipe includes the perfect amount of salt. 

Ingredients in These Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns:

For the Dough:

Flour: For the flour, I used King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour. It's a flour with a fairly high protein, which means that the resulting dough can be pretty resistant when you are rolling it out and can shrink every time you pick it up. If you want a dough that is less resistant, you can use Pillsbury flour or cake flour, both of which are lower in protein. 

You could also shop for baozi flour in Asian grocery stores. Your buns will be much whiter as a result because the flour is bleached. 

I prefer the flavor of unbleached all purpose flour so I'm willing to sacrifice for the color and workability of the dough. 

Additional ingredients include water, salt, yeast, and baking powder. 

For the Filling:

For the filling you will need boneless skinless chicken thighs, carrots, frozen peas, Chinese chives or scallions. 

For seasoning the filling, you will need oyster sauce, white pepper, salt, and some cornstarch for binding it all together. 

Steamed buns rising under plastic wrap.

How to Make these Steamed Chicken Buns:

First, you mix the dough and let it rise. In the meantime, you cook the chicken filling and refrigerate it to let it "gel." 

Once your dough is ready, divide it into 12 equal parts and roll each into balls. Roll the balls into 5 inch rounds, with the edges thinner than the middles. Plop some of the filling in the middle and place the round in the palm of your hand. Gather up the dough into pleats and press to make sure everything is sealed. 

You can let the buns rise seam side up or down. 

Finally, steam the the buns in a bamboo steamer (or whatever steamer you have available), for about 10 minutes. 

Bamboo steamer in a wok on a stove.

I used a triple level bamboo steamer over a nonstick wok that I had purchased prior to discovering the joys of carbon steel woks. I now use the nonstick wok for just steaming. 

You can steam the buns in any set up you prefer, including a double boiler steamer set up, a steamer basket (working in batches), or a frying pan with the bamboo steamer set up. 

Once you are ready to steam the buns, place them on small parchment squares and distribute them in the steamer layers to cook. You can also use torn cabbage leaves instead of the the parchment. The purpose is to prevent sticking. 

Steam them for 10 minutes, beginning the timer when the water comes to a boil. Let them sit in the steamer for five minutes off heat before removing the lid. 

Steamed buns in a bamboo steamer with parchment squares.

If you want to brown the bottoms of the buns before serving, cook them in a dry skillet for 2 to 3 minutes on one side at medium heat. You could also dry off the wok and brown the buns directly on it. 

More steamed yeasted buns:

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns

Steamed Piglet Buns

Steamed Bao Buns

Steam-Fried Pork and Scallion Buns

Beef and Sweet Onion Dim Sum Pandas

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns with Chili Crisp spooned on top.

You can serve these as is or with a dipping sauce. I served these with chili crisp for dipping. A soy, vinegar, and ginger dipping sauce would be wonderful too. 

What to Do with Leftovers:

Any leftover buns can be refrigerated for a day. To reheat them, wrap them in a dampened paper towel and microwave them for about 40 seconds. 

To keep leftovers longer, individually wrap and freeze them. You can reheat them from frozen in the steamer, or you can thaw them and then reheat them in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel. 

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are making steamed buns and our host kitchen is Judy of Judy's Gross Eats. She shared this dough recipe that she adapted from Mooncakes and Milk Bread by Kristina Cho. It's a wonderful book loaded with recipes for treats you will find in Chinese Bakeries. 

After the recipe, be sure to check out what the rest of the Babes created. 

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns in a bowl.

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns (Baozi)

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns (Baozi)
Yield: 12 Buns
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 45 MinInactive time: 2 HourTotal time: 3 H & 45 M
These steamed chicken and vegetable buns are deliciously warm, fluffy, and soft treats filled with a mix of tender chicken and vegetables.


For the Dough
  • 300 grams (2 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon course salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 160 grams (scant 3/4 cup) 110 degree F warm water, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon neutral oil or spray oil for bowl
For the Filling
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon course salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 10 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 3/8 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup chopped Chinese chives or scallions
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


To Make the Dough
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the water and mix on low until you have a rough dough. Switch the speed to medium high and knead for 8 to 9 minutes, until you have a very smooth but slightly tacky dough. I needed to add an additional tablespoon of water. Form the dough into a ball.
  3. Oil a large bowl or dough rising bucket and place the dough inside, rolling it around to coat the dough with oil. Cover the bowl and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled. Alternatively, you can let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. While the dough is rising, cut 12 four-inch squares of parchment paper.
  5. Deflate the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. If you have one, use a scale to ensure they are evenly sized. Form each piece into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Working with one dough ball at a time, roll each piece of dough out to a five inch circle, with the dough thinnest on the edges. Cup the circle in your hand and place a tablespoon of the filling in the center. Gather up edges, folding them into pleats and drawing them together in the center. Place the bun on a parchment square, seam side up or down. Cover with plastic wrap. Finish with the rest of the dough balls.
  7. Let the filled buns rise until puffy, about 30 to 45 minutes. Set up your steamer.
  8. Place the buns in your steamer with the parchment with 1 to 2 inches of space between them. I was able to fit 4 in each 10-inch bamboo steamer tier.
  9. If you can't fit them all in at once, steam them in batches, refrigerating the once that you will be steaming in the next batch to prevent over proofing.
  10. Bring your steamer to a boil and then steam the buns for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them sit, covered, for five minutes. Remove them from the steamer and cool an additional 5 minutes before serving.
  11. To toast the bottoms, cook them while still hot on a hot skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
To Make the Filling
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, peas, oyster sauce, salt, and white pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chives/scallions and cornstarch.
  3. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour (and up to overnight)

Nutrition Facts



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baozi, buns,
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Tag on instagram and hashtag it # karenskitchenstories

Bread Baking Babes Steamed Buns:

Judy's Gross Eats

A Messy Kitchen

Bread Experience

Feeding My Enthusiasms

Would you like to comment?

  1. Okay, I really need to find this chili crisp stuff! They look amazing! I almost get a sense of Asian fusion chicken pot pie à la dumpling style. Very comforting.

    1. I love your sensibility! And the chili crisp is delicious.

  2. I like the effect of the browning on your steamed buns. They look beautiful! And you're right about exploring the whole new world of steamed buns. There are so many possibilities even without filling them.

  3. They look fantastic! I love the filling. Must buy steamer basket next time I'm at the Asian market!

  4. What a very good idea to brown the bottoms! And thank goodness we knew about this in advance. Your idea made our failed steamed buns significantly more edible than before browning.

    The filling looks and sounds delicious!


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