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Jan 20, 2023

Spicy Lobster Bao

This spicy lobster bao is an Asian-style twist on the lobster roll. Substitute bao buns for the rolls and spicy buttery lobster for the filling for a rich and delicious treat. 

Spicy Lobster Bao lined up on a plate.

I'm so excited about these little Asian-style sandwiches! These homemade bao buns are filled with an amazing concoction of fresh lobster poached in a mixture of butter, chiles, Sriracha, and fresh lemon juice. 

After making these, I promptly ate three. Right away. I was so stuffed but had no regrets. The "sandwiches" are so luxurious and delicious. 

If you like buttery lobster rolls, you'll love this Asian take on the Connecticut-style classic. 

Spicy Lobster Bao on black plates.

Make the most of fresh lobster by steaming it and then poaching the meat in a mixture of melted butter, Sriracha sauce, crushed red peppers, and fresh lemon juice. 

You begin by steaming the lobster just enough to be able to remove it from the shells, cutting it into bite-sized pieces, and then finishing by poaching it in the spicy butter. 

I'm also including a recipe for bao buns. While I've posted a bao bun recipe in the past, this one makes 16 buns instead of 8, has less sugar, and includes cream. I love both recipes and they are both exceptionally easy. 

You can use either one. 

Bao buns in a steamer.

If you shop in Chinese/Asian markets, you can easily find frozen bao buns to make these lobster bao, but why not make your own?

Once these have cooled, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and package them in freezer bags for whenever you want one. They thaw really quickly and then can be reheated in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel. 

You can also re-steam them in your bamboo steamer them if you prefer. 

Spicy Lobster Bao Buns in a bowl.

I baked the bao buns pictured above the night before making the lobster for the sandwiches. I froze the bao buns overnight and quickly thawed and steamed them in a wet paper towel in the microwave for 30 seconds after the lobster was ready. 

They were as good as freshly steamed. 

Ingredients You Will Need:

For the Buns:

All purpose flour: Most recipes call for bleached, but I used unbleached flour, which I prefer for bread. If you want yours to look really white, you can use bleached flour. 

Granulated sugar, baking powder, and instant yeast. 

Water and heavy cream. 

For the Lobster:

Lobster: You can use two 1-pound live lobsters or about 1 1/2 pounds of uncooked lobster tails. Do not use pre-cooked lobster because it will overcook in the butter. 

Butter, crushed red pepper flakes, sriracha sauce, and fresh lemon juice for the poaching liquid. 

This recipe makes enough lobster to fill half of the buns. Double the recipe to fill all of the buns or save the rest of the buns for barbecue pork char sui or caramel shrimp

Spicy Lobster Bao with butter dipping sauce in the bowl.

You can save the resulting butter from poaching the lobster for dipping. You can also freeze it and save it for spreading on bread, adding to soups, tossing in pasta, or drizzling on popcorn. 

Tips for Making these Lobster Bao:

For the Lobster:

I ended up buying a package of lobster tails at Costco rather than buying live lobster. I missed the lobster claw meat, but gained a lot in convenience. Either way, the instructions for cooking the lobster remains the same. 

For the Bao Buns:

I used a triple bamboo steamer to make the buns. You can also use a standard steamer. If it's not big enough to steam all of the buns at once, you can steam them in batches. 

To prevent the buns from sticking to the steamer, cut little squares of parchment paper to set the buns on before steaming. I also lightly dipped the rolled out buns before folding them in spray oil and then inserted little squares of parchment to prevent the folded buns from sticking together. 

Once the buns have steamed and cooled, if you are not using them within two hours, wrap and freeze them for later. 

Spicy Lobster Bao sandwich with a bite taken out in a hand.

Helpful Tools:

I used a bamboo steamer to steam the buns. If you are interested in making Chinese-style buns as well as dim sum, having a bamboo steamer will come in handy and you can steam several layers at a time (I have two sets of two that I can stack on top of each other. 

If you don't have the bamboo steamer, you can use a pan insert, which is what I used to steam the lobster tails. You could also parcook the lobsters in simmering water. 

You will need a wok to use the bamboo steamer. The sloping sides will hold your steamer above the water. 

More Steamed Buns You May Also Like:

Steamed Chicken and Vegetable Buns (you can see my wok and steamer set up)

Beef and Sweet Onion Dim Sum Pandas

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns

Lobster Recipes from The Fish Friday Foodies:

Three Spicy Lobster Bao in a bowl.

Spicy Lobster Bao

Spicy Lobster Bao
Yield: Makes 8 Lobster Bao plus 8 leftover buns to freeze
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 H & 15 MCook time: 30 MinInactive time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 4 H & 15 M
This spicy lobster bao is an Asian-style twist on the lobster roll. Substitute bao buns for the rolls and spicy buttery lobster for the filling for a rich and delicious treat.


For the Bao Buns
  • 491 grams (17 1/2 ounces / 3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup 105 to 110 degree water
  • 1/4 cup 105 to 110 degree heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • Non-stick spray
For the Lobster
  • 1 1/2 pounds lobster tails, thawed if frozen
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


To Make the Buns
  1. Add all of the ingredients except the spray oil to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low for 2 minutes. Switch to medium speed and mix for five minutes, until the dough is smooth.
  2. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with spray oil. Cut another piece of parchment into 3 inch squares.
  4. Form the dough into a log and, using a bench knife or dough scraper, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (about 55 grams each). Roll or press the dough pieces into approximate 2 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch rectangles with rounded edges. Fold the rectangles in half, inserting a parchment square between the fold to keep it from sticking. Keep the dough pieces and the shaped buns covered while you are working.
  5. When all of the buns are shaped, let them rise until puffy and doubled, about 90 minutes.
  6. Put enough water into your wok to come up to the bottom edge of your bamboo steamer and bring it to a boil. Place each bun onto a parchment square and place them in the steamer, about 3/4 inches apart. I was able to fit six per tier of a three tier steamer without them sticking (6 on the bottom, and 5 on the next two tiers).
  7. Stack the steamer with the lid on it and steam the buns for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the buns sit in the steamer without removing the lid for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Remove the buns from the steamer and let cool on a wire rack. Remove the parchment from the fold. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  9. If you do not use them within 2 hours, wrap them individually and place them in a freezer bag and freeze.
  10. To reheat, remove from the freezer and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and wrap in a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds, fill, and serve.
To Make the Lobster
  1. Steam the lobster for about 7 minutes, until partially cooked and easier to remove from the shells.
  2. While the lobster cools, place the crushed red pepper into a 10 inch skillet and toast over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the butter and melt over low heat. Add the sriracha and lemon juice and stir.
  3. Remove the lobster from the shells and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Add it to the butter mixture and stir, cooking the lobster for about 3 to 4 minutes, until cooked through.
  4. With a slotted spoon, place some of the lobster into a bun and serve!

Nutrition Facts



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Bao, Lobster, sandwich
Main dish
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Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, August 2013. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. You win the award for most creative lobster roll, Karen! What a lovely meal or even appetizer!

    1. Thank you Stacy! These were pretty amazing, and they would make a great appetizer.

  2. This looks amazing and tempting, perfect brunch.


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