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Apr 5, 2023

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns

These steamed garlic and chive flower buns contain twists and layers filled with sweet crispy garlic and fresh chopped chives. 

Huā Juǎn with garlic and chives on a black plate.


These buns are fun to make and delicious to eat. They are made with the dough you would use to make any steamed bun, such as gua bao (the folded bun), mantou (unstuffed), or stuffed steamed buns (baozi). 

The name for flower buns is Huā Juǎn. They are traditionally filled with sesame oil and chopped scallions, with a flavor profile similar to sesame scallion bread or scallion pancakes

These buns have a slightly different flavor profile. There is some whole wheat added to the dough, and the buns are layered with crisped minced garlic, garlic oil, and chopped chives. 

All credit goes to Kristina Cho and her amazing book, Mooncakes and Milkbread. If you're interested in Chinese-style bakery treats, this book is well worth the investment. 

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns in a bowl.

These buns are soft, pillowy, and pale. It's like crustless bread. If you are a traditional bread baker, when you first make steamed bread, you might not be used to the pale "look" of the final bread. Trust me, it's not raw dough. 

If you still crave a crust, give the steamed buns a quick pan fry as you would with baozi

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns stacked on a plate.

Ingredients in These Garlic and Chive Buns:

For the dough, you will need all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, water, sugar, and salt. While many recipes for Chinese buns do not include salt, I often add it for flavor. 

For leavening the dough, you will need baking powder and instant yeast. 

For the Filling, you will need extra virgin olive oil, lots of minced garlic, and chopped chives. 

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns cooling on parchment.

Procedure for Making these Buns:

First, make the dough. Using a stand mixer, combine the ingredients and knead them for about 10 minutes until you have a cohesive dough. At this point, you can let it rise for about an hour or so, or place it in the refrigerator and let it rise overnight. 

After that, prepare the garlic and the oil by cooking one quarter cup of minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Drain the garlic, reserving some of the oil. 

Once you are ready to shape the rolls, roll the dough out into a 10 inch by 16 inch rectangle. 

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns dough rolled out.

Spread the reserved oil, the scallions, and crispy garlic over the dough and then fold it up like a letter. Re-roll the dough out to a 10 inch by 16 inch rectangle, and cut it into eight strips. 

At this point, cut the strips in half, stack them, and press a chopstick lengthwise over the dough and then twist the dough into a flower. 

Shaping Garlic and Chive Flower Buns.

Once you have them shaped, cover them with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let them rise. 

To cook the buns, place them in the layers of a steamer and cook them in a wok or over a large skillet for about 10 minutes. 

Finally, turn off the heat and let the buns sit, covered, for an additional five minutes. This helps prevent the dough from collapsing after "baking/steaming." 

To Reheat Leftovers:

My favorite way to reheat these buns is to wrap them in damp paper towels and microwave them for 15 to 20 seconds. Even frozen buns come back to life using this method. 

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns on a cooling rack.

Recommended Equipment You May Need:

A wok or a Dutch oven for holding the boiling water. 

A bamboo steamer. You can use two layers for this recipe. 

Mini Food Processor. To get a quarter cup of minced garlic, you will need to chop a lot of garlic. My mini food processor makes fast work of this chore. Love it. 

A stand mixer. While you can knead the dough by hand, the stand mixer is really helpful. 

Parchment paper. Cut it into 4 inch squares for steaming the buns. 

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Garlic and Chive Flower Buns in a bowl.

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns

Garlic and Chive Flower Buns
Yield: 8 Buns
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 15 MinInactive time: 2 HourTotal time: 2 H & 45 M
These steamed garlic and chive flower buns contain twists and layers filled with sweet crispy garlic and fresh chopped chives.


For the Dough
  • 225 grams all purpose flour
  • 75 grams whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 160 grams lukewarm water (110 degrees F)
  • Neutral oil for the dough rising bowl
For the Buns
  • One recipe of the dough.
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (about one whole garlic bulb, or 8 to 10 large cloves)
  • 1/3 cup minced chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt


To Prepare the Dough
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, yeast, baking powder, and salt.
  2. With the mixer with the dough hook on low, slowly add the water until the ingredients are combined. Switch the speed to medium and knead for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and let rise at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
To Make the Buns
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, until the garlic begins to brown.
  2. Strain the garlic from the olive oil and set aside. Save two tablespoons of the olive oil as well.
  3. Cut parchment paper into eight four-inch squares.
  4. Roll the dough out into a 10 inch by 16 inch rectangle. Spread the reserved oil over the dough, sprinkle it with the garlic, chives, and sea salt.
  5. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter to a 10 inch by 5 1/2 inch rectangle and re-roll it out to a 10 inch by 16 inch rectangle.
  6. Using a bench knife or dough scraper, cut the dough into 8 strips, 1 1/2 inches wide by 10 inches long.
  7. Cut the strips into 5 inch strips and stack two strips on top of each other. Use chop stick to press the strips together lengthwise down the center. Pick up the dough and stretch and twist it around and then form it into a coil, tucking the ends into the middle. Place each shaped piece of dough onto a parchment square.
  8. Cover the formed buns with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
  9. When the dough is ready, bring water to a boil in a wok or steamer set up. Place the buns in the layers of a bamboo steamer and steam for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the buns sit, undisturbed, for 5 minutes more.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
  11. Keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days at room temperature, or in a freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

11.28 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.68 g

Carbs (grams)

48.99 g

Fiber (grams)

2.96 g

Net carbs

46.01 g

Sugar (grams)

0.25 g

Protein (grams)

7.58 g

Sodium (milligrams)

418.8 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg
garlic, chives
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Would you like to comment?

  1. They are so pretty! You are definitely the queen of bread ❤️

  2. They are gorgeous and perfect for the upcoming spring holidays

  3. I could eat a whole bouquet! Gorgeous flavors and texture!

  4. Love the layer of garlic and chive in the the buns!

  5. We love these chive flower buns. Adding garlic sounds amazing flavors. Can't wait to try it.

  6. Not only are they beautiful but also delicious!


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