Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns

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300 g All-purpose flour plus more for dusting
60 g Potato starch wheat starch
4 g (about 1 ¼ tsp) Instant yeast
60 g Sugar you can cut down on the sugar or add more to your taste
½ tsp Salt
1 tbsp Cooking oil
150 ml Milk cold, plus more to dab the surface of the buns later, or warm water if vegan

Nutritional information


Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns


Experience love at first bite with these Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns! The dough for these buns is soft but not too cakey, perfectly smooth, tender with a nice chew and a lightly sweetened taste. These Chinese mantou buns pair so well with almost anything.  

Long ago, like most traditional bread recipes, Chinese mantou buns were made with sourdough. To keep the dough making process easy and quick, I prefer to use instant yeast for this recipe. Plus, it saves you time and energy and makes the dough proof faster. What I love most about this savory steamed mantou recipe is that you don’t even need to have a food steamer or bamboo basket. You can use either a wok or large pot with a lid and a metal steamer rack or basket that can fit in. If you are vegan the cold milk can be replaced with warm water. 

To make the Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns, you will need the following ingredients:

Ingridiens for Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns

Steps to make Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns


Make dough


In a mixing bowl, place 300 grams all-purpose flour, 60 grams wheat starch, 4 grams instant yeast, 60 grams sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oil. Starting with 150 milliliters, add milk. Add up to 200 milliliters if needed until you can form a dough. Mix until it forms a cohesive dough with no dry pockets. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.




Knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable. Stop and rest the dough if you find it too hard to knead. This helps to relax the gluten network. Knead until the dough is smooth, silky, and elastic.


Rest dough


Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 15 minutes to relax the gluten.


Divide dough


Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Knead the dough a few times and divide into 12 equal pieces.


Shape dough


Working with one piece at a time, pull and tuck the dough so that the seams are at the bottom and the surface is relatively smooth. Roll the dough into a smooth ball. Using both hands, cup the dough with palms and move the dough ball in a circular motion to shape it taller.


Prepare for proofing


Place the dough ball on a piece of parchment paper. Lightly dab the surface of the dough ball with some milk. Use your finger to smooth the surface. Loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining dough.




Let the dough rise at room temperature or in a warm place for about 1 hour. The dough won't necessarily double in size but puff up to about 50% of the original size. Don't overproof the dough.


Use finger test

Use a finger test. If you gently push on the dough, and it leaves an indentation and springs back slowly, the dough is perfectly proofed. If it springs back right away, it needs to be proofed more. If it doesn't spring back, the dough is over-proofed. Loosely cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and place the over-proofed buns in the fridge to slow down the proofing process while waiting for the steaming.


Prepare steamer


Fill a large pot with 2 cups of cold water and lay a steamer basket in. Wrap the lid with a kitchen towel to trap condensation.




Place the buns inside the steamer spaced about 1 inch apart. Cover with a lid but leave about a ¼-inch gap for some steam to escape. Steam on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.


Turn off heat


When the allotted time has passed, turn off the heat. Let the buns sit without opening the lid for 1 minute.



Remove the buns and transfer them to a wire rack to cool.



Serve the buns warm and enjoy!

These Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns, aka mantou, are easy to make and taste so delicious. You can stuff these buns with something savory or eat them on their own. Either way they taste great. Give this recipe a go soon, and please drop us a line down below. We love hearing from you!

Bethany is very passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and clean diet. She’s trying to cut meat out of her diet as much as possible and focuses on cooking vegetarian food and fish. Bethany gets a kick from finding ways to add new twists to classic dishes. What’s more, thanks to her Asian roots, she’s great at combining different cuisines to come up with something extraordinary. Bethany’s recipes will inspire you to add new colors and flavors to your everyday meals.

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Total Reviews: 3

Reply to Abigail McCormack:

Hi, Abigail McCormack! Thank you for paying attention to our recipe!
Sure, you can replace potato starch for cornstarch or wheat starch.

Abigail McCormack

Would I be able to substitute potato starch for cornstarch?

Just about to make the recipe:)


Absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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