Baked Char Siu Bao
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Baked char siu bao are the Westernized version of my favorite dim sum treat: roast pork buns.
Serves: 16 buns
For the Char Siu Pork:
  • 3 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder, cut into large pieces
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon black bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon marmite (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
  • 1 3-inch knob of ginger, grated on a microplane or finely minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or finely minced
For the Char Siu Filling:
  • 1 pound of your roasted pork, diced into ¾-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the Roux (Tangzhong method):
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the Bao Dough:
  • ⅓ cup warm milk (about 115 degrees F)
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
For Finishing the Char Siu Bao:
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • honey, for garnish
  • chives, thinly sliced, for garnish
  1. First, roast your pork. Cut your boneless pork shoulder or butt into 5 or 6 pieces and place it in a sealable back or container. Whisk together all of your marinade ingredients, and pour it over the pork. Marinate for at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight. When ready, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F, place your pork in an oiled baking dish, cover with foil, and roast for 2½ to 3 hours, until the pork is very tender and shreds easily. Remove the pork from the oven, uncover, and let cool slightly. You will only need about ⅓ of your pork for the buns - the rest makes for great leftovers! Toss it with some roasted or stir-fried broccoli and you've got lunch for the rest of the week.
  2. To make your char siu filling, chop ⅓ of your roasted pork into small cubes and set it aside. Finely dice an onion, heat your vegetable oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk together your water, cornstarch, vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar, black bean paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add your pork to the onion, and add your sauce to the pan. Stir to combine, and cook for 5-8 minutes, until the mixture has darkened and thickened - be careful not to burn the filling, as the sugar will quickly caramelize. When ready, remove the pork from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Now, make your dough, starting with the roux. In a small skillet, whisk together ½ cup of water with 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat to medium, and whisk constantly, until thickened. Do not let the roux darken, simply thicken it until it is the consistency of yogurt. Once thickened, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.
  4. In the bowl of your mixer, whisk together the milk and the slightly cooled roux (it shouldn't be warmer than the milk). Add in your yeast and let foam for about 3 minutes. Add in your sugar, vanilla, and lightly beaten egg and gently mix together. Add in 1 cup of your flour and gently mix, then add in your butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing each tablespoon in before adding in the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, then switch to your dough hook and add in the remaining 2 cups of flour and 2 tablespoon of cornstarch. Knead for 5 minutes or so on medium-high speed, until the dough is soft and smooth. Remove from your mixer and knead a few times by hand before transferring to a large oiled bowl. Roll the dough around in the oiled bowl to coat it, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for 45 minutes or so, until doubled in size.
  5. Once doubled, punch the dough down and lightly knead a few times by hand on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out a bit, and divide into 16 evenly sized pieces. Spread out 16 muffin liners, then roll each ball of dough out into about a 4-inch circle. Place about 1-1/2 tablespoons of char siu filling into each round, then pinch the bao together. Place the bao seam-side-down in your muffin liner, and place into a muffin tin. Continue until you've filled all of your bao. Cover your muffin tins with plastic wrap and let the buns rise once more for 30 minutes or so, until puffed up nicely.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly brush your bao with your beaten egg, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes, then brush lightly with honey and sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve warm. These will keep well for up to 5 days - just heat them up for 15-20 seconds in the microwave before serving. Enjoy!
Adapted From
Recipe by The Crepes of Wrath at