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Siopao bun

This is the recipe for making just the buns without the filling. You can fill the buns with any kind of food really. It could be savory, or sweet, or both!
Prep Time1 hr 40 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: bread, bun, siopao
Servings: 12
Author: Penny Angeles-Tan


  • mixing bowl
  • measuring spoons and cup
  • Rolling Pin
  • rolling mat or board
  • steamer


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp dry instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil use a neutral oil
  • 1 kalamansi juice only
  • a little more flour for dusting when kneading



  • Combine the water, yeast, 2 tbsp. sugar, and salt and mix. Make sure that the milk is not too hot or the yeast will die. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You will know the yeast is alive and ready if it bubbles up.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, remaining sugar, oil, and kalamansi.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix until fully blended. Knead until it turns into a dough that is smooth and not sticky.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set it aside for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Assembling the pao

  • After an hour, take the dough out of the bowl and put it on your rolling mat or board and knead it a little more then roll it into a log and divide it into 12 equal (or as equal as you can make them) parts, and set them aside on a tray or mat without touching each other. You can roll them into balls for easier handling later. Cover with a cloth until you need them and let them rest for 30 minutes. The dough will rise even more.
  • Take one part and knead it and make a ball. Dust it with flour and flatten it with your palm then roll it into a flat disk (circle) making sure the center is thicker than the sides as the middle will hold the filling.
  • Place 1 to 2 spoons of the filling in the middle of the disk and then gently lift the edges to the middle in folds and then pinch and twist.
  • Take a small piece of baking paper (or waxed paper) and put the bun on it. This will prevent the filling from leaking out. Place the assembled bun on a plate or tray until you will cook it.
  • Repeat from step 2 of "assembling the pao" for the remaining dough balls.

It's time to steam

  • Place your steamer on the stove. Make sure there is water underneath or it won't steam. 🙂 Turn it on and wait a few minutes before putting the buns in
  • In the steaming tray place enough buns without touching. Keep in mind that the buns will still expand. It is likely that not all the buns will fit in one layer so you will need to either put another layer or just cook a second or third batch. Steam your buns for 20 minutes then turn off the stove and let the buns sit in the steamer for another 5 minutes before removing them.


  • You can fill these buns with anything you want. Keep in mind, it is really just bread. 🙂
  • If you are cooking more than one layer of the buns, keep in mind that they will not cook the same because one layer will be hotter than the other. In my experience, the buns at the bottom "blossom" better than the ones on the upper layers.
  • This recipe is based on research from 2 or 3 recipe sites and I adjusted based on my available ingredients and the amount of effort I was willing to put into it. 😀 This is loosely based on the pita recipe I followed last time but instead of grilling the bread, I steamed it.