5 Ingredients or Fewer

Steamed Red Bean Buns

December 16, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by Melissa Huang
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 12 minutes
  • makes 12 buns
Author Notes

This classic Chinese steamed buns recipe is extremely easy and basically better than any store-bought version you can get! —Melissa Huang

Test Kitchen Notes

You'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make steamed buns at home. You may find yourself ordering these for takeout or getting them store-bought, but why not go all the way for a fun project that tastes so much better than anything you could order. A pressure cooker makes washing the beans super-easy and straightforward. You do have to put on your patience hat when you're cooking out the water from the beans, though. In order for the beans not to stick, you have to stir for 30 to 60 minutes. Put on your favorite tunes or TV show and it'll go by faster than you think.

All you need to make the dough is some steamed bun flour, water, sugar, and instant yeast—that's it. You can find steamed bun flour in the Asian section of your supermarket, any Asian grocery store, or order it online. If you can't find any, many types of wheat flour would work, and if you want the buns to be more fluffy, try to seek out a flour with a lower gluten level. Just be sure the dough isn't sticky as you're kneading; adjust the flour and water ratios as you go. You have to let the dough rise for an hour, so that's a great time to cook the liquid out of the beans. After assembling the buns, simply let them warm through in a steamer for just about 12 minutes. You'll love the end result; let us know how yours turn out below. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Steamed Red Bean Buns
  • Red Bean Paste:
  • 1 cup adzuki red beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Dough and Assembly:
  • 4 cups (or more) steamed bun flour, plus more for the surface
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  1. Make the red bean paste: In an Instant Pot (or similar pressure cooker), wash the beans twice.
  2. Add the water and cook on the program "Beans" for 60 minutes. Make sure the nob on your Instant Pot is pointed toward sealing.
  3. Remove the lid and add the sugar. Turn the Instant Pot to "Sauté" to cook all the water out. This will take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how much water was left in the pot. Make sure to stir constantly so that the beans don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring, until a paste forms.
  4. Let the paste cool before wrapping in the buns.
  5. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or use a large bowl with an electric mixer), mix the flour, water, yeast, and sugar on medium speed for 10 minutes, until a firm, slightly elastic dough forms. The dough cannot be sticky or tacky at all. It's better to have a firmer dough than wet; add more flour as needed.
  6. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  7. Dump the dough out onto a floured worked surface and cut into equal pieces (whatever size you want). Flatten the dough to a circular disk, making the edges slightly thinner than the center.
  8. Place 1 spoonful of red bean paste into the center. Start to pull the dough up while pushing the filling down with your finger. Crimp the edges all around.
  9. Let rest under a damp towel for 10 to 20 minutes while your water comes to a boil in a steamer.
  10. Line the steamer with parchment paper or a damp cloth. Arrange the buns in the steamer with about 1 centimeter of space around each. Steam for about 12 minutes, until puffed and cooked through.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kimgarden
  • Chris Bradshaw
    Chris Bradshaw
  • supernes64

5 Reviews

kimgarden August 29, 2022
I used the 4 cups of flour to 2 cups of water and it was a total mess. How would a thin batter make buns or dumplings? I wish I had more special flour, yeast and time to remake this recipe but I don't. The filling is sitting in the fridge. I suppose I can freeze it.
kimgarden August 29, 2022
I forgot to mention that you should take this recipe down and/or correct it and apologize or stop posting recipes.
Chris B. November 16, 2020
What’s steamed bun flour?
supernes64 May 3, 2020
I'm 99% sure I measured everything correctly but when I mixed everything together it basically made //batter//. I had to add a lot of flour until it stopped being sticky / held together :/
supernes64 May 3, 2020
Hey can someone check the flour ratios on the recipe? I'm 99% sure I measured everything correctly but when I mixed everything together it basically made //batter//. I had to add a lot of flour until it stopped being sticky / held together :/