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5 from 2 votes

Steamed Buns - Mantou '馒头'

Steamed Bun - Mantou '馒头' is a soft and fluffy bun that is made from just a few simple pantry ingredients. They are delicious as-is or serve buns with jam, butter, or as an accompaniment to a savory dish.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Bao, Buns, comfortfood
Servings: 8 buns
Author: woonheng


  • Bamboo Steamer


  • 240 g all-purpose flour about 2 cups
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Instant dry yeast
  • a pinch of salt
  • 133 g water


  • Place flour in a mound on a cleaned surface. Then create a well in the middle using your fingers or spoon to make it like a volcano.
  • Add the yeast, a pinch of salt and sugar in the well. Gradually pour in the water while bringing the surrounding flour into the mixture. I find that a bench scraper is very helpful while mixing in this step.
  • After about 10 - 12 minutes of continuing kneading, you'll get a very smooth dough. This is the most crucial step as you want to remove as many air bubbles as possible.
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Mine came out to be about 48g each. Mold each dough into a ball and place it on a parchment paper. See TIP on Notes section.
  • Let the buns rest for 30 minutes, uncovered. This will create a layer of outer skin after steaming that you can peel off easily. Alternatively, you can cover the buns with damp towel during proofing.
  • Prepare a pot with water for steaming. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a rolling boil. Then, place buns in a bamboo steamer and steam over high heat for 12 minutes. Remove and serve warm or check the storage tips on 'How to store buns' section.



  • To measure flour in the cup, I used the spoon & sweep method. Spoon flour into a standard measuring cup, then level the top with a knife without packing the flour, which I had about ~63g in 1/2 cup.
  • To knead the flour using a standing mixer, please see above 'Knead using a mixer' section.
  • TIP: When you divide the dough, you should see a smooth with no tiny holes on each of them. These are air bubbles and means more kneading is needed to remove them. To fix this, knead each portion again before molding into balls.