Chinese Custard Steamed Buns

     Ever gone for dim sum before?


Then chances are, you’ve probably seen these buns.


Fluffy round dough puffs with sweet custard filling.

C and I went out to an Asian restaurant for dinner. We ordered steamed buns with pork belly and the buns were just amazing – so fresh, soft, and perfect. After that, I knew I had to try my hand at these.


Like all good bread recipes, patience is key. You have to give the dough time to rise and rest – don’t be tempted to speed up the process.


Here’s the original recipe I used. I was able to make 24 buns in total – 12 custard buns and 12 pork buns (double the custard if you want to make 24)


  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water (105 deg. F)
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour, more if necessary
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup milk, warm (105 deg. F)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp baking powder mixed with 1 ½ tbsp water


  • 10g custard powder
  • 50g cornstarch
  • 50g sugar
  • 100mL milk
  • 40g margarine
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten


  1. Combine custard powder, cornstarch, and sugar in a small pot. Add milk and stir mixture over low heat until combined, then add margarine.
  2. Once margarine is dissolved, turn off heat. Add egg and continue to stir.
  3. Let cool and set aside when ready to use.


  1. Combine sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add margarine, sugar, and milk to yeast mixture and mix well.
  2. Sift flour in bowl of stand mixer and make well in the center. Set aside 1/3 C flour (add this while kneading if necessary)
  3. Pour liquid mixture into flour and knead for 10 mins. Add more flour if necessary.
  4. Place dough in oiled bowl then cover. Let rest for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
  5. On a floured surface, punch dough down and flatten out ¾ inch thick. Spread baking powder and water mixture evenly on the dough. Roll dough up and knead for 10-15 mins, or until smooth.
  6. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  7. Divide dough into four equal parts then roll each quarter into a log. Divide into six equal pieces. (24 pieces in total)
  8. Rolling: Flatten each piece of dough with palm. Roll into a round disk with rolling pin, leaving center thicker and edges thinner.
  9. Assembling: Place ~ 1 tbsp filling at center of each disk then gather/ pleat edges and twist to seal securely. Let rest, covered for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Cooking: Steam on high for 8 to 10 mins – do not uncover while buns are steaming


The custard filling was delicious – pretty close to what you’d find in a restaurant (in my opinion!).


If sweet buns aren’t your thing, you could also try using a savory meat mixture.

PS – Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Megan says:

    These look great, but I love red bean buns, do you think I could use red bean bun paste instead of the custard?


    1. Janine says:

      Hi Megan,

      Thank you! And yes, you’d be able to substitute red bean paste for the custard.


  2. tworedbowls says:

    Oh my gosh, these are my absolute favorite. I’m going to have to try this!


    1. Janine says:

      Yes, please do try it, hope you like the recipe!


  3. Johana Tan says:

    can I substitute custard powder? there is no custard powder where I live. Thank you


    1. Janine says:

      Thanks for stopping by. You can substitute vanilla pudding mix for custard powder, however the flavour and amount may not be exactly the same. I find that custard powder has a very rich almost eggy flavour, so maybe add enough pudding mix till you’re happy with the flavour?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. bcastell says:

    Thanks. These were delicious! I forgot to let them rest before steaming but they turned out fine. Was a little unsure how thin to roll them when shaping into discs. What would you advise?


    1. Janine says:

      Ohh I’m so glad you tried the buns, they look great! I usually roll the disks a big thicker in the middle (~ 1/4 inch) and slightly thinner at the edges. Then just twist and ensure the edges are completely sealed together. I’ve had my filling explode before as well, but I’m pretty sure it was because I tried to put a giant dollop in each – trial and error helped. Again, so glad you tried them!


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