Easy steamed buns

easy steamed buns mantou
easy steamed buns mantou

How to make the easiest steamed buns

The recipe only needs five ingredients: flour, water, yeast, sugar, and baking powder. Actually, the baking powder is optional! The are several tips on how to make sure the buns do not shrink after steaming and stay fluffy.


All-purpose flour: 600 grams

Cold water: 360 grams 

Dry yeast: 10 grams

Sugar: 80 gram

Baking powder (optional): 5 grams



  1. Mix the yeast and sugar with the cold water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, the yeast will start to bubble. Use cold water to prevent yeast to rise too quickly before shaping the buns.
  2. Add in the flour and the baking powder and knead the dough on the kitchen counter for about 5 minutes then cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes, let the dough form the gluten.
  3. Prepare the steamer with six small pieces of parchment paper for the buns to rest on.
  4.  Knead the dough for another 5 minutes, the dough should be very smooth.
  5. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, to relax the gluten.
  6. Cut the dough into six even buns.
  7. Roll out each bun with a pin thinly to push out the large bubbles in the dough, then fold the bun into half and roll it out again.  Then shape each bun into a round ball by hand until the outer layer becomes smooth.
  8. Place the round buns into the steamer and cover it with a wet cloth. Let the buns rise for 1.5 hours or until the buns double in size.
  9. Uncover the buns and let them rise for another 30 minutes. Uncovering the buns will help create a thin layer around the buns, giving them a smooth surface after steaming. This step is optional, proceed to steam right away.
  10.  Fill the pan under the steamer with cold water and place the steamer over it and start heating at high heat for the first 5 minutes,  then reduce to medium heat. Steam the buns for 20 minutes. If the steamer is not made of bamboo make sure the wrap the steamer lid with a tea towel to prevent condensation from dripping onto the buns. The condensation drops cause the bun's outer layer to shrink.
  11. After 20 minutes turn off the heat but do not open the lid right away. Wait 2-5 minutes and then slowly open the lid to prevent sudden change in temperature which can cause the surface of the buns to shrink.