Chinese Bao Buns with Crispy Fried Chicken | Bao Buns Recipe from Scratch
Recipe type: Snacks
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-20 bao buns
For bao buns:
  • All-purpose flour – 360 gms
  • Milk powder – 20 gms
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp / 4 gm
  • Active dry yeast – 1 & ¾ tsp
  • White sugar – 3 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil – 2.5 tbsp (plus extra for greasing the dough)
  • Water – 200 gms
  • 20 squares of baking paper (about 10x10cm)
For spicy fried chicken:
  • Chicken thighs – 4, boneless & skinless
  • Sriracha sauce – ¾ cup + ½ cup
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Garlic powder – 1 tsp
  • Paprika – 2 tsp
  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups or more
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Mayonnaise – ½ cup
  • Sliced red onion to serve
  • Fresh cilantro to serve
For bao buns:
  1. Make about 15 to 20 squares of baking paper of size 10x10 cm. These will be required while steaming the bao buns.
  2. Take the water in a glass or bowl and warm it up to 100 F. The water should feel just hot when touched. If it feels too hot, wait till it cools down a bit. Best way to achieve the optimum temperature is to use a thermometer; ensure the temperature is not more than 105 F as anything more than that will kill the yeast.
  3. Add sugar to the warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top of water and give a gentle mix using a fork or spoon. Let the water stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until the top of the water becomes frothy. Your yeast is now activated.
  4. In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder and milk powder. Mix the dry ingredients well with a wire whisk.
  5. Now make a well at the center of the bowl of dry ingredients and pour in the liquids – yeast-water mixture & vegetable oil. Start mixing the dough using the wooden spoon until the water is almost absorbed by the flour.
  6. Now tip in the flour on a lightly floured work surface and start kneading with hand. Continue kneading the dough until it is smooth and stops sticking to your hand, about 10 minutes. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover and rest in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  7. After about 90 minutes, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Flatten the dough and knead it for 5 to 10 minutes in order to remove as many air bubbles as possible.
  8. Now roll the dough out to 1-cm thickness using a rolling pin to. Dip a basting brush in vegetable oil and lightly brush the oil over the top surface of the dough. Then use an 8-cm diameter pastry cutter (or a glass of the same diameter) to cut out rounds. Remove the excess dough from around the edges and reuse them similarly.
  9. Now take one round at a time and fold it in half; you can use a chopstick placing it over the diameter of the round and fold one side over the chopstick, then carefully take it out. Chopstick will also help retain the desired gap around the fold. Now flatten the folded half-circle slightly around the round edge with the rolling pin. Your bao bun is shaped and ready for second proofing.
  10. Place each shaped bao on a square of baking paper. Cover them and set aside to prove for 30 minutes.
  11. Fill a sauce pan with water until one-third full and place over high heat and let the water come to a boil.
  12. Meanwhile, take each shaped bao along with the baking paper square and place it on a bamboo or stainless steel steamer. If your steaming vessel is not too big, then steam your baos in batches and do not over crowd the pan. I could do 4 at a time in my stainless steel steamer.
  13. When the water is boiling, place the steamer over the saucepan and cover it with a tight-fitting lid. Steam the buns for 12 minutes. Then turn off the heat and allow the buns to rest over the hot water for 5 more minutes with the lid on.
  14. Then take them out carefully (beware, they are still very hot!) by pulling them out using the baking paper. Your bao buns are ready for any filling of your choice!
For spicy fried chicken:
  1. Make sriracha mayonnaise by whisking mayonnaise and ½ cup of sriracha sauce in a small bowl until evenly mixed. Set it aside.
  2. Take the chicken, remaining Sriracha sauce, chilli powder, garlic powder and paprika in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. Set aside to marinate overnight or at least 10 minutes.
  3. To prepare the chicken for deep-frying, place the all-purpose flour in a large bowl or tray. Transfer the chicken and the marinade into the flour. Mix and push the chicken into the flour so that the flour sticks to the outside of the chicken to form somewhat thick coating.
  4. Fill a saucepan or wok with enough vegetable oil for deep frying and heat it up over high heat. Once the oil is hot, reduce the flame to medium.
  5. Now add the coated chicken pieces to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remember not to overcrowd the pan, fry the chicken in batches if needed.
  6. Take the fried chicken out of the pan and place on paper towel to let it absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with sea salt when the chicken is hot. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
  7. To serve, cut chicken pieces into smaller chunks so that they easily fit into the bao buns. Open up each bao bun and spread sriracha mayonnaise at the base. Top it with the fried chicken pieces. Drizzle with more sriracha mayo and top it with sliced red onion & cilantro. Enjoy your restaurant quality bao buns with spicy fried chicken at home!
Recipe by Flavor Quotient at