Steamed pork buns

Jjinppang-mandu 찐빵만두

When I lived in Toronto, I learned how to make  Chinese steamed pork buns from my Korean-Chinese friend, Ms. Bong.

Ms. Bong’s story relating to this food fascinated me for a while. She said:

“We used to make a large quantity at once, enough to eat for the whole winter. We kept hundreds of steamed pork buns in earthenware pots in the yard. The weather was so cold that the buns were frozen the whole winter, until we finished them. They were hard as stones the whole time. We ate them every other day, not as a snack, but as a meal. We used to bring some frozen buns to the kitchen, thaw them out, steam them, and eat them.”

I was overwhelmed by this story. I could picture them making the buns and keeping them in a huge earthenware pot. I could imagine them bringing some to their kitchen, thawing them out, and eating them with the whole family! Ms. Bong said they usually served them with rice porridge for a meal.

The small rolling pin that I use in this video was given to me by her. When she gave me the rolling pin, I was so excited that I ran to Chinatown to buy my steamer! The steamer has been one of my most precious kitchen items for 3 years. : )

I modified the filling to be more like a Korean style filling. Real Chinese steamed buns use ground pork, dried shrimp, chives, and blanched napa cabbage.

16 steamed pork buns (6-8 servings)


For dough
All purpose flour, dry yeast, water, salt, sugar, and vegetable oil.

For filling
Ground pork, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, black ground pepper, garlic, onion, zucchini, carrot, green onions (or Asian chives), and white mushrooms.


Make the dough:

  1. In a large bowl add 1 cup of warm water (under 40° Celsius, or 100° F), 2 ts dry yeast, ½ ts salt, 2 tbs vegetable oil, and 1 ts sugar. Mix well until the dry yeast is fully dissolved.
  2. Add 3 cups of flour to the yeast water. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Set aside in warm place until the dough doubles in size.
    *tip: watch the video to see how you can make your dough rise faster! 

  4. After the dough has risen, knead it again for 1 minute to remove any extra gas. Set it aside in warm place with the lid closed for 30 minutes.

While we wait for this to rise, we can prepare the fillings:

  1. In a large bowl, place:
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • ½ cup chopped carrot
    • 1½ cup chopped zucchini
    • 1½ cup chopped green onions
    • 2 cups chopped white mushrooms
  2. Sprinkle 1 ts salt over top and mix it up by hand. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Squeeze the excess water out.
    *tip: using cheesecloth will make this easier. Wrap the chopped vegetables in cheesecloth and gently squeeze the water out.  

  4. In a mixing bowl, place:
    • 400 grams (14 oz) of ground pork
    • 1 ts soy sauce
    • 2 cloves of minced garlic
    • 1 ts sesame oil
    • ½ ts ground black pepper
  5. Mix it by hand and set aside.

Let’s cook!

  1. In a heated pan, add 1 tbs vegetable oil and sauté the chopped vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl.
  2. Heat up the pan again, and cook the seasoned pork for 3 minutes until fully cooked.
  3. Put the pork into the bowl with the vegetables and mix it all up.

Now let’s make the buns:

  1. Split the dough into 16 smaller pieces.
  2. Take a few dough balls and put them on a floured cutting board. The rest of balls should be in the bowl with the lid closed, to prevent them from getting dried out.
  3. Roll out each ball into a disk 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
  4. Place a disk into your palm and add 2-3 tbs of filling mixture to the center of it.
  5. Lift the edges of the disk up around the filling, then press the edges together to seal the filling snugly inside the bun.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, until you’ve made 16 buns.
  7. Put 6-7 cups of water in the bottom of a large steamer and place each bun on the rack.
    *tip: Place cheesecloth or cotton cloth on the steamer rack before adding each bun. Baking cups also work well. When you place the buns on the rack, leave a 1 inch gap between them because they will get bigger when steamed.
  8. Wait for 20 more minutes to let the dough rise even more.
  9. Bring to a boil over high heat, and steam for 20 minutes.

Dipping sauce:

  1. Combine ⅓ cup soy sauce, 2 tbs of vinegar, and 2 ts sugar in a small bowl.
  2. Add some chunks of onion (½ cup), chunks of green chili pepper, and roasted sesame seeds.

When the buns are cooked, turn off the heat and remove the lid to prevent water from the top of the lid from dripping over the buns.

Serve with the dipping sauce, and enjoy!


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  1. Tamar My profile page joined 4/15
    Posted April 30th, 2015 at 7:25 am | # |

    Do you think this would reheat well?

  2. naimatou Morocco My profile page joined 2/15
    Posted February 16th, 2015 at 9:47 am | # |


    I do not eat pork, would it be nice with chiken or beef ??

  3. jilly United States My profile page joined 1/15
    Posted January 28th, 2015 at 10:13 am | # |

    hi,,,maang chi,,i want to ask you where to buy the steamer like yours? thanks

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 28th, 2015 at 12:01 pm | # |

      I bought it in Chinatown in Toronto, Canada. Check out your local Asian grocery store or Kitchenware store including Korean grocery stores.

  4. lorensantoso Indonesia My profile page joined 11/08
    Posted January 20th, 2015 at 7:27 am | # |

    maangchi, can we use instant yeast instead ? and how many should i put ?

  5. knitkitsune United States My profile page joined 6/14
    Posted January 18th, 2015 at 4:06 pm | # |

    I just made these for the first time the other night and they turned out so well! I was so happy because I haven’t always been successful with yeasted dough, and they were soft and fluffy and just right! My husband loved them and can’t wait for me to make them again! I also want to try them with red bean filling and maybe black sesame.

  6. jfung Jacksonville, NC My profile page joined 7/13
    Posted July 7th, 2013 at 3:20 pm | # |

    Help! I can’t get the dough to rise for some reason. It always hard and yellow when i finish steaming them :(

  7. DarkVixen Saint Cloud My profile page joined 6/13
    Posted June 8th, 2013 at 1:17 pm | # |

    Definitly need a recipe using something other then flour due to wheat allergies…I use to love eating these and can no longer eat them..Gluten free flour just doesnt taste the same when you try to make these.. I think a rice flour would be better!! Gonna have to experiment some with this!!

    • Creepy_Apple Montreal My profile page joined 9/13
      Posted September 15th, 2013 at 10:32 pm | # |

      I saw on a show some people making the dough out of dried corn. They had to knead it for a while though, but it seemed reeeeaally good. Maybe you could try that?

  8. Rai Texas My profile page joined 5/13
    Posted May 4th, 2013 at 8:48 pm | # |

    I will have to try your recipe out. I’ve spent the last 3 years making various steamed bun recipes with all sorts of different fillings! I love steamed buns because of how versatile you can be with the filling. My most popular request I get is for BBQ Pork, simple and really yummy :)

  9. sirshartsalot Goiania, Goias, Brazil My profile page joined 4/13
    Posted April 30th, 2013 at 9:51 am | # |

    Maangchi noona!! Annyeonghaseyo?? I love to read your blog for the techniques. I live in Brazil and a lot of the ingredients are unavailable, but your techniques are so solid! I made these dumplings and I have some tips for your readers:

    1. Don’t try to roll the dough too thin. When the dumplings rise for the last time, the yeast bubbles will compromise the dough and they become like wet paper bags. If you can, keep the dough in the center of the circle (the bottom) thick, and the edges (the top) thin. Then you will have nice, even buns.

    2. Get as much water out of the filling as you can. Either cook it out, or if you have a vegetarian filling (in my case), *wait*. If you don’t, and you have a small steamer and you have to steam in batches (in my case), the water will inundate the bottom of the bun, and again, wet paper bag. Yeast is a living thing and if you don’t respect it, you get soggy buns. :)

    3. Don’t be lazy making the sauce. These have a high bread-tp-filling ratio and they need to be seasoned after they’re cooked. That’s what the sauce is for.

    My wife loves you, maangchi!! Fighting!

  10. NorthBelle Toronto My profile page joined 4/13
    Posted April 20th, 2013 at 4:21 pm | # |

    Maaangchi – tae dan hi kamsah hamnidah! This is an awesome recipe. My Yobbo (nampyon) just made these. MAYOO MASHESAYO! YUM!!!!!!! Great to eat any time of the day or night. I even take them to work for my mid-morning snack and heat them in the microwave very briefly.

  11. [email protected] Deland Florida My profile page joined 4/13
    Posted April 19th, 2013 at 12:00 am | # |

    Hi, I just wondering Can I use my bamboo steam for the steam buns??

    • Rai Texas My profile page joined 5/13
      Posted May 4th, 2013 at 8:43 pm | # |

      I make buns all the time, and I use a bamboo steamer. They come out just the same!

  12. ilovekoreancuisine united kingdom My profile page joined 4/13
    Posted April 8th, 2013 at 3:38 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely recipe – I made these for the first time today but unfortunately they did not turn out as great :(. The dough became a dull yellow/grey brown colour after steaming and was really hard to knead. I followed your recipe except I used plain flour (no all purpose flour here in the UK) and olive oil. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 9th, 2013 at 4:57 pm | # |

      You got the right flour because plain flour is all purpose flour. I think the dough didn’t rise properly. Check out your yeast to see if it’s still active or not. And when you mix the yeast with water, the temperature of the water shouldn’t be too high. Less than 30 celsius.

  13. Lore Colombia My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted January 17th, 2013 at 10:15 pm | # |

    the water has to be hot or have to be boiled????

  14. Aeriae Illinois My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted January 12th, 2013 at 5:02 pm | # |

    These taste great with ground Turkey as well. I added a tablespoon of Worchestershire Sauce along with the soy sauce and whatever to season it just because I could <3 The only other ingredient alternations I made was using bamboo salt instead of normal salt and I used less because my father has high blood pressure, so there were no juices to drain out. I would like to say that having an electronic steamer (that my mom bought on a whim) made it a lot easier. The only problem was that it was not round but a bit flatish… but that may be because I tried to steam too much of it at once.

    The little girl I tutor loved it. She ate nine in one sitting and wouldn't share with her brothers and father. I've gotten multiple comments that it was very clean and healthy tasting unlike store brands. This is the first recipe that I've tried from your website and will be trying more (since I'm trying to cook more Korean foods)

  15. Sophisto California, USA My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted January 8th, 2013 at 3:17 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Thank you so much for putting this recipe up, my family loves it! I’ve made them multiple times already. Tomorrow I’m planning to make a triple batch, Instead of putting all the veggies in the bun I leave them to the side. They are so delicious! Thank you !

  16. Beel montreal My profile page joined 12/12
    Posted December 25th, 2012 at 2:37 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Just wanted to let you know that I love every recipe you put on the site! I’m planning on doing them all! lol But I just wanted to know where you bought your steamer or maybe you could tell me what brand it is … By the way are there any kitchen tools that you recommend?? Which ones are a must have??? Merry x-mas Maangchi Take care!!

  17. nikujaga Singapore My profile page joined 2/11
    Posted November 5th, 2012 at 8:21 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I made these twice and both times my buns grew cute and big in the steamer and then after I opened the lid, rough hard yellowish spots appear on the surface of the buns. Looked like my buns had yellow rashes. I have the same steamer as yours except my lid is glass so I can see what’s in there. I followed your directions to leave one inch gap between each bun and away from e sides of the steamer. :( I tried googling what’s wrong and I came across people saying to prevent blemishes, open the lid quickly to prevent water droplets from dripping onto the buns. I did that, had blemishes. and I even cover the lid with a cloth to collect all the water droplets for one batch, didn’t work. I placed dry cloth on the buns another batch and they still have blemishes. So I tried placing a parchment paper on top of the buns and also wrap a cloth around the lid. Still the same. Any idea what’s wrong? :(
    I really want to make the good looking buns on top of them tasting great. If not I will be the only one eating these delicious babies :(

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 5th, 2012 at 9:40 am | # |

      You really work so hard to make nice steamed buns!
      But I’m afraid to say I’m not sure what is going wrong, and it’s hard for me to tell what the problem is when I can’t see them. It sounds like you did everything right here.

      If I were you, I would try cooking for a shorter time. It’s possible that your stove is hotter than mine and they are cooking too hot.
      Give it a try. I hope you can solve the problem!

    • JiEunHee Richmond VA My profile page joined 11/12
      Posted November 24th, 2012 at 11:28 pm | # |

      The yellow “rashes” may be from undissolved yeast. Make sure when you are dissolving your yeast, to stir it for a bit very gently, and then let it sit to make sure all the yeast is dissolved.

    • ramjam Finland My profile page joined 12/12
      Posted December 2nd, 2012 at 10:15 am | # |

      I have learned on the ‘net that the yellow spots are caused by water dropping on to the dumplings during steaming. Traditional steamers do not have this problem. A suggestion would be to place a teatowel inside the lid of your steamer.

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