Avocado Steamed Buns

Homemade steamed buns with avocado, cabbage, and sriracha filling.

avocado steamed buns / @loveandlemons

This was a little holiday break project… while others were most likely baking cookies, Jack and I were trying our hand at steamed buns. I actually had no intention of posting this, it was just something we wanted to try (we were prepared for the possibility of failure). Then it occurred to me – I should post this as a work in progress. After all of the kneading, waiting, punching, waiting, rolling, waiting & finally steaming… they came out pretty good, but they were a little dense and didn’t puff up quite enough. They were still tasty (and we ate them all), but we definitely have to try again.

So this is my call for help – we would LOVE some tips & tricks… possibly a link to your favorite tried and true recipe? The dough seemed stiff, so I think this one may have had too much flour? I’m not sure if we kneaded it too much or not enough? We followed this recipe to the T… help? (I’ll be sure to report back with an update!) Update – we have figured it out! Stay tuned for a future post with our final recipe.

avocado steamed buns / @loveandlemons avocado steamed buns / @loveandlemons

And now about what went right – the filling. It’s simple (because good lord the steamed buns took long enough!). I have an obsession with avocado + yuzu kosho. Yuzu kosho is a fermented Japanese chile paste… it’s very pungent so a little goes a long way. Of course, if you don’t feel like searching it out, a dab of wasabi and/or a squeeze of spicy mayo would also be delicious. Along with the avocado, I lightly marinated some shredded cabbage and finished these little guys with some spicy sriracha.

avocado steamed buns

Serves: filling: serves 2 (3-4 buns per person)
  • we used this steamed buns recipe
  • avocado slices
  • squeeze of lime
  • shredded cabbage (napa and/or red cabbage)
  • rice vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinches of salt
  • yuzu kosho or a bit of wasabi
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • sriracha
  1. Make (or buy) the steamed buns.
  2. Marinate the shredded cabbage in a splash of rice vinegar and a few pinches of sugar and salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes (or up to a couple of days in the fridge).
  3. Slice the avocado and squeeze a bit of lime juice on top along with a few pinches of salt.
  4. Spread a bit of yuzu kosho or a tiny bit of wasabi onto the inside of the bun.
  5. Stuff with avocado and cabbage. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with sriracha.
Spicy mayo would have been good in these too - mix some mayo w/ sriracha & a splash of rice vinegar or lime.


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  1. Ramya

    Totally off topic, but where did you get this gorgeous plate from ??

      • Ramya

        Oh superb !! Thanks. I checked they don’t have it in stock now, but have signed up, keeping my fingers crossed. I love the plate too… saw it in Elizabeth Street Cafe the other day… my bahn-mi came in this… that’s when I remembered I had seen it here.

  2. Sophie from dinnersforwinners.wordpress.com

    I am so pleased that I just stumbled upon this you guys! I have some bao from the Asian market stowed in freezer because they were such a good price (and obviously so convenient) but I hadn’t decided what to fill them with. We don’t eat a lot of meat and frankly, the idea of a low-and-slow caramelized pork or otherwise was just making me tired. Now I can get these beauties finally on the table! LOVE the inspiration I find here!

  3. Mary Kate

    Another veg option that would work great with this recipe: shiitake mushrooms in place of, or in addition to, the avocado!

    • jeanine

      yep, of course – love shiitakes!

  4. amanda from easylittletiger.com

    oh! i’ve never even thought of making bao at home! inspirational.

    • jeanine

      wow, those are SO fluffy… thanks for sharing!

  5. Hellyweg

    I’ve made bao using the recipe from Rasa Malaysia, which includes wheat starch (I found it at the asian supermarket) – which kind of looks like cornstrarch, but is softer in texture. They worked pretty well, but like you, I think I’m going to need to play around a bit. I rolled the dough out too thick, so it was a little more than you wanted by the time it had expanded. Also, I found that wherever the dough expanded over the greaseproof paper squares it stuck to the bamboo steamer and messed up the nice smooth exterior of the buns. I think next time, I’m going to line the steamer with a damp muslin cloth.

    • jeanine

      I’m going to make my paper pieces a little bit bigger next time, that same thing happened to me but I was able to gently get them to unstick. (I also put a little bit of oil on the steamer underneath in case that happened)

    • jeanine

      we’re going to try again this weekend, hoping #2 works out better!

  6. I’ve always wanted to make steamed buns but have been terrified of trying. Yours look great and even though you mention they were a bit dense, you finished them all. So that’s a good sign. Now I am inspired to try too! Thanks for that. 🙂

    • jeanine

      Ha, yep, not a one left… (our next attempt will for sure be a half batch).

  7. Lauren from inbetweenmimosas.blogspot.com

    I can’t find the recipe I used to make pork steamed buns but mine turned out very similar and just weren’t as fluffy as you would find in a restaurant. I hope you find a good recipe to re-test and post your findings! They’re too delicious to not perfect!


  8. Teffy from teffyperk.com

    I’ve actually never done steamed buns at home, so afraid can’t be much help in that department.
    They do however look delicious, so looking forward to the recipe you find that works perfectly!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

    • jeanine

      Oh, I’ve seen that post before… (I just didn’t know where to find soy milk powder). I was going to experiment making these non-dairy after I got the regular recipe to work first 🙂

  9. I’ve been meaning to make my own, but definitely don’t have any hints! You gotta find this out and share! But for now, these look pretty darn good 😉

  10. How exciting! I actually made these a few times this year (initially with the help of some Chinese flatmates when I was living in St. Andrews) and then made them for new years. Instead of yeast, I would try baking powder and sticking with regular all purpose flour. I usually sift mine a few times before making the dough. I usually warm about 6 tbs of whole milk and use that with 2 tbs sunflower oil and 3 tbs water. I’m actually featuring my recipe on the blog in a few weeks, but would love to discuss my variations with you!

    • jeanine

      thank you! I love these tips… I’ll look out for your post!

  11. Meryl

    I’ve never made steamed buns myself so I don’t have a recipe to point you to, but maybe try to find one that is measured in metric vs US units….for tricky things like this its nice to be exact. Also different flours have different moisture contents so possibly playing around with the flour content (as you mentioned) will help until you have a dough that feels right….
    Having said that, your photos are amazing as ever and the buns look so so tasty…avocado is a fantastic idea! 🙂

    • jeanine

      Great idea, I’ll definitely try weighing the flour next time to get the right amount…

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.