Baked Cha Shao Bao Recipe (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns)

by · 40 comments
Cha Shao Bao 港式叉燒餐包

If you buy or bake BBQ pork (Cha Shao 叉燒) and can’t finish it at a meal, you can save it to bake this beautiful BBQ pork buns (Cha Shao Bao 叉燒包). Most Chinese restaurants have baked Cha Shao Bao available as dim sum (點心). The BBQ pork inside the buns is so juicy and succulent. You can’t miss it if you haven’t tried it before.

Makes 6 buns

Ingredients for buns:
  • 8 gm dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups plain flour
Ingredients for brushing buns:
  • 1 egg yolk, whished
  • Syrup (1 teaspoon sugar + 2 teaspoons water)
Ingredients for fillings:
  • 200 gm cha shao (chao siu, BBQ pork, homemade or bought from Asian BBQ shops)
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/2 onion
Seasoning for cha shao:
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn flour
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • a dash of sesame oil
Method for baking buns:
  1. Mix all ingredients for buns except plain flour together (picture 1). First, put sugar in hot water, let sugar melt completely. Add milk and oil, mix well. Allow cool to 40C, add yeast and stir well. Coat a cotton towel for 10 minutes and let it rest. Then the mixture would become something like the picture 2 shown.
  2. Add sifted plain flour into the mixture, mix well (picture 3).
  3. Knead dough until not sticky to hand. Cover with a clean cotton towel for 25 minutes. The dough will be more than double in size.
  4. Cut dough into 6 parts in equal size and stuff with cooked cha shao (cha siu, BBQ pork),
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 200C and brush with egg yolk, then bake for another 5 minutes. Brush with syrup (sugar in water).
咖喱牛肉餐包制作圖 Curry Beef Buns Procedures

Method for cha shao fillings:
  1. Cut cha shao, shallots, onions into small cubes.
  2. Add oil into wok on medium heat, sauté onion, shallots until aromatic, put in cha shao and continue to sauté. Pour in seasoning, lower heat and simmer until preferred consistency. Set aside to cool down and ready to use.
 Cha Shao Bao 港式叉燒餐02


  1. Ever made the steamed variety? I'm trying to find out how to make my steamed buns appear whiter. Yours look delicious, by the way.

  2. To Bentoist:
    My friend tried this recipe to steam Cha Shao buns. very yummy.
    I used organic plain flour to make buns. So they're not as white as those you'd eat at Chinese restaurants, yet healthier. :P

  3. Looks incredible. I am going to try them with traditional BBQ Pulled Pork sometime soon.

  4. The buns look very tempting. incredible!

  5. it looks delicious i will try making this!

    what do you mean by coating it with a cotton towel on step 1

  6. To C.C.
    Simply cover the bowl with a towel. Leave the ingredients rest for 10 minutes.

  7. How does the boiling water not kill the yeast outright?

  8. To George:
    Put sugar into boiling water first and mix well. Then add milk and oil, stir for a while. Wait until the temperature of mixture goes down to 40C, add yeast. That'll be okay for the yeast and won't kill them.

    My buns were very soft after baking. That means they were not killed at all.

    Thanks for your question anyway. I've updated the recipe to avoid the confusion in this regard.

  9. Thanks for this Christine. They turned out great. Have always wanted to find a sauce to put with my bbq pork and this worked wonderfully!

  10. To Colleen,
    That's great. My pleasure.
    Love to hear that you love this recipe.
    I've browsed your blog and found that you're very talented in baking! Good on you.

  11. this looks fab! thanks for the recipe. going to try it out and will tell u if i like it!

  12. Your baked char shao bao looks really yummy!

  13. To Anonymous,
    Waiting for your sharing.

    To My Little Space,
    Thanks for dropping by.

  14. Christine, thanks so much for your recipe!, i have made baos with this recipe 4 times now, although i dont bake them as i prefer steamed baos They come out very fluffy and soft. However, and i dont know if i am doing this correctly or not, everytime i steam my buns, there always seems to be blotches of dark spots on my buns when they are done steaming and is not perfectly smooth on top like the ones you would see in dim sums. Any ideas as to why that might happen?? Also, is your dough really wet when you go and knead it?? I get the feeling that slightly moist doughs do better in the oven, and doughs that maybe has JUST enough water or moisture in it might do better in the steamer??

    Thanks for your wonderful recipes tho, it never fails me to output an awesome dish everytime. =)

  15. Hello :)

    i have made these buns..and they are very yummy! however the pork came out of the buns, how do i actually wrap the pork into the dough carefully so that no sauce can come out?

    thank you x

  16. To Gemma,
    Two ways you can try to easily wrap the filling:
    1. Cook the sauce thicker.

    2. Chill the filling in the fridge for an hour or so before wrapping and let the filling consolidate a bit. After steaming the buns, the fillings will be heated and turn soft again.

    Try either way as you like.

  17. As far as whitening, I've never tried it, but I've heard people adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the steam-water before covering. Otherwise you have to find white "Chinese" flour.

  18. Hi Christine - I am so glad that I stumbled across your recipes. The photos are wonderful! Can this dough be done in a breadmaker? I'm wondering why these buns use only plain flour when other recipes use bread flour. Many, many thanks :)

  19. To Brenda,
    Thanks for dropping by.
    Yes, this is my old recipe of making buns with plain flour. Recently I changed to use bread flour because I found a place to buy very cheap bread flour.

  20. Dear
    Can I mix ingredients with breadmaker first? I think Brenda asked the same question but I don't think you answered, Thanks!!
    Love your recipes!

  21. Hi chris,
    Breadmaker is good for kneading. Yes, you can use a breadmaker for mixing ingredients.Sorry for missing the question unanswered.

  22. Hi christine,

    When you mention corn flour for the seasoning do you mean corn starch?

  23. To Anonymous,
    Yes, we call cornflour, that's corn starch called in US.

  24. The recipe makes 6 buns. It is a perfect portion to try out the recipe. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing Hong Kong Chinese recipes.

  25. To Wendy,
    You can make 8 to 10 smaller buns. It's up to you.

  26. this bun looks so airy and the recipe seems easy to follow! was just wondering if you need to let the dough rise for a second time after adding the filling and before baking?
    ur egg tart recipe was amazing btw. custard and tart were both PERFECT!

  27. To yan,
    I didn't have my dough got a second proofing when used this recipe. Just popped it in the oven after wrapping the filling.
    You might like to proof it for a second round anyway.

  28. Christine, have u tried making this bun using tangzhong? I have been making them the same way as u do and hv read abt tangzhong recently... so tot it might work... wat do u think?

  29. @Joey:
    I thought of trying to use tangzhong to bake these buns before. It should be great. I'll try when my family craves for some char siu buns.

  30. Hi Christine, you've inspired me to make the bao with tangzhong dough. I used my filling recipe - the results were delicious :). Check them out at

  31. Everytime I make this it always ends up AMAZING!! Well instead of making with bbq pork I made it with HAM AND CHEESE! IT WAS REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD and its always gone as soon as I get them out of the oven! LITERALLY! Thanks for the recipe!

  32. Hi Christine, what kind onion did you use? Is it the one with white skin or yellow/brown skin? Can't wait to try this recipe! :)

  33. Love your recipe and thanks so much for posting. I'm looking for the recipe for the Chinese Curry Beef Buns also called Ga Lei Bow (my favourite). I hope you have it? Could I just substitute fillings. Please post soon as I have been looking for awhile now for this and I absolutely adore these buns. Thanks again...

  34. Can you freeze them after baking? What about before baking?

  35. @houseofma
    You can chill or freeze them. But wouldn't be as good as freshly baked.

  36. Excellent recipe!! Tried steamed and baked using the same dough recipe and both turned out very good. Thank You.

  37. Love this recipe! Its now my go to bun dough recipe.
    We also make variations eg using teriyaki chicken instead of pork and it works just as well.
    Also we add more vegetables too.
    Thought I would share those ideas