How to Make Cha Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns)

Introduction: How to Make Cha Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns)

No dim sum is complete without Cha Siu Bao. There are two major kinds of cha siu bao: steamed and baked. Steamed cha siu bao has a white exterior, while its baked counterpart is browned and glazed. This set of instructions will focus on the steamed variety. The pork that goes into the buns takes about 30 mins (active) time to prepare, with the construction and steaming of the buns only taking another 40 mins (active). Anyone who is willing to take the time and follow these instructions can successfully create this delicious addition to dim sum. Make sure to read through the full instructable before starting!

*Warning~Be sure to use safe cooking practices throughout for health and saftery


  • large bowl
  • chopsticks
  • Cutting Board
  • Rolling Pin
  • Knife
  • Steamer



• 1lb pork butt

Marinade/BBQ sauce

• 1tbsp dark soy sauce

• 2tbsp soy sauce

• 1.5tbsp ground bean sauce

• 1.5tbsp oyster sauce

• 2tbsp hoisin sauce

• 4tbsp Chinese cooking wine (rose flavored wine preferred)

• 1tbsp sugar

• ½tbsp kosher salt or 1/3 tbsp table salt

• 1tsp five spice powder

• 1tsp garlic powder

• 1 star anise (optional)

• 1 bay leaf (optional)

Honey Glaze

• 4tbsp honey

• 1tbsp sugar

• 3tbsp water


  • 2c all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1c water

Step 1: Prepare the Pork

1. Slice the pork along the grain to ½ inch thick slices.

*Thinner slice makes it easier for the flavor to penetrate. To get the best flavor and texture, brine the pork in salt water over night before adding the marinade

2. Make the BBQ sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a small pot.

3. Cook over low heat while mixing until the sauce is smooth~about 3 minutes.

4. Set aside to cool.

*This can be done in advance

5. Pour the BBQ sauce over the sliced pork. Make sure that you turn the pork over so that all sides are coated with the marinade.

*You can also marinate the pork in a sealed Ziploc bag in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours

6. Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C.

7. Brush off the extra BBQ sauce on the pork and place the pork on a grilling rack with a tray beneath to capture the dripping. Do not place the meat directly on a tray.

8. Roast the pork for 20 minutes on each side.

*Save the leftover pork marinade

9. While the pork is roasting/grilling, combine the glaze ingredients in a small pot and heat over low heat while mixing. Keep stirring until the honey, water, and sugar are well incorporated~about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. The glaze should be a running sticky paste.

10. Take the pork out after 40 minutes of roasting or grilling.

11. Generously pour the glaze over top of the pork and let it run down. Make sure all sides of the pork are coated with the glaze. Brush off the excess glaze if necessary.

12.Set the oven to 425 F and place the pork back to the oven.

13. Roast for another 5 minutes on each side or until the pork is slightly charred.

14.Take out the pork and let it cool a little bit.

15. Once the pork has cooled, roughly chop the pork into small pieces.

*Recipe from

Step 2: Prepare Wrapper for Construction of Buns

1. Prepare warm water around 100 degrees F.

2. Combine the sugar and warm water.

3. Add the yeast into the water.

4. Mix well and set aside for around 5 minutes.

5. Measure the water and flour. The ratio should be around 1:2 for water:flour.

6. Prepare the flour in a large bowl.

7. Pour the water with yeast slowly to the bowl with flour while stiring with chopsticks.

8. Knead the flour into smooth and soft dough. At the very beginning, it might be a little bit sticky.

9. Preheat the oven to around 100 degrees C for fermentation.

10. After the oven is preheated, turn it off, leaving the bowl inside. Firstly the size should be doubled. Poke a hole with finger and the dough does not collapse.

11. When the dough is double in size, get paste ball out and punch the air out.

12. Move on to "Constructing the Buns."

*Recipie from

Step 3: Construct the Buns

1. On a slightly floured kitchen board, roll the dough into a long log around 1 inch in diameter.

2. Cut the long log into equal portions.

3. Take one portion out, press it slightly and then roll out to circular wrapper using rolling pin.

4. Place around 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper.

5. Seal the bun completely by taking the side up and pinching the edges together at the top.

*Adjust the amount of filling accordingly if you are quite confident about your assembling skill.

Step 4: Steam Constructed Buns

1. Pour some cold water in your steamer set up.

2. Brush some oil on the bottom and place the buns one by one in your steamer. Leave some spaces between each other as they will expand along with the steaming process.

4.. Cover the lid of your steamer and rest the buns for around 10 to 20 minutes until they becomes fluffy again.

5. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes after the water beginning to boil.

6. Turn off the fire and wait for 5 minutes.

*Warning~Be careful when opening steamer lid. Open away from yourself to let steam escape safely.

Step 5: Serve & Enjoy

Transfer the buns out and serve hot! You are now done making Char Siu Bao! Do wait for at least 5 minutes before lifting the cover of your steamer, otherwise the buns might collapse.Your buns should be light, fluffy, and moist. Once you get better at making these buns you can easily cut down on the time like any recipe and add your own flair!

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