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5 from 2 votes

Vegetarian Bao Buns Recipe

Vegetarian Bao Buns are steamed and filled with sautéed mushrooms like enokis. Traditional bao buns use lard but these are vegetarian-friendly.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Rising Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: bao bun recipe, bao buns, chinese bao buns, how to make bao buns, mushroom bao buns, steamed bao buns, vegetarian bao buns
Servings: 6
Calories: 317kcal
Cost: $12


  • 1 steam basket
  • 1 Electric Stand-Up Mixer
  • 2 stainless steel bowls


Easy Bao Bun Dough:

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Mushroom Filling + For Serving:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms of choice I used enoki and oyster mushrooms
  • 2 green onions trimmed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons light-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds plus more as garnish
  • 1 Persian cucumber sliced
  • 1 carrot peeled and julienned
  • Handful of micro greens


To Make the Bao Bun Dough:

  • To the bowl of a stand-up mixer, with the hook attachment, pour in the warm water, milk and active dry yeast. Allow to stand until activated and foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • In another medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  • To the stand-up mixer, slowly add the bread flour mixture. And then pour in the melted butter. Continue mixing on the lowest speed for 8 minutes. During this time, the flour should pull away from the bowl and become a cohesive dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a ball. Return it to the bowl and cover the bowl with a clean towel. Place it in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Punch the dough down and transfer it to a lightly floured countertop. Using a rolling pin (or wine bottle), roll it out so it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, stamp out as many bao buns as you can manage.
  • Fold the rounds over into a moon shape, like a taco. Lightly roll them using the rolling pin, flattening them slightly. Allow them to proof on the counter for about 15 minutes.
  • Find a saucepan or pot that fits your steam basket. Fill it with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Add a round of parchment to the bottom to the center of the steam basket (this will prevent the bao buns from sticking!).
  • Remove the steam basket from the saucepan or pot and add three or four bap buns. Place the top on and transfer it to the saucepan. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the bao buns are puffy and soft to the touch. Remove from the parchment and set aside. Repeat with the remaining bao buns.
  • Keep in a 200 degree F oven to keep them warm while you cook the rest.

To Make the Filling:

  • You can make this filling before you start steaming the bao buns so it’s ready to go!
  • To a small skillet, set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When warm, add the mushrooms and green onions. Cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and Sriracha. Give it a mix and let it cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Salt to taste. Mix in the sesame seeds.

To Assemble the Bao Buns:

  • Slice the bao buns in half with a knife. Add a spoonful of the filling into the bao buns and fill with a few slices of cucumbers, julienned carrots and micro greens.


Substitution Possibilities: 
*If you want to use pork fat, you can directly substitute the butter for liquid pork fat.
*If you don't have a bamboo steam basket, you can use a meat rack placed atop a saucepan. Be sure to put parchment between the rack and the bao buns tho because they'll stick!
Stand-Up Mixer | Stainless Steel Bowls | Chef's Knife | Bamboo Steam Basket


Serving: 6g | Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 1045mg | Potassium: 196mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1923IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg