Another famous and great dim sum steamed bun recipe—Custard bun also named as milk yolk buns. Those little buns are also named as Lai Wong Bao.

milk custard buns
This is the version with butter and egg for sweet teeth. Just a remanding, there is a sister bun of this milk yolk bun named as Liu Sa Bao which uses salted duck egg and thus providing a savory and salty filling. Those two versions are quite similar but different in tastes.

milk custard buns

I do not like sweet food for the first 18 years in my life because my teeth was get used to spicy and savory foods. Sweet desserts were here but less appealing to me compared with real Sichuan style hot food. However after living in Guangdong province for around 5 years, I fall in love with sweet dessert slowly especially some of the Hong Kong style desserts, baked buns and cookies. The cities might looks similar from the appearance, but the foods are so different from the history background and geographic position.

Before start making those yummy buns at home, there are some key ingredients.

  1. Custard powder

To make the perfect custard filling, custard powder is necessary. It is firstly imported by some bakery stores in Hong Kong and now becomes a popular baking ingredient in Mainland China too. It can increase the milk aroma and add slightly yellow color to the filling.

  1. Wheat starch

Wheat starch is the main ingredient for another famous dim sum dessert-Har Gow. The reason why it is used to replace flour is because it is almost transparent, which further give the filling a perfect yellow color.



  • 3 large egg yoks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. milk powder
  • 1/2 cup wheat starch
  • 1.5 tbsp. custard powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Bun wrapper

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. vegetable cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water


Make a dough

Start with the dough firstly. If you are not familiar with how to make a dough for Chinese buns, check Chinese steamed bun for some detailed guide.

milk custard buns

Custard filling

In a small bowl, combine egg yolk, custard powder, wheat starch, milk, milk powder, and sugar together. Stir evenly, then add the butter and continue to stir until there are no particle. Sift it and heat over low heat. Keep stirring until well mixed. You can taste the filling for some adjustment if necessary at this step.

Remove off heat and turn the filling over and over again until it can form a smooth ball and everything is well incorporated. The left picture is before turning with a spatula  and the right picture is after. There should be no particles in the filling dough.

custard filing

To assemble the custard bun

1. It is quite necessary to shape the filling into balls before assembling the bun. This is make the process much easier especially for starters.

2. To get a uniform wrapper after sealed completely, the edges of the wrapper should be slightly thinner than the center.

3. After seal the buns, turn them over gently and then shape again for a better round shape.

how to assemble bun

How to set up the steamer:  I use a bamboo steamer for all my buns, you can get it from Amazon Joyce Chen 26-0013, 10-Inch Bamboo Steamer Set

milk custard buns

Here we are Now!

milk custard buns

milk custard buns

Custard Bun-Milk Yolk Buns

Dim Sum custard buns with strong milk and yolk aroma.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cantonese
Keyword: bread
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 12 Making 12 middle size buns
Calories: 176kcal
Author: Elaine


Custard Filling

  • 2 tbsp. milk powder
  • 1.5 tbsp. custard powder
  • 1/2 cup wheat starch
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks

For the bun wrapper

  • 2 cups flour , or low-gluten flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water , around 35℃
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast


Custard filling recipe

  • In a small bowl, combine egg yolk, custard powder, wheat starch, milk, milk powder, and sugar. Stir evenly, then add the butter and continue to stir until there are no particles.
  • Sift it and heat it over low heat. Keep stirring until well mixed. You can taste the filling for some adjustment if necessary at this step.
  • Remove off heat and turn the filling over and over again until it can form a smooth ball and everything is well incorporated.
  • Set aside to cool down and then place the custard filling in fridge for at least 1 hour (depending on the temperature)or until hardened. So you can shape the fillings easily.

For the dough

  • Add sugar, salt, yeast, vegetable cooking oil, and warm water to the flour. Knead it until it turns into a smooth and elastic dough.
  • Brush some oil on a large bowl and transfer the dough for the proofing. Wait for 2-3 hours until the dough is doubled in size.

Assemble the custard buns

  • When the dough is doubled in size, transfer to a slightly floured board and pinch the air out. Please knead forcefully for a smooth surface. And then roll into a long log; cut the log into 12 equal portions. At the same time, divide the custard filling into 12 equal portions and shape each one to a ball (make the assembling process much easier)
  • Take one portion out, press down slightly and then roll to a around wrappers around 8 to 10 cm in diameter. Make the edges thinner than the center.
  • Place on portion of the filling on the round wrapper and then seal completely. Repeat the process to finish all the buns.


  • Set up the steamer and let the buns reset for around 10 to 15 minutes with lid covered.
  • Steam on high heat for around 15 minute to 20 minutes. Turn off the fire, wait for 5 minutes before uncovering and enjoying.


The Nutrition Facts is based on each single bun.


Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 77mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.6mg

milk custard buns

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  1. Thank you for the wheat starch advice. I have made this with another recipe that failed because the custard remained liquidy. I will make this soon.

  2. I’m very excited to try making these and the sweet red bean buns soon! I noticed the recipe for the dough is slightly different for each one though. Is it alright to use the same kind of dough for both flavors? If so, which of the two would you suggest?

    1. Hi Zuza,

      Basically the dough is quite similar with each other. But sometimes, I add some extra flavor like milk or sugar and etc to match with the filling. Cake flower bun will be much fluffy while all purpose flour bun will be chewier. You can choose either one and change the fillings.

  3. Hi Elaine! I ate these once and their filling was very creamy, almost runny. Is there a way to make this recipe “runny”? By the way, thank you so much for this recipe! These buns are really delicious!

    1. Hi Anna,

      The running one is another filling. This one is sweet while the other one is salty. I will introduce that “running” version in following posts.

  4. Dear Elaine,
    it’s my second time trying to interpret this recipe to ingredients available in Finland (no wheat starch or custard powder, I substituted for both with potato starch and vanilla), but my main problem is the dough. It turns out really thick and chewy though I add a little more water than stated in your recipe. i suppose the difference is in the flour, though I’m using extra fine wheat flour. It’s frustrating, because the buns are impossible to shape and seal, and they keep splitting open, because the dough isn’t sticky enough. What do you suggest I should do? I’d love to succeed with these, because the recipe is fantastic and they taste delicious!
    Thank you for your effort and wonderful recipe!

    1. Hi Eve,
      I guess the problem is the ratio of flour and water. The gluten content in the flour influences how much water will be needed. I suggest you change the current flour, using flour with less gluten for example cake flour. Or you will need to adjust the amount of water, adding more to make the dough soft enough. You can send me images over instagram.

  5. Great recipe! the taste is so close to the real thing! My only problem was the custard came out way too thick instead of being “smooshy” it’s like boiled egg consistency. Any ideas why?

    1. Hi Peri,
      This milk yolk filling is thick but not flowing. Are you referring the salted egg flowing filling? They are two different kinds made from different ingredients.

  6. Thank you for share your recipes! they are just great!
    I made this buns yesterday and they were amazing! Its one of the things I miss when I was working in Bangkok and used to visit chinatown and eat this delicious egg custard buns. No I can make it myself!
    Thank you!
    regards from a brazilian living in Argentina

    1. Thanks Renata for such a wonderful feedback! You are so talented! Lots of people get problems at the first several attempts. Happy cooking and wish you a great year.

    1. Hi,
      Instant yeast can be replaced by dry yeast or pre-fermented laomian. Why are you need to avoid instant yeast?

        1. Ok, good point! But replacing yeast with other agency may make the process much complex. So I guess you need to wait until the next store shopping. Happy cooking!

  7. Hello Elaine
    I live in Zhuhai, China. Where can I buy custard powder? Will I be able to find it in the supermarket or from the people who sell dried goods in the wet market? If so, what are the characters I should show them when I want to buy it? I don’t speak Chinese!
    Thank you!

  8. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I tried making these and the dough came out a bit soft and sticky after it proofed after 2 hours. When I steamed them, it came out “flat” and parts of the buns still had a raw dough texture. I steamed it for 20 minutes. Perhaps I used too much liquid in the dough?

    1. Lisa,
      I believe your dough is over proofed. It becomes quite warm now and you need to shorten the proofing time. And the buns are not well steamed if it is still flat with a raw dough texture. How do you set up your steamer?