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. My custard wasn’t like the picture you showed. After mixing everything, it was still liquidy and didn’t get thick after I took it off the heat and began folding it till it made a ball. Did I do something wrong? I added everything like the instructions said and mixed it with a spatula on low heat.

    1. Hi Angela,
      Sorry that I cannot figure out what’s wrong based on your description. It might be caused by the wrong amount of ingredients or lack of heating. I have shown the process of making custard filling in a video when making snow skin mooncakes. I hope this can be helpful.

    2. I had the same problem. After 2 attempts following the ingredients i halved the liquids and doubled the solids with the same runny result…in stumped.

      1. hello! I had felt the same thing but after making sure everything is smooth and it won’t curdle up I increased the heat incrementally until it started to solidify a bit and then it would clump up really quickly so be careful!

    3. just turn up the heat a tiny bit until it’s more like medium low, not low low, mine form after I decided to increase the heat. Becareful because the starches cook really quickly and dry up fast!

  2. Hi Elaine, I had all the ingredients requested (cake flour is Pillsbury and wheat starch from asian market) and I just finished steaming them.

    My buns are not white but murky brownish grey, while the color before steaming was quite beautiful white dough. I did not have problem sealing or with the texture of the dough while forming. The buns have a bit of glossy uneven bumps. Even when I checked after 15 minutes they already developed this greyish and glossy unevenness. Do you think the heat is too high? Or is there not enough steam? I realized I ran out of water at some point unknown.

    It tastes fine but it didn’t turn out fluffy. Do you think it’s because my dough didn’t rise enough? I notice that my instant yeast is “quick” acting, and by the time I let it activate for 10 minutes it turned into a mountain of foam and barely any liquid left, although my dough did not turn out dry or hard to form at all. I noticed that it didn’t rise as much as yours did though. Or do you think it’s because of kneading. I noticed that it was very easy to shape into a log so I only kneaded it for about a minute or so, not so much force or anything, because it was so elastic and nice.

    I was my bun was soft and light instead of chewy and dry-ish.

    Any troubleshoot help would be very kind of you. I will try this again soon. It isn’t that hard after all.

    1. Natasha,
      Along with all the information you provided, I believe the problem might be your yeast. Do you cook with it usually? How it performs with other recipes? If there is insufficient water in the dough, it absorbs water from the filling and make the filling dry and hard even the filling itself is properly cooked.
      In addition, 1 minute kneading is not enough for fluffy steamed buns. The gluten network is not well formed.

  3. Hi chef …I’m sk pradhan my form India
    I m chines chef …thanks for your teams. Your recipe follow me &my team very good recipe good your pregantebal food. I want more video and new recipe. Thanks team .

  4. Hi! These look wonderful!
    I was just wondering since I just saw your recipe for red bean paste buns and compared it to these ones, I noticed the dough recipe differs slightly.
    I wanted to make black sesame seed paste buns today since I have some homemade past leftover, so I was wondering which dough recipe I should use 🙂
    Thank you for your incredible recipes!

    1. If you use black sesame paste, use the dough for red bean paste bun dough. This one is a Cantonese version.

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve never had milk yolk buns before, so I don’t know what they’re supposed to taste like, but I think mine came out really good! They look similar to your pictures so I assume they came out right lol

    Putting a lot of work into making things makes it taste spectacular – I can’t wait to make this again!! <3

    1. Madelyn,
      This is a very satisfying steamed bun comparing with regular plain steamed buns because it is very milky and full of flavors.

  6. For the custard filling, when do we add in the cake flour? It says to add all of the other ingredients but it doesn’t mention where to add the cake flour.

    1. Aivan,
      More kneading gives the bun a shining white color. The final color is very much depending on the flour too.

    2. Maybe bleached flour versus unbleached flour? I am noticing it’s more difficult to find bleached flour where I live.