Does anyone love buns with sweet fillings? I am a big fan of all types of sweet bao buns. Today, are are making pillow-soft steamed red bean buns- also called Dou Sha Bao in Chinese, with a super easy, simple one-time proofing method.

red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

If you are bun lovers, we have shared lots of interesting buns either savory or sweet previously, like the basic mantou, black sesame buns, golden mantou, and custard buns.

Steamed buns can be always satisfying and comforting because of their fine and soft texture. You can also change the filling and make the buns with other flavors with the same dough.

Filling for today- red bean paste

You can buy red bean paste from Asian stores usually packaged in plastic bags or we have detailed guidelines about how to make red bean paste at home. Usually, I make a larger batch each time because it can be used to make other desserts or make a lovely instant red bean soup.

I use rock sugar and simmer it together with the red beans. You can replace it with your favorite sweetener.

The sweet level for this filling is the middle. If you want a sweeter taste, increase to 3/4 cup.

red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

Instructions

Make red bean paste

Add water, sugar, and soaked red beans into an instant pot, and cook with the bean procedure. Then transfer to a non-stick pan, and melt in butter (optional, you can use vegetable cooking oil too). Stir fry until the paste can stick together.

Wrapper dough

Once the paste is ready for wrapping, we start to make the dough. Add yeast and sugar in cold water or chilled water. Mix well.

Add flour and yeast water to a stand mixer and mix for around 1 minute at low speed. Add vegetable oil (optional) and continue kneading for at least 10 minutes until the dough is super smooth and elastic.

how to make red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

Assemble dou sha bao

Take the dough out, slightly dust the operating board and then divide the dough into 8 portions.

Take one portion out, to get a smooth surface, knead the small for a couple of minutes, and then shape it into a ball. If you are not good at kneading dough, a beginner-friendly way is to roll out the wrapper and then roll it up, rotate it, and then roll it out again. With this method, you can make red bean buns with a smooth surface.

how to make red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

Press down and then roll out slightly to a larger wrapper, then turn the wrapper over (so the smooth surface on the outside) and roll like dumpling wrappers to get a thick bottom.

Place a red bean filling in the center, gather the dough slowly using the space between your thumb and forefinger, and then tear off the excess dough. With this method, we can make cute round red bean buns.

how to make red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

Turn the bun over and shape it into a dome (a little bit higher because it will flat a little bit ). Repeat to finish the remaining buns. You can achieve this by rolling the dough with two hands on the operating board.

red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

Finish all of the buns, and transfer them to a lined steamer. I make 8 this time. Line your steamer and place the buns one by one, with space among each other. If you prefer smaller ones, you can make 10 red bean buns with those ingredients.

My steamer is around 30cm. Place them in two different ones if you are using a smaller steamer.

One time proofing

Cover the lid and now let them start one-time proofing. The time depends on lots of factors, including the room temperature and then the moisture. All we need to do is to watch the size of the dough. Your buns will be ready to steam when they are 1.5 times in size.

For a better look, we don’t suggest waiting until they are 2 times in size because when the yeast starts to work, it produces small bubbles inside that beautiful and smooth skin and thus causes some small bubbles and bumps on the surface.

red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

Steaming

When the buns are ready to steam, add the wok or steamer with cold water and steam for around 13 minutes (on middle slow heat after the water starts to boil). Then remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Pillow soft and sweet red bean buns are ready.

how to make red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

The one-time-proofing method is easy and super friendly to beginners, but your red bean buns might turn harder after cooling down. Re-heat to soften it back.

red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

Homemade Red Beans Buns

Homemade Chinese Red Bean Buns with soft and slightly sweet surface. Have one bite, you will see the smooth sweet red bean paste inside. It is a good idea to serve this homemade red bean buns with some milk or soy milk.
5 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: staple
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: buns, red bean
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 324kcal
Author: Elaine

Ingredients

Red bean paste (need 120g this time)

  • 1/2 cup red beans pre-soaked
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil. , optional

Dough

  • 300 g all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. instant yeast
  • 150 ml cold water or even chilled water (see note) or 180ml milk.
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil ,corn oil

Instructions

Make red bean paste

  • Since we will use one-time proofing dough, which means there is only one proofing process needed. So the first step of this red bean bun recipe is to make the paste. Add water, sugar, and soaked red beans into an instant pot, and cook with the bean procedure. Then transfer to a non-stick pan, and melt in butter (optional, you can use vegetable cooking oil too). Stir fry until the paste can stick together.

Wrapper dough

  • Once the paste is ready for wrapping, we start to make the dough. Add yeast and sugar in cold water or chilled water. Mix well.
  • Add flour and yeast water to a stand mixer and mix for around 1 minute at low speed. Add vegetable oil (optional) and continue kneading for at least 10 minutes until the dough is super smooth and elastic.

Roll out wrapper and assemble

  • Take the dough out, slightly dust the operating board and then divide the dough into 8 portions.
  • Take one portion out, to get a smooth surface, knead the small for a couple of minutes, and then shape it into a ball. If you are not good at kneading dough, a beginner-friendly way is to roll out the wrapper and then roll it up, rotate it, and then roll it out again. With this method, you can make red bean buns with a smooth surface.
  • Press down and then roll out slightly to a larger wrapper, then turn the wrapper over (so the smooth surface on the outside) and roll like dumpling wrappers to get a thick bottom.
  • Place a red bean filling in the center, gather the dough slowly using the space between your thumb and forefinger, and then tear off the excess dough. With this method, we can make cute round red bean buns.
  • Turn the bun over and shape it into a dome (a little bit higher because it will flat a little bit ). Repeat to finish the remaining buns. You can achieve this by rolling the dough with two hands on the operating board.
  • Finish all of the buns, and transfer them to a lined steamer. I make 8 this time. Line your steamer and place the buns one by one, with space among each other. If you prefer smaller ones, you can make 10 red bean buns with those ingredients.

One time proofing

  • Cover the lid and now let them start one-time proofing. The time depends on lots of factors, including the room temperature and then the moisture. All we need to do is to watch the size of the dough. Your buns will be ready to steam when they are 1.5 times in size.
  • For a better look, we don’t suggest waiting until they are 2 times in size because when the yeast starts to work, it produces small bubbles inside that beautiful and smooth skin and thus causes some small bubbles and bumps on the surface.

Steaming

  • When the buns are ready to steam, add the wok or steamer with cold water and steam for around 13 minutes (on middle slow heat after the water starts to boil). Then remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Pillow soft and sweet red bean buns are ready.

Notes

Check your room temperature first, if it is lower than 20 degrees C, use room-temperature water. 
In summer days or warmer room, use chilled water to make sure you get the smooth surface of the red bean buns. 

Nutrition

Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 2.8mg

How to store leftovers

If you have leftovers, transfer those red bean buns into a plastic bag, seal them well, and place them in the fridge. It can be fridge for 3 days or freeze up for 1 month.

Tips for assembling the bao buns

  • You can make the red bean paste into smaller balls and then wash your hands before assembling. Or use a scoop to transfer the filling to keep the hand clean and consequently, the wrapper won’t be colored.
  • Use your tiger’s mouth to shape the bun to get a perfectly round shape. Then seal the bottom completely. Watch the video for the detailed process.
  • Then roll the assembled dough with your hands to perfect the shape.

Tips for making the filling

  • Make sure there is enough liquid in the filling to avoid drying. But I don’t pursue a running filling because I don’t want the filling running everywhere.
  • Don’t freeze the filling. The hard and cold filling will slow down the fermentation of the wrapper.
  • Don’t wrap too much filling at one time. A thin wrapper influences the fermentation and shape.
red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

What to serve with

I love to serve it with soy milk, regular milk, or congee. This is a lovely serving way of Chinese breakfast.

With this dough, you can also make other sweet buns like black sesame buns, and sugar buns.

red bean buns|chinasichuanfood.com

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83 Comments

  1. Delicious looking recipe but I’m curious about the number of servings the recipe makes. You write that it makes 16 servings but in the instructions it says to divide the dough into 6 or 8 portions. Could you clarify?

    1. Thanks for the correctness. 300g dough can make around 6-8 buns, but quite large. Serving 16 might be confusing so I have already updated it to 6.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a fabulous recipe! Thank you!! The buns are light and fluffy and the bean paste is sweet and earthy. Thank you for the wonderful directions!

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe was a real hit for my family! We loved the steamed bread itself and plan to use other fillings for it too. I did divide the dough into 6 portions and the buns came out giant (and in need of more filling per bun), sort of like the ones you see in Spirited Away. We didn’t mind because the steamed bread was so good but I’d definitely cut the portions up more next time

  4. Your buns look so good! I really want to make them, but I’m wondering if you used instant yeast or active dry? Thank you in advance 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    They came out kind of lumpy/wrinkly, but they taste good. I guess I need to knead it more the second time until no bubbles according to what other comments here say. I put them in an instant pot also for 3 minutes at high pressure. I just put them on the trivet. I will get a bamboo steamer for next time to put on top of the trivet so that I don’t get lines in the bottom. I also used the red bean paste recipe here. Overall, they taste great, but I have to knead it more. Thank you:)

    1. Yes, you are right!! Lumpy surface means you need more kneading next time. Thanks for the feedback. Happy cooking

    1. 300g of flour is a cup and a heaping 3/4 cup
      200g of bean paste filling is about a cup
      40g of sugar is a heaping tablespoon.

      I looked these conversions up online and tested them, but the conversions are not exact. However, they worked for me!

      A joy of cooking is looking at a recipe once, and then making something from ‘about’ measurements. Nothing has to be exact, but as long as the ingreddients are close it’s usually fine! I made bread with wine yeast once lol