Cottony soft, Chinese steamed buns are easy to make

This cottony soft and fluffy Chinese steamed buns or mantou is super easy to make and 100% fail-proof.

This recipe for cottony soft and fluffy Chinese steamed buns or mantou is super easy to make and 100% fail-proof, with only 20 minutes active time required.

While you can buy mantou buns from grocery stores or restaurants, they are easy enough to make at home.

Freezing the buns is not recommended but they will certainly keep in the refrigerator. Simply pack the leftovers in a sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge for up to a week.

To serve, just reheat in a steamer or microwave for one minute.

How to make Chinese steamed buns whiter?

Just add one teaspoon of Chinese white vinegar to the water inside your steamer before steaming. It will make the buns extra white in appearance.

While freezing is not recommended, you can pack leftovers in a sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge for up to a week.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 350 g all-purpose flour


  • Add the milk, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer attached with a dough hook. Stir the mixture with a pair of chopsticks or a spoon.
  • Add the flour to the yeast mixture. Turn on speed 1 and knead the ingredients until it forms a smooth dough, about six minutes. If the dough starts to “climb up” the dough hook, stop the stand mixer and push the dough down to the bowl.
  • Transfer the dough out and cover it with plastic wrap and let rest for five minutes.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, from bottom to top.
  • Turn the dough horizontally and roll from bottom to top.
  • Roll up the dough into a log, from left to right. Make sure you tuck and roll the dough so it forms a tight log.
  • Roll out the log a few times or until the surface looks smooth and reaches 30 cm in length.
  • Cut the dough into eight equal-size pieces using a sharp knife. Transfer each dough to a 7 x 10 cm parchment paper. You may roll the dough into a round ball after cutting.
  • Place the dough into a steamer. Cover the lid of the steamer and let it rise for 60 minutes, or until the dough expands in size. Make sure you leave enough space between each piece so they don’t stick together.
  • Add water to the bottom of the steamer. You may add one teaspoon of Chinese white vinegar to make the steamed buns achieve a whiter colour. Cover the lid tightly.
  • Turn on high heat and steam for 10-12 minutes, or until the dough expands to soft, puffy and fluffy steamed buns.
  • Turn off the heat and serve the steamed buns warm. Dip with condensed milk if you like sweet steamed buns.


  • Use metric measurements for the flour.
  • You may use whole milk, low-fat milk or skim milk. You can replace milk with water or soy milk. For the best flavours, you may use 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream plus half cup full cream milk.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand, for 15-20 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth on the surface.
  • If the dough is still sticky after kneading for six minutes, you may add one to two tablespoons of flour to bind the dough.
  • If you don’t have a steamer, you may steam the buns using any pan or skillet. First, add water to the pan or skillet, then add a small bowl.
  • Next, add a plate at the base of the bowl. You can place the steamed buns on the plate, cover the pan or skillet with its lid and steam it.

For the original recipe go to Rasa Malaysia.

Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.