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These super fluffy steamed bao buns are stuffed with tender sweet potato and infused with aromatics like lemongrass, shallot, garlic, and chili. It’s packed with umami, easy to prepare, and extra delicious!

Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)

📘 What are Bao Buns

Baozi in Chinese, or Bánh bao in Vietnamese, are steamed buns stuffed with a sweet or salty filling. These buns first appeared in China during the Three Kingdoms period, but they are now available in most Asian countries. Bao buns are often served warm as street food, making it the perfect portable meal!

There are thousands of different types of bao; this recipe is definitely not authentic but super delicious! If you are looking for open-faced bao buns, check out these Tofu Bao with Kale Pesto!

Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)

🥣 How to Make Bao Buns


First, we start by preparing the dough. Mix flour, yeast, sugar, salt, oil, and water until it forms a dough. You want to use bao flour for this recipe. This flour is more refined and contains tapioca starch as well as baking powder, resulting in a fluffier texture and a whiter color. Regular flour could be used, but be aware that the buns won’t be as light and will have a yellow color.

Once the dough is ready, let it proof for about one and a half hours. In the meantime, let’s prepare the filling!

Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)


Sauté aromatics like minced lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and chili. Next, add thinly sliced shiitakes and black mushrooms, and finally, shredded sweet potato. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.

To season, I went with soy sauce, sugar, and ground black pepper. Feel free to add your favorite spices!

Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)

Wrapping the buns

The final step is the wrapping and steaming:

  1. Flatten a ball of dough into a thin circle, about 1/2-inch in thickness.
  2. Place 3 tablespoons of the sweet potato filling in the center, and wrap the dough around the filling tightly. I recommend checking out this video if you want to see what the process looks like.
  3. Steam the buns for about 20 minutes and enjoy warm! The bun is almost as tender as a brioche, and the filling is salty/sweet, spicy, and super moist!
Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)


Can I use white sweet potato for this recipe?

Yes, both types of sweet potatoes will work.

How long do these buns keep?

Buns will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Keep them wrapped in plastic film or in a container.

How to reheat the buns?

The best way to reheat those buns is by steaming them for 5-10 minutes in a bamboo steamer basket. Steaming will keep the buns moist and tender.

These sweet potato buns are perfect for lunch but also make a delicious weeknight dinner. You can also make smaller buns to serve as appetizers!

Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)
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Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)

Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Bao)

5 from 9 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Soft and fluffy bao filled with shredded sweet potato, mushrooms, lemongrass, shallots, and chili. Moist on the inside and packed with flavor!
Prep Time : 30 minutes
Resting Time : 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time : 2 hours
Servings 8 buns
Calories 191 kcal


Bamboo Steamer



  • 1 and 1/2 cup bao flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 tbsp minced lemongrass
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1/4 tsp chopped red chili (optional, only if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tbsp dry wood ear mushrooms soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 dry shiitakes soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1 medium sweet potato shredded and then cut into 1/2-inch shreds
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper or more to taste



  • Add the bao flour, water, sugar, oil, dry yeast, and salt to a mixing bowl. Knead until it forms a smooth dough, about 5 minutes. Cover with a clean wet cloth and let it proof in a warm place for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until it has almost doubled in size. In the meantime, prepare the filling.


  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced shallot, lemongrass, garlic, green onions, and chili if using. Sauté for about 2 minutes.
  • Drain and finely cut the shiitakes and black mushrooms and add to the skillet. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the shredded sweet potato and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.
  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, water, cornstarch, sugar, and black pepper. Add to the skillet and stir to coat. Cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and let cool for about 15 minutes. Scoop out about 3 tbsp of the sweet potato filling and squeeze it into a ball using your hands (you can also use a cookie scoop to make it easier). Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining filling.
  • Punch the dough down and divide it into 8 balls (6 if you want larger buns). Cover with plastic film to prevent them from drying. Take one ball and flatten it into a circle of about 4-inch diameter. Place the sweet potato filling in the middle of the dough and wrap the dough around it. Check out this video to get an idea of how to wrap it. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and place your bamboo steamer over it. Depending on the size of your steamer, place 3-4 buns inside, leaving about 2 inches between each (they will rise). Steam for 17-20 minutes. Remove from heat and repeat with the remaining buns.
  • Enjoy warm or at room temperature! These buns will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the steamer for 7-10 minutes.


YouTube video


Serving: 1 bun | Calories: 191 kcal | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 3.5 g | Fat: 5.2 g | Fiber: 2.3 g | Sugar: 7.1 g
Course : Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine : Asian
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
Great recipe! Looks delicious. I will try it as soon as I get hold of the Bao flour. Thank you Thomas!

Hi Thomas
Another amazing recipe, thank you so much for sharing it!
Could you do these buns gluten free?

OMG, bao is one of my favorite dim sum. They’re as fluffy as marshmallows and the filling makes them heavenly.

Never heard of the sweet potato filling before (in my area they’re only filled with bbq pork). Neither did I know one could actually buy bao flour.

Now my order is in, and I can’t wait to cook this recipe.

Thank you!

5 stars
OK, the bao flour arrived, and the day came to try making the bao.

Since I don’t normally work with wheat flour (i.e. don’t do much baking), I wasn’t too sure where it would all end up.

The instructions on the package were slightly different than in the recipe above, so I tried to go halfway between both.

Although the rounds I made for each bao were pretty mushy, I managed to get them filled and popped them right into the steamer. Following what I have seen at local dim sum houses, and also recommended on the flour package, I put each bao onto a small piece of parchment paper, to keep them from sticking to the steamer.

Long story short – they turned out perfectly – I couldn’t believe it! LOL Will also mention that I only have two left of the eight made, after the first day. Some for friends, a lot for me, and two more to go! Plus, I had bought several packs of the flour, so am already envisioning the next time.

Thank you!

5 stars
Great recipe!! Thank you!!

5 stars
OMG, these are so much fun to make and absolutely delicious! Thank you for the great recipe, Thomas! I can’t wait to try other fillings.

5 stars
Thank you so much for sharing all these amazing recipes.
Just wanted to ask which replacements you would suggest for the bao flower and the wood ear mushrooms as I can’t seem to find them anywhere around here.
Thank you again

5 stars
Great recipe. I used regular flour and I don’t know if that’s the reason but the Dough was too sticky/wet. so I had to add more. Also, I used a bit more shrooms and shallot just because of personal preferences. The color was indeed a bit off, but it still turned out amazing! Will definitely make it again 🙂

5 stars
This recipe looks wonderful. My question is can I use Quick Rise Instant Yeast instead of regular dry yeast with this recipe? If so, how much of it do I use? Thanks

5 stars
Thanks for getting back to me so fast. I will wait until I get dry yeast to make this dish. I don’t want to risk messing it up. My other question is could I use a digital glass steamer instead of a bamboo steamer? I also have a multipurpose rice cooker that I use for steaming vegetables sometimes. Would that be something I could use as well? I do not have a bamboo steamer. Thanks again,

5 stars
This is a wonderful lunch! Very soft, fluffy and delicious. Like one of your fans said, the parchment paper does help for the buns not to stick when you are steaming, especially if you are using a steamer that is not bamboo.