These Chinese Curry Beef Buns are packed with curried ground beef, cooked with a mixture of spices, onions and garlic. The curry beef is stuffed into a soft and tender yeasted dough, and is glazed with a sugar syrup for the ultimate balance in flavour.
One of my ultimate favourite savoury buns to eat is Chinese Curry Beef Buns.
They have to be meaty, curry beef buns, filled with lots of aromatics.
Confession time: While I was in University, I would make the trek to West Edmonton Mall and grab a Curry Beef Bun from T&T for lunch.
Not only was it cheap, but it was tasty, filling, and super convenient since I could do my grocery shopping right afterward.
What are Chinese Curry Beef Buns?
Chinese Curry Beef Buns are a baked bun filled with a savoury and slightly sweet curry beef filling.
You can find them in Chinese bakeries, along side BBQ pork char siu buns, pork floss buns, egg tarts, and roll cakes.
These Curry Beef Buns are full of curry spice and flavour -- I don't skimp on the curry powder in these buns!
What is curry?
Curry usually refers to a dish (from India) with a complex blend of spices usually including turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, curry leaves and chili.
The easiest way to get this flavourful blend of spices is to use a curry powder.
Curry powders are available in the ethnic aisle of large grocery stores and Asian supermarkets.
Is curry powder spicy?
Different curry powders will have different flavours, as each blend will contain various amounts of each spice.
That said, some curry powders can be spicy. Others can be mild.
You may need to sample different brands to find one that you like.
Is garam masala the same as curry powder?
No. Garam masala is another blend of spices that usually includes cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Ingredients in the curry beef filling
The curry beef filling consists of:
- ground beef: I prefer using lean ground beef, but you can use lean or regular ground beef for these buns. Alternatively, you can use ground bison as well.
- white onion: finely diced, adds sweetness and sharpness to the beef curry
- fresh garlic: finely minced; flavours the beef
- curry powder: I love strong flavours in my food, so I use quite a bit of curry powder in these buns. Keep in mind various curry powders have different blends of spices and heat levels, so find one that you enjoy. [I use a Malaysian Madras curry powder].
- beef stock: add a good splash to deglaze the pot (scrape off any brown bits stuck to the pot) and add a little moisture into the filling.
- granulated sugar: adds a little sweetness to to balance the curry
- sea salt: gives the beef a savoury flavour
- soy sauce: seasons the ground beef; I use a light soy sauce
How to make the curry beef filling
The curry beef filling is best made ahead of time.
This gives the filling a chance to cool down, and then you can easily portion them into balls.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat.
Add in the ground beef and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon.
Sauté until the beef releases some oil, about 2-3 minutes (if you use regular, you may need to blot excess grease with a paper towel).
Lower the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic to the beef and continue to sauté until onions soften and aromatic, another 4-5 minutes.
Season the meat with salt and sugar.
Add in the curry powder and stir to coat the beef, cooking for 1-2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium low.
Pour in ¼ C beef stock and scrape off any brown bits stuck to the pot.
Add in the soy sauce. Stir to incorporate the mixture.
Give it a taste and adjust to your preference.
Remove the beef mixture from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool down.
Once cooled, use a large ice cream scoop to portion out the filling onto a plate.
Cover the plate with plastic wrap and place into the fridge to chill for at least 1-2 hours.
How to make the dough for the buns
First, make the tangzhong (this is a water-flour roux mixture that helps to keep the buns nice and soft):
In a small saucepot, add in flour and water.
Whisk over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes, until thickened, like a paste. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Make the dough:
Pour the warmed milk into a bowl, add in the sugar and yeast.
Give it a stir and let the yeast activate and bubble.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add in the flour, about 75% of the egg (remember to save some for the eggwash later), oil and sea salt.
Start the mixer on low and pour in the activated yeast and milk. Add in the cooled tangzhong.
Knead until the dough starts to come together and forms a smooth and shiny ball, about 7-8 minutes of kneading.
Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm location and let the dough double in size (approximately 60-90 mins, depending on how warm your kitchen is).
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen, deflate the dough and divide into equal portions, about 65g each.
How to make curry beef buns
Roll each portion of dough with a rolling pin into a circle about 5" in diameter, leaving the centre slightly raised and the edges thinner.
Using the ice cream scoop, transfer the portioned curry beef filling (about 55-60g) to the centre of the dough and gather the dough up around the filling, pinching the seams.
Shape the bun, gently flatten it a little and place onto the baking sheet and repeat with the remainder.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise until slightly puffy, about 20-30 minutes.
Brush the tops of each bun with the leftover beaten egg. Add a little black sesame seeds to the centre of the bun.
Bake at 375°F for 15-16 minutes, until golden in colour.
Make the sugar glaze:
In a small bowl, add in the sugar and hot water to make the glaze. Once the buns are done baking, remove from the oven and
brush with the sugar glaze. Turn the oven off and place the buns back into the oven for 2 minutes.
Remove the buns and let cool. Best served warm and fresh.
Tips & troubleshooting
- To make filling the buns easier, make sure to chill the curry beef filling first.
- Use a large ice cream scoop to form/shape the chilled filling into a mound, so it doesn't spill out. It will be trickier to do this using a tablespoon.
- Roll the dough out to a diameter of about 5-6", that way you'll have enough space to gather the edges together.
- To check when the dough is done proofing (rising), poke a small indentation on the side of the bun. If the dough:
- bounces back quickly, then it needs a little more time.
- fills back in slowly, it's ready for the oven.
- indentation stays, it might be overproofed. Time to get it into the oven pronto!
- Don't overbake the buns. The residual heat will continue to cook the buns while the cool off.
How to store the curry beef buns
Store cooled buns in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
These Curry Beef Buns also freeze beautifully. Just place them into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to reheat the buns
Reheat the buns by microwaving them for about 30 seconds, until warm.
If reheating from frozen, microwave for about 1 minute, until piping hot.
Substitution for vegans
If you're vegan, you can simply substitute the ground beef with a meatless/plant-based alternative.
Other recipes you may like
These Curry Beef Buns are soft, filling, and full of aromatic spices from the curry powder. They're savoury and slightly sweet, and jam packed with delicious curried beef. Skip the Chinese bakery and make them at home!
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Chinese Curry Beef Buns
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
Curry Beef Filling:
- 300 g lean ground beef
- 1 large white onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ¼ C beef stock
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoon water
- 90 ml whole milk lukewarm
- 5 g granulated cane sugar
- 3 g active dry yeast
- 280 g all-purpose flour
- 40 g beaten egg save the remaining for egg wash
- 15 ml avocado oil or a light vegetable oil
- 3 g sea salt
- leftover beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds optional
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon hot water
Make the curry beef filling:
- Heat a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add in the ground beef and break it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Sauté until the beef releases some oil, about 2-3 minutes (if you use regular, you may need to blot excess grease with a paper towel).
- Lower the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic to the beef and continue to sauté until onions soften and aromatic, another 4-5 minutes.
- Season the meat with salt and sugar.
- Add in the curry powder and stir to coat the beef, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Add in the soy sauce. Stir to incorporate the mixture.
- Pour in ¼ C beef stock and scrape off any brown bits stuck to the pot.
- Give it a taste and adjust to your preference.
- Remove the beef mixture from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool down.
- Once cooled, use a large ice cream scoop to portion out the filling (8) onto a plate.
- Cover the plate with plastic wrap and place into the fridge to chill for at least 1-2 hours.
Make the tangzhong:
- In a small saucepot, add in flour and water.
- Whisk over low-medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, until thickened, like a paste. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Make the dough:
- Pour the warmed milk into a bowl, add in the sugar and yeast.
- Give it a stir and let the yeast activate and bubble.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add in the flour, 40g egg (remember to save some for the eggwash later), oil and sea salt.
- Start the mixer on low and pour in the activated yeast and milk. Add in the cooled tangzhong.
- Knead until the dough starts to come together and forms a smooth and shiny ball, about 7-8 minutes of kneading.
- Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm location and let the dough double in size (approximately 60-90 mins, depending on how warm your kitchen is).
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Once the dough has risen, deflate the dough and divide into equal portions, about 65g each.
- Roll each portion of dough with a rolling pin into a circle about 5" in diameter, leaving the centre slightly raised and the edges thinner.
- Using the ice cream scoop, transfer the portioned curry beef filling (appx 55-60g) to the centre of the dough and carefully gather the dough up around the filling, pinching the seams. Note: The amount of filling is quite a bit for the dough but it will all fit. You can also decrease the amount of filling to make more room to work with the dough.
- Shape the bun, gently flatten it a little and place onto the baking sheet and repeat with the remainder.
- Preheat oven to 375°F/191°C.
- Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap and leave to rise until slightly puffy, about 20-30 minutes. Note: You'll know the buns are perfectly proofed when you make a little indentation and it slowly fills back in. If the fills back in quickly, give it a little more time.
- Brush the tops of each bun with the leftover beaten egg. Add a little black sesame seeds to the centre of the bun.
- Bake at 375°F/191°C for 15-16 minutes, until lightly golden in colour, or until the dough reaches an internal temperature of 190°F/88°C.
Make the sugar glaze:
- In a small bowl, add in the sugar and hot water and stir together to make a syrup.
- Once the buns are done baking, remove them from the oven and brush the tops of the buns with the sugar syrup.
- Turn the oven off and place the buns back into the oven for 2 more minutes.
- Remove the buns and let cool slightly. Best served warm and fresh.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
These little buns were so easy to make and turned out soft and perfect! My family loved them!
Thanks for trying the recipe, Anjali 🙂
I love curry buns. I usually buy them from local bakery stores. I think I am going to try this with chicken.
Thanks Rika, these taste just like the local bakery, but with more filling! 😉
Wow I've never had Chinese curry beef buns but they look fantastic. Planning to give them a go this weekend. I'm not good at making bread but these don't sound too difficult! Your step by step instructions seem easy to follow.
Thanks Jacqueline! 🙂
Alice | SkinnySpatula
This is such a lovely idea. Never thought about using curry beef in little buns, but I'll definitely give it a try!
Thanks Alice, hope you enjoy! 🙂
David @ Spiced
This recipe is totally calling my name right now! I love cooking with ground beef, and the curry flavoring here sounds delicious. Plus, stuffing that filling inside of buns gives me the chance to do some baking, too - that's always one of my favorite kitchen activities! I'm all in on this one!
Yes, you'd definitely love the flavours David! 🙂
I love the look of these Chinese curry buns. Can't wait to try them out, you mentioned garam masala, this is the curry powder I have picked up, will it work ok or should I use another?
Hi Kay, garam masala is a specific blend of a few spices, whereas curry powder is a more "all-purpose" seasoning powder. For these buns, I suggest using a curry powder rather than just garam masala on its own. Hope that helps!
Kim | Give it Some Thyme
These buns look soooo delicious with the tender dough and that super flavorful filling. We love curry so this recipe is definitely going on the to-make list! Thanks for sharing, Michelle!
Thanks Kim! 🙂
These look so delicious and easy to make! I’ve never made Japanese curry (though I have made stuffed buns) but my daughter loves it makes it for herself with some ready made bullion that has gluten. But your recipe seems easily adaptable. I’ll have to try it soon as I know I can.
Thank you Balvinder! These buns are made with a Chinese curry powder (rather than the Japanese ready-made curry cubes), so the curry powder shouldn't contain any gluten. Hope you give them a try! 🙂
The curry beef sounds amazing stuffed inside those succulent buns! YUM!
It's one of my ultimate favourite buns, thanks Kim! 🙂
Yum! I love how flavorful these buns are! Will be trying them soon.
Elizabeth Gray Quan
This is our first time making a stuffed bun. We made the filling yesterday and the dough is rising right now. Very shortly we will be dividing it up and filling the buns. We are excited for the final product.
I have seen the method of cooking flour and water in some Chinese cooking shows but I've never tried it before so that was really an interesting addition.
Thanks for trying out the recipe, Elizabeth! Hope it turned out well for you 🙂
Ben | Havocinthekitchen
I have never heard of or tried Chinese Curry Beef Buns. Probably because I am not a huge fun of spicy things like curry. Probably because we don't have West Edmonton Mall close by lol. But I must admit these buns look and sound wonderful; beautiful dough too. I think with some mild curry, I will love these.
Yes, you can definitely use a mild curry to make these buns -- thanks Ben! 🙂
I love anything with curry, hot and spicy.
I bought some of these recently at a local eatery and they were fabulous. I'm super excited to try making them at home! Bookmarking!
Definitely worth bookmarking! I always buy two of these at a local bakeshop back in the day, it's hard to find it where I am now which is why I'm happy that you shared this. Thank you!
I made these buns for dinner last night, and my husband and I loved them!! Your detailed instructions for the buns were super helpful. Thanks for the recipe!
I love Chinese buns and so excited to get to make these at home. The curry beef filling sounds amazing!
A flavorful little bun that is perfect for on the go! Love this!
Thanks for so much detailing to this recipe. Love to surely give it a try. This looks so delicious and inviting.
Tried this the other day and they turned out great! I did replaced regular milk with hemp milk for the dough due to availability, and as far as I can tell, it's still fluffy and nice! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Amazing, thank you for making the recipe and for your feedback! Glad the non-dairy milk worked out for you 🙂
Alison Saalbach Corey
Yummy and healthy! I love how flavorful these buns are! Thanks for sharing this Michelle!
Super yummy beef buns! And the spice blend was just perfect. Will make it again.
Thanks for giving the recipe a try, Sharon!
These look so good. My family loves buns like this so I'm making them on my next Asian evening.
I love various types of Chinese Buns, but never tried one with a beef curry! These were absolutely delicious, and I loved making them completely from scratch! Delicious and filling, and tasty served warm and cold!
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, Ieva! Glad you loved it!
These were SO good. Really light and fluffy, and a lot of flavour.
Happy to hear it, Dannii! Thanks for the comment!