This recipe for Steamed Taro Buns features a reliably soft and fluffy dough with a mashed homemade taro paste filling in the middle. The taro paste is slightly sweet with a nutty undertone.
What is taro?
Taro is a starchy root vegetable that often gets confused with ube or even purple sweet potato.
It's beige in colour, with purple flecks on the inside.
The exterior of the taro root is rough and brown in colour.
Why you'll love this recipe
If you're looking for a new way to enjoy Chinese-style steamed buns, these Taro Buns will fit the bill.
It contains a homemade mashed taro paste which is subtly sweet, nutty and delicious.
The buns contain only a few ingredients and are easy to make.
Ingredients you'll need
For the filling:
- taro paste: I made my own taro paste, but if you have access to a pre-made paste, you can use that too
For the buns:
- bao flour: is a special type of flour which lends a soft and light texture to the buns; if you can't find it, you can still use all-purpose flour
- active dry yeast: acts as a leavener for the buns
- granulated sugar: adds a little sweetness; you can use any sweetener you like
- baking powder: adds additional lift and fluffiness to the buns
How to make the buns
Make the Taro Paste first.
I recommend doing this the day before so the filling has a chance to chill in the fridge.
The dough is based on my Steamed Red Bean Paste Buns.
In a mixing bowl, combine together the flour and baking powder. Give it a quick whisk.
In a small bowl, add the warm water, sugar and yeast. Give it a stir and let the yeast activate and become bubbly.
Pour in the activated yeast mixture into the flour and knead until the dough forms.
Add in oil and continue to knead until smooth and elastic.
Cover the dough and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 10 equal portions.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a disc, slightly thinner around the edges and thicker in the middle (see Step 1 below).
Add a scoop of taro paste to the centre of the dough and pleat the dough to seal the filling (Step 2).
Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to transfer the paste to the buns to keep your hands clean.
Place the bun seam-side down on a piece of parchment paper (Step 3).
Repeat with the remainder.
Cover the buns and and let them rise in a warm location, until slightly puffy.
Place the buns into a steamer and steam over high heat for 12-15 minutes (Step 4). (Don't overcrowd the steamer. You may need to steam in batches).
Turn off the heat and let the buns remain in the steamer for 5 minutes. Do not open the lid at this time, or the buns may collapse.
Remove the steamer from the heat and crack the lid ajar to let the steam escape.
Once the steam has dissipated, open the lid and enjoy the buns immediately.
Substitutions & variations
If you don't have taro paste, you can substitute with mashed sweet potato, red bean paste, or lotus seed paste.
FAQs & troubleshooting
My buns collapsed!
There are a couple issues that could have happened:
1. It is possible that the buns may have overproofed by the time they got to the steamer.
Poke the dough and observe if it bounces back slowly -- that's a sign that the buns are ready to be steamed.
If the buns leave an indent, they're overproofed. Conversely, if the dough bounces back quickly, then it's not ready yet.
2. Also, once the buns have done steaming, be sure not to remove the lid right away.
Turn off the heat and let the buns rest.
3. Be careful while cracking the lid ajar, any steam/water that drips on the buns can cause the buns to collapse or have unsightly "dents."
4. Your filling could have too much moisture, which could cause the buns to collapse.
My buns appear yellow
If your buns are yellow, it may be the flour that you're using. Yellow buns will not affect taste, but you can try using a bleached bao flour if you're after white buns.
I don't have a bamboo steamer
For these buns, a bamboo steamer will yield the best results.
You can use a metal steamer, but line the lid with a cloth of some sort to help absorb condensation.
How to serve & store
Enjoy the buns fresh and hot from the steamer.
You can keep cooled buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Store the buns to the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
You can freeze the buns in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
How to reheat
To reheat the buns and retain their soft, fluffy texture, steam them over boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
I don't recommend microwaving the buns, unless you're in a pinch.
Other recipes you may like
You may also like these recipes:
Homemade Adzuki Red Bean Paste
Steamed Custard Buns (Lai Wong Bao)
If you try out this recipe, let me know! I love seeing your creations! Tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Steamed Taro Buns
- bamboo steamer
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 250 g bao flour or all-purpose flour
- 5 g baking powder
- 135 ml warm water
- 15 g granulated sugar
- 6 g active dry yeast
- 10 ml avocado oil or light vegetable oil
- 1 batch Homemade Taro Paste
- In a mixing bowl, combine together the flour and baking powder. Give it a quick whisk.
- In a small bowl, add in the warm water, sugar and yeast. Give it a stir and let the yeast activate and become bubbly.
- Pour in the activated yeast mixture into the flour and knead until the dough forms.
- Add in oil and continue to knead until smooth and elastic.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal portions.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a disc, slightly thinner around the edges and thicker in the middle.
- Add a scoop of taro paste to the centre of the dough and pleat the dough to seal the filling.
- Place the bun seam-side down on a piece of parchment paper.
- Repeat with the remainder.
- Cover the buns and and let them rise in a warm location, until slightly puffy.
- Place the buns into a steamer with boiling water (don't overcrowd) and steam over high heat for 12-15 minutes. Steam in batches if you need to.
- Turn off the heat and let the buns remain in the steamer for 5 minutes. Do not open the lid at this time, or the buns may collapse.
- Remove the steamer from the heat and crack the lid ajar to let the steam escape.
- Once the steam has dissipated, open the lid and enjoy the buns immediately.
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.
Kim | Give it Some Thyme
Love these pillowy clouds of deliciousness! The texture of the buns looks amazing and the filling sounds like something my gang will love. A must make!
Thank you Kim! They are indeed so light and fluffy! 🙂
I love steam buns and the taro filling is a great idea that I will certainly try it out the next time. I like the aroma of taro. Thank you Michelle!
That looks pillowy delicious! You just inspired me to make one.
These are impressive buns, Michelle. I love the subtle pink hue that taro makes in the filling. I bet it tastes great, too. My kids love steamed buns of any kind and they will devour them if offered.
David @ Spiced
Now that taro paste recipe makes a lot of sense - I see what you were up to there! 🙂 These taro buns sound fantastic, and I'm sure the homemade version tastes amazing - homemade is always better! I've always purchased frozen bao buns but I really want to try a homemade version now!
Yes, homemade bao buns are so easy to make! You'll have to give it a try 🙂 Thanks David!
Ben | Havocinthekitchen
Michelle, you keep surprising me with some unique ideas and sometimes even products that are new to me. I'm not familiar at all with taro (But when I googled it, yes I've certainly seen this root in the stores!) The buns look delicate too, so pillowy and light.
Thank you Ben! Yes, taro is more commonly used in Asian cuisine, but I'm glad that you're enjoying all the content! 🙂
Healthy World Cuisine
So beautiful! Taro buns are so delicious. Love that little nutty earthy flavor. Would you mind sharing the kind of bao flour brand you used? Would love to try your recipe. Some, already have yeast and such already in it. Did yours?
I use a bao flour that's sold in Canada -- it doesn't have yeast in it, but I suspect baking powder is already added to it. (However, they don't explicitly mention in the ingredient list). I took a picture of the bag and posted it here under one of the comments: https://www.siftandsimmer.com/matcha-mantou/
OMG I am in taro bun heaven. These look amazing!!
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
Oh my, these buns are so good. Steamed to perfection and so fluffy and delicious!
Love how thick and fluffy these are! My mom and I enjoyed them a lot.
Glad to hear you enjoyed the buns! Thanks Tara!
These look amazing and so delicious! I can't wait to make these! So excited to try these out!
Thanks Beth! Hope you enjoy!
I haven't used taro often in cooking, but I love to try new vegetables! Steamed buns are some of my favorite, and can't wait to give them a try with taro!
Do you steam these over high or medium heat?
Hi Janet, these buns are steamed at high heat.