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+ servings

Coconut Buns (Chinese Cocktail Buns)

A recipe for a Chinese bakery classic: Soft and sweet coconut-filled buns that will keep you coming back for more.
Course Breakfast, Dim Sum, Snack
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 322kcal
Author Michelle | Sift & Simmer


Coconut Filling:

  • 100 g dried coconut flakes
  • 80 g beaten egg
  • 80 g granulated sugar
  • 40 g unsalted butter room temp
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut extract
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 20 g matcha if using

Bun Dough:


    • 25 g bread flour (or all-purpose)
    • 120 ml water


    • 120 ml coconut milk or whole milk, warmed
    • 5 g active dry yeast
    • 330 g all-purpose flour
    • 40 g granulated cane sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 large egg + extra for egg wash
    • 40 ml avocado oil or vegetable oil

    Butter Topping:

    • 35 g salted butter room temp
    • 25 g cake flour
    • 15 g powdered sugar


    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    Sugar Glaze:

    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1 tablespoon granulated cane sugar


    Make the coconut filling:

    • Add the coconut flakes to a coffee grinder and blitz a few times, until it's ground up. (Be careful not to over pulse).
    • Combine the coconut flakes with the beaten egg, sugar, butter, coconut and vanilla extract.
    • If making a matcha version: add matcha powder to the coconut flakes, egg, sugar, butter, coconut and vanilla extract.
    • Give the mixture a stir to combine, and then cover with a lid.
    • Place into the fridge to firm up, about 20-30 minutes.
    • Divide the filling into 12 equal portions.

    Make the bun dough:

    • First, make the tangzhong by combining 25g flour and 120ml water in a small saucepan.
    • Bring a low simmer over medium heat and constantly whisk until the mixture becomes gluey and paste-like.
    • Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
    • In a bowl, combine the warm coconut milk with the active dry yeast and let it foam up and become bubbly.
    • In a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, sugar, salt, egg, oil, tangzhong and the yeast mixture and knead until the dough becomes shiny and elastic.
    • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it double in size in a warm location.

    Make the butter topping:

    • Combine the butter, cake flour, and powdered sugar in a small bowl and give it a mix.
    • Transfer the mixture into a small piping bag, fitted with a round tip.
    • Place it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes if the butter mixture oozes a bit and is too warm.
    • Note: If you don’t have salted butter, you can use unsalted butter, just add a little pinch of salt.

    Assemble the buns:

    • Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 12 equal portions.
    • Roll the dough out into a long oval about 6″ in length and 2″ wide.
    • Place a portion of coconut filling along the centre of the dough, leaving a small border on each side.
    • Pinch the long edge seam together and tuck in the ends.
    • Place the buns seam-side down on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper.
    • Repeat with the remainder.
    • Cover the buns with a slightly damp cloth and let them rise in a warm location, until slightly puffy.

    Bake the buns:

    • Preheat oven to 350°F.
    • Once the buns have risen, make an egg wash by beating 1 egg in a small bowl.
    • Lightly brush the tops of the buns with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
    • Squeeze two “lines” of butter topping (about 1″ from both the top and bottom edges) on the buns.
    • Bake the buns at 350°F for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden in colour.

    Make the sugar glaze:

    • Combine 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
    • Remove the buns from the oven and use a clean pastry brush to brush the top of each bun with the sugar glaze.
    • Turn off the oven and pop the buns back into the oven for 1-2 minutes to set the sugar glaze.
    • Remove the buns from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool.
    • Enjoy the freshly made buns.


    Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 2mg