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steamed fluffy soft chinese custard buns in bamboo steamer
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Custard Baozi

These vegan, gluten-free Custard Baozi are insanely fluffy – literally like eating sweet clouds! These steamed Chinese buns are so versatile because not only can you choose what to fill them with but you could have them for every meal of the day filled with sweet or savoury ingredients.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Proving and resting2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: bread, buns, eggless, gluten-free, plant-based, vegan
Servings: 20 buns
Calories: 199kcal
Author: Reena Sharma



  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and mashed
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 400 ml coconut milk 1 can
  • 100 ml plant milk
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter melted or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp agar agar powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 500 g plain flour / gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 90 g tapioca starch
  • 375 ml plant milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil


  • First start with the dough by adding the yeast to the warmed plant milk and leave for 5-10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add flour and tapioca starch and mix.
  • Add milk, maple syrup and rapeseed oil to the flour and mix briefly with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
  • Transfer to a surface dusted with flour and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Place back in bowl and cover loosely with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1 ½ hours.
  • In the mean time, prepare custard by making a paste with the plant milk and cornstarch.
  • Pour into a saucepan along with turmeric, coconut milk, vanilla extract, melted vegan butter, maple syrup and agar agar.
  • Bring to a simmer, around 10 minutes, whilst stirring continuously to avoid any lumps then remove from the heat.
  • Fold in the mashed potato and make into a mushy dough then leave to chill in the freezer for 30 minutes (or fridge for 1.5 hours).
  • When the dough has proved, knead another 3 minutes then break into 20 pieces and shape into balls.
  • Roll each ball out using a rolling pin until around 7cm in diameter.
  • Place into palm of hand then add heaped tbsp of chilled custard into centre.
  • Gather the dough so that all ends meet at the top of the custard and pinch tightly to seal.
  • Place on baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, cover loosely with clingfilm and allow filled buns to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Place in steamer (ensure they do not come into contact with water), leaving a space of around 5cm between each bun.
  • Steam for 10 minutes then cool down for 2 minutes before serving.


  • The filling for the bun can be sweet or savoury – typical fillings include red bean paste, pickled vegetables, cabbage or tofu (minced pork is also a traditional filling). Usually with savoury fillings, the pleated side is face-up rather than face down and has a small hole in the top as it is twisted and sealed using a different technique.
  • The flour used for the dough can be gluten-free – just ensure the flour mix contains xantham gum or you may need to add some.
  • Sugar can be used instead of maple syrup.
  • Either vegan butter or coconut oil can be used.
  • Coconut milk or plant milk can be subbed or used in different quantities- if adding more plant milk compared to coconut milk, add a little more constarch as it is much less creamy and thinner than coconut milk.
  • White potato can be used instead of sweet potato as it is used simply for textural purposes, though the colour of the filling will be less vibrant.
  • Constarch can be replaced with other types of starch such as cassava, tapioca or potato starches.
  • Rapeseed oil can be replaced with vegan butter or coconut oil.


Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1777IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg