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Korean Steamed Buns Recipe

My daughter Amy and I can nearly wipe out the entire batch of these Korean steamed buns in one sitting. They are so delicious, and although a tiny bit time consuming, they are not at all difficult to prepare. Experiment with different seasonings, vegetables and meats until you find your own favorite combination. These stuffed and steamed buns can be served as an appetizer or main dish.

Adapted from‘s steamed pork buns.

Prep: 15 minutes | Dough rise/rest : 2 hours | Steam: 20 minutes | Yield: 16 buns

Steamed Buns



  • 1 package of dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup warm water (110° F)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar + 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups of flour, may need a bit more if dough is sticky


  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 4 cups of cabbage, grated (use Napa cabbage for more traditional Korean flavor, but regular cabbage works as well)
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound of ground beef or pork
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Items Needed

  • 16 paper cupcake liners
  • 1 large steamer rack


  1. Mix together the yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, and one teaspoon of sugar. Set aside for about 10-15 minutes for the yeast foam and expand. Mix in the remaining 3/4 cup of war water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking soda, salt and vegetable oil. Add flour and mix until combined. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes, adding more flour if dough is sticky.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double, about an hour.
  3. After dough has doubled, punch it down and knead it again for 1 minute. Cover and allow dough to rest and rise for 30 minutes. Prepare the filling while dough is resting.
  4. Place vegetables for filling in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water with cheesecloth for best results. Return to bowl and mix in garlic, ginger, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes.
  5. Heat oil in heavy skillet and saute the vegetables for 3 minutes. Return filling to bowl and add ground beef or pork to saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until brown and crumbly. Mix into the sauteed vegetables and set aside.
  6. Separate the dough out into 16 balls. Work with one dough ball at a time, keeping the others covered with a clean dish towel to prevent the dough from drying out.
  7. Flour a work surface and roll out a dough ball to a 4-inch disk. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the filling to the center of the disk.

    Add filling
    Work around the edges of the dough ball lifting and pinching together to seal the dough over the filling.

    Pinch around edges

    Pinch pinched edges together

    Place the sealed bun in a paper cupcake liner.

    Seal bun
    Repeat with remaining dough balls, keeping the assembled buns covered.

  8. Place the buns on a large steamer rack. Make sure the buns are not touching since they will expand during the steaming process. Add about 6 cups of water to the bottom of the steamer. NOTE: If you don’t own an steamer, crumble several large pieces of heavy duty foil and place the crumbled pieces in a large roasting pan. Pour 6 cups of water into the pan and make sure the top of the foil is at least an inch above the water. Place the buns on top of the foil and cover the pan.

    Makeshift steamer

  9. Allow the buns to rest for 20 minutes. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Steam the buns for 20 minutes. When buns are finished steaming, remove the lid from the saucepan and allow the buns to cool a bit before removing from pan.

Serve with soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or your favorite Asian dipping sauce, if desired.

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