Here's a soft and perfectly fluffy sweet potato steamed buns recipe that's healthy and vegan-friendly. The addition of cooked mashed potato contributes to this amazing beautiful orange color and subtle earthy sweetness.
Why I love this Recipe
- Soft and fluffy
- Easy to make if you have a stand mixer
- No eggs, no milk, no dairy needed!
- Healthy way to incorporate sweet potatoes into bread
Ingredients Used to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Steamed Buns
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Bread Flour - I used bread flour for this recipe (I use King Arthur Bread Flour most), which I prefer and highly recommend for the best texture and structure. Please read the note on the substitution section below if using other flours.
- Instant Yeast - you can find instant yeast in the baking section near the flours. My favorite is SAF Instant Premium Yeast, which works quickly and consistently produces great results. I recommend using instant yeast over active yeast for this recipe since active yeast (unlike instant yeast) needs to be activated in water, which we don't add until the very end.
- Sugar - I used raw cane sugar, but you can use regular granulated white sugar, or healthier alternatives like coconut, date, or maple sugars which are less processed and more natural. I also sometimes like to use honey powder.
- For yeasted breads, I would not recommend using sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener or stevia powder since they can cause the bread to not rise properly. If you prefer a lower sugar recipe, you're welcome to leave out the sugar. The bread might taste slightly plain, but it will not significantly impact the shape or texture of the bread.
- Salt - Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Baking Powder - helps to puff up the dough during the steaming process.
- Sweet Potato – You’ll need mashed sweet potatoes for this recipe. You can steam, bake or boil them until soft but here’s the easy method: Wash and wrap a whole sweet potato in a microwave-safe silicone bag (like this one) or in a plastic wrap, then microwave on high for 6-7 minutes (or more depending on the size of the potato). You can make sure it’s cooked by sticking a fork or toothpick into the center. Let them cool somewhat before handling and mash it with a fork.
- Olive Oil - I like using light olive oil since it has a neutral flavor, but you can also any cooking oil of your choice like coconut oil, or avocado oil instead
- I used a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. You're also welcome to use a bread machine, or knead the dough by hand.
More Sweet Potato Recipes (HERE)
What I Used for the Filling
- Sweetened Red Bean Paste (a.k.a. Koshi An): You can find Sweetened Red Bean paste in most Asian grocery stores, and online (Amazon). There are Fine and Coarse kinds (I used coarse).
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Healthy Sweet Potato Steamed Buns
Cook and mash sweet potatoes.
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Add the mashed sweet potato and 2 Tbsp of water to the dry ingredients.
NOTE: If using purple sweet potato or Asian sweet potatoes, more water will be needed since these varieties have lower water content.
Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute, until all the ingredients are mostly combined.
Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.
It's best if the bowl is put in a warm place, for example, inside an oven that's been preheated for just a quick 10 seconds and spritzed with some water. Or, inside a microwave with a cup filled with hot water (as pictured)
When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and divide into 10-12 pieces.
Prepare filling by scooping sweet red bean paste using a cookie or ice cream scoop.
Wrap the dough pieces around prepared filling (savory fillings are also ok), and place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the buns to the steaming pan
Steam for 15 minutes
Gently remove from steamer pan with a spatula (tongs are not recommended since they ruin the shape of the buns).
Serve when warm. Enjoy!
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- Use other varieties of sweet potato! NOTE: If using purple sweet potato or Asian sweet potatoes, more water will be needed since these varieties have lower water content.
- Add color to the buns - matcha powder, food coloring, etc!
- Other than coloring you can also add different flavorings to the dough before cooking. For example, you can add either a teaspoon of coffee extract or espresso powder, cocoa, cinnamon or Cardamom Powder. They're not typically added in a traditional recipe, but you're welcome to experiment!
Different Filling Options
If you want to enjoy these steamed buns with a variety of fillings, there are many fun and delicious filling options to choose from. Here are some ideas!
- Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) – on Amazon, here, or here's a Shortcut White Bean Paste Recipe I make when I’ve run out of Shiro An
- Mung Bean paste - sweet and delightfully yellow, homemade mung bean paste is a perfect mochi filling for those who are looking for a healthier bean paste alternative. Here's my 2-Ingredient mung bean paste recipe here
How to Store
- These steamed buns can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or in the fridge inside an airtight container for 3-5 days.
- For longer storage, place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe.
- While bread flour is highly recommended, all-purpose flour can be used instead with 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten for every cup of flour.
- Weigh your flour for the best results. 1 cup of bread flour = 120 grams / 4.23 oz. This is recommended since scooping the flour directly from the bag can can pack the flour into the measuring cup, and this means you’ll end up with more flour than what’s called for in the recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can measure the flour by spooning pre-sifted flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight end of the spoon to level the flour across the top to sweep off the excess.
- To make this recipe in the bread machine: add all the dry ingredients into the machine, stir briefly before adding the wet ingredients. The machine can be set for basic. Check the dough for consistency and adjust by adding additional water (or flour) before the end of the first kneading cycle. If you want to add additional nuts or dried fruits, leave them aside, and only them 3 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle.
More Steamed Recipes (HERE)
Sweet Potato Steamed Buns with Red Bean Paste Filling
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add the mashed sweet potato and 2 Tbsp of water to the dry ingredients
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute, until all the ingredients are mostly combined.
- Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
- Note: Additional 1-2 Tablespoons of water (or additional bread flour) may be necessary depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the puree, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen.
- Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes***
- When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and divide into 10-12 equal sized pieces.
- Wrap the dough pieces around prepared filling (red bean paste, black sesame, etc), and place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
- Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil water and prepare the steamer
- Transfer the buns to the steaming pan and steam the buns for 15 minutes
- Note: You can store these steamed buns, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 day. For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and freeze up to 3 months, then defrost them at room temperature or steam them again for just 10 minutes to enjoy them just like fresh.