Stuffed steamed buns (baozi) are one of the most popular and delicious snacks in China, but it has a bad rep for being high in carbs and empty calories. Well, here’s one recipe to prove that wrong – with these healthy purple sweet potato steamed buns! This steamed bun recipe uses 2 medium sweet potatoes and has a mashed sweet potato filling that is simply made with purple sweet potatoes, coconut oil and sugar. The most amazing part about this recipe is that the sweet potatoes not only help keep the buns soft and moist but that they help keep the buns softer longer thanks to their high fiber and water content. Hope you enjoy it!
Why I love this Recipe
- Soft, fluffy and amazingly moist
- Easy to make if you have a stand mixer
- No eggs, no milk, no dairy needed!
- higher in fiber, to keep you fuller longer and rich in antioxidants from the purple sweet potatoes
- lower calorie and lower carb
- makes the best breakfast and snack
Ingredients Used to Make Purple 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.
- Mashed Purple Sweet Potato – this recipe uses mashed purple sweet potatoes which are a kind of Asian sweet potatoes that have a thicker, heavier flesh than orange sweet potatoes when baked. The dense texture is almost described as a baked russet potato. Purple sweet potato (also called Japanese Purple Sweet Potato or Okinawan Sweet Potato) can be found in most Asian grocery stores.
- 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
- Purple Sweet Potato Filling - I used my Purple Sweet Potato Filling Recipe I use for Mochi, Mooncakes. Link to the recipe is here
- You're also welcome to use red bean or white bean paste for the filling. You can find Sweetened Red Bean paste in most Asian grocery stores, and online (Amazon).
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Purple Sweet Potato Steamed Buns
Cook purple sweet potatoes, either by steaming them for 30-40 minutes on the steamer or by microwaving them until tender. Here's the shortcut microwave method post for reference!
Mash the purple sweet potatoes while still warm using a fork.
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Add the mashed sweet potato , water and the apple cider vinegar 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.
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.
Note: the dough will appear grayish, but the purple color will come back once the steamed buns are heated.
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 rolling prepared sweet mung bean paste (or other filling of choice) into 2-3 Tbsp sized balls
Wrap the dough pieces around prepared filling, and place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the buns to the steaming pan, and 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!
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!
How to Store Purple Sweet Potato Steamed Buns
- 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.
- To reheat, re-steam buns in a steamer for about 10 minutes.
NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe.
- All-purpose flour can be used instead of bread flour, but will produce softer, less chewy steamed buns.
- 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.
How to Make Purple Sweet Potato Steamed Buns (Healthy Vegan Recipe!)
- 4 cups bread flour (480 g), sifted and leveled*
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar , read notes** for substitutes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ¼ cups mashed purple sweet potato (285 g) , about 2 medium cooked sweet potatoes***
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar , or rice vinegar (to preserve the purple sweet potatoes color)
- 1 Tbsp light olive oil , or melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder ) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Stir in the apple cider vinegar to the water, and add to the dry ingredients - along with the mashed purple sweet potatoes.
- 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 sweet potatoes, 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 12-14 equal sized pieces.
- Wrap the dough pieces around the prepared filling, and place them 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.