When the weather turns chilly, steamed buns are just the kind of food I make to warm up the kitchen and get my family to migrate downstairs. And that happy feeling you get when you open the lid of the steamer and see those round and fluffy buns puffed up from the steam simply cannot be described with words. If you enjoy these small moments, too, I hope you find this collection helpful! It’s a list of 10+ different steamed buns (including both baozi and the plain mantou buns) flavors and recipes I’ve made in the past that incorporate healthier ingredients like sweet potato and silken tofu.
1. Sweet Potato Steamed Buns
Healthy and vegan-friendly, the addition of cooked mashed potato is the magic ingredient that transforms the dough into this fantastic orange color and gives its subtle earthy sweetness.
2. Basic Almond Milk Steamed Buns
Even without any eggs, milk, or butter, the dough for these Simple Almond Milk Steamed Buns is smooth, fluffy, and incredibly simple to make. Practically any type of filling can be used, from a simple pork belly filling to sweet red bean paste.
3. Black Sesame Steamed Buns
Not only are these Healthy Vegan Black Sesame Buns (Chinese Steamed Buns) aesthetically pleasing, they also offer a host of health benefits you won’t get from plain baozi buns. Raw black sesame seeds are finely blended with water and mixed into bread flour and other dry ingredients, and it’s what provides the color and nutty flavor you won’t get enough of.
4. Purple Sweet Potato Steamed Buns
One of the most well-liked and delectable snacks in China is steamed buns (baozi), and yet it has a terrible reputation for being laden with just 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!
5. Korean Mugwort Steamed Buns
These Mugwort Steamed Buns with Sweet Mung Bean Paste Filling are modeled after mugwort songpyeon, a type of Korean rice cake I grew up with and still enjoy with my family as part of our Lunar New Years celebrations. Made with bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, mugwort powder, olive oil and water, this recipe requires NO eggs, milk or butter, and also has in it a healthy serving of mashed sweet potatoes which not only boosts up the fiber and nutrition, but also helps keep the steamed buns keep their tender texture for much longer.
6. 100% Whole Wheat Steamed Buns
Here is an easy and delicious whole wheat steamed buns recipe that is prepared with 100% whole wheat flour. The secret to its fluffiness is tangzhong, a simple mixture of flour and hot water that softens and hydrates whole wheat flour before it is added to the remaining flour and dry ingredients.
7. Coffee Almond Milk Steamed Buns
If you love starting your day off with coffee, I have a steamed buns recipe just for you. The flavor of these simple coffee and almond milk steamed buns with creamy coffee paste filling is identical to that of a dessert cappuccino. The instant coffee granules are what give the dough the kick of the coffee flavor. Just remember to dissolve the granules in the hot almond milk before you add them!
8. Corn Steamed Buns
Here is a recipe for cheesy and flavorful cornbread steamed buns inspired by the Korean Corn Cheese, a cheesy melty appetizer dish popular in restaurants, pubs and street stalls all over Korea. The steamed buns dough first starts with just the familiar ingredients – bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, and then comes corn puree! It’s thanks to this blended corn that gives these steamed buns its gorgeous yellow color and its savory corn flavor. The melty Korean corn cheese filling is ridiculously good with the corn bread dough, and I assure you you’ll be coming back for more.
9. Pumpkin Steamed Buns
It’s time to warm up with these fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Steamed Buns! The secret to the vibrant color and delightful aroma is the addition of pumpkin puree along with the pumpkin pie spice in the filling. It’ll make your house smell like pumpkin pie, and one recipe you’ll save to make all year round.
10. No Yeast Tofu Steamed Buns
I absolutely love Sweet Japanese Steamed Buns, especially with a sweetened red bean paste filling, especially if it’s healthy and easy to make. And these steamed buns recipe requires NO yeast. NO kneading. NO proofing, all thanks to the secret ingredient: a package of silken tofu.
💡BONUS: mantou flavors
Steamed buns may just be the Asian version of dinner rolls, but in my opinion, no bread or bun can beat the winning combination of that soft, delicate chewy texture of steamed buns that pairs so well with stir fries, curries and noodles. Here are some mantou flavor ideas & variations you can try next.
1. Yeasted Tofu Mantou
Here’s a yeasted version of my no-knead tofu mantou recipe in the previous list. Just like the earlier recipe, this healthy mantou recipe incorporates silken tofu, which has a mild flavor that is unnoticeable when mixed in with the flour, but the yeasted dough is rolled in a way that forms a lot of layers, which makes it fun to eat. Also, this mantou recipe doesn’t require any eggs, dairy, and butter — perfectly vegan friendly and healthier thanks to the extra protein from the tofu.
2. Sweet Potato Mantou
These Sweet Potato mantou buns have a delicious blend of tastes, textures, and vibrant orange color thanks to the addition of cooked mashed potatoes! You’ll love these buns if you’re looking for something new, or for a slightly healthier alternative to the traditional mantou buns made with just flour, milk, sugar and yeast.
3. Purple Sweet Potato Spiral Mantou
Steamed buns have the most amazing texture. With that chewy outer layer that you can tear apart with your fingertips – soft but flexible. While it’s probably bad banners to play with your food, I guarantee you won’t be thinking about what other people think when you start tearing into these gorgeously spiral purple sweet potato mantou rolls! The swirled layers of sweet potato dough and almond milk dough are sweet, fragrant and taste amazing together. It’s quickly become my family’s new favorite.
4. Black Sesame Spiral Mantou
Here’s one fun spiral mantou recipe that is sure to be your next favorite. Homemade Black Sesame & Almond Milk Mantou! Made with bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, olive oil, almond milk and raw black sesame seeds, the black dough from the black sesame is gorgeously paired with the almond milk dough. This swirly bread recipe is a perfect treat to have in the morning or any chilly day when you’re craving fluffy warm bread to have with a hot cup of tea.