Homemade Pork Buns

Want your favorite Chinese takeout at home? Try these Homemade Pork Buns and you will be amazed how good and easy they are to make at home. Make them even healthier by using ground turkey instead of pork!

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I know, savory food here on Crazy for Crust. It’s weird. I’ve always said I wouldn’t do dinner. That I wasn’t inspired by dinner. That I couldn’t photograph it or measure it properly for a recipe. But…I changed my mind. I’m allowed to do that, right? I am a girl after all. Isn’t that what we do? πŸ˜‰

I bake a lot, sure. But I cook a lot too. Dinner doesn’t make itself at my house. And if I don’t make it…we don’t eat. My problem with making dinner is that most of it comes from inside my head: I rarely follow recipes to the T and I never measure. But sometimes I come across a savory recipe that’s SO good that I just really want to share. In fact, I can think of four or five recipes that I routinely make that I’ve wanted to share…but haven’t because I think you’ll all revolt and hate me and never come back.

{You won’t really do that, right? It’s just my insecurities and all that? RIGHT?}

So, I figured, once in awhile, when I make one of my favorite meals, it’d be okay to share it. To prove that, contrary to popular belief, I actually do eat real food. As much as I’d love to be a walking sugar stick, I need real things like protein and bread to fuel me. Oh, and vegetables. I guess I need those too. *Shudder*

So…for the first savory dish…I’m sharing one of my most favorite copycat recipes ever: a homemade pork bun. But…I lied a little. These aren’t really pork buns, they are turkey buns. I made them with ground turkey – but you’d never know it.


90% of our meat meals are either chicken or ground turkey. I sometimes cook beef and rarely cook pork. I like pork, but I cannot cook it and keep it moist. In fact, I made these pork buns about two months ago, with pork. They were good – but the pork was too dry. I figured I wanted to try it again with ground turkey, because I had the perfect asian turkey recipe that would mesh with the buns. You can totally substitute ground pork, however, if you’re a purist.

I grew up eating pork buns. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area we had so many wonderful Chinese restaurants to choose from. Here in the suburbs of Sacramento, the closest to Chinese food I can find is Panda Express, which is good, but not what I crave, you know?

Before I made these the first time I had been craving pork buns forever and one day I decided to make them myself. Best. Decision. EVER.

The dough is a yeasted one, and it comes together really easy, especially if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. I always use my stand mixer and dough hook to make yeasted dough – I hate kneading. But you can do it by hand if you don’t have one, or if you have some aggression you need to work out.

The filling is made with ground turkey, bell pepper and carrots, soy and teriyaki. It’s actually an edited Weight Watchers recipe I’ve been making for years and serving with lettuce wraps. So, make the filling without the buns and serve with lettuce for a really healthy meal! (I’ll have to share those sometime!)

These don’t taste like traditional sweet pork buns – the filling is more rich and savory. Honestly? I like these better. *gasp*


I hope you like them – I know we did. And it makes 10 buns – perfect for a large family, or to freeze for a quick lunch. And, well, it’s kind of crust like, right? There’s dough and stuff… πŸ™‚

Seriously, if you like pork buns you must make them at home. Especially if you live somewhere you can just get them! These will be a super stand in for you!


Did you make this recipe?

Homemade Pork Buns

Homemade Pork Buns are better than takeout! This EASY recipe makes your favorite Chinese food at home using ground turkey or pork. We love these!


For the Dough:

  • 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

For the Filling:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red sweet pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey (or pork)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce


  1. To prepare the dough: Place water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Spoon flour into measuring cup and level with a knife. Add flour, oil, and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon just until it comes together a little, you will know to stop because the dough will start to stick to the spoon. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and knead for a few minutes, until the dough comes together and is smooth and elastic. (You can also do this by hand, kneading for about 10 minutes.) Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside. Spray the top of the dough with a light spray of cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm environment until it doubles in size, at least one hour.
  3. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, the bell pepper, and ginger and cook for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the turkey and chili powder, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soy and teriyaki sauce. Let cook for an additional 1 minute, then remove from heat. Place in a bowl and let cool until you are ready to fill your buns.
  5. Once dough has risen, punch it down and let it sit 5 minutes. Turn it out onto a clean work surface (I like to use a large cutting board or my Roul’Pat) and sprinkle it with the baking powder. Knead in the baking powder (will take just a minute or two) and form a large ball. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Cut dough into 10 sections. Flatten each section into a large (5-inch) circle. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of filling in the center of each circle. Bring the sides up to cover the filling and pinch the seams at the top, twisting slightly to seal closed. Repeat with all 10 circles.
  7. If you have a 2-tiered bamboo steamer, arrange the buns 1 inch apart, 5 on each tier. Stack the tiers and cover with the lid. Place steamer in a large skillet that has 1-inch of boiling water in the bottom. (Continue to step 8.)You do not need a steamer; I don’t have one.
  8. If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, do what I do: use a large pasta pot, one with a colander insert. Place about 1-2” of water in the bottom of the pot (you do not want it to touch the holes of the colander) and boil over medium heat. Spray the colander with cooking spray. Working it batches, place 5 buns on the bottom of the colander, 1-inch apart.
  9. Steam for 10-15 minutes (mine took 12) until they are puffed. Remove from steamer to a cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper. Repeat with remaining buns if necessary (spraying colander again with cooking spray). Let cool 10 minutes before eating.
All images and text Β©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Homemade Pork Buns are better than takeout! This EASY recipe makes your favorite Chinese food at home using ground turkey or pork. We love these!

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  1. I’m all for brekaing out of your standard posts and going savory once in a while. Everyone knows you can make tasty desserts, so you might as well show off the tasty everything else you can make!

    I’ve never tried a pork bun, mainly because by the time I started liking asian foods, I was long since a vegetarian. But these LOOK so tasty and I’ve always wanted to try them. Perfect opportunity — I’ll just swap out the meat for a fake one or some extra extra veggies πŸ™‚

  2. You should share dinner more often!!!i have never had a pork bun, but I love Asian food. The bonus is these seem really family friendly!!

  3. I’ve never had a pork bun but they look delish! YAY for dinners!

  4. Love the idea of you sharing dinner every now and again and these?! YUM – I’ve never tried a pork bun, but you make me want to change that real quick!

  5. I love that you are sharing dinner recipes now! I always wonder what these sweet treat food bloggers eat, other than sweets. πŸ™‚ These “pork” buns look amazing! To be totally honest, I’ve never tried one. Is that weird?! But now that I have a recipe, it needs to go on my list of meals to make!

  6. If you only knew HOW much I seriously LOVED pork buns! They’re one of my absolute faves EVER yet I rarely have them. Mostly because I cannot control my outcome around them — I could literally eat them all. I’m SO making this! (And btw, I love your savory side!) πŸ™‚

  7. I love your sweets and desserts – there is absolutely no doubt! But we all eat dinner every night, too, so new savory recipes are always welcome!!

  8. I have never heard of these, but man they look good!!

  9. I absolutely adore pork buns, but have never tried making them on my own. Your dough looks perfectly puffy and tender.

  10. I have never had a pork bun before but these look so amazing! I buy ground turkey in bulk so this works great for me!!

  11. How have I never had a pork bun?! Sounds amazing! Your look delicious!

  12. A little savory now and again sounds awesome! I’ve never had a pork bun. I know! We don’t have many great ethnic eateries in my city. I may have to give these a try!

  13. Yay, a savory recipe! These look super tasty πŸ™‚ the pictures are great too!

  14. Ohhh my goodness, Dorothy – these look so yummy, and your instructions make them seem less intimidating! I’ve been wanting to learn to make these for a long time, and with your recipe I’m DEFINITELY going to make them, now. Your recipes are “tried and true” so I think you’ve given me the courage I need to attempt these darling little pork buns =)

  15. First of all, I think it’s hilarious that you’re even thinking twice about posting a non-dessert food.
    Second, these look so friggin’ good!!!!!!!! I’m all over it.
    I think if you’re excited about something, post it. Sweet, savory, whatever. I’m drooling either way. πŸ™‚

  16. I LOVE pork buns and make them all the time. Need to try it with turkey!!!

  17. I feel so nerdy, I’ve never had a pork bun before (or turkey bun!) I don’t cook pork often either for hte very same reason, Dorothy. always chicken and always ground turkey. I don’t eat red meat, so I swear all the protein I get is from chicken! I have to try these sometime, I’m intrigued! Congrats on the first savory post. My readers think I eat cookie odugh all day long. As much as I’d love to do that, I need to fit into my pants.

  18. Ummm… I love pork buns! Yours look delish!

  19. Yum! This look amazing! I love that you used turkey instead of pork. Definitely trying this!

  20. WOWsers! That looks delicious and totally something my kids would go crazy for! I love seeing the savory side of you…but you do have the best desserts!

  21. Can you believe I’ve never had pork buns? I don’t even know if I’ve seen them on a menu! These look delicious regardless, though!

  22. I can’t wait to try your recipe. I’ve always wanted to make these. They look delicious.

  23. I have never heard of a pork bun, but they look delicious. I bet my family would love these!

  24. These look amazing. I might try something like them (as I can’t follow recipes either) with ground caribou.

  25. I’m glad you went savory! These look awesome!!!

  26. They look terrific! You did an amazing job with them!

  27. I want to sink my tooth into these delicious pork buns! We grew up eating it, so this definitely brought back sweet (savory!) childhood memories πŸ˜€

  28. I totally know what you mean, Dorothy. I cannot really cook savory food for a blog, I always just make up things from the ingredients at hand. But sometimes something really good comes out and I want to share it and then I remember I have a cake blog. I totally don’t mind seeing savory food here and maybe I will take the plunge too sometime πŸ˜‰

  29. These look delicious! I used to eat pork buns when we lived in Hawaii and haven’t had one for years. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ve saved it to Ziplist and plan to give it a try! If you haven’t already done so, please come join my How-To Tuesday link party. It would be great to have you join!


  30. I love pork buns with a passion but have never made them at home. Please keep posting savory recipes. πŸ™‚

  31. Absolutely love these! Yours look so good!

  32. I love your savory recipe just as much as your sweet ones. πŸ˜‰ Pork buns are one of my favorite thing to order at the Chinese Dim Sum place. Yours looks so wonderful! I say they look even better than those from the restaurant. No wonder they are your family’s favorite. πŸ˜‰

  33. So I am happy that you dabbled into the savory side of baking because I love this recipe! Pinned to my food board.

    Have a good evening, Dorothy!

  34. It is odd to see a savory recipe here, but I’m totally cool with it! I’m sure your mad baking skills extend to your cooking πŸ™‚

  35. I would love if you posted more savory recipes. Im running out of dinner ideas and these pork buns look so good! Im not a huge fan of pork either, it always turns out like shoe leather.

  36. Where have I been? I have never had or heard of Pork Buns … thank you for sharing your recipe … turkey sounds good too.

  37. Not sure where I have been either, but I have never had a pork bun before! That must change because I am loving how soft and pillowy that dough looks! Keep up the savory…you totally rock at it!!!

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  39. I just happened across your blog and I’m glad I found this recipe!! After living in Hawaii and growing to LOVE Manapua (IMPOSSIBLE to find in Maine) I think this recipe could be the perfect compromise!

  40. Thanks for this, they look wonderful. Do you freeze them before steaming or after? How do you defrost and cook them?

    • You can freeze them steamed – then wrap them in a lightly damp paper towel and microwave for (probably) about a minute or 90 seconds and they will steam back up. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  41. My very sophisticated and cultured prom date my junior year in high school made cha su bao for dinner that night. A group of us met for dinner and everyone brought a different dish. My date brought Asian food and I never forgot how awesome it tasted! It’s no surprise he went on to become a PhD in Tibetology (seriously – there really is such a study) and teach at some foreign university. Needless to say, I am going to have to make pork buns to broaden my husband’s horizons. Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

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  43. Steamed pork buns are my all time favorite stop at Pike Place market here in Seattle during the summer. I’ve never tried to make them before – that’s totally gonna change!

  44. Hi Dorothy!
    wow these sound amazing. Buns look really soft and then the filling, I think I will give these a go sometime soon. My hubby says pork is the best dessert so these would fit the bill. Have a great weekend.

  45. I noticed you said your from Sacramento? You should be familiar with Roseville as well? The other day I was craving my favorite drink (Boba Tea) the coconut one is amazing btw.. but anyway we found a Lollicup Tea Zone on Pleasant Grove & they sell Bbq Porrk Buns I’ve tried others but these are just amazing πŸ™‚ I love all of your recipes btw they make my mouth water πŸ˜› I saved a bunch to start baking my husband & I lovee sweets

  46. I’m a little late to this party, but thought I’d ask – would I freeze before or after steaming? These sound terrific! I’m starting to load up my freezer for post-baby #3 meals, and back to school lunches for my 2 kiddies, and I’m definitely going to try these!

  47. Am here to find a home for my delicious savory Korean BBQ ground beef and the Hum Bow (steamed bun) would be the perfect vehicle.
    Though I’m stunned at the number of people who have never had this, considering it’s not really an exotic asian dish. Living in the Pacific North West we have a large array of Asian feed spots and can only assume in fly over country one is lucky to find an eggroll vendor.

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  49. I think that so many people haven’t tried these is that they are more traditionally Vietnamese or Korean. They are also very well suited to be dipped in an Asian sauce. There are a variety of sauces that can easily be made.
    These buns are also sometimes called BBQ Pork Buns or Sticky Buns

  50. This is simply a stunning recipe. I love this. Thanks for sharing.

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