May 10, 2017

Sloppy Bao Buns

Prep Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
The American classic: the sloppy Joe but with an Asian twist.

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The American classic: the concept of the sloppy Joe but with Asian flavors inside bao buns. These are not traditional bao buns but a delicious twist. The ground pork is sautéed with fragrant ginger, garlic and green onion then blended with a flavorful soy sauce mixture and served in steamed fluffy bao buns. Fill the steamed buns so they are overflowing and almost have to be eaten with a fork.

Sloppy Bao Buns

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Pork – Ground pork typically comes from minced pork shoulder meat and is incredibly versatile. Try swapping for another lean ground meat like turkey or chicken in this bun bao recipe.
  • Ginger – To easily peel ginger, use the tip of a spoon to carefully peel away the skin.
  • Garlic – I always use fresh cloves of garlic, the pre-minced jars of garlic don’t taste the same. It loses a lot of the powerful garlic flavor when it’s jarred. This is because it has been soaked in water for a long period of time. Peeling garlic only takes a bit. As the garlic is sautéed the flavor mellows so it’s not very pungent but adds a base flavor.
  • Green onions – Green onions, also referred to as scallions or spring onions are a mild member of the allium family. They are harvested young before they form bulbs. The lower, white parts of the green onions contain the most intense flavor which is why they are usually used for cooking while the upper green parts have a more subtle flavor and are used as a garnish.
garlic, green onion and ginger on a cutting board - the aromatics in this recipe

How to Make Bao Buns

For the steamed bao buns:

  1. Bloom the yeast. In a small bowl stir together the yeast and sugar with ¾ cup lukewarm water and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix the dough. Add the yeast mixture, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat (or shortening) to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
  3. Let dough rise. Mix on the lowest speed until the dough gathers in a ball on the hook, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat it with the oil then cover with plastic wrap and place in warm place to let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Divide the dough. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half then cut each half into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, making 16 pieces, each about the size of a ping-pong ball.
  5. Roll out the dough. Set the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 minutes. Working one at a time, use a rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a 4-inch long oval.
  6. Form the bao. Lightly brush with the oil and fold each oval in half horizontally to form a bun. Place the bun on one of the squares of parchment paper. Once again, cover with the plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining buns and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Steam the bao buns. Set up a steamer on top of the stove with water on medium-low heat. Work in batches as to not crowd the steamer, steam the buns on the parchment paper for about 10 minutes.
  8. Set aside. Remove the parchment paper and set the buns aside. Buns can also be cooled then frozen in plastic ziplock bags. Reheat in a steamer until completely soft, about 2 minutes.

For the pork filling:

  1. Sauté aromatics. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and the whites of the green onions and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the pork and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook the pork. Cook, stirring occasionally and using a wooden spoon to break apart the pork, until the pork is browned about 6 minutes. Add the soy sauce and cook for an additional minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork to a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Season the pork. In a small bowl stir together the sriracha and hoisin. Add the hoisin mixture to the pork and stir to combine. Stir in the remaining green onions and set aside.

For serving:

  1. Assemble and serve the pork bao buns. Spoon the pork filling into the bao buns and garnish with the cucumber, green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.
sloppy joe bao buns with sautéed seasoned ground pork, cucumber, cilantro and green onion

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this sloppy bao bun recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Sloppy Bao Buns

Print Pin
Prep Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the steamed bao buns:

  • teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons pork fat or vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 16 (4-inch) squares of parchment paper

For the pork filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • teaspoons minced ginger
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens divided
  • pounds ground pork, 80% lean/ 20% fat
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

For serving:

  • ½ English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

Instructions:

For the steamed bao buns:

  • In a small bowl stir together the yeast and sugar with ¾ cup lukewarm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the yeast mixture, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat (or shortening) to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
  • Mix on the lowest speed until the dough gathers in a ball on the hook, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning to coat it with the oil then cover with plastic wrap and place in warm place to let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half then cut each half into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, making 16 pieces, each about the size of a ping-pong ball.
  • Set the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 minutes. Working one at a time, use a rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a 4-inch long oval.
  • Lightly brush with the oil and fold each oval in half horizontally to form a bun. Place the bun on one of the squares of parchment paper. Once again, cover with the plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining buns and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Set up a steamer on top of the stove with water on medium-low heat. Work in batches as to not crowd the steamer, steam the buns on the parchment paper for about 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and set the buns aside.
  • Buns can also be cooled then frozen in plastic ziplock bags. Reheat in a steamer until completely soft, about 2 minutes.

For the pork filling:

  • Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and the whites of the green onions and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the pork and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally and using a wooden spoon to break apart the pork, until the pork is browned about 6 minutes. Add the soy sauce and cook for an additional minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork to a medium mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl stir together the sriracha and hoisin. Add the hoisin mixture to the pork and stir to combine. Stir in the remaining green onions and set aside.

For serving:

  • Spoon the pork filling into the bao buns and garnish with the cucumber, green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

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  1. 5 stars
    5 stars! The bun recipe is so much better than the one I had been making, and the filling was delicious. We added sweet chili sauce on top. Will definitely make again.