5 Minute Microwave Chinese Buns

Happy Lunar New Year! I’m celebrating with these easy, made-from-scratch Chinese buns, which I stuffed with pork belly, scallions, cucumbers and hoisin sauce, inspired by the famous Momofuku’s Pork Belly Buns.

Each bun takes less than five minutes to prepare and cook. No dealing with yeast, steamers, etc.


Chinese steamed buns come in various different forms: plain, sealed with a savory or sweet filling, or in a thin pancake form. The pancake form is quite popular at restaurants. A thin round bun has pork belly or some sort of protein in the center, and is then folded over and eaten like a sandwich.

I always crave Chinese buns this time of year and I usually make them. But, I’ve been pretty exhausted from my weekend of cooking for my Lunar New Year party, and the thought of having to deal with yeast, proofing, waiting, was just too much.

Luckily, last year, I accidentally discovered a way to create a Chinese bun mug cake. I had been meaning to create a new cake and instead what came out of the microwave was something that tasted exactly like the Chinese steamed buns of my childhood.

I decided I would make those buns again, but I made them even better by making them into pancake form. When they cook in a mug, they are a little thick and dense, so I usually do half servings. However, by spreading out the batter, these stay light and fluffy and I honestly could not taste the difference between these and the traditional steamed buns I usually make.

In the past, I’ve used the Pillsbury dough shortcut method, but I prefer these. The Pillsbury ones are a little too buttery. These look and taste exactly like the Chinese steamed buns and are faster since there is no steaming involved. Each one takes just a minute to cook and then it’s ready.

You can pair the buns with any sort of protein or vegetables and top with scallions and hoisin sauce. I just happened to have some leftover pork belly, and this was such a delicious way to eat up the leftovers.

Happy New Year!

5 Minute Homemade Chinese Buns


4 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp condensed milk
3 tbsp milk


1. Using a small whisk, mix all ingredients in a small bowl until batter is smooth. Batter will be thick.

2. Line a small round plate with parchment paper. Pour batter into the center. Usually a spatula, carefully smooth out batter so that it forms a round circle, 4 inches in diameter.

3. Microwave for about 1 minute. (My microwave is a 1000 watt and it took 1 minute to fully cook.) Add desired fillings and fold the round in half. Eat immediately.

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

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30 comments on “5 Minute Microwave Chinese Buns”

  1. This is such a great idea!

  2. This is brilliant! I tried steaming Pillsbury biscuits and it wasn’t my favorite (I’d rather steam frozen chinese buns) but this looks super easy!

  3. Awesome!  I can’t wait to try this out! 🙂

  4. Great idea! Love that it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.  Looks like you just made your own Chairman Bao. ^_^

  5. Hi Kirbie,
    I don’t have a microwave oven. do you think I could steam it or bake it.  Love buns and hope to make the 🙂  Please help. Thanks! 

  6. I’m so excited to try this! Did you use whole milk? Do you think it would work with soy or other kinds of milk?

    • i used skim milk, but i think it should work with other kinds. def should work with whole and lowfat. not positive about soy but usually soy works

    Seriously, 4 ingredients and 1 minute in the microwave and you have delicious fluffy buns. 
    Thanks SO much!! 

    10/10 will cook again.

  8. These were wonderful! Yes, exactly like the steamed bao I get in restaurants. And they literally only took me 5 minutes. Amazing, thank you so much.

  9. Will omitting the condensed milk makes a difference ? If its to sweeten the taste, can I replace it with auger or honey ?
    Thanks, Nellyn

    • Yes omitting the condensed milk makes a huge difference! it’s actually the key ingredient to getting the bun texture.

  10. These are simply ingenious and delicious! I’ve just eaten two with simple spicy pickled cucumber and while the vegetarian version is great, I’m excited to try one (or 5, hee hee) with some leftover meat from the evening dinner. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  11. So glad I found this recipe, thank you! However, I don’t like the very sweet taste of condensed milk. Can I use evaporated milk instead? I’ve heard that the only difference between the 2 is the sugar content.

    • unfortunately, this recipe does not work with evaporated milk. Condensed milk is much thicker than evaporated milk and it’s the key for the texture. The bun isn’t that sweet even though it uses condensed milk, so maybe give it a try with the condensed milk?

  12. How many buns does this recipe make?

    • one! you can make more, but I don’t recommend cooking more than one at a time in the microwave because they will cook unevenly

  13. Hola, Genious! Could they be frozen or refrigerated? Then reheat in pan? Gracias.

  14. Is this sweetened condensed milk?

  15. I am pretty sure you were genius. I had some leftover pork belly. I decided to make this. Amazing!

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