Kirbie's Cravings

Steamed Bun Happy Faces

photo of a plate of steamed buns with happy faces

A while back I learned that when you steam Pillsbury biscuit dough, it tastes remarkably similar to Chinese steamed buns. It’s a great shortcut for when you don’t want to make the buns from scratch. I blogged about them here.

While grocery shopping this weekend, I noticed that there is now a honey butter Pillsbury biscuit dough.  Chinese steamed buns traditionally have a subtly sweet flavor, which was missing when I steamed the buttermilk Pillsbury biscuit dough. I thought that the honey flavor would make the biscuits taste even more like Chinese steamed buns.

photo of a container of biscuit dough

Previously, I made my buns into turtle shapes. This time, I decided to try bite-sized happy faces. I had bought a bento seaweed puncher set and previously made happy faced rice balls.  I decided to use the same punchers to create happy bun faces.

The Pillsbury dough is divided into 8 pre-cut biscuit shapes. I took each one and broke it into four pieces and rolled them up into balls. I made sure to mush the dough around a lot because the biscuits are designed to be flaky once they are cooked and I wanted to get rid of the flaky layers.

These steamed buns came out great. While the previous ones I made had a hint of “biscuit” taste, these don’t have any biscuit taste. The sweet honey adds a great flavor to steamed buns. My family was a bit suspicious when they first saw them, but once they tried one, they liked them a lot. I think this biscuit dough would also be ideal for making donuts too.

To make the faces, I purchased the seaweed puncher which I got from eBay. (You can do a search for bento, face, nori puncher) You can buy sheets of seaweed (the same type used to make sushi) at most Asian supermarkets. The seaweed puncher is very easy to use. While the steamed buns are still hot, you simply place the side you want to be the face into the cut-outs and they should stick on.

photo of a package of nori punchers

I love how these taste. And I love how they look. Every time I see these happy faces smiling at me, I can’t help but feel a bit giddy.

photo of steamed buns

Steamed Bun Happy Faces

Servings: 32 steamed buns
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Asian
When I’m short on time I like to use store-bought biscuit dough to make steamed buns that taste a lot like homemade Chinese steamed buns.


  • 1 can Pillsbury honey butter biscuit dough


  • Break each pre-cut dough into four pieces. Roll dough around thoroughly to get rid of any "layers" and then roll into a ball.
  • Place balls about one inch apart in a steamer and steam for about ten minutes.
  • While the buns are steaming, use seaweed puncher to punch out face cut-outs from seaweed sheets.
  • Remove buns and let cool for a few minutes. While the buns are still warm, place the "face" side into the face cut-outs. I usually arrange the face cut-outs on the plate so that they already resemble a face, and then I just press the face on.
  • Serve immediately after cooled.


Serving: 1bun, Calories: 52kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Fat: 2g, Sodium: 136mg, NET CARBS: 7g

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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One comment on “Steamed Bun Happy Faces”

  1. So cute! I love chinese steamed buns…especially the ones that have the strands in them. I just love bready stuff, actually.