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Siopao Bola-Bola (Steamed Pork Buns)

Sweet steamed buns with minced pork filling. This Siopao Bola-Bola is the Filipino version of Steamed Pork Buns. Made extra special with the addition of salted eggs and Chinese sausage.

Special Siopao Bola-Bola with salted egg and Chinese sausage

It has been a while since I made my Siopao with Chicken Asado post and I thought it is about time to make the other version, Siopao Bola-Bola.

Bola-Bola is how we call meatballs in Filipino which serves as filling for these steamed buns. Special Siopao Bola-Bola, however, has added salted egg and sometimes, Chinese sausage.

I got a lot of questions and some tips from our readers on making siopao. I also tried several other recipes for making the steamed buns to achieve my perfect Siopao.

My goal was to have white steamed buns with a shiny, smooth skin and soft and fluffy inside that does not collapse or shrink or dimple after steaming.  It should also have a slightly chewy bite and not cakey or crumbly.

Soft, fluffy Siopao or Filipino Steamed Pork Buns

What flour to use for steamed buns/siopao?

I read in several recipes that they use cake flour to have soft and fluffy steamed buns. I tried it and the first thing I noticed is how soft the dough is. The problem with that is that it was rather difficult to form into a siopao as it does not keep the folds well.

I think it would be perfect if you want a simple Mantou. It is also fine to use if you plan to make a simple round filled buns. However, the resulting texture would be a bit crumbly.

In this recipe, I used regular all-purpose flour which normally has a medium gluten level. It keeps its form better and tastes better too with a bit chewy texture.

How to get Siopao/ Steamed buns white?

I got several people saying that adding some vinegar to the water for steaming would result in whiter buns. I tried it and well I am not so convinced that it makes any difference.  Maybe I need to conduct a thorough comparison test.

Those super white steamed buns are produced using specialty flours that are (super) bleached with low gluten level.

I also replaced some of the water with milk and I think that contributed more to my bao buns looking brighter.

How to make soft, fluffy siopao / steamed buns?

I use instant yeast to make these bao buns. I prefer it to active dry yeast to shorten the rising time and to save the time of proofing it. Active dry yeast can be used, of course.

I use lesser yeast (4 grams for 390grams flour) to avoid the yeasty aftertaste. To make up for the reduced leavening agent, we add baking powder. I use double-acting baking powder that works in two phases; once when cold, and once when hot. This ensures that our steamed buns will have a good rise while being steamed.

How to Store Siopao/Steamed Buns?

If to be consumed within 3-4 days, you can just place the cooked siopao / steamed buns in an airtight container and put in the fridge. You may also freeze them up to 5-6 weeks.

To reheat siopao, just bring them out and thaw if frozen until they (almost) reach room temperature. Steam for 5 minutes or longer for bigger buns.

Ingredients for Siopao Bola-Bola

Dough:

  • 3 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon (4g) instant yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder (double-acting)
  • 2/3 cup (158g) lukewarm milk
  • 1/3 cup (81g)lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoon shortening

Filling:

  • 250 grams ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup shrimp, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • salt if needed
  • 2 salted eggs
  • 1 piece of Chinese sausage

Filipino Steamed Pork Buns with minced pork, sakted egg and Chinese Sausage

How to make the Siopao dough?

  1. Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Pour in milk and water and mix several times just to moisten the dry ingredients.How to make steamed pork buns
  3. Cut in the shortening and mix until a dough forms.
  4. Tip the dough into a flat surface and knead until smooth and elastic.How to make steamed pork buns
  5. Rest the dough for 15-20 minutes until it has risen to just almost double the original size. (Meanwhile, prepare the filling)
  6. Turn it to a lightly floured surface and roll into a log. Divide into two. Return half back to the bowl and place in the fridge. This will slow down the rising.
  7. Divide the other half into 5 equal parts. Fold each piece to its center several times until no longer puffy and sooth before forming it into a ball.How to make steamed pork buns

How to make the Bola-Bola filling?

  1. Add all the ingredients for the bola-bola (meatball) in a bowl, except for the salted eggs and Chinese sausage. Mix until well combined.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for a few minutes or until the dough is ready.
  3. Cut a piece of salted egg into half and then each half into quarters giving you 8 in total each egg. You can also just cut a piece into 4 if desired. Set aside.
  4. Cut the Chinese sausage into pieces about half-inch thick. Set aside.Steps in making Siopao Bola-Bola

To assemble:

  1. Take a piece of a dough ball and flatten it, using your palm and a rolling pin, into about 4-5 inch circle leaving a small bulge in the middle.
  2. Scoop a tablespoon of filling and place it in the middle. Gather the ends towards the middle from one side until you reach the other end closing the filling in. Pinch and twist to seal the ends together o top. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Before steaming, put a piece of parchment or wax paper at the bottom of each bun. Place the buns in the steamer leaving at least an each apart as they will rise and spread while steaming. Steam for 15 minutes at low heat.How to make steamed pork buns

Notes in making the perfect Siopao / Steamed Buns

Adding milk in the dough made the buns soft longer than just using water. Just like when you bake bread.

Kneading the dough properly contributes to having a nice, smooth and even skin that will not wrinkle or dimple once steamed. So make sure you knead it enough until it becomes smooth  (10-12 minutes by hand or 8-10 with a mixer).

I also learned that steaming at low heat helps to prevent the buns from collapsing.

EASY SIOPAO SAUCE:

  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat while stirring constantly until sauce thickens.

Siopao Bola-Bola with salted egg and Chinese sausage

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Siopao Bola-Bola with salted egg and Chinese sausage
5 from 7 votes

Siopao Bola-Bola (Steamed Pork Buns)

This Siopao Bola-Bola is the Filipino version of Steamed Pork Buns. Made extra special with the addition of salted eggs and Chinese sausage.
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer,Snack
Cuisine: Asian,Filipino
Keyword: siopao bola bola,siopao recipe,steamed pork buns recipe
Servings: 10
Calories: 377kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Siopao Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder - double-acting
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoon shortening

Filling:

  • 250 grams ground pork
  • 1 medium onion - chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup shrimp - chopped
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • salt if needed
  • 2 salted eggs
  • 1 piece of Chinese sausage

INSTRUCTIONS

MAKE THE DOUGH:

  • Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and baking powder in a large bowl. Pour in milk and water and mix several times just to moisten the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening and mix until a dough forms.
  • Tip the dough into a flat surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Usually takes about 10-12 minutes by hand or 8-10 with mixer.
  • Rest the dough for 15-20 minutes until it has risen to just almost double the original size. (Meanwhile, prepare the filling)
  • Turn it to a lightly floured surface and roll into a log. Divide into two. Return half back to the bowl and place in the fridge. This will slow down the rising.
  • Divide the other half into 5 equal parts. Fold each piece to its center several times until no longer puffy and sooth before forming it into a ball. 

HOW TO MAKE THE BOLA-BOLA FILLING?

  • Add all the ingredients for the bola-bola (meatball) in a bowl, except for the salted eggs and Chinese sausage. Mix until well combined.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for a few minutes or until the dough is ready.
  • Cut a piece of salted egg into half and then each half into quarters giving you 8 in total each egg. You can also just cut a piece into 4 if desired. Set aside.
  • Cut the Chinese sausage into pieces about half-inch thick. Set aside.

To assemble:

  • Take a piece of a dough ball and flatten it, using your palm and a rolling pin, into about 4-5 inch circle leaving a small bulge in the middle.
  • Scoop a tablespoon of filling and place it in the middle. Gather the ends towards the middle from one side until you reach the other end closing the filling in. Pinch and twist to seal the ends together o top. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • Before steaming, put a piece of parchment or wax paper at the bottom of each bun. Place the buns in the steamer leaving at least an each apart as they will rise and spread while steaming. Steam for 15 minutes at low heat.
Nutrition Facts
Siopao Bola-Bola (Steamed Pork Buns)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 377 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Cholesterol 93mg31%
Sodium 402mg17%
Potassium 232mg7%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 170IU3%
Vitamin C 1.2mg1%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.

Bebs

Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

This Post Has 79 Comments

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  1. for yeast and baking powder, do you mean in teaspoon? I will try this, looks so delicious…thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. It will work, of course, but it will also leave a taste on the buns, if that is your aim then go ahead. Or you can use more neutral-flavor oil.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Bebs,

    Thank you so much for sharing your passion!

    White and super soft steamed bun achieved! A really “must try and share” recipe!😊😊😊

    God Bless you and your family😊😊😊

  3. Hi.

    Can i use butter instead of shortening? Btw, im using your recipe for ube cheese and normal pan de sal. It turned out really great. All for the first time.

    Thank you so much po! God bless.

  4. My grandson has a milk allergy but loves siopao. Do you have a recipe for siopao dough that does not use milk? or can I just substitute water for the milk in this recipe?

    1. Well, if you have no other choice then go on. But maybe you will need more water and expect it also to be chewier. Let it rise longer since it will be able to hold its form better than APF.

  5. Hello Bebs!
    Just finished copy paste your Recipe… I will try my best to do this… i hope i can.
    Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Bebs,

    I just made and the filling is so good but the dough is a little bit yellow. I would like to share it with friends but really can’t cuz of the yellow dough, looks dirty. I live in the US so we have different brands of flour unlike the Philippines. Can you please help me what really works? Do I have to use bleached flour? Vinegar? And have you really tried it yourself to make it white? I did not see in your recipe that you add vinegar, cuz your siopao photo looks white. So what did you use? Bleached flour? Vinegar incorporated in the flour? Please help!!!! Thank you so much! ❤️

    1. Hi Chloe, this happened to me before but instead of yellow it was brownish. Turns out it was the baking soda from the old recipe I followed and I omitted that and started from scratch. Could it be that you used baking soda by mistake?

  7. 5 stars
    This siopao bola bola is amazing! My family loves it! I couldn’t believed I just made a siopao and it was a success. Thank you. I just started baking and your website is my number one go to site…

  8. Hi Beb
    Can I use bread maker for the dough? I will wait for your reply before making it tonight😊 I finally found shortening at the supermarket and I’m very excited to make bola bola.
    Thank you in advance😊

  9. Hello Bebs!

    I cooked it today and it was sooooooo good. My partner (he is Australian tried it for the first time and he like it too) thank you for your recipe.

  10. Hi Bebs,
    great recipe! How to make a white siopao. I tried it but it gives me a little yellow in color.
    Hope to hear from you. Thank you.

  11. Hi Bebs,
    I tried your recipe with active dry yeast and it was a hit! I tried cooking the bola bola (steamed it first) my family loved it. Thanks for the recipe! The buns were moist, white and fluffy… yum. Hope i can post pics hahaha.

    Take care
    Reina

  12. Hi Bebs

    If I use active dry yeast, what would be the instructions for the dough?
    Thank you.
    Regards.
    Will wait for your feedback.
    God bless
    Reina

    1. Hi Reina, you need to activate the yeast. Sprinkle it over the 1/3 cup lukewarm water with a teaspoon sugar (both taken from the recipe). Wait for 5 minutes or until it has foamed then add to the flour.

  13. 5 stars
    Hi Bebs, I tried your recipe last night! It was yummy and taste like the siopao I knew, but I just had one problem, my dough were a bit sticky, I did add more flour to it, and was satisfied with the result, the next thing I will practice, is how to fold the siopao!

    1. Hi Tisay, yes, the amount of liquids could vary depending on the flour used. Glad to hear that you were able to make it work still. I like the folding part and it took me several times to get it right too.

    1. Hi Amor, self-rising flour is normally used for cakes or shortbread. I do not recommend using it for yeast bread as it may be too crumbly.

  14. Hi Ms. Bebs,

    Thank you for sharing your recipes! I did the Siopao Asado using ground pork instead of chicken. My son loved it & tomorrow I’m planning to try the Siopao Bola-bola ‘coz my husband is coming from 2wks. work & he is requesting to make this one.

  15. Hi Bebs! how much active yeast do i need to replace the instant yeast in your recipe and how much time do i need to make them dough Rise using active yeast?

    1. Hi Marj, use the same amount. As for the rising time, you have to play it by the ear. The times given is really just an approximation. It differs depending on many factors like temperature. Wait that it has risen to almost double the original size.

  16. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I made the siopao today and put extra filling inside the bun and it was delicious. But I use the fresh yeast coz it was the only thing available in the store that day. But had a hard time figuring out how much fresh yeast i Should used. But i tried 17 gram it was no problem at all

    1. They are totally different. Both are used to leaven baked products but used differently. Yeast is used for making bread while baking powder mostly for cakes and similar baked goodies.

    1. No need Lulu, they will get cooked when the buns are steamed. Sauteing them will make the meat crumbly and difficult to form. The Chinese also do not pre-cook their meat fillings when making steamed buns.

  17. I was wondering if I could steam the siopao in batches (5 at a time) since I cannot fit all 10 in my small steamer. If yes, should I keep the uncooked ones in the fridge til I steam them? Thanks

  18. Hi Bebs, This is the best siopao dough recipe I have ever done. I have tried a lot of dough recipes and yours is simply the best. My son is always requesting me to make siopao and he absolutely liked yours. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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