Pan Fried Buns

These pan fried buns also known as sheng jian bao are moist, juicy, crispy and delicious. This is a recipe that will show you how to make them entirely from scratch. I used ground pork in this recipe, but you can easily substitute with ground beef, chicken, or shrimp. There are also ways to make this vegetarian.

Origins of pan fried buns (sheng jian bao)

The origins of Chinese Sheng Jian Bao, also known as Sheng Jian Mantou, trace back to Shanghai, where they are a beloved street food delicacy. These pan-fried buns are believed to have originated in the late 19th century during the Qing Dynasty. Legend has it that a clever street vendor named Wang Wenxiang created these buns by accident when he ran out of bamboo steamers one day. Improvising with a flat pan, he discovered that frying the buns instead of steaming them resulted in a delightful crispy bottom while maintaining a soft, fluffy texture inside. The buns gained popularity quickly for their irresistible taste and convenient portability. Today, Sheng Jian Bao remain a cherished part of Shanghai’s culinary heritage, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for their rich history and delectable flavor.

Type of ground meat to use

When making Chinese pan-fried buns, you can use various types of ground meat, depending on your preference and dietary restrictions. Traditionally, pork is the most commonly used meat for its juicy texture and rich flavor. However, you can also use ground chicken, ground beef, or a combination of different meats to add variety and customize the flavor to your liking. Additionally, if you prefer a plant-based option, you can use tofu or a mixture of finely chopped vegetables as a filling instead of meat. Experimenting with different types of ground meat or alternative fillings can lead to delicious variations of this beloved dish.

How to wrap pan fried buns

  1. Cut your dough into 35 gram pieces.
  2. Dust with flour and flatten with palm.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll out the edges so that they are thinner than the center.
  4. Place 1-2 tbsp of filling into your dough. The more the better, but it makes the wrapping more difficult. I would recommend starting with less then slowly working your way up.
  5. Fold the edges together towards the top of the bun. Using a pinch and twist motion, seal the bun. Sometimes I will even pinch off some of the dough when twisting.

Tip: Use as little flour as possible because it will make sealing much easier.

Key ingredients for pan fried buns


The reason I use weighted measurements for the flour and water is because it’s the most accurate way of measuring. It’s 315g flour, 220g water which is a 70% hydration level. It shouldn’t be too wet, however, if it gets tough to work with you can add flour. Please refrain from doing so as much as possible though.

Dough to be proofed

Garlic chives

Garlic chives is one of the most underrated ingredients. They taste amazing in stir fry’s, noodles, eggs, and dumplings. Adds texture, garlic flavor, and color. This is very common ingredient in Chinese cooking that I believe needs to utilized more. You can find them in Chinese grocery stores that come packaged in plastic wrap and look like this:

Cooking method

  1. Heat up a large pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil.
  2. Add the buns into the pan and allow it to cook until the bottom of the buns are golden and crisp.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water into the pan and cover with a lid to steam for 5-10 minutes.
  4. If the water has not fully evaporated, remove the lid and let it cook until all the water is gone. This way, you will be left with a crispy bottom.

Pan Fried Buns

These pan fried buns are crispy, juicy, delicious, and surprisingly simple to make.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 17 buns



  • 315 g AP flour
  • 220 g room temp water
  • ½ tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 1 cup garlic chives
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ¼ cup minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • ½ tsp chicken bullion powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Dipping sauce

  • 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili crisp
  • thinly sliced ginger


  • In a bowl, mix flour, yeast, salt, and sugar.
    315 g AP flour, ½ tbsp instant yeast, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar
  • Add water, then mix and knead until a smooth doughball forms. should take 5-10 minutes.
    220 g room temp water
  • Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • In a separate bowl add all your filing ingredients and mix.
    1 lb ground pork, 2 stalks green onion, 1 cup garlic chives, ¼ cup minced garlic, ¼ cup minced ginger, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 1½ tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine, ½ tsp chicken bullion powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp corn starch
  • Once the dough is done resting, roll it out into a log and cut them into 35g pieces.
  • Flatten each piece with your palm then begin to roll out the edges so that they are thinner than the center.
  • Place 1-2 tbsp of filling into the center of the dough and bring all the edges towards the middle of the bun.
  • Using a pinch and twisting motion, seal the bun and repeat with the rest.
  • Heat up a pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil.
  • Add the buns into the pan and cook until golden brown on the bottom. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add ½ cup of water and cover with a lid for additional 5-10 minutes.
  • Release the lid and allow it to cook until there is no more water in the pan.
  • Garnish with black sesame seeds, green onions, and our sauce.
    2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar, thinly sliced ginger
Keyword bread, buns, pan fried buns, pork bun

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  1. Can these be made ahead and frozen? I’m hoping that they can’t then be pan fried and steamed. Thank you. These look fantastic.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe with ground chicken and used mirin instead of rice wine. It was delicious. I didn’t have some of the dipping sauce ingredients on hand so we just dipped in soy sauce. I’ll be better prepared next time. Thanks for all the photos of the process. Since this was my first time making buns, the pics were very helpful.

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