Siopao - Filipino Steamed Buns

Siopao – Steamed Buns

Siopao is another dish that Filipinos adopted from the Chinese and it became very popular and a favorite among many. Siopao is also called Salapao in Thailand, Baozi in China, Pau in Hong Kong, or simply known as Steamed Buns in English. Basically, it is a steamed bun filled with a savory meat filling.


Back when I was in the Philippines this was one of my favorite snacks or meals. It does not require utensils to eat and it can be consumed on the go. That's one of the reasons Siopao can easily be found on the sidewalk at vendors or eateries (Turo-Turo). Whenever I got here in the U.S. I sort of forgot about Siopao and needless to say I had not had it in a long time until I came across it on the Internet while browsing around. The last time I ate Siopao was when my sister in-law made one, but she made it out of mix found in many international grocery stores. It was ok, but I wanted to make mine from scratch. So I started looking for recipes on the web and studied theirs so I could try and make my own version while my mouth was watering at the same time. As many of us know when your looking for recipes online a lot of the recipes are copied from someone else's and most of them have not even tried the recipes. Often enough you ask yourself a question, does this person who posted this recipe even know how to cook at all? Probably not! They obviously don't have any business having a recipe site whatsoever. I am not a professional chef or cook, but when I share my recipes with others I can assure you that I have cooked it first then eaten the dish myself and made certain adjustments until I was totally satisfied with it. Otherwise I would not even think of posting the recipe. I write my own recipes based on how exactly I cooked it. Anyway let's look at the recipe and start steaming Yum!.. One piece of advice is that you don't try to make this if your hungry because it does take a little time and patience to get the final product, but it is very rewarding. I asked my American wife to try it and she said it was ok, but she would rather have ham and cheese for stuffing. I told her this is Siopao, not Hot Pockets. I did mention before that she is picky right? Anyway it's more Siopao for me, 12 Siopao to be exact, and I was the only one here to eat all of it. For the Dough Ingredients:
  • 3 Cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 Packet active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ Cup of luke warm water
  • ½ Cup white sugar
  • ½ Cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • Food coloring (red) for flavor identification
  1. In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in luke warm water, add sugar, salt, and 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour.
  2. Beat thoroughly until you have the consistency of a soft sponge.
  3. Cover loosely with seran wrap, set aside, and let it rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Add shortening, (Crisco) mix well, and then add the remaining ½ cup of all-purpose flour.
  5. Knead until smooth.
  6. On a flat surface, counter top or table top, dust surface with flour and roll the dough to form a 2 in. tube.
  7. Keep adding flour if needed to avoid the dough from sticking to the surface and to your hands.
  8. After forming the dough into a 2 in. tube, cut dough with a sharp knife using a cutting board so that you have 2x2 in. pieces.
  9. Place on a tray, line with wax paper, and dust with flour.
  10. Set aside.
For the Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ Lbs. Pork or Chicken cut in ¼ in. cubes
  • 4 Cloves of garlic smashed
  • 1 Small onion diced
  • 3 Tbs. Soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Oyster sauce
  • ½ Cup of water
  • 4 Tbs. Brown sugar
  • ½ Tbs. Ground black pepper
  • 1 Tsp. MSG (optional)
  • 1 Tbs. Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. Shortening (Crisco) for sauteing
  • 6 Hard-boiled eggs
  1. In a large frying pan heat and saute 2 Tbs. of shortening over medium heat.
  2. Next saute garlic until golden brown, add onions and cook until onions hit the shiny stage.
  3. Then add meat, (pork or chicken) saute it for 2 minutes, cover, and let simmer for 5 minutes over medium low heat.
  4. In a mean while, mix cornstarch in a small bowl with ½ cup of water until totally dissolved, set aside.
  5. After five minutes remove cover, stir the meat, and add the following: soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch-water mixture, and the brown sugar.
  6. Then season it with msg, black pepper, and sesame oil.
  7. Stir well and bring to a boil. Let it simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes on low heat while stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove pan from the heat and let it totally cool.
  9. Take the dough cut in 2x2 in. pieces and dust each one with flour.
  10. Next roll each individual piece into a ball with your hands and lay the rounded dough onto a flat surface.
  11. Again dust with flour.
  12. Using a rolling pin flatten the dough to 3/8 of an inch thick or about 5 inches in diameter.
  13. Slice hard-boiled eggs crosswise and carefully arrange 3 slices at a time onto the center of the rolled-flattened dough.
  14. Then spoon about one spoonful of pork or chicken filling onto the center of the dough.
  15. Pull edges of the dough together and twist together firmly.
  16. Using wax paper cut in 4x4 inch pieces, place buns on there upside down so the smooth side is up on the wax paper.
  17. Steam Siopao for 25 minutes per batch.
  18. Enjoy your Siopao and if you made a little too many to be consumed at one time, relax.
  19. You can freeze these buns and re-steam them for 15 minutes later.
  20. Just make sure you thaw it out first.
Tips: You can use microwave to reheat your frozen Siopao without thawing it first by wrapping it with two layers of moist paper towel and heat it for one minute.

Filliings Ingredients: Pork Butt, Soy Sauce, Hoi Sin Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, MSG, Sesame Oil, Garlic, Onion, Ground Black Pepper, Hard Boiled Eggs

Siopao Dough Ingredients: All-purpose Flour, Shortening (Crisco), Active Yeast, White Suage, Red Food Coloring

Cook siopao

Sliced siopao on a plate

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74 Responses to “Siopao – Steamed Buns”

  1. Alex says:

    I’ve tried your recipe of Pork Barbecue and Beef with Broccoli and they taste awesome.. Thanks.. Just wondering though if you know how to make the sauce for the siopao.. This is the sauce besides the one that’s already inside the siopao when you cooked.. Remember in the Philippines, they have it in bottles just in case you want more.. haven’t found them here in the US yet.. Also do you know how to make fishball sauce? Not the chili sauce being used now but the real fishball sauce with brownish color used by vendors in the streets in the Philippines… Thanks

  2. Espie says:

    Filipino Siopao is the best siopao amongst Siopaos. When I was in college back in PI, I had to have one as my snack. I bought frozen ones(not made in the Philippines) from the Asian store, after steaming one of them, I gave the rest to my outdoor cats. Never made it, but I will definitely try your recipe. I’m almost positive that it’s delicious because of your comment “I am not a professional chef or cook, but when I share my recipes with others I can assure you that I have cooked it first then eaten the dish myself and made certain adjustments until I was totally satisfied with it. Otherwise I would not even think of posting the recipe” Love that comment because I am the same way. Keep up the good work

  3. mark Anrhony says:


    Can you also post an article on how to make a fried siopao? is it simply frying a regular siopao or their is something special about it?
    You can also email me if you don’t mind.



  4. Alex,
    As a matter of fact, I do have to recipe for the Siopao Sauce, I just need to get around it and post it here. I’ve been pretty busy for last few months now and I do need to post more recipe on this site. Anyway, thank you for your positive comments!

  5. Espie,
    Thank you for the compliments. I must admit, I really like the Fillings of this recipe, but the Dough needs a little tweeking. I like the bleach white dough, I just need to try different types of flour. Next time, I will try rice flour. I do need to get a better mixer though, I like to have the big Kitchen Aide, with the dough hook (I haven’t figure out yet, how am I going to convince my wife to spend four hundred dollars on a mixer). Don’t try mixing this dough with a hand mixer, you’ll regret it. I know this from experience. Again, thank you for the compliments. God Bless!

  6. Mark,
    I never heard of Siopao being fried before. I will try to look it up see what a can find out. Sorry!

  7. Mark Anthony says:

    Ok Robert. I’m looking forward for the fried siopao recipe.



  8. Mark Anthony says:

    Hi Robert,

    I just found out the their is no special recipe or procedure for fried siopao. It is just frying the bottom part of the siopao. hehehe 🙂

    Thanks anyway.


  9. georgiagook says:

    hi robert
    what kind of a steamer do you use?
    any kind or the bamboo made ones

  10. Georgiagook,
    What I use for steamer is the aluminum ones. If you prefer the Bamboo kind that’s perfectly fine too. Goodluck!

  11. Espie says:

    Would you share your Caldereta recipe?


  12. Liza says:

    What a great recipe! I’ve always wanted to know how to make this!

  13. Anne says:

    hi to all,

    This is a lovely recipe, I wanted to try to make siopao but i cant find crisco here in EU, any alternative pls?

    Thanks in advance.


  14. annie says:

    gud day. anybody who knows how to make sauce for siopao? please help me.thanks

  15. gina says:

    gud day, iv’e tried to make siopao but i wonder why it looks likes yellowish?because i know that siopao should be white in color but mine became yellow , can u help me with this?

  16. Melissa says:

    hi! i too am looking for the perfect siopao recipe. this is my first time on your site—would love to try your other recipes too:) My question is: how sticky was your dough, if at all, after rising? I find that if I keep dusting with flour to prevent sticking, it adds a little too much and results in a dense siopao:( Advice?

  17. Grace says:

    You might want to drop a couple tbsp of vinegar to your boiling water when steaming the bun to have a whitish bun. I got this tip from the ready made bun flour I bought from the asian grocery and it works for me.

  18. rose says:

    Hi Mr Robert,
    Salamat sa recipe ng Siopao.gumawa ako kanina at super ung kinalabasan wow sarap!thnks

    greeting’s from Germany!!!

  19. Thompson says:

    I noticed that you call for 1 tbs salt in the dough ingredients, but do not see it being used. Is this supposed to be added or something that should not be in the recipe??

  20. Thompson,

    My apology. Yes add the salt along with the sugar, water, and flour.


  21. Thanks for the information. I am a lover of the Filipino version of siopao, even the ones they serve at 7/11 are pretty decent if you are in a hurry.

  22. I never had that, I’m curious to try. I like that you write a bit about all food and that it is not just recipes.

  23. Michelle K says:

    Hello. I wanted to tell you that I can not thank you enough for putting this recipe on your blog. I have been searching for this recipe I kid you not, for 11 years. I tried my first siopao adan when I was pregnant because a coworker of mine (from the Phillippines) brought them in for me to eat. He thought I was too skinny and needed to eat more. I loved them from the first bite and they helped to curb morning sickness, I swear by it. I went from too skinny to being too big in no time at all. In all these years I never forgotten them. So a BIG thank you for posting this. 🙂

  24. celeste says:

    yes there’s a special recipe for fried siopao.. just keep on searching.. in philippines its fried siopao, but in other country they have other name for that.. it took a lot of searching before i found the recipe for fried siopao..Napasigaw talaga ako sa tuwa ng makita ko yung recipe..since then i always cook that special siopao…here are tips:
    1. the name is not fried siopao kaya nahihirapan kayong magsearch.. kapag nalaman nyo na yung real name nito Wow tuloy tuloy na.. kabikabila ang recipe sa internet…
    2. they use less sugar for the dough
    3. the recipe dont use lard or shortening.. thats why its so cheap compare to other siopao in philippines…
    But thats not the main secret!!! the secret is how they cook the siopao… you’ll be surprise.. Good luck everyone..

  25. zeny says:

    thanks for sharing your recipes. they are all “doable” and delicious.

  26. Talisa says:

    the fried siopao is called fried baozi or sheng jian bao. There are so many recipes on the net so just choose the best one that works for you guys.

  27. heart says:


    thank you for your recipe.
    by any chance, would you know where i can buy really good siopao in the malls? one that has enough filling?

    thanks again!

  28. melai says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will definitely try this later!

    I saw the recipe for bao zi. surprisingly, the cooking process is the same with gyoza! Happy cooking!

  29. You’re welcome Melai, let me know how it turns out.


  30. norma J hobart says:

    Is their anyway making siopao dough into bread machine? thanks

  31. Norma,

    I am not really sure what you mean? If you’re talking about electric mixer such as KitchenAid brand you certainly can. As a matter of fact that’s what I used to knead mine, I used the dough hook and let the machine do the hard work for me. 🙂
    KitchenAid Mixer

    But if you are talking about the actual Breadmaker Machine then probably not. Siopao method of cooking is by steam and Breadmaker or Breadmachine cooks dough by dry heat oven style or convection.

    This is what I have.
    Aluminum Steamer

    But, you can use anything such as Bamboo, and Electric Steamers.
    Bambo Steamer

    You can buy steamer all over the place really, but if you are having trouble finding one locally then I would suggest that you buy one online. I hope this answer your question.

    Robert Colinares

  32. norma J hobart says:

    Thanks Robert, you are cool ! what about making some bibingka bisaya we sure love to hear from you..Happy New Year to your loved one..

  33. You’re welcome Norma and thanks for the kind word! I will definitely be making Bibingka in the near future, so check back from time to time. Happy New Year to you and your family also!

    Best of luck,
    Robert Colinares

  34. kelly knee says:

    Dear Robert,

    I have tried otherdough recipe and now it scares me to try your recipe, can you tel me or qurantee that this is the right dough recipe.and plese do not forget the recipe for the sauce for siopao. thanks for your recipe i willtry and will get back if they are right.can i use oil instead of shortening? please reply

  35. Hi Kelly,

    I understand your frustrations with other recipes you tried before. Most notable problem when trying out recipes online is those recipe were copied from someone else websites and 9 out of 10 they never cook it themselves.

    Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that this dough is the one you’re looking for, but what I can guarantee is that I cook this myself and it turn out just fine for me.

    I stated it in my welcome page that I am not a professional chef nor had any formal training in the kitchen. My cooking skills came from my mother and the rest is trial and error and the recipes I have here is the one I cooked successfully and served to my family.

    As far as your request for the Siopao sauce, I don’t have that recipe and I never made an attempt to make one, So I apologized for that. Also about the shortening, I supposed you can use regular oil. However, if you decide to use regular oil I would suggest using vegetable oil. That’s what’s my dad uses when he bakes his bread.

    I hope this answer your question and good luck on your cooking and let me know how it turn out for you.

    Robert Colinares

  36. kelly knee says:

    that is nice of you to reply soon, i wil try this and will call you back,I think you are a cool and frindly guy thanks for your patience.i appreciate

  37. You’re welcome and thank you for the kind words. 🙂

  38. janywary says:

    dear kelly,

    try this one.saute 1spoon liver spread,2spoon oyster sauce,half cup soysauce,1cup brown sugar add 3 cups chicken broth.bring to boil then add diluted cornstarch. thats it…….

  39. Janywary,

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will try this myself. 🙂


  40. i like your recipe and i am steaming right now , i bet it is good…

  41. Thanks Leslie!

    Let us know how it turns out. 🙂

    Robert Colinares

  42. mila says:

    hello robert, i finally tried cooking most of your recipes and they really good..i am so grateful for your website because it really helps me a lot..i remember, the first time i was here in idaho and then i got pregnant and i was craving for filipino foods. good thing my husband understood and we were always went to utah to buy some..anyway, for the siopao sauce, try mixing flour, soy sauce and brown sugar and water..i also use this for lumpia shanghai..i’m not rexactly sure for the measurements because puro tantiya lang ako hehehe..well, good luck and looking forward for more recipes..thanks a lot robert..

  43. Mila,

    I am glad that I am able to help you with your cooking needs. As far as your sauce recipe I will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing it.


  44. foodlover says:

    Kuya, ang sarap naman po ng mga recipes nyo. Pwede po ba mag post kayo for an Empenada recipe. Wish you the best kuya!

  45. ver says:

    try salted duck egg, slice of longanisa with the siopao, that how it is done in the phl now, called siopao bola bola

  46. Ben Castillo says:

    I always like siopao. In fact when I was studying at Ateneo University, every chance I get I go to Mamon Luk Restaurant and eat this wonderful dish and never get tired of having them. But I wonder to myself if this a snack or a main dish. For this to be a snack, its a lot of work and engridients to prepare But I dont have any complain to the satisfaction this food bring. Ro all Siopao lovers, ENJOY!!!! Oh by the way, this dish always go with MAMI. For some reaon these combination is a winner.

  47. Krista says:

    Was thinking of making siopao for my bf who loves it. Know how to make the filling but thought of asking if you knew how to steam the siopao using an oven since I dont have a steamer with me.

    I’m not sure with the temperature, but i’ve read some sites that said a pan with water would work fine?

    Wonder what you think. Thank you. =)

  48. Hi Krista,

    I wouldn’t try to cook Siopao using an oven I can guarantee it you will end up baking it rather than steaming it. The idea of steaming is very moist method of cooking, using an oven is a complete opposite.

    You can buy a Bamboo steamer fairly cheap on a lot of groceries store they range from 8-20 dollars defending on where you get it. If you can’t find one locally you can certainly order it online. Good luck on your cooking!

    Robert Colinares

  49. ellen says:

    You say about food coloring where do I put that.

  50. Hi Ellen,

    The food coloring does not go as an ingredient. It is used to identify the flavor of the fillings. That’s that red or yellow dot you see on top of the Siopao.


  51. DanielleThereseAbrenica 2ndyearhighschoolstudent says:

    Umm..Me and my classmates are on a tight budget and we couldn’t afford the shortening nor find it…Any possible alternatives?Will Butter or Margarine work?

  52. Hi Danielle,

    Sorry for the delay response. You should be able to substitute butter for shortening. A lot of people actually uses vegetable oil for shortening.

    Robert Colinares

  53. Polly says:

    Hi Robert,
    I use my bread machine in the dough setting to make the siopao dough
    and works great with less muscle work . Just add all the dough ingredients
    and the bread machine will mix and let the dough rise while you make the filling.

    Thanks for the recipe

  54. This has become more popular even on our province. More and more variety of inner savory meat and vegetable are being introduced with different yummy tastes.

  55. Dem says:

    Hi to all,

    Recipe for siopao sauce:

    1. 1 cups water
    2. 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
    3. 5 tbsp sugar
    4. 1/2 tbsp salt
    5. star anis
    6. 2 tbsp corn starch (dissolve in cld water)


    – Combine water, sweet soy sauce, sugar and salt in a pan and stir until suagr is dissolved.
    – Add star and brng to boil.
    – Add disslved cornstarch gradually while stirring mixture in continously.

    NOTE: You can adjust proportion of ingredients to get desired results

  56. Hi Dem,

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Keep them coming!

    Robert Colinares

  57. joy says:

    thanks for sharing your recipe,i just love siopao and never get tired eating it,my husband,kids and friends enjoyed it when i have the chance to make,God bless

  58. Denny says:

    i don’t know how to cook this but, this is my favorite. thanks for posting this recipe now i know the procedure to cook this food.

  59. rae says:

    My friend is Philipino and we have made siupao many times. She never used crisco in her dough. Just flour, yeast, water, brown sugar and an egg.

  60. Lenny Greene says:

    Hi, my Filipina wife is from Cebu.I met her while working in a small Chinese/Filipino restaurant as Chef/cook. Now in U.S. she found a faster and more whiter and convenient way to make the dough. Secret? Not so much. She just bought 2 packages of ready made dough from the grocery and flattened them and fill them up with whatever left overs we have to form the SIOPAO. It sure cuts off the time in making Siopao. I hope this help. Thanks

  61. esmee says:

    Caldereta recipe;

    1-2 lbs of lean beef with a little bit of fat is fine to add flavor cut ibto 1/2 inch in cubes
    Olive oil for lean meat of beef
    Fresh tomatoes 6-8 big pieces of tomatoeschopped
    3-4 large red or white onions chopped
    1 gloves of garlic minced
    Any kind of sausage to add flavor is good too
    Celery 2-3 stalks
    Potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
    Carrots sliced into 1/4 inch thick
    Garbanzo beans or chickpeas or grean peas
    Green olives
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Soysauce to color about 2 tbsp.
    2-3 bayleaf
    In a small pot saute meat nd sausagesif available
    with their own fat if its brown color add the onions garlic and tomatoes.
    Let it simmer for about 30-45 minutes until meat is tender and salt and pepper , bayleaf and soysauce.
    Let it simmer for 10-20 minutes . If meat are tender enough for you add the celery,carrots and potatoes chickpeas or peas, then wait until veggies are soft enough to chew. Serve with rice or your favorit bread.

  62. Myra Gaculais del Rosario says:

    I love the fact that you are honest about your cooking skills and I love your sense of humor! 🙂

  63. fran says:

    why can’t we print the recipe???????

  64. Hi Fran,

    You should be able to click on the “Print Post Button” on top of the page, I checked it and it’s working for me. But, if it doesn’t work for you go to this address to access the printer friendly page and you can print it from there.

    Good luck,
    Robert Colinares

  65. Willy E. Co says:

    We had a chinese restaurant when I was growing up in the Philippines! And I remember that one of the cooks used to put vinegar in the water used for steaming the siopaos! I found out later on that it’s main purpose was to whiten the siopaos! Hope this will help your readers! Cheers

  66. Mairead says:

    Hi Robert,

    I successfully made siopao from your receipe. It was delicious. Thank you!!!

  67. Linda says:

    Hi Robert nice siopao very delicious but my problem is the color of my siopao is yellowish?


  68. Alma says:


    I love this site! I just had to write in and tell you I love your comment to your wife about Siopao not being hot pockets. Hilarious! I’m definitely going to try this recipe, not that I really need to make Siopao because my mom makes it and it’s pretty wonderful too. You have great recipes here and I can’t wait to try them ALL!

  69. Thanks, Alma! I hope you like my recipes!

  70. hamidullah says:

    very good recipes

  71. Jill says:

    Is there any substitute for shortening? Tnx

  72. Hi Jill,

    You can substitute shortening with vegetables oil. The ratio would be the same 1:1, so if the recipe call for one cup of shortening you will need one cup of oil to substitute it.
    Hope this helps.


  73. Kristy says:

    I’ve tried the recipe and mine stick to the wax paper and dont look like their supposed to they look like their not cooked fully but i steamed them for the time specified ,any suggestions . They also taste doughy please tell me what i did wrong here.

  74. Jhing Dela Cruz says:

    Dear Sir:

    I’ve tried to make siopao but the problem it become yellowish color is there something wrong with my procedures?


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