Easy vegan bao

Easy vegan bao

Bao is a delicate ball of steamed dough with a delicious filling – go for salty or sweet depending on where the mood takes you. Here is my very simple vegan recipe.

I always thought I couldn’t make bao at home as I am pretty bad at folding dumplings.

I was about to give up when I decided to just go my own way. The simplest homemade bao was born.

During lockdown, I watched Bao – the Disney short. I might or might have not cried watching it. The story was so touching that I had the urge to make baos at home too (Do movies inspire you to try new recipes too?)

I decided to share my recipe with you so you can make stress-free bao at home too. Get your partner, children, friends, neighbours, and cat involved! They are so easy, we can all make them.

For disclosure: I do know this method ain’t traditional, I do know my baos aren’t the prettiest…but who needs perfect looks when they taste amazing?

P.S. If you are a magician who folds dumplings beautifully and have lots and lots of patience…drop me a message! I am keen to learn.

Easy vegan bao

Course: Mains, SnacksDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Bao is a delicate ball of steamed dough with a delicious filling – go for salty or sweet depending on where the mood takes you. Here is my very simple vegan recipe.


  • Bao Dough
  • 550 g flour

  • 3 g dried yeast

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 300 ml water

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Filling – tofu
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil

  • 280 g tofu

  • 1 spoon of flour

  • 1 spoon of soy sauce

  • Filling – veggies
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 1 carrot

  • 100 g spring onions

  • a thumb of ginger

  • 250 g closed cup mushrooms

  • 1 Chinese cabbage

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp veggie stock powder

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar or Chinese cooking wine

  • 3 tsp soy sauce

  • 1/2 tsp chilli oil (optional)


  • Dough
  • Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add the liquids in. Half the liquids in, add one teaspoon of salt. Keep mixing (10 minutes by hand, 5 with a stand mixer). Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Let it rest for 3 hours covered with a tea towel.
  • Filling
  • Cut the tofu in tiny tiny squares and pan fry with 2 spoons of sunflower oil, 1 spoon of flour and 1 spoon of soy sauce over high heat.
  • Very finely chop all the veggies (it’s much quicker if you use a food processor) but keep aside the largest cabbage leaves as we’ll use them to steam the baos later.
  • Heat up sesame oil in a woke pan, then add the spring onion, carrot and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Then add in the cup mushroom and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the cabbage and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the vinegar and soy sauce.
  • Bao making
  • Divide the dough in half. Make a ball with the half dough. Make a hole in the middle with your thumb. Enlarge the whole in the middle like you are making a big bagel with a big hole in the middle. This is a traditional way to make baos and it helps to divide the dough evenly.  Cut the bagel in half and then cut each half in four. You should now have 8 mini balls. This is not necessary though and if you don’t feel like it, just cut the dough in smaller sections. The most important thing is that the final mini balls weight around 40 g each so that you have even baos.
  • Now flatten each ball with a rolling pin going clockwise to make a round-shape.
  • Press the border of your circle with your fingertips so that it is thinner than the centre. A thicker centre would provide more structure to your bao.
  • Now add the filling to the centre – 2 teaspoons. This might seem too much but trust me, it’ll work!
  • Close the bao up as a burrito and then turn it so that the smooth side faces the top…sssh this method is very much not traditional, but so easy!
  • Place the bao over cabbage leaves (nothing goes to waste) or squares of paper. Steam for 12 minutes.
  • Eat immediately and dip them in soy sauce for extra flavour. They are so soft!


  1. Anna, they are precious! I dont know if I would have the patience to do them at home 🙂 but I also absolutely want to try recipes from films and books.

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