Baked Mushroom Bao

I've spared you my ramblings about my deep love of dumplings, Asian buns, and dim sum. Until now. My first experience with dumplings came at a young age in the form of the wanton soup that went hand-in-hand with Chinese take-out. Fast forward many years to the month I spent visiting one of my best friends in China. Obviously, I ate the most incredible dumplings of my life. And I was introduced to the range of dumpling available, the types of skins, fillings, and cooking preparations. I also must admit that New Years day in China secured the place of dumplings as my ultimate hangover food.
Baked Mushroom Bao

Baked Mushroom Bao

For all my love of dumplings, I rarely make them at home. I have a bamboo steamer that comes out on occasion, and have a copy of Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More on my iPad. Considering that dumplings are one of the foods I miss most in Israel, you'd think I would have been all over this. Luckily, this month's Daring Cooks challenge came to the rescue. Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

Mushrooms for Baked Mushroom Bao

Sara gave us a few different options to choose from, including Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun) Steamed Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun), and Baked Mushroom Bao. Although I can find pork in Israel I decided not to mess around there. I was originally going to try a BBQ chicken filling, but thought the mushroom looked awesome. I also had to make a few other adjustments based on what was available. Oh, and I forgot the egg wash so they are lacking the characteristic luster, but I like the matte look.

How to Make Baked Mushroom Bao

I could not believe how well my bao (short for baozi) came out. The dough rose perfectly, the filling was rich and flavorful, and they baked up beautifully. They tasted like something I would get from a bakery in Chinatown. We ate half on the spot and froze the other half to throw in the oven whenever we want a snack. I can't wait to try making the chicken and pork buns!
5.0 from 6 reviews
Baked Mushroom Bao
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
These baked mushroom bao are dim sum quality and easier than they look to make. Store extras in an air-tight container in the freezer for a quick, reheatable snack.
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Yield: Makes 12 buns
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2½ teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten (plus another for egg wash, if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Mushroom Filling:
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion or shallot
  • 5½ cups finely chopped mixed mushrooms (I used white button and shitake)
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
For the Dough:
  1. Put the sugar and warm water in a bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl.
  3. Add yeast mixture, egg, oil, and salt and stir.
  4. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands. The dough will be very sticky at first.
  5. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and slightly elastic.
  6. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
For the Mushroom Filling:
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté until soft, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook until they have rendered down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin, and sesame oil, cook for another few minutes.
  5. Mix cornflour and stock together until smooth and add to the mushroom mixture.
  6. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.
  7. Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.
To Assemble and Serve:
  1. Preheat oven to 200º C/392º F
  2. Once dough has doubled in size knock back and divide in to 12 portions and shape in to round balls.
  3. Use a rolling pin, roll out to approximately 2 inches in diameter. Pick the piece of dough up and gently pull the edges to enlarge to about 3 inches. (Doing this keeps the dough slightly thicker in the center and prevents the tops from splitting when baking.)
  4. Place a good sized tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough circle.
  5. Gather the edges and seal your bun.
  6. Place the bun seal side down on your baking tray. Continue with rest of dough.
  7. Once all buns are complete brush surface with an egg wash, if desired.
  8. Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Parve, Vegan, and Vegetarian with kosher/vegetarian fish sauce


  1. Such a perfect golden brown, and with those delicious mushroomy fillings… this is my kind of bun!

  2. Oh my,those look so good!

  3. After my trip to China over Sukkot, these are making my mouth water! Can’t wait to try them out!

    • You must have had some amazing dumplings! I hope you give these a try, they were much easier than I thought they would be. Next I want to try with chicken or pork! I’ll send some your way if I do 🙂

  4. I’d have gone with the mushroom filling as well. I adore mushrooms as long as they’re cooked. And, I also like the matte finish that you have on these and even the flavor better than with the wash. They’re absolutely perfect.

    • Thank you! Yes, I also adore mushrooms. And cooked like this they took on almost a meaty flavor and texture. Most excellent.

  5. Katherine,
    Loved hearing about your dumpling background and what a recipe! A little too involved for me , but looks absolutely delicious!

    • Thank you Judee! I thought these would be a ton of work but they were easier than I anticipated. The added challenge of making them gluten free would be another story though…

  6. I got addicted to bao zi while in China this summer, they are amazing! Yours look perfect, and I love the mushroom stuffing 🙂 Great recipe.

  7. These look like perfection! Wow!!

  8. Hi Katherine! Fantastic Baked Mushroom Bao. Love the filling and the matte look!

  9. Your Baked Mushroom Bao sound like a delicious alternative to the typical pork buns. Actually the filling sound good enough to fill a pancake or just eat with a spoon!

    • Yes, these were a great veggie alternative that everyone can enjoy. I may have eaten a spoonful or two of the filling on it’s own… 😉

  10. wow these look so yummy first thing in the morning! can I have one please? so unbelievable that you made these..

  11. Great job Katerine! The mushroom buns look perfectly baked and fluffy. They look so delicious even without the egg wash. Although the bbq pork bao always has a place in my heart, seeing these pictures here makes me want to take a bite of these mushroom baos. Great recipe!

    • Thank you Sharon!!! I thought I wouldn’t like the mushroom filling as much as the pork but it proved to be so flavorful and almost meaty! Next time I will definitely try pork 🙂

  12. Like you, I love all the asian dumplings and buns. I think I would be delighted to even get to visit an Asian bread bakery. Since I do not see that trip happening soon, I can at least enjoy the flavor at home now that you have posted this recipe. Simply delicious!

    • I am so glad you like the recipe! I hope you make and enjoy it. I’m on my way home to ny and one of my first stops will be Chinatown!! Can’t wait!

  13. Beautiful photos, and the bao baked up so beautifully!

  14. Your buns turned out fantastically. Glad you enjoyed the challenge.

    • Such a great challenge!! Thank so much Sara for pushing me to make something I love but wouldn’t have necessarily made otherwise.

  15. These baked dumplings look amazing, Katherine.
    Never tried them as hangover food, though 😉

  16. I can’t resist! They look so yummy, I love dumplings and these must be perfect!

  17. Oh, how fantastic! LOVE this mushroom filling, Katherine~

  18. Your buns look fabulous! How great that you have some in the freezer.

    • Thanks Barbara! Actually, they didn’t last very long in the freezer…we’ve already eaten them all up! I can now confirm that they are still delicious baked up after being frozen 😉 Need to make more soon. Merry Christmas!

  19. They look delicious! I froze some of my steamed buns and they did great out of the freezer-just heated briefly in microwave (hubby) or a quick re-steam (me).

    • Yum! Yes, we’ve already eaten the frozen ones right up! I put them in the oven for about 15 minutes and they were good as new. Need to make more! Next time I want to try the steamed ones!

  20. I remember growing up eating freshly baked bao’s made by my mom and Cantonese aunt. These looks so yummy 🙂

  21. Super delicious! The mushroom filling is ‘the’ filling for me.

  22. Here is another dumpling lover and i just can’t wait to try this wholesome filling Bao . We make masala Pao almost the same way but these flavors are just killing me.

  23. Great job! I love dumplings of all kinds. You’ll have to let us know how the pork ones turn out (I’m sure they’ll be spectacular) – pork-filled buns are one of my favorites.

    • Thank you!! Yes pork-filled buns are definitely my favorite, but I was impressed with how flavorful and almost meaty the mushroom filling was. Love dumplings!!

  24. Wow these buns look scrumptious! I love dim sum and would love to try these out.

  25. I love mushrooms and the idea of stuffing buns with a mushroom saute is lovely. It is easily made vegan too!

  26. These look so tasty! Even without the egg wash I could easily eat a couple. Where did you travel to in China?

    • Thanks Diana! I was so happy with how these turned out. I spent a month in China about 5 years ago (oh jeez, more?) and I traveled all over with my friend who was living there. We spent some time in the city where she lived, and whose name I will never remember – a few hours north of Beijing. I spent some time by myself in Beijing. Then we traveled by bus, overnight train, plane, and boat all the way down to Hainan, stopping in chongqing and a bunch of other cities along the way. We took a 3 day boat trip on the Yangtze soon before they were going to finish flooding it for the three gorges dam. It was an incredible trip – I can’t wait to go back!

  27. They look just perfect. Great choice of filling! Thanks for linking up to Cook Around the Globe.

  28. I made these today. They turned out absolutely delicious. I didn’t put the egg wash on them, but I think I will next time. And I think I should have rolled out my dough a little thinner than I did, but these were fantastic! I made the dough 8 hours early and left it in the fridge to rise and it seemed to rise perfectly.

  29. just to let you know these came out fantastically. We have a similar dish in India that is deep fried called Kachori but I used your dough recipe with a traditional spicy mixture and it was wonderful. A+!!

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