Salted Egg Yolk Custard Buns

These salted egg yolk custard buns are a must-try dish that is inspired by two classic dim-sum dishes!

Steamed buns with a creamy custard filling are a popular item found in dim sum restaurants. Because it’s sweet, it’s typically one of the last dishes that people order, and it finishes off a lovely dim sum meal perfectly. This recipe is for salted egg yolk custard buns which is a hybrid of two different Chinese buns- custard bun (Nai Wong Bao) and runny salted egg yolk bun (Liu Sha Bao). Salted egg yolk is commonly used in Chinese cooking, stuffed into sticky rice, pastries, mooncakes, and more. Adding salted egg yolks to dishes adds a rich, buttery, salty flavor that you must personally try to fully understand the flavor of salted egg yolks. These buns are perfect as an appetizer, dessert, snack, or breakfast. I love biting into the soft and fluffy dough and tasting the sweet and savory creamy custard filling. These buns are seriously so good and I urge you all to try this recipe. Do keep in mind that salted egg yolks are kind of an acquired taste, so I totally understand if some people may dislike the unique flavor.

Chinese buns are fluffy bread made from a yeasted dough that is then steamed on high heat. Steamed bread cooks much faster than baked bread. If you have not had steamed buns in any form before, this is your sign to try them! Chinese steamed buns are a staple that gives off a fragrant milky smell and is best served piping hot and fresh.

To make these buns, I used the following tools:

large, steel double-tiered steamer  

rolling pin

parchment paper

Kitchen Aid stand mixer (you can also hand-knead the dough)

Salted Egg Yolk Custard Buns

yield: 12 large or 16 medium

total time: 3 hrs


For custard:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 220 g. or 1 c. minus 2 tbsp. whole milk
  • 100 g. or 1/2 c. sugar
  • 25 g. or 2 tbsp. cake flour
  • 65 g. or 4 1/2 tbsp. salted butter
  • 4 salted egg yolks

For dough:

  • 200 g. or 1 2/3 c. minus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 200 g. or 1 1/2 c. minus 1 tbsp. cake flour
  • 5 g. or 1 1/2 tsp. yeast
  • 60 g. or 1/3 c. sugar
  • 16 g. or 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 g. or 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 220 g. or 1 c. minus 2 tbsp. whole milk, warm


  1. Make the custard first since it needs time to chill. Whisk together 4 egg yolks, sugar, and cake flour in a medium bowl. In a pot, melt together whole milk and salted butter. Once melted, allow to cool for 10 min, and pour the milk and butter mixture slowly into the yolk, sugar, and flour mixture while whisking. Go slowly and whisk constantly to prevent scrambled eggs.
  2. Mash or grate the salted egg yolks and add into the custard mixture. Pour the custard mixture into a pot and whisk every 1 min. over low heat. Once the custard starts to become clumpy, pour into a shallow dish, place plastic wrap on top of the custard, and chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. To make the dough, add all the ingredients into a stand mixer and knead on medium speed for 10 min. Place into a large bowl, cover, and proof in a warm place for 1 hour.
  4. The dough should double in size. Punch the dough to release air and separate into 12 pieces (large) or 16 pieces (medium). Roll the dough pieces into balls and cover with a cloth. Proof for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the custard from the fridge. It should be firm now. Separate the custard into 12 (large) or 16 (medium) and roll into a ball.
  6.  Lightly flour a clean surface and flatten one dough piece into a circle approximately 3.5 inches in diameter. The dough should be thicker in the middle and thinner on the sides. Add one custard ball into the middle and pinch the edges towards the middle. Shape the dough into a ball and place on a small parchment paper square. Place into a steamer over cool water. Repeat this process for the remaining buns.
  7. When the buns are in the steamer, cover the steamer and proof for another 15 min.
  8. Steam the buns on high heat for 15 min and then turn the heat off. Wait 3 min before removing the lid. Buns will be piping hot. Bite and enjoy!

Store buns in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Buns freeze very well.

*Nutrition facts are estimates.

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6 thoughts

  1. I’m eating lots of steamed buns at the moment (and have a recipe for savoury char sui bao and gua bao next up in my own blog, having just begun a short series on Chinese dishes). It’s interesting to compare different preparation methods, but I’ve not come across salted egg yolks as an ingredient. Are they yolks from hard-boiled eggs, salted after cooking, or is there more to it?

    I’m marinating a kilo of pork shoulder, right now, to roast later and will be making a batch of buns for a photo session today/tomorrow. I’ll try some of these too, as it would be hardly any trouble (and I can do 1/4 of your quantities to see whether the taste combo appeals).

    1. Typically in Chinese cooking, duck yolks are used. They either place the entire raw egg in a salted brine for months or place the raw yolks directly in salt. The first process is lengthy so the second one is probably more commonly used. Steamed buns are tasty, I’m glad you’ve been making them lately!

      1. I’ve found a straightforward recipe for salting egg yolks, so I’m going to have a go, but I’ll try with chicken eggs first. I’m guessing that 3 large eggs would yield about the same quantity as 2 duck eggs.

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