Mantous are delicious, fluffy steamed buns that are a staple in Chinese cuisine. These delightfully chewy and soft buns are a great alternative to rice or bread and are super easy to make. Only consisting of five ingredients and taking around an hour to make, this recipe is perfect for anything from a light afternoon snack to a full-fledged meal. If you’re craving a fluffy treat, this is the food for you! 


  • 1 cup of warm water 
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 4 cups of flour 
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar 
  • ½ tablespoon of oil


  1. Add sugar and yeast to water, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes. By the end, you should see foam at the top, showing that the yeast is activated. If not, your yeast could be dead, so you would need to get new yeast. 
  2. Add flour to a large bowl and slowly pour the yeast mixture in while stirring it with a spoon. Then, add oil and continue kneading to form a cohesive ball of dough.
  3. Place dough onto a floured surface and continue kneading until smooth, for around 5 minutes.
  4. Put dough into a bowl and cover with a wet towel to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Place dough onto a floured surface and roll it until it reaches a 1-inch thickness, and ideally into a rectangular shape.
  6. Brush the surface of the dough with water, tightly roll the dough into a log shape and pinch the ends closed. 
  7. Cut dough into 2-inch rounds, place the rounds on squares of parchment paper and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  8. To cook, use a steamer basket and steam for about 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, fill a pot with 1-2 inches of water and use aluminum foil to prop a plate (that’s smaller than the pot) above the water. Place the rounds with the parchment paper side on the bottom onto the plate and cover the pot with a lid. After the water boils, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue steaming for 10 minutes. 

The best part about this recipe is that it can be customized in so many different ways. Consider adding brown sugar to the dough to form a sugary dessert version of this steamed bun, or add rousong (pork floss) in the middle of the finished bun to form a delicious, savory sandwich. Overall, this is a fun recipe to try if you have a free afternoon! 


Christine Tu
Christine Tu is an opinion staff writer and economics major. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and making snazzy to-do lists.