Chinese Steamed Custard Buns (Nai Wong Bao) – Step By Step

The custard bun (in Chinese we call it lai wong bao, or nai wong bao) has a rich flavor of milk and egg yolk and is a dessert in Guangdong Province, China.

You can always find these in a Guangdong teahouse. Cantonese people have the habit of drinking morning tea, and this is a favorite treat to enjoy alongside it.

Nai Wong Bao in the Restaurant

It is not difficult to make. The key is the filling. The dough is just ordinary baking. However, if you want the dough to have the smoothest texture, it is very important to knead thoroughly, so there is no air left in the dough.

The custard bun is a Mantou(Chinese Steamed Buns) with stuffing. Look at the production of Liu Sha Bao, it is very similar.

The custard bun has soft dough with a dense filling. The contrast in textures is delectable and hard to resist.

Nai Wong Bao

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1) 500 grams of flour
  • 2) 3 grams of yeast
  • 3) 270 grams of warm water
  • 4) 15 grams of sugar

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1) 2 eggs (100 grams)
  • 2) 55g of sugar
  • 3) 60g of milk
  • 4) 40g of light cream
  • 5) 30g of butter
  • 6) 25g of flour
  • 7) 25g of wheat starch
  • 8) 20g of milk powder
  • 9) 1g of salt

First, we will make the cream filling:

Nai Wong Bao Filling

Step 1. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add sugar and salt, and whisk thoroughly

Step 2. Slowly add milk and light cream whilst continuing to whisk

Step 3. Sift the flour into the mixture. This will help keep it from clumping and make it easier to mix. The faster you whisk, the smoother the mixture will be.

Step 4. The batter of step 3 is filtered once again with a sieve to make sure it is smooth.

Step 5. Add the butter.

Step 6. Put some water in a pot and heat to boiling and put the bowl of batter in there carefully. As the batter warms, mix it with a spatula. Keep it moving so that it doesn’t stick and stays smooth. You will be able to feel the butter melting and it starting to become more firm.

Step 7. Once it has become more solid, set aside to cool and it will further to solidify.

Nai Wong Bao step1-7

Now, we will make dough and buns:

Step 8. Put the yeast in the warm water and mix well until it dissolves (this will activate the yeast)

Step 9. Mix the flour and sugar in a separate bowl, then slowly pour in the yeast water whilst mixing with a pair of chopsticks

Step 10. Mix until the water is absorbed

Step 11. Start to fold it in on itself to make it into a ball of dough

Step 12. Keep kneading until it is very smooth and a solid piece of dough

Step 13. Place the kneaded dough in a pot

Step 14. Cover the dough with a moist towel or lid and let the dough stand to begin proofing

Step 15. Wait until the dough volume has risen 2 times larger (about 1.5 hours or so)

Step 16. Take the risen dough out and put it on a cutting board with a thin layer of flour and knead all of the air out

Step 17. Once the dough is solid and smooth again, cover with a moist towel and let stand for about 10 minutes

Step 18. Rested dough is cut into two pieces with a knife, and then rolled into strips

Step 19. Divide each of the strips into about 50 gram pieces, you should keep these covered with a moist cloth so they do not dry out as you are making each bun

Step 20. Roll a piece into a ball, and then use a rolling pin to flatten into a circle

Step 21. Put the appropriate amount of custard into the center of the dough

Step 22. Wrap the dough around it and close the end tightly

Nai Wong Bao step8-22

Step 23. With the closed side down and cup your hands around it. Roll in one direction to make it into a tight round ball.

Step 24. It will look smooth like in picture 24.

Step 25. Once they are all finished, place a moist towel over them and let stand for 20 minutes

Step 26. Lightly brush oil on the steamer to avoid the buns from sticking. Steam for about 15 minutes and then turn off the heat and wait for about 3 minutes to open the lid.

Nai Wong Bao step23-26



1. When mixing the water and yeast, make sure that the temperature of the water is not too hot (it should be about body temperature), otherwise it will kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise.

2. The amount of water may need to be adjusted due to various outside factors (humidity, etc…), so it might be a good idea to mix the yeast in with half the water, and then slowly add water accordingly until the consistency reaches what picture 10 shows.

3. The length of time for proofing the dough may also need to be adjusted due to outside factors (temperature, humidity, etc…). Generally speaking, when the dough is fermented to twice the original volume, use a finger to gently stick into the dough. If the dough does not shrink and does not sink, indicating that the fermentation has just been good.

4. After the dough is well fermented, it must be fully kneaded so there are no air pockets and it must be kneaded until it has a very smooth surface, so that the surface of the finished product will be smooth.

5. When inserting the buns into the steamer, space them to prevent them from sticking together when steamed. After steaming, do not rush to remove it. Turn off the heat first and wait for a few minutes. Remove the cover to prevent the surface from collapsing and affecting the appearance.

6. The amount of sugar in the custard can be increased or decreased according to your preferences. If they are for a child, the amount of sugar can be reduced further.

7. The custard must be left cool after being cooked, so it is easier to work with when forming the buns.

8. Butter substitute: Butter can also be replaced with the same amount of vegetable oil. It is healthier to add vegetable oil to the filling, such as olive oil and sunflower oil.

Leave a Comment