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Sweet Potato Mantou (Steam Buns)

Sweet Potato Mantou (Steamed Buns)
Sweet Potato Mantou (Steamed Buns) pictures (4 of 8)

Chinese mantou (馒头) is one of the best things I love—they are basically yeast-based steamed buns steamed to perfection. Hot-off-the-steamer, Chinese mantou is soft, fluffy, pillowy, and sinking your teeth into it is absolutely amazing and delightful.

Sweet potato mantou (番薯包) is one of my favorite bao (包) or Chinese steamed buns. Whenever I go back to Malaysia, I would always buy these warm, fluffy, sweet, and soft mantou from the various steamed bun vendors dotting the kopitiam (local coffee shops), markets, roadsides, gas stations, night markets, etc. They are absolutely delightful. My son loves it as a snack, too. Unfortunately, in the US, the only similar steamed buns that I can find here are the frozen and plain mantou in the Chinese grocery stores. There are no sweet potato mantou. I always miss them.

How to Make Chinese Mantou - soft, pillowy and fluffy steamed buns are THE BEST! Make these sweet potato mantou with step-by-steps |

A couple of weeks ago, my friend posted her homemade sweet potato mantou recipe on her Facebook. I asked for the recipe immediately. She found the recipe online here and had success making them at home. I was so excited. Finally I can make some homemade sweet potato mantou that I have been craving for, with the Hong Kong flour or bao flour that I have brought back from Malaysia.

How to Make Chinese Mantou - soft, pillowy and fluffy steamed buns are THE BEST! Make these sweet potato mantou with step-by-steps |

My friend shared this sweet potato mantou recipe on Facebook and I decided to give it a try. So, I spent some serious time in the kitchen, plus a huge dose of patience.  It was a success. Though the looks department could be improved significantly (which I am sure practice makes perfect), my sweet potato mantou were pretty good…soft, warm, and tasty. I love them, and I am sure my son will enjoy them as a snack before bedtime tonight!

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34 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. hi Bee,
    Long time fan, love your site and I would love to try these buns. Can you tell me whats the difference in hong kong flour and regular ap flour? As well as if there are any readily available substitutes

  2. As someone who does now own a steamer of any sort, I have no idea how to make this recipe with what I have on hand. I tried making some Chinese steamed bread once before and couldn’t seem to get a set up that would steam well enough to cook the bread. Any ideas?

    • You need enough water at boiling point to create the continuous steam to “cook” the buns. Steam longer if they are not entirely cooked. Also don’t overcrowd the steamer but steam in batches.

  3. susue Q

    ls the hong kong flour is the OO flour? why is it the steam bun in chinese bakery or in the restaurant are so fluffy and soft what’s the secret? l did try to make but is not fluffy.

  4. Samantha H

    Hi Bee, I love the sound of this recipe. Sweet potatoes are my favourite, but I’ve never tried sweet potato mantou. I have the same problem here in the UK – only plain frozen ones are available in the supermarkets. I do however, prefer fried mantou… If I were to fry these ones, do you know if I would have to steam them first still?

  5. Jude Fruit

    Hello, I tried your recipe but obviously I made something wrong. Nothing happened during the 45 minutes, it didn’t raised at all. But the yeast was working as the first 20 minutes were fine. I wonder if maybe my dough was too dry, how is it suppose to look like before the 45 minutes ?

  6. Yingwei

    The temperature of the water that you put the yeast in shouldn’t be boiling hot nor cold. Because in science, the optimum temperature for yeast to grow is between 28 celsius to 37 celsius. Test the water on your wrist ( that’s what they do to test the baby’s temperature for milk too. ) and your yeast should rise soon. If it doesn’t, then perhaps it’s time to change a new packet of yeast. :D

  7. Joanne

    I made these the other day and they are super duper yummy!! Everyone I shared them with loved them and asked me for the recipe, so I sent them the link to this page. Thank you for sharing yor recipe.

  8. Velina

    Good Morning Bee,

    Lovely recipe but what do you served it with? I haven’t tried any of the plain steam buns, sweet Potato is one of my favourite.

    Tell Samantha that she could get sweet Potato in London

  9. Jamie

    These were so nice- they were a little bit sweet, soft and so fluffy. I used half the flour because I wanted to retain the flavour of the sweet potato, and it worked really well, thanks a lot!

  10. Meli oliex

    I’ve tried this recipe today. I’ve been looking for mantao recipe quite some time (tried several batches last week, and didn’t satisfied with the result). This recipe worked so well. Thank you. The bun come out so soft, even when it’s cool. I can tell my kid enjoyed them too, he ate 3pieces right after i finished steaming the bun (i made them small). ^^ thanks a lot.
    Btw, do you have any idea how to remove the smell of the yeast ?

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