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Siopao is another food of Chinese origin that became a favorite snack in the Philippines. It refers to steamed buns with meat filling. There are two common siopao varieties in the Philippines: Asado and Bola-Bola. Asado can be chicken or pork with sweet thick sauce while bola-bola or meatball can be beef or pork.

Siopao is one my husband’s favorite snacks. He said he loves siopao because his mom ate a lot of it when she was pregnant with him and he even has a white birthmark near his right knee which looks like a siopao. He has been asking me to cook siopao for him, so I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe. Finally, I found one at Panlasang Pinoy which seems good, and I got the chance to try it last Friday. I made adjustments to the recipe though! Instead of all-purpose flour, I use bread flour. I was thinking that bread flour would make it fluffier, and I was right! I also added some ingredients to the filling so it would taste like the siopao I remember from Ma Mon Luk and Kowloon House. 

This is my first time to make siopao…and I am so happy that it turned out almost perfect. I said “almost” for 2 reasons. First, I am not satisfied with how they look. It looks ok compared to other siopao I’ve seen here in the US but not as good as the ones from the Philippines. It’s my first time so I guess I just have to practice how to beautifully lock the dough after filling it. I like the twisting way of locking it and I just have to learn to do that perfectly. Second, I didn't have parchment paper so I used wax paper. I don't know why but we had a hard time taking it off from the siopao. But the siopao tasted really good and the texture of the buns was awesome!
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! It takes time to prepare but I’m telling you, it’s all worth it!

*I shared this on Let's Break Bread Together, and Made It On Monday.


  • 5 cups bread flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 ½ tbsp sugar (for yeast mixture)
  • 1 pouch dry yeast (0.25 oz)
  • 1 ¼ Tbsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp shortening
Bola-Bola Filling:
  • 1 1/2cups ground pork
  • 1/4 cup shrimps, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Blackpepper
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 raw egg
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 pcs chorizo, cut into 1 inch length
  • 3pcs. hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered crosswise
Asado Filling:
  • 2 cups pork, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp shortening
  • 1/8 cup garlic, minced
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 3 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • ¼ tsp blackpepper
  • 3 pcs. hard boiled egg, peeled and quartered crosswise

Siopao Sauce:
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup onions, minced
  • 1/8 cup garlic, minced
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 pcs star anise
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
For the dough:
1. In a bowl, mix yeast and sugar in warm water.  Leave the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes. Bubbles should have formed on top by then.
2. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, shortening and the yeast mixture to form the dough.
3. Knead the dough until you attain a smooth texture. Shape in a ball, put back  in the mixing bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside and allow to rise for about 1½ hrs. The dough will rise to about double the original size.
4. While waiting for the dough to rise, cook the filling.
For Bola-Bola: 
1. Put all ingredients in a bowl except chorizo and hard boiled eggs . Mix well. 
2. Flatten 1½ Tbsp of the meat mixture on a plate then put a piece of chorizo and egg in the middle. Put 1 Tbsp of the meat mixture on top.
3. Shape into a ball.
4. In a pot of boling water, cook the meat balls. About 2 minutes after they float, remove from pot and transfer to a plate with paper towel. Set aside until the dough is ready for filling.

Note: In all the recipes I've seen, they don't cook the meatballs. They fill the dough with uncooked meatballs and just let it cook during steaming. I opted to cook them first in boiling water.
For Asado:
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the shortening.
2. Saute the garlic and onions until the onion is almost translucent.
3. Add the pork and stir-fry until light brown. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and sugar then mix well. Simmer until pork is tender, about 30 minutes depending on the toughness of the pork. Add water if necessary. 
4. Add the cornstarch and mix until the sauce thickens.
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool down. Remove excess oil by straining. Set aside until the dough is ready for filling.

5. Continue making the dough. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Knead the dough again. Form a 2-inch diameter log.

6. Cut into 1 inch thick slices. Flatten each dough with a rolling pin to form a flat round shape dough.
7. Put the filling on the middle of the flattened dough. For asado, I used 2 Tbsp filling for each bun.

8. Gather and pull the edges up.

9. Twist the top to fully cover the filling. Cut 2½-inch square parchment or wax paper and use this to line the bottom of each bun. Place the siopao in a steamer. Make sure that there’s 1 to 2-inch space in between bun. Steam for 15 minutes. Be sure to put a cloth under the cover to avoid water from dripping to the buns.

Note: I was able to make 12 asado and 12 bola-bola siopao for the amount of ingredients above. If you are to make all asado or all bola-bola siopao for the same amount of dough, double the amount of filling ingredients. If you are making both asado and bola-bola, you might want to put colored dots on top so you'll know which is which. I used red for asado and yellow for bola-bola.

10. Transfer siopao to a plate and serve hot with sauce!

For the sauce: 
1.In a saucepan over medium heat, mix water, garlic and onions. 
2. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and star anise. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
3. Remove from heat. Remove star anise, garlic and onions using a strainer. 
4. Return sauce to pan over medium low heat and bring to a boil again. Add the vegetable oil and the dissolved cornstarch and keep on stirring until sauce becomes thick. 
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool down before transferring to a bowl or a sauce container.
Note: If you want to store left-over siopao, wrap each bun with a cling plastic wrap. Put in a freezer bag and freeze. Cover with wet paper towel and heat in microwave before serving.


  1. this seem pau alright and can even be found at dim sum outlet.s

  2. This reminds me somewhat of the Chinese potsticker/dumplings I made- I love your Pinay version. I will have to try them when I get some time. Great job!

  3. Replies
    1. I used cupcakes liner..the white color

  4. wow.. nicely done..

  5. This looks time-consuming to prepare but definitely worth it at the end. I really appreciate your step by step instructions with pictures. They would be very useful for someone like me who has never made dumplings or filled buns Thanks :)

  6. wow, your siopaos look delicious! i hope i can try them at home too. btw, i'm also a batanguena! small world. magagaling pala tayo magluto :) looking forward to learning and sharing recipes with you!

  7. @ Sharlot & Cakewhiz: Thanks! You should try it! :)
    @ January: Thanks for the visit & the twitter follow! Nice to meet another batangueƱa! More power to your blog!

  8. Oh I am so glad you linked up to:
    "Made it on Monday" :)

    I love finding new blogger friends while find way different recipes.

    This is different from anything I have ever made, I will let you know how my "version" turns out. (lol)

    I hope you will join in often at Lark's Country Heart. There is something always going on.

  9. It must be sort of a dumpling if I'm not mistaken.Well,thanks for sharing it with me on my event...always feels great to know about something new:)

    Thanks for following me Tina...its so nice knowing you!


  10. Hi dear,
    I have an award waiting for you at my place!Please do come over and accept it:)Thanks so much!


  11. Wow - these look amazing! Thank you for the simple step by step instructions as I was thinking, No way I could make these. Now, I think I just might give them a try and WOW the family!

  12. Best Siopao recipe, instruction, photos, and presentation. Man, just the best. I bookmarked this site and will refer to friends.
    Talagang sikat.

    1. Thanks! Let me know if you try it...I'd love to know how it turned out.

  13. your siopao looks delicious, yum yum

  14. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!!

    We are currently enjoying both steaming hot bola-bola and asado siopao for dinner. My daughter has been craving for siopao and is just loving how good our home-made siopao tastes.

    Take care!

  15. I'm so glad I found your blog. Most of the recipes I found are of asado and we personally prefer bola-bola. How long do you think this will keep in the freezer?

    1. The longest I've tried is 3 months. I'm sure it could last even longer. Just be sure to store them perfectly so they won't get freezer burn.

    2. Thanks for the speedy response. I'm sure the siopao won't last that long in this house, but I'd like to make 2 batches since my son likes eating this for his after-school snack. Keep up the good work on your blog. The story about how your husband came about to liking siopao so much made me laugh, especially the birthmark part!

    3. Tina,

      Hello.. lucky to find your recipe here that give's me additional info. i use to do the P.P recipe when i make siopao. bola bola will try today. just to ask you how you make or what is that color you use in siopao top to identify the flavor?

      thank you for your blog. wish U all the best, and also the person who share the talent to make best siopao in the house. Home made Siopao Yeh!!!


    4. Hi Niel! I just use regular food color or icing color. I dip a cotton swab into it and then poke the top of the dough with the colored swab tip. :)

  16. What kind of pork do you use?

    1. I use pork butt roast, shoulder roast or country style ribs.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and I am very happy I stumbled upon your blog. I have been searching for the right Siopao recipe and I have made some in the past and had been a failure and some were just too complicated to make. Yours was absolutely easy and I was sure proud and happy of myself I finally made it. It is so good and right now I am enjoying some siopao for myself. I wanted to make some siopao because I miss it so much and I wanted to give some to our generous neighbor in exchange for all the things she has given us. Anyway, I was sure excited when the siopao turned out so well. I am sharing this on my blog with the link to your recipe.

    1. Glad to have you here on PiTCC, Adin! It's nice to know that you like the siopao recipe! :)

  18. Hi miss tina! ur recipe looks the best siopao im looking for,but i cant find bread flour available in my place.what i should do?shall i use all purpose flour instead of bread flour?will it affect the softness of the dough, i really want the soft bun. :(

    1. Just use all purpose flour. There'll be a slight difference in softness, but it will do.

    2. Yes i made it! a soft and delicious siopao just like what i want,tnx tina ur heaven sent.sna next time pandesal naman ah! Ill be waiting for ur next recipe for xmas! Thank you!!

    3. Thanks for trying out the recipe! I'm glad you liked it! :)

  19. Maribelle de Guzman (Pinay In Antwerp, BeDecember 1, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Hi Tina, i just tried your recipe today and it turned out great. The dough is lovely -- i used canola oil for shortening and left out hoisin sauce because i am not particularly fond of its flavor. Like you, working the buns to get that pretty twirly finish proved to be a challenge the first time; i'm afraid i will have to make a few more batches to get it right. turns out my two kids love them too so at least i won't have to feast alone. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe, and with such careful presentation too. I should also add that i have shared your link to some friends. Best regards!

    1. I'm happy to know that you tried the recipe! Practice makes perfect so I'm pretty sure that you'll come up with perfectly shaped siopaos in no time! :)

  20. Hi, just want to know if the shortening needs to be melted? Let me know pls. Thank you.

  21. Hi, Ms. Tina! I tried making this today... turned out really yummy! I made the bola-bola and the sauce as well. This was my second attempt and waaay better than my first try. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe!

  22. Hi Tina, I was searching for the right recipe of Bola-Bola filling for Siopao and I think I found it in your post here. Thanks for generously sharing and showing the how-to-do it photos. I will try your delish recipes, they're hard to resist. Will let you know how it turns out. I'm getting hungry reading this post. Thanks!

  23. hello po, paano po pag walang shortening, ano po ang pede ipalit? GODBLESS

    1. Hi Jocelyn,
      You may substitute shortening with lard, butter or margarine. If substituting with lard, 1 cup shortening = 1cup - 2Tbsp lard. If substituting with butter or margarine, 1 cup shortening = 1cup + 2Tbsp butter/margarine.

  24. Hi Ms Tina, I tried making siopao earlier today but all else failed then i found your site here I really dont know why my first attempt failed, 6 cups flour,, 3 tsp salt, 6 tsps baking powder, 1 cup white sugar, one small pack yeast, that is for the dough. I had to dissolve the one cup sugar in boiling water and put them together on the yeast. When I mixed everything to make suppose dough thing is the dough did not stick as one, most were still in powder form no matter how i knead it and a few were sticking already to each other para bang they went separate ways i got frustrated why it did not form into the desired dough every site i visited showed. Disappointed, i threw the whole thing. I just thought it had something to do with the yeast only one pack compared to the 6 cups of flour. I would like to know where I failed in making the dough? please tell me whats lacking in my dough ingredient I would love to see white siopaos popping out on the steamer filled with my favorite bola bola filling. this is my first time to make siopao suddenly it all failed. Miss Tina please help me.... Chakchak, Denver, Colorado

    1. I think there were several factors why it didn't work for you. First, I think 1 cup water is not enough for 6 cups of flour. Second, you should never use boiling water to activate the yeast. If the water is too hot, the yeast won't work. Third, you're not supposed to dissolve 1 cup sugar with the yeast, only 2 ½ Tbsp. If you are using instant yeast, you may even omit the part of activating it in water...just mix it directly with the other ingredients.
      I suggest you follow the exact ingredients from the recipe above. I've tried it many times and it always worked well for me.

  25. Hi ms Tina thank you for your advice i will follow the recipe you have here i can't wait for tomorrow .maybe tonight i will just prepare forming and cooking the meatballs so tomorrow i will just work for the dough and get results before noon and eat it. Thank you a lot.


  26. Hi Tina!, I tried but after steaming, the bottom of the dough tastes too wet or not fully cooked. I used 6tbsp. of canola oil. Is Canola oil same as shortening in ur recipe? I'm Venus from New Jersey.

    1. Shortening is more like margarine/butter, but I think using canola oil is not the reason why the dough turned out too wet after steaming. Did you put cloth under the cover of the steamer to avoid water from dripping to the buns? If not, maybe that's the reason.

  27. Hi Tina!!! Just wanted to give you a shout out for your recipe, especially the dough...I think the dough is always the tricky part, because it needs to be sweet and fluffy enough...It worked so well for me..Thank you so much!!! I did make bigger buns, and so I just adjusted some measurements here and there...Still, it turned out great! Hubby and myself are still enjoying my first ever homemade siopao!!! ~ Blesse, Chicago, IL