August 20, 2018

Chinese Custard Buns 奶黃包

Bread, chinese, custard, Custard Buns, dim sum, egg, milk, nai wong bao, recipe, 奶黃包,
By Published: 2018-08-20
A Chinese Custard Bun 奶黃包, white fluffy bread wrapped tenderly about a gorgeous center of creamy milk and egg custard...yummmilicious...!!  Sunshine in a bun, that's what it is.  You can't bite into one of these buns and not get a smile on your face.  

This delectable treat is usually only to be enjoyed when one can spare a leisurely afternoon to enjoy Cantonese Dim Sum but no longer!  Now you won't have to wait for the dim sum cart to roll around, you can enjoy it anytime you want at home with our easy to make Chinese Custard Bun recipe!

Bread, chinese, custard, Custard Buns, dim sum, egg, milk, nai wong bao, recipe, 奶黃包,

The Custard Bun uses the same easy basic dough as our Chinese Steamed Buns Mantou which makes a basic sweet light fluffy white bread that is the basis for a lot of Chinese breads, stuffed and unstuffed.  (Check out our recipe posts on Chinese Steamed Mantou Buns 饅頭 and Silver Thread Buns 銀絲卷.)  

Mix the dough together and let it have its first rise before adding the custard.

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Mix custard ingredients
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After steaming, fluff with fork

Once you've got the bread dough mixed and it's having it's first rise, it's time for making the custard filling.  Eggs and egg custard, condensed milk and coconut milk, even a splash of butter all come together to make an absolutely scrumptious creamy filling.  The mixture is steamed and then cooled.  

In order to make rounds for the Chinese Custard buns use a hand blender to puree the cooked custard, then chill until firm enough to form into rounds.  (We use the original custard powder and this kind of really made from fresh milk condensed milk.)

Bread, chinese, custard, Custard Buns, dim sum, egg, milk, nai wong bao, recipe, 奶黃包,

A scoop of custard onto a round of soft dough.  Gently gather dough to form a bun and pinch the ends together.  Place gathered side down onto pre-prepared squares of kitchen parchment.  The paper prevents the buns from sticking to the steamer basket as it steams.

Bread, chinese, custard, Custard Buns, dim sum, egg, milk, nai wong bao, recipe, 奶黃包,

Put your buns in the steamer basket, (get a double stacked bamboo steamer to steam in one go), cover and let the dough have its second rise.  Don't forget to leave plenty of room between the buns as this bread expands quite a bit.  

The last step is a brief but hot steam and your lusciously creamy Chinese Custard Buns are ready for your afternoon tea!  Hope you enjoy these sunshine and smile buns as much as we do!

Bread, chinese, custard, Custard Buns, dim sum, egg, milk, nai wong bao, recipe, 奶黃包,
Chinese Custard Bun Recipe 奶黃包
(makes 24 buns) Rising time: 2 hours and 30 mins  
Prep time:    Cook time:


    Custard Part I
    Custard Part II
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar, 113g
  • 5 1/2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk, 113g
  • 2 tbsp butter, 30g


Make the dough according to our Chinese Steamed Bun Mantou dough recipe and let it rise covered for 2 hours or until tripled in size.

Mix the custard powder, milk powder, starch for Custard Part I together.  Push mixture through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.  Add in condensed milk, coconut cream and egg and stir well.

Add the ingredients for Custard Part II to a small pot and heat over low heat until just boiling.  Take off heat and add in a thin stream to Custard Part I, stirring constantly.  Pour mixture into a dish that fits steamer and steam over medium heat for 20 mins.  Let cool completely.  

Use hand blender to cream the mixture until smooth.  Refrigerate for 10-15 mins or until custard is solid enough to form balls.  Form custard into 24 balls the size of large walnuts.  There will be leftover custard which you can freeze for the next batch of buns.
Divide dough into 24 equal pieces.  Roll out dough into 3" circles, place custard ball in the middle, wrap dough around to form bun and pinch ends closed.  Place each bun onto 2" square parchment paper and then into steamer basket, leaving 2" in between the buns.  Cover and let rise for 30 mins.

Bring water to a boil, place steamer basket on and then steam over high heat for 15 mins.  Eat while hot.  To keep store well wrapped in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a couple of weeks.   

To reheat simply re-steam, 2 mins for buns from the fridge and 8-10 mins for buns from the freezer.  Enjoy your hot, fluffy, creamy buns!



  1. I've been looking for this ever since I had those in small breakfast bun store in China last year. Thank you!

    1. Glad you found us! These little buns are pretty addictive, aren't they? ~ellen

  2. Can you just cook the mixture over the stove without steaming?

    1. Hi LIsa - no, steaming is a gentle heat that is totally different from cooking over direct heat, so steaming is a must. ~ellen

  3. Made 24 with half the custard mixture and 24 makes the bun almost dumpling thin and not bun like (apart from pinched bit), custard was also like normal custard and still a smooth unlike a normal nai wong. Nice recipe but needs adapting for me. Also worth mentioning you should leave buns in for a bit after steaming to reduce deflation.

  4. Can the custard buns be frozen after steaming for future use? Thanks! Loved the pineapple bun recipe!

    1. Yes, they can be frozen, but be sure to double wrap them.😊