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Steamed scallion buns (hua juan 花卷) are delicious flower rolls made of a light and fluffy dough layered with green onions that is twisted and steamed. |

Steamed Scallion Buns

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  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 large buns
  • Diet: Vegan


Steamed scallion buns (hua juan 花卷) are delicious flower rolls made of a light and fluffy dough layered with green onions that is twisted and steamed.


  • 300 grams all-purpose flour (about 2.5 cups)
  • 3 grams instant yeast (1 teaspoon)
  • 4 grams granulated white sugar (1 teaspoon)
  • 6 grams salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 160 grams lukewarm water (2/3 cup)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup scallions (green onions) or chives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Prepare the dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients including flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add water and stir well to combine until no dry flour is visible in the bowl. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. (Lukewarm water and sugar “wakes up” the yeast and speeds up the fermentation, which helps build up gluten strength).
  3. Transfer the dough onto a clean and lightly greased surface and knead the dough until the dough ball is smooth, about 6-8 minutes. You can rest the dough covered in the mixing bowl for 5 minutes and continue kneading until smooth.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic cling wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (preferably in a warmer area) for 1 hour until doubled.

Prepare the filling:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, add scallions, salt, and oil and stir well to combine. Set aside.

Shape the buns:

  1. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into an approximate 12x9-inch rectangle. Use a silicone brush and brush the scallion filling evenly on top.
  2. From the long side of the rectangle, fold the dough in to the 2/3 mark. Take the other long side and fold it in on top, to form a three-layer rectangle approximately 12x3-inches in diameter.
  3. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the rectangle crosswise into 12 even strips (about 1-inch wide). Make sure all the layers are cut through.
  4. Take two strips at a time and stack them up together. Use a chopstick or straw to press down lengthwise in the centre to create an indentation. Hold the two ends and gently stretch it a little.
  5. Hang the end side over a chopstick (the side without the indentation), and pinch the two ends together. With the other hand, rotate the chopstick in a full 360 degree circular motion to twist the bun into a coil. 
  6. Repeat with the rest of dough strips to form 6 shaped buns

Steam the buns:

  1. Prepare to steam the buns by adding some water into a large cooking pot and placing a fitted steamer basket on top. Lightly oil the steamer basket and line it with parchment paper to prevent sticking during steaming.
  2. Place the buns into the lined steamer basket and cover with the lid. Set it aside, and let the buns rise for 25 to 30 minutes before cooking. You don't need to wait till the buns double in size, as they will rise further during steaming.
  3. Turn the stove on to medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Steam the buns for 15 minutes (covered) over boiling water . Turn off the heat and leave the buns in the steamer for another 5 minutes before uncovering or removing from the steamer. This will help prevent the buns from shrinking due to temperature drop.
  4. Serve immediately.


How to store: place steamed scallion buns in an airtight container or ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. When storing, make sure the buns do not touch each other, or else they will stick to each other.

How to freeze: Wrap each flower roll in plastic cling wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. You can also them on a sheet pan for an hour, then transfer them to an airtight container. Use parchment paper to separate them.

How to reheat: To reheat the buns, steam the buns using the same instructions as in the recipe (steam covered for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes). To reheat directly from frozen, steam for an extra 5 minutes.

Microwave instructions: You can also reheat them in the microwave. Wrap one steamed bun in a damp paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute or until the bun looks steamy. Allow it to rest for one more minute, then enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Steam
  • Cuisine: Chinese