How To Store and Reheat Bao Buns

How To Store and Reheat Bao Buns

Bao buns or Bao are popular snacks in Asian countries, especially in China. They can be found at most Chinese restaurants and convenience stores, but they’re also sold by street vendors who make them fresh on the spot. The kinds of snacks are made from dough balls that need ingredients like wheat flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar, eggs, oil, and sometimes other ingredients like sesame seeds or red bean paste. It takes about an hour to prepare these delicious steamed bun snacks or dumpling. Sometimes they can also be called a pork bun.

For parties and gatherings, you see this commonly served in big bunches. Therefore, some leftovers can be stored for the next meal. With that, we have made up tips on how to store and reheat bao buns on your own to prolong their shelf life. 

You may also be interested in

What are the Different Ways in Storing Bao Buns

A Bao bun is usually stuffed with steamed pork. So it is important to place them away from moisture and heat as much as possible. There are different ways of storing, such as through the use of a fridge or freezer. The tips we give below will help prevent any bacteria growth and will keep your food fresh and safe for a long time. They are similar, but a little different to dumplings.

How to Store Leftover Bao Buns in the Fridge

Storing Bao or a steamed pork bun in the fridge helps preserve its flavor better than freezing. Here are the steps:

1) Wrap leftover bao buns tightly in plastic wrap or airtight container, so no air gets inside. This way, there won’t be any chance of mold forming. If you don’t want to do this, put them into resealable bags first before putting them in the refrigerator.

2) Put them in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator where the temperature stays cool. You may even place them in the back corner if space allows.

3) If in a very hot climate – Make sure not to open the door too often because opening the door lets out all the cold air, making the room warm again.

How to Freeze Bao buns
How to Freeze Bao buns

How to Store Leftover Bao Buns in the Freezer

Freezing bao buns or frozen dumplings doesn’t affect their taste very much, depending on their storage time. However, temperatures in the freezer prevent the process of bacterial growth. And it is best to freeze a cooked bao. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Before freezing, make sure the steamed dumplings are completely cooled. 

2. Place on a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. 

3. Spread them at least 1 inch apart from each other.

4. Freeze them for at least 2 hours. 

5. If you plan to consume them for the next several weeks, place them inside an airtight container to prevent moisture accumulation. 

You’ll notice that when frozen, the color turns white. Don’t worry, though; once thawed, the Bao will still look good. Just remember to defrost them slowly over several hours. Best practice is to defrost in the fridge.

How Long Can You Store Bao Buns

The length of time depends on what kind of Bao you buy. For example, those bought from supermarkets tend to last longer, while those bought from bakeries might get stale faster. We’ve listed here the average number of days you could expect to eat your Bao without affecting its quality.

  • Supermarket Bao Buns – 5 Days

These baos come pre-stuffed with meat. As mentioned above, they are usually consumed right away. They can stay fresh for up to five days.

  • Bakery Bao Buns – 6 Hours

These baos have been baked by professionals who know how to handle these delicate items. It takes about six hours for them to go bad if not stored properly.

  • Homemade Bao Buns – 1-3 days

If you bake your own bao buns, you need to store them properly in sealed containers. They can last for 1-3 days without preservatives. 

Can You Leave Bao Dough Overnight

Yes! But only if you use yeast instead of chemical leaveners like baking powder or baking soda. Yeast needs oxygen to grow. So leaving the dough overnight means letting it sit under ambient conditions. The result? A risen bun.

However, it is better to leave it out only till it has doubled in size and then cook it.

You can always make fried dumplings from leftover bao dough.

What are Different Ways in Reheating Bao Buns

Reheating buns is not difficult as long as you keep some things in mind. First off, don’t reheat them straightaway. Letting them rest first helps lose any excess steam so that they won’t become soggy. Secondly, avoid pouring hot water since this would cause the bread or bun to expand quickly, making it lose shape. 

How to Reheat Bao Buns in the Steamer

This method works well for steaming plain bao buns but not for stuffed ones. This is because the stuffing tends to leak during cooking which makes the buns soggy. So, here’s how to do it:

1) Bring some warm water to boil with your steamer.

2) Take the buns out of the fridge and keep them at room temperature. You can put frozen buns directly in the steamer from the freezer, but I like to let them thaw first.

3) To place the buns in the steamer, lower the heat to medium-high once the water is boiling.

4) Put the steamer lid on by covering it with a dishcloth.

5) Let the filled buns steam for 5-7 minutes for frozen buns and 3-5 minutes for refrigerated buns. Unfilled buns need to be reduced by a couple of minutes for steaming.

How to Reheat Bao Buns in the Oven

1) To make sure that the filling doesn’t spill out, wrap each bun individually before placing them into the oven.

2) Cover the top of the buns with aluminum foil after removing them from the oven.

3) Bake the dough at 350°F for 15-20 minutes depending on their size.

4) Remove the cover and let cool completely before serving.

How to Reheat Bao Buns in the Microwave

You may want to microwave the buns when there isn’t enough space in the kitchen. Microwaving will also help reduce moisture loss due to evaporation. However, microwaved buns should still be kept covered afterward. This is the most convenient method, hence you should do be able to do it successfully.

1) Remember to remove the covers beforehand.

2) Place the buns inside an open container such as a bowl or plastic bag. Do not stack them one over another.

3) Heat them using full power for 2 minutes per side. If you’re unsure whether the buns are done yet, check them every 30 seconds.

4) Once cooked, turn off the microwave and leave them alone for 10 more seconds. Then take them out and serve immediately.

How to Reheat Bao Buns in the Pan Fry

 Pan-frying is usually used for some people wanting to have a little crisp on the bun. However, you must be careful in doing this since it would not be tasty if the bun soaks too much oil in it. With that, you should follow these steps:

1) Thaw the buns before frying.

2) The buns should be put in the pan with some oil, just enough to grease the skillet and heat the bun. 

2) Heat and flip on the other side every two minutes until fully heated. 

How to Reuse Stale or Leftover Bao Buns

If you find yourself having leftover buns, then you might consider reusing them. Here are three ways to reuse stale bao buns:

1) Freeze leftovers. Just like freezing regular food, freeze leftover buns separately. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. They’ll stay fresh longer than usual.

2) Make sandwiches. Slice the buns horizontally and fill them up with whatever toppings you prefer.

3) Use them like breadcrumbs. Simply toast them first and grind them down. It’s great for making croutons!

How to Make Bao in Advance 

Making Bao ahead of time allows you to save time during busy days. There are many different methods to prepare Bao ahead of time. Some recipes require only simple ingredients while others call for special equipment. In any case, here are four easy ways to make Bao ahead of time:

1) Prepare your ball of dough according to the recipe instructions but don’t roll it out right away. Instead, store it in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Let it rest for about half-hour before rolling it out. You can even keep it refrigerated overnight.

2) Get your rolling pin and roll out the dough and cut shapes directly onto baking sheets lined with a piece of parchment paper. After cutting, place the pieces back into the freezer for 20 minutes. Take them out and bake them straight away if you plan to consume them. Otherwise, let them remain in the freezer.

Bao Buns Recipe

Here are some tips from our chefs on how to cook perfect bao buns:

Serving: 15


  • 1 package all-purpose flour or plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar or granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda or baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 5 cups lukewarm water
  • ½ cup avocado oil


  • 9 ounces tempeh, sliced into 15 strips, and steamed
  • 4 tablespoons sriracha
  • 8 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Avocado slices
  • Mint 
  • Diced Thai chiles
  • Barbecue pork (optional)

Cooking Process:

1. In a large mixing bowl, pour and combine the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, sugar, dry yeast, baking soda, salt); add shortening and mix well. Add warm water slowly at low speed until the flour mixture forms a soft dough. Knead by hand or rolling pin for 6 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the oil into the flour mixture and knead to a circular motion to form a ball of dough for 5 minutes. Gradually add a cup of water if the dough is very dry. Sprinkle plain flour on the surface and in your hands to have a smooth kneading. A dough scraper would help, too.

3. Brush avocado oil inside the mixing bowl and place the piece of dough inside. Set aside for 40-45 minutes. 

4. While waiting for the dough, start to make the tempeh filling by preheating the oven to 425°F. Get your baking sheet and line a piece of parchment paper. 

5. Prepare a medium bowl and whisk together the lime zest, hoisin sauce, sriracha, and ginger. The first half should be tossed on the tempeh slices and the seconds half be reserved for serving.

6. Place the tempeh filling on the baking tray and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes. You can also use bamboo steamers for this.

 7. Get another piece of parchment paper and cut it into 4-inch squares placed on the baking sheet. This will be used for the buns. 

8. Get the prepared dough and roll out into 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle some flour if you find it hard to roll. Make sure to have a clean, dry, and smooth surface.

9. Cut out circles of dough by using 3-4 inches of glass. Transfer balls of dough into the baking tray. 

10. Brush the top with oil and fold it in half. Gently press down to flatten a bit to have a soft bun shape. 

11. Let it sit for an hour. Cover them with plastic wrap to avoid contamination. 

12. After which, place them in a bamboo steamer or metal steamer and pour a cup of warm water or room-temperature water to boil. Cover and steam for 10 minutes. Make sure to has boiling water throughout the process of steaming.

13. Lastly, get half of the liquid filling. Squeeze a half teaspoon of lime over the carrot, cucumber, and avocado. Get the steamed buns and fill with a tablespoon of filling along with the other veggies and herbs. You can use barbecue pork if you do not want to have a lot of veggies on it.

14. Serve with some soy sauce for dipping.

Other famous fillings are, pulled pork, pork belly or bbq pork. You can make smaller ones often used in chinese food and dim sum.