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Steamed Piggy Buns | Yi Reservation

Steamed Piggy Buns

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Steamed Piggy Mantou recipe
This is Part IV of the Steamed Bun Series. Here are the other posts in this series:
Part I: Mantou (Chinese Steamed Bun) 饅頭
Part II: Chinese Steamed Pork Meat Bun 包子
Part III: Steamed BBQ Pork Bun 叉燒包

Believe or not, these soft and almost too-adorable-to-eat steamed piggy buns are one of the hottest Dim Sum items served up in restaurants here in New York City.

On a recent visit to Golden Unicorn, a popular dim sum restaurant here in NYC that’s known for their piggy custard buns among other dishes, after waiting for 30 minutes before being seated, I was told that they temporarily ran out of the piggy buns and the next batch wouldn’t come out in a while.
Steamed Piggy Mantou recipe
I was disappointed and frustrated and thought to myself that nobody should be denied to enjoy these cute and fluffy buns. So, I decided to take the matter into my own hands and create these buns in my own kitchen. It turns out, these piggy buns aren’t super hard to make, especially if you have already made steamed Chinese buns before.

For those who are new to steamed bun, please check out my Chinese steamed bun / mantou recipe. The fundamental is pretty much the same but with the piggy buns, you’ll have to be just a little crafty. You’ll need to use food dye to create 3 different sets of dough for the faces, noses, and ears and put build each individual piggy using these parts.
Steamed Piggy Mantou recipe
Although this recipe only produces plain piggy buns, you can easily stuff them with sweet fillings such as red bean paste or lotus seed paste or custard or even this savory pork stuffing.

Also, feel free to get creative with the color scheme. I went with pink as the face color as that’s Mrs. Yi Reservation’s favorite color but I’d love to see what other color combination you guys can come up with 🙂
Steamed Piggy Mantou recipe

Yield: 12 buns

Prep Time: 3.5 hours

Cook Time: 15 mintues

Total Time: 3h 45min

Make these super cute Steamed Piggy Buns following this step-by-step recipe at yireservation.com


Basic Dough

  • 400g All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 200ml milk or water +/- 10ml
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 90g sugar
  • 2g salt


  • 3 drop red food dye
  • 4 drop yellow food dye
  • black sesame seeds


Read this basic steamed bun/mantou recipe before proceeding. To make the basic dough, combine all basic dough ingredients in a stand mixer. Mix and knead until the dough surface becomes smooth. About 10 minutes. If working with instant yeast, first proof the yeast in warm milk, then mix with the rest of the ingredients.steamed piggy buns step1 (500x333) In a workstation, cut out about 60g/2oz of dough and put it back to the mixer. Add yellow food dye and knead until the food dye is evenly and fully incorporated with the dough. Place the yellow dough in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Return the rest of the dough back to the mixer. Add red food dye and knead until the dough turns uniformly pink. Place the red dough in a container and cover with plastic wrap.steamed piggy buns step2 (500x333) Once the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour depending on the room temperature, place both portions of dough on the workstation and let it deflate.steamed piggy buns step3 (500x333) Roll the pink dough into a smooth long log. Cut into 12 portions.steamed piggy buns step4 (500x333) Divide the yellow dough into two portions.steamed piggy buns step5 (500x333) Roll one portion into a long log. Roll the other portion into a flat sheet using a dough roller.steamed piggy buns step6 (500x333) Cut the long log into small portions ¼” in length for the noses. Cut the flat dough into small triangles for the ears.steamed piggy buns step7 (500x333) Roll each portion of pink dough into a round ball using your ball. Try to make the surface of the ball as smooth as you can. Lightly brush the ball with some water.steamed piggy buns step8 (500x333) Use a pair of chopsticks or tweezers to carefully place the ears and nose onto each round ball.steamed piggy buns step9 (500x333) Then gently poke the nose with two toothpicks.Lastly, place two black sesame seeds between the years and nose as the eyes.steamed piggy buns step10 (500x333) Transfer the piggy dough into a steamer and let them proof in room temperature until almost double in size. About 45-60 minutes. Steam over high heat for 11 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the lid on for another 2 minutes. Serve these steamed piggy buns hot either plain or dipped in sweetened condensed milk.steamed piggy buns step11 (500x333)

If you get to make these, please don’t hesitate to share your pictures with me!!
Steamed Piggy Mantou recipe

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  1. 9

    How would you go about filling the piggy buns?

  2. 8


    I really love how cute these little pigs are! I am attempting your recipe now and hope they look as cute as your’s! I’m not sure why, but I couldn’t get the color incorporated very well. The color is swirled into the dough despite kneading. I was worried about kneading the dough too long. I tried with gel color first and then made a second batch of dough with liquid color. I wondered if you use a certain type of food color or how long it takes for you to incorporate the color?

    Thanks so much!

    • 8.1

      hi Stephanie, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Yes the color does take a bit longer to incorporate. Have you tried mixing the food color with the liquid ingredients first? I find that more efficient than adding directly to dry ingredients. Hope this helps.

  3. 7

    Hi Yi!
    My name is Bin-Na Baek an editor with Wizkeys—a Korean magazine for teens. I am leaving this massage to ask if we can carry the photograph of your ‘Tiara shaped pizzas’ on our magazine.
    In Wizkeys, there is an article that introduces interesting cooking every month! So, I was hoping to show that to our young readers!
    If it is possible(I need original image!) or you have any question, I would greatly appreciate it if you can reply to this e-mail.
    Thank you in advance!

    • 7.1

      Hi Bin-Na, I am happy to provide the picture as long a you give the credit to the source. Could you please let me know the link address of the picture you are interested in?

      • Thank you very much for responding positively. But I’m sorry I wrote down cooking name wrong! The photo I want is steamed piggy buns. The picture with three pigs together 😉 Could you send me pictures by mail? My mail address is 9632@kyowon.co.kr

      • The mail didn’t come. So I repoly a comment once again. Can I get a copy of the original photo I mentioned? The picture is not written in print. please answer me. Thank u!

  4. 6

    Hello Yi
    I have been wanting to make these cute buns for a while now. Well, I finally made them yesterday. Thanks to your step-by-step explaination my buns look almost like yours. I wish I could send you a picture of them. Since I had some sweet red bean paste I fill the “pig tummy” with the bean paste. And the taste is great (even without the bean paste). I will make them again, definetly. Thank you for this recipe.

    • 6.1

      Hi Sonja, thank you for trying my recipe and I am happy it turned out good. I bet the ones with red bean paste tasted really yummy!

  5. 5

    SOOO happy to have stumbled upon your blog and even more excited that you have so many great authentic Asian recipes AND cute food!! These are too cute to eat! 🙂 

  6. 4

    This is way too cute, YI!! You are so creative!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. 3

    Well, these are fun! A fun treat for kids of any age! 🙂

  8. 2

    I love that you took the matters in your own hands, lol!  My mom is the same way.

  9. 1

    Adorable is exactly the word for these! Well, scrumptious, too. 🙂

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