how to make steamed buns without a steamer

10 Simple Ways On How To Make Steamed Buns Without A Steamer

Steaming buns can seem tricky without the right equipment, but we’re here to show that it’s easier than you might think. If you’re craving those soft, warm, and fluffy buns but lack a traditional steamer, don’t worry.

We’ve uncovered a variety of methods you can use right in your own kitchen. Now, you might be wondering if these alternative techniques will deliver that same delicious taste and texture as buns fresh from a steamer.

Trust us, with a little creativity and our helpful tips, you’ll enjoy homemade steamed buns that are just as satisfying.

10 Ways to Steam Buns Without a Traditional Steamer

If you’re craving fluffy steamed buns but don’t have a steamer, don’t worry. We can still whip up these delicious treats using tools right in our kitchen.

Let’s look at how an Instant Pot can simplify the process and explore other creative setups for steaming buns to perfection.

1. Using an Instant Pot

An Instant Pot isn’t just for pressure cooking; it’s a great tool for steaming buns.

Start by pouring water into the pot, just enough to reach the bottom of a metal trivet placed inside.

Put your buns on a heatproof plate or in a steamer basket on the trivet. The cover is vital here, so close the lid securely.

Set the pot on steam mode and adjust the cooking time, usually around three minutes.

Keep an eye on the water level, though. You want steam, not a swim, for your buns.

1. Using an Instant Pot

2. Steaming With A Large Pot

For those without an Instant Pot, there are still plenty of ways to get those buns nice and steamy.

Grab a large pot and get it to a sturdy boil on medium heat. If you have a metal colander or even a heatproof plate, these can be your stand-in steamer basket.

Just make sure the pot lid fits tightly, or seal it with aluminum foil. To avoid sogginess, put a dish towel under the lid to catch drips.

Keep the steamrolling on high heat, but watch the buns! Depending on size, steaming time might range from a quick five minutes to a bit longer, around ten.

The goal is steamy, soft, and oh-so-yummy buns ready to enjoy.

2. Steaming With A Large Pot

3. Deep Frying Pan/Wok Method

You can also steam buns without a special steamer by grabbing a deep skillet or a wok. Just add some water to it, then put a plate that won’t break from heat in the water, and set the buns on the plate.

Put a cover or some aluminum foil over the skillet or wok to keep the steam in, and let the buns cook for the amount of time they need.

3. Deep Frying Pan Wok Method

4. Using a Microwave

Steaming buns in the microwave is easy too. Just cover the buns with a wet paper towel to make sure they stay soft and don’t dry out. Use the high setting and microwave them for a little bit at a time. After each round, check if they’re done until the buns are completely steamed.

4. Using a Microwave

5. Using Bamboo & Metal Steamer Baskets

If you own a bamboo or metal steamer basket, it’s a great substitute for a usual steamer. Just set it over a pot of boiling water and put the buns inside the basket.

Then, either put a lid or some aluminum foil on top to cover the buns. Let them steam for as long as you feel they need to cook, checking periodically.

5. Using Bamboo & Metal Steamer Baskets

6. Use a Stovetop Pan Method

You can turn a deep pan on the stove into a makeshift steamer if it has a lid that fits well. Start by adding an inch of water to the pan and heating it until it simmers. Then, find a plate or a shallow bowl that can handle the heat and put it over the pan.

Spread out the buns on this plate, leaving a bit of room around each one so the steam can move freely. Close the pan with its lid to keep the steam from escaping.

Let the buns steam like this for the time they usually need, which is often between 15 to 20 minutes or until they’ve grown in size and are thoroughly cooked.

6. Use a Stovetop Pan Method

7. The Oven Method

Steaming buns in the oven is pretty straightforward if you follow these steps. First, turn on your oven and set it to 375°F (190°C) to get it nice and hot. While that’s heating up, grab a baking sheet and cover it with parchment paper.

This is where you’ll put your buns, but make sure they’re not too close together so they have room to steam properly.

Next, you need to boil some water. Once it’s boiling, pour it into something like a roasting pan or any dish that won’t get damaged by the heat. This pan or dish goes on the bottom shelf of your oven. Then, place your buns on the middle shelf of the oven.

After you close the oven door, let the buns steam inside for about 15-20 minutes or until they’re fully cooked and ready to enjoy.

7. The Oven Method

8. Sieve, Colander, Or Strainer

Pour a little bit of water into your pan or pot, just enough to fill it up a few inches. Then, put a sieve, colander, or strainer over the top so it’s just hanging there, but make sure it doesn’t touch the water.

Lay a piece of parchment paper over the sieve, colander, or strainer to keep the buns from sticking. Next, place the buns on the parchment paper.

Cover the whole thing with a lid to keep the steam inside if there are any spaces where steam might escape, tuck a kitchen towel around them to seal it tight.

Finally, turn the heat on and let the buns steam for about 10 minutes or until they’re completely done.

8. Sieve, Colander, Or Strainer

9. Rice Cooker

The way you steam with a rice cooker might change based on the kind of rice cooker you have. Some rice cookers come with a special steamer setting you can use, but others might not let you add an extra steamer basket on top because there’s not enough space.

To steam buns using a rice cooker, start by preparing your steamer basket. Line it with parchment paper to prevent the buns from sticking. Next, arrange the buns on the parchment paper inside the steamer basket.

Then, make sure to add 1 to 2 cups of water to the cooker, and then place the steamer basket on top of it. Securely cover the rice cooker with its lid and let the buns steam for approximately 10 minutes.

If you’re also cooking rice, wait until the water in the rice cooker starts boiling before placing the steamer basket on top. Continue cooking for at least another minute or until everything is perfectly steamed.

9. Rice Cooker

10. Some nifty tricks

Remember to add water to the pot, but keep it below our buns; we want them to bathe in steam, not take a swim.

Before steaming, always cut squares of parchment paper and place them under each bun. This will ensure they lift off smoothly without leaving anything behind.

10. Some nifty tricks

Making Steamed Buns

Now we have all the different methods you can use to steam buns; let’s actually go through how you can make the buns themselves.

Essential Ingredients and Tools

Let’s gather what we need to make those fluffy steamed buns without a traditional steamer. We’ll start with our basic ingredients:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is perfect for the buns.
  • Warm water: This is to activate the yeast.
  • Instant or active dry yeast: It helps the dough rise and become soft and fluffy.
  • Parchment paper: It keeps the buns from sticking when we steam them.

Muster up these tools from your kitchen:

  • Mixing bowl: We need a large one to combine our ingredients.
  • Rolling pin: This helps flatten our dough into the perfect shape.
  • Large pot: It should be wide enough to hold our makeshift steamer setup.
  • Small bowl: Handy for activating the yeast with warm water.

Dough Preparation

Creating the perfect dough is the first step to making delicious steamed buns without a steamer. We’ll mix, knead, and let the dough rise to get it ready for our scrumptious sweet or savory fillings.

Mixing the Dough

We start by gently mixing warm water with yeast to kick things off. Warm water helps the yeast activate, which means a better rise for our dough.

If you’re in a hurry, an instant pot set on the yogurt setting can create a snug environment for mixing your dough.

Aim for a soft dough – soft enough to press a finger into without too much resistance.

A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment is our best friend here, making this process a snap. But elbow grease and a good ol’ mixing bowl will get the job done too.

Kneading Techniques

Now, let’s talk kneading! This is where we transform our mixed dough into something smooth and elastic.

You can use your stand mixer or get hands-on and push, pull, and fold the dough by hand on a floured surface.

About 10 minutes should do it, or until the dough feels alive under your fingertips.

Letting the Dough Rise

Once our dough is kneaded, it needs time to rise. Patience is key.

A warm spot in the kitchen is perfect for this. We want to give the dough time to double in size, which should take about an hour at room temperature.

If using an instant pot, the proofing setting helps speed this along.

You can tell when the dough is ready as you’ll be able to poke it with a finger and the indentation slowly springs back.

Whether we’re using sweet fillings or savory fillings, properly risen dough will wrap them up just right, leading to fluffy, delectable buns after steaming.

Rolling and Filling

Rolling and filling are the steps where we transform simple dough into a delicious bun with a tender bite and an explosion of flavor.

Creating the Perfect Bun

To get a tender bun with a soft and fluffy texture, we need to roll the dough right.

First, we grab our rolling pin and give the dough balls a good roll. Here’s the trick: roll out each ball into a flat circle but keep the center slightly thicker than the edges. This gives our buns that classic plush body they’re famous for!

Adding the Fillings

Choosing flavorful fillings is where we can get creative.

Fillings can range from savory meats to sweet bean pastes, depending on what tickles our fancy.

We place a generous spoonful of filling onto the center of our rolled dough. Then we gather the edges of the dough circle at the top and pinch them together neatly. This holds all that yumminess inside and prevents it from making a break for it when we steam the buns.

Finishing Touches and Serving

Once we have our steamed buns looking plump and smelling delightful, we focus on making sure they’re fully cooked and presented beautifully. The final steps make our homemade delights ready to rival the best of any Asian cuisine.

Checking Doneness

When the steaming time is up, we need to make sure the buns are done to perfection.

The buns should have a soft texture and be uniform in color. Gently press the bun with your finger; if it springs back, it’s ready!

If we’re unsure, we can always open a bun slightly to peek inside. No doughy center means we’re good to go.

Presentation Tips

Let’s talk about making our steamed buns irresistible on the plate.

Transfer the buns onto a bamboo steamer basket or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper if we don’t have one.

The basket gives that authentic touch which screams “we know our buns!” To add a nice flair, sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds right before serving. Our buns are not just food; they’re an experience.

Hand out some soy sauce for dipping to make each bite a moment of joy.

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