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Milk buns with sticky roast pork

Pair fluffy white buns with sweet-and-sticky pork belly and you have a go-to party snack.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 25 mins cooking (plus marinating, proving)
  • Serves 12
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These milk buns are super-light and fluffy – they pair perfectly with pork belly. They can be made ahead, so when you're ready to serve, the only thing you need to do is fill the buns. For a vegetarian version, swap out the pork for sliced, fried eggplant and glaze with some of the marinade sauce. Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the pork.


  • 2 carrots, cut into julienne
  • 2 spring onions, cut into julienne
  • ½ telegraph cucumber, cut into julienne
  • Coriander sprigs, to serve
  • Japanese mayonnaise, to serve
Marinated pork belly
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
  • 60 ml cooking sake
  • 60 gm honey
  • 40 gm gochujang
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 15 gm ginger (about 3 cm), finely grated
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 kg pork belly, skin and excess fat removed, cut into 2cm-thick slices
Milk-bun dough
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 250 ml (1 cup) lukewarm milk
  • 360 gm plain flour
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 20 gm softened unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for eggwash
  • Black and white sesame seeds, for sprinkling


  • 1
    For marinated pork, combine ingredients in a non-reactive container and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
  • 2
    For milk-bun dough, combine sugar, yeast and 150ml milk, stir to dissolve yeast and leave to activate (5 minutes). Combine remaining milk and 2 tbsp flour in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until mixture has thickened (2-3 minutes), then cool. Combine remaining flour and 1 tsp salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add egg, yeast mixture and thickened milk and mix until a dough forms, then add butter and mix until well combined (5 minutes). Cover and leave to prove until dough has doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150°C. Add pork to a small roasting pan and braise in oven until tender (2 hours). Cool, then cut into 6cm pieces.
  • 4
    Knock back dough and roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a 20cm x 80cm rectangle. Fold in half, then roll into a cylinder. Cut into 12 equal pieces, transfer to a greased baking tray and leave to prove until dough has doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
  • 5
    Preheat oven to 190°C. Brush bun tops with eggwash, sprinkle with seeds and bake until golden and cooked (15 minutes), then cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container until required. Buns are best served the same day.
  • 6
    To serve, preheat a barbecue to high. Grill pork, turning occasionally, until charred and sticky (3-5 minutes). Combine vegetables and herbs in a bowl. Halve buns, add a dollop of mayonnaise to each, then top with pork and vegetable mixture.