Fried chicken bao buns

Easy Fried Chicken Bao Buns

These fried chicken bao buns are a showstopper and incredibly easy to make. Crispy, fried chicken are loaded into tender, pillowy bao buns (that you can find frozen in supermarkets) and topped off with hot sauce and your favourite herbs. Read on to discover how to make these easy street food inspired entrees!

fried chicken bao buns recipe

Super Simple Fried Chicken Bao Buns

These fried chicken baos are delicious and make for awesome party food, entrees or even as a main meal. Incredibly easy to make and can even be made ahead of time.

I use frozen bao buns that are easy to find in Asian supermarkets and are ready in 6 minutes. This really saves time and I find that they’re just as good as the home made version (I’ve tested them side-by-side).

For chicken I like to use chicken tenders and with a quick marinade and a flavourful flour mix, you can get great fried chicken in under 15 minutes. You can prefry your chicken and reserve in the fridge overnight and reheat with a quick, hot fry to crisp up the exterior and reheat the chicken – it works really well!

Finally I like to finish the bao buns off with fresh cilantro and lots of sriracha sauce! These buns are incredibly versatile and you can easily customize them to your taste.

Love Bao Buns? Check out our Sous Vide Pork Belly Bao Bun recipe.

What You’ll Need

To make Fried Chicken Bao Buns, you’ll need:

  • Chicken: I use chicken tenders for this recipe but you can use any breast or leg if you like! Just make sure to cut the pieces of chicken small enough so they fit into the bun and also don’t take too long to fry.

  • Flour & Cornstarch: All purpose flour/plain flour is mixed with cornstarch (1:3 ratio) to ensure that the dry mix is crunchy and not too chewy.

  • Buttermilk: I like to use buttermilk to marinate the chicken. The acidic element helps to tenderize the chicken and cuts through the richness. You can replace it with milk and a squeeze of lemon juice.

  • Spices: For my fried chicken I like to use lots of freshly cracked black pepper, paprika, chilli powder, garlic powder and oregano. Feel free to adjust these!

  • Bao Buns: I use frozen bao buns that are available in Asian grocery stores. You can make them yourselves and if so, I’d recommend this recipe.

  • Sriracha Sauce: I love Sriracha sauce in bao buns – it adds a kick and goes really well with fried chicken! Substitute with Mexican hot sauce or even fresh sliced chillis if you haven’t any.

  • Cilantro & Scallions: I garnish my pork belly bao buns with coriander leaves and sliced scallion greens. You can use sliced chilli, carrot or cucumber.




Prep time

15 minutes

Cooking time

15 minutes


500 kcal

Makes enough for 2 people (as a main).

  • 400g chicken tenders (or breast/leg cut into 1 inch thick slivers)
  • 8 frozen bao buns
  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • Sriracha sauce, as required
  • Cilantro & scallions, as required
  • Frying oil

Note: I find 3-4 buns per person is enough for a main course.

How to Make Fried Chicken Bao Buns

  1. Firstly marinate your chicken by firstly seasoning them with salt and placing into the buttermilk & mixed egg. Marinate in the fridge, covered for at least 2 hours – ideally overnight.

  2. Once you’re ready to eat, preheat a pot of oil or fryer to 160c/320f.

  3. Mix together the flour and the spices and herbs together. Using a teaspoon, drizzle a bit of the chicken marinade into the flour mixture. This creates even more texture and craggily bits!

  4. Place the chicken into the flour and coat well. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Preheat your oven to 50c/122f.

  6. Fry the chicken pieces for 6-7 minutes and by using an instant read thermometer, check that the internal temperature is at least 68c/154f. Drain onto paper towel and then onto a baking tray with a rack. Reserve in the warm oven.

At this point you can let the chicken cool and place into the fridge if you’re making it ahead of time.

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and using a steaming rack or lid, steam your frozen Bao Buns for 6-7 minutes or until completely cooked and tender.

  2. Place the fried chicken into the buns and garnish with Sriracha sauce, cilantro and fresh chilli!

Can You Make Fried Chicken Ahead of Time?

Yes, fried chicken works really well when it’s made in advance. Simply fry the chicken until it hits 68c/154f and let it cool and place into the fridge.

To reheat it, simply place into a 180c/356f pot of oil and fry for a 1 minute until the exterior is crispy and the middle is warmed through!

How to Make Korean Fried Chicken Bao Buns

This recipe is just as awesome with a Korean style glaze over the chicken. Follow the same steps as above but mix the following ingredients and heat through until you have a sticky glaze:

  • 4 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (rice wine is best)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 0.5 inch ginger, grated
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