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Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

I was inspired to make these Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns after watching this video by Mary’s Test Kitchen.  She’s one of my favorite vegan YouTubers and if you aren’t already following her, you should check out her channel! 🙂

I took some creative liberties with her recipe, adding roasted pumpkin and instead of pickled mustard greens and peanuts, simply used parsley and pumpkin seeds in keeping with my theme.  Mary made this recipe look easy and I have always wanted to try Bao.  While I admittedly wish mine had stayed puffier, I was thrilled with the taste of the recipe itself.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

The dough for the Bao is incredibly simple.  Using a food processor, you add the ingredients processing until it forms a ball.  Literally takes seconds.  Place in a bowl, covered, until doubled in size.  Mine took an hour or so.

This is a sticky dough and if you made my Pumpkin Beer Pretzels, you’ll be pretty accustomed to working with this one.  Mary suggested little squares of parchment for ease of handling and I wholeheartedly agree with that decision.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

While the dough was rising, I worked on the ingredients for my filling.  I chose to use cubes of roasted pumpkin.  Seasoned simply with a touch of oil, salt and pepper.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

You know I am OBSESSED with jackfruit and today I purchased a different brand.  This one slices SOOO much better and is perfect for this recipe.  I tossed with maple syrup, Chinese five spice powder (where has this been all of my life???) a touch of oil, vegan soy sauce (or tamari) and a pinch of salt.  Again, I didn’t stick to her recipe exactly but it tasted delicious.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

One unique touch she added was a mixture of salty peanuts and a bit of sugar pulsed in a food processor of coffee grinder which produces this amazing salty/sweet topping.  I used salted pumpkin seeds to keep with my pumpkin theme.  I kept dipping into this mixture and used it again later on another recipe.  Loving it!

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

Ok, so the dough has risen, you punch it down and roll into these little balls.  Onto the parchment they go (remember, they are sticky) and you roll them into rounds with a bit of flour.  Stretch half of the round over to form a taco shape.  Then, they rise for another hour or so.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

See how some of mine were so soft they started to lose their shape?  I may try a different yeast next time to see if that makes a difference.

Now, it’s time to steam the buns.  If you have a bamboo steamer, that’s perfect!  I have this wok steamer and it worked in a pinch.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

Mary used vegan mayo (not traditional of Bao, but I concur…good choice!)  I used it too.  I added the jackfruit slices, my roasted pumpkin and a generous sprinkling of that sweet and salty goodness!  Garnish with parsley.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

Aside from the fact that my yeast created SOOOO much air in these buns, I lost a bit of volume when I split them open, these were mighty tasty!  I will definitely be giving it another go.

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

Did you make this recipe for Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns?  Any tips on the Bao??  Let me know in the comments section below.

And, if you enjoyed this recipe, why not PIN IT FOR LATER! 🙂

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns
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Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns

Vegan Five Spice Pumpkin & Jackfruit Bao Buns
Course Main Course
Cuisine vegan
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Servings 6 buns
Author Living Vegan Staff



  • 6-1/2 tbsp Warm (but not hot) Water
  • 1 c Flour
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Instant Dry Yeast


  • 1 can Jackfruit (in brine) rinsed, dried and sliced
  • 1-1/2 tsp Oil of your choosing
  • 2 tbsp Agave (or Maple Syrup or even Date Syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • Salt to taste


  • 2 tbsp Salted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Sugar


  • Parsley (or Cilantro) chopped
  • Vegan Mayonnaise (optional, but recommended)



  • In a food processor, add the flour, water, sugar and yeast. Mix until a dough ball forms. Using the least amount of flour necessary, knead a few times until smooth. NOTE: Most food processors include a plastic dough blade, but you could certainly do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook or even by hand.
  • Cover  and let rise until doubled in size.  Mine took about an hour to accomplish this.  
  • Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface, kneading until smooth.  Divide into eight (or six as I did) equal pieces.  Roll into smooth balls and place on the parchment pieces that are approximately 5" square.
  • Once on the parchment, it becomes a bit easier to manage and you can roll into rounds about 4" in diameter.  
  • Pull on one edge of the rounded dough and fold it over in half, essentially creating a taco. Place into steamer basket (no heat yet).  Cover once again, and let rise for another hour.  The dough should be nearly double or tripled in size. 
  • Bring the water beneath your steamer to a boil and steam the buns for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat for 5 minutes (cover still on).  Remove from steamer and cool before splitting.  I just used my fingers to split the buns.


  • Drain, rinse and dry the jackfruit with paper towels. Slice the jackfruit lengthwise and place into a large bowl with the marinade ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lay the jackfruit out on a silicone (or parchment) line baking sheet.  Give them room so you get those browned edges.  Baking for 15 minutes.  Flip and repeat.


  • Peel and cube the pumpkin, add a touch of oil (you don't need much) and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, to taste. Bake along with the jackfruit.


  • In a food processor or coffee grinder, process the pumpkin seeds with 1 teaspoon of sugar until it turns into a coarse powder. Word to the wise ---> over processing will create a pumpkin seed BUTTER 🙂


  • Cut open the steamed buns (or use your fingers as I did). Start with a bit of (optional, but recommended) vegan mayo, then the jackfruit slices, the roasted pumpkin, a sprinkling of the pumpkin seed powder and finally, garnish with parsley (or cilantro if you prefer it).


  1. Looks delicious I’d like to make these.
    If I want to make them gluten free what type of flour do you suggest I use?

    1. Hi Julie, I have very little experience with gluten free baking but my best guess is something like Bob’s Red Mill All-In-One Gluten Free blend. I would recommend doing several Google searches for gluten free Bao buns to get a better idea of how the flours perform. This is such a light and airy dough, I am just not really sure how the texture would change with that flour. Let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear how this turns out! 🙂

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