Are Bao Buns Vegan 2023? (Fully Explained)

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Bao buns are a type of Chinese steamed bun that is often filled with meats, vegetables, or even sweets. They are a popular street food in China and can be found at many Chinese restaurants. Bao buns are usually steamed in bamboo baskets, which gives them their distinct shape. But, are bao buns vegan?

Traditional bao buns are not vegan because they contain milk.

That being said, there are numerous vegan bao buns recipes out there, so you could make vegan bao buns yourself. I found a great one here that you can check out.

Bao Buns Ingredients

Below is a list of ingredients from a traditional bao bun recipe.

  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Milk
  • Oil


As always I’ve highlighted the ingredients that we need to take a closer look at.

Non-Vegan Ingredients


Cows milk is a popular ingredient bao buns and if it’s present, the bao buns would not be vegan-friendly.

Questionable Ingredients


Sugar is a controversial ingredient and it has many vegans becoming alert, because there is a situation where sugar might not be vegan-friendly. There are several types of sugar and two of the most common sources are beet- and cane sugar.

Beet sugar is always 100% vegan, raw cane sugar is also vegan, but refined cane sugar could potentially be classified as non-vegan. Cane sugar is often refined to fit products better and in this process the sugar is also bleached.

A common bleaching method is to use bone char from dead cows and this is a problem or vegans. There is no evidence that the bone char would contaminate the sugar, but exploiting animals in the production process would classify the product as non-vegan.


Vegetable oil is normally considered vegan, but I still want to mention palm oil, which could be considered non-vegan and avoided by a lot of people. Palm oil is a big part of deforestation and destroying the homes of many orangutans and rhinos.

There is a way for palm oil to be vegan and it’s called RSPO. Roundtable on sustainable palm oil, which is a non-profit organisation that helps companies produce sustainable palm oil and also helps companies buy sustainable palm oil.

This way the deforestation is minimal. It’s always up to you if you want to consume palm oil or not, but if a product has RSPO certified palm oil, then I’m always okay with eating it. So if you want to eat bau bons and the ingredients label says palm oil, then go to the members area over at RSPO website and search for the company name.


Are Bao Buns Vegetarian?

Bao buns are vegetarian because it normally contains milk and no other animal-derived ingredients.


To sum up, the most common bao buns recipes are not vegan, but there are many website that has amazing vegan bao bun recipes. I linked to a great recipe at the start of this article you should check it out.

Both sugar and palm oil are controversial ingredients within the vegan community and ultimately comes down to you, if you want to consume these ingredients or not. That being said, sugar and palm oil is not that what’s going to make the biggest difference in animal suffering. That will also be the fact to not eat meat.

Whether you are eating a plant-based diet because of health reason, the environment or the animals. A plant-based diet will be healthy for you and it will reduce animal suffering, which could lead to a stop for an unsustainable meat industry.

Thanks for reading, take care!

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