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Asian Coconut Buns {with Brioche Dough}

Stop browsing the bakery section at the Chinese grocery store for these Asian Coconut Buns, because now you can make them at home. And these homemade buns are way better, I promise you.
Asian Coconut Buns on a plate next to a tea cupI love all things coconut, and these Asian Coconut Buns are no different. These go way back to my teen years when I would go grocery shopping with mom at Vietnamese and Chinese grocery stores. We would almost always picked up some Asian bread or coconut buns for the next day breakfast. Then during my time at university in Irvine, Ryan and I would frequent JJ Bakery for some Anpan (Red Bean Buns) and Asian Coconut Buns almost every week. It’s somewhat nostalgic to think back to those days and how amazing that simply bread can bring back so much memories.

Asian Coconut Buns process photosFreshly baked Asian Coconut Buns on a baking sheet

Asian Coconut Buns Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • For this recipe, I uses Brioche dough as the base for the bread. Another great bread to use for the base would be this Milk Bread.
  • This is one recipe I would recommend making with a stand mixer due to the longer kneading time. Or you can also successfully make this using a hand mixer with the dough hook attachment. 
  • Always bloom active dry yeast to make sure it is working. If the yeast mixture doesn’t puff up when bloom, it is best to redo this step until you get an activated yeast mixture. Otherwise, your dough will not rise. 
  • Rising time can vary, depending on the environment: temperature, humidity, barometric pressure. The dough will rise faster in warmer weather compared to colder weather, in higher altitude compared to lower altitude, etc. But it will rise, it will just take time and patience.

Asian Coconut Buns on a plate next to a tea cupThese Asian Coconut Buns keep well at room temperature for a few days in an air tight container. However, if the weather is really warm, it’s best to store them in the fridge and toast them in the oven before serving, they will taste like freshly baked buns.

Asian Coconut Buns on a plate next to a tea cup

Asian Coconut Buns

Stop browsing the bakery section at the Chinese grocery store for these Asian Coconut Buns, because now you can make them at home. And these homemade buns are way better, I promise you.
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 buns
Calories: 583kcal
Author: Trang


For the Brioche Dough

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 - 3 tablespoon of milk
  • 2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar - divided
  • 2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 4 ounce unsalted butter
  • Extra flour

For Coconut Paste Filling

  • 1 1/2 cup desiccated coconut flake (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • A handful of raisins

For Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water


For the Brioche Dough

  • Cut the butter into 1/2” cubes and let soften at room temperature.
  • Leave eggs and milk out on the counter to come to room temperature as well.
  • Mix together 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle the active dry yeast on top. Let it bloom for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the rest of the sugar, flour and salt in a small bowl and whisk to evenly distribute.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, lightly beat the eggs and add the bloomed yeast mixture along with the flour mixture to it. Use the dough hook to knead on low speed (speed 2) for 15 minutes.
  • Check occasionally to see how your dough is looking, if it is too dry, sprinkle in the rest of the milk. By the end of 15 minutes, it should pull away from the side of the bowl.
  • Leave the mixer on speed 2 and add the soften butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing it to combine with the dough before adding more. This will take about 10 minutes.
  • Then let the mixer knead for another 10 minutes.
  • Dump the dough out on a lightly floured counter and shape into a ball.
  • Place dough into an oil glass bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 - 2 hour until double in size.

For Coconut Paste Filling

  • Add coconut flake and powder sugar in a small mixing bowl and mix with a whisk to distribute evenly.
  • Add the egg and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mix until a paste form. If it seems dry, add another tablespoon of coconut oil and combine thoroughly.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

Form the Coconut Buns

  • Dump the dough out onto the lightly floured counter, divide into 6 equal portions, knead into balls.
  • Roll each ball into a 4”x6” rectangle, spread 3 tablespoons of coconut paste evenly all over the dough. Roll this into a log and cut in half length wise leaving about half an inch intact at one end. Twist the two sections into a braided bun. Press a few raisins into the exposed filling.
  • Place the buns on a parchment lined baking sheet with enough space in between and allow to rise until double in size and supple looking, about 1 - 2 hours.

Bake the Buns

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Beat an egg with a tablespoon of water to make egg wash, and brush all portion of exposed dough with egg wash very lightly.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.


Serving: 166g | Calories: 583kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @WildWildWhisk or tag #WildWildWhisk!
Stop browsing the bakery section at the Chinese grocery store for these Asian Coconut Buns, because now you can make them at home. And these homemade buns are way better, I promise you. | wildwildwhisk.com #coconutbuns #coconut #bread

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  1. Kylie
    August 23, 2020 /

    5 stars
    Hi, do you think I could use non dairy milk and vegan butter? Thanks

    • Trang
      August 24, 2020 /

      Hi Kylie, you can definitely use non dairy milk. As for vegan butter, I’ve never baked with it before so I don’t know for sure but I think it should be okay to substitute. Let me know how it comes out.

  2. Vivi
    July 16, 2020 /

    Hi Trang, this looks so delicious! My husband’s grandmother loves these 🙂 Do you think this recipe would work with fresh grated coconut instead of desiccated coconut? I have some leftover from a recipe I made and don’t want to waste it. Thanks!

    • Trang
      July 17, 2020 /

      Hi Vivi, I’ve never baked with fresh coconut, I would imagine it has some extra moisture but I think it should work. Let me know how it turns out, maybe make the bread dough with some additional flour so it is a little bit dryer to compensate for the moisture from the fresh coconut.

  3. Annie
    June 3, 2020 /

    Hi! If I do not have coconut oil, will it make a big difference in taste if I use olive oil instead? Thank you! It looks delicious!

    • Trang
      June 4, 2020 /

      Do you have vegetable oil or canola? It might be better to use a milder oil than olive oil since olive oil has a strong flavor.

  4. Haily
    May 29, 2020 /

    Im making it now and my fillings are gushing out while waiting for the second rise. Hope it turns out Ok. I also did this whole process by hand and it’s really sticky even when I did the twist step.

    • Trang
      May 29, 2020 /

      Hi Haily, I hope it still turns out tasty. Brioche dough can be quite sticky, but also with bread dough the way you measure the flour or the moisture content in your flour can affect the texture. If it it too sticky, next time add a little more flour while kneading. But the softer the dough, the softer the baked bread will be.

      • Haily
        May 29, 2020 /

        They came out quite nice. I made 8 using this recipe. Thank you so much!

        • Trang
          May 30, 2020 /

          I’m so glad to hear they turned out nice 🙂 Thanks for visiting and making this recipe, Haily!

  5. Chris
    May 22, 2020 /

    5 stars
    I made these using bread flour and all I can say is WOW, absolutely AMAZING and I didn’t have to change a thing. I did do it by hand which was the hardest dough I’ve kneaded by hand just because it stayed sticky for so long, but it was incredible and so worth it.

    • Trang
      May 23, 2020 /

      Wow hat off to you for making it by hand, I always get so winded when I try to knead bread dough and end up getting some sweat in there too lol. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the bread!!

  6. Linh
    May 4, 2020 /

    If I have sweetened coconut flakes, should I not use the powdered sugar for the coconut paste? Or maybe cut it down to less than 1 cup of powdered sugar?

    • Trang
      May 5, 2020 /

      I think you can cut it down to 1/2 cup.

  7. Katie
    May 1, 2020 /

    5 stars
    So beautiful! I made these the other day as my Dad loves Asian bakery goods and we can’t get them as easily anymore. I was initially worried I hadn’t put enough flour into the dough as it was so soft and buttery, but I trusted the recipe completely, and they turned out perfect. The brioche was so delicious! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe.

    • Trang
      May 1, 2020 /

      Thank you so much for your trust Katie! And I’m super happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  8. Cynthia S
    February 22, 2020 /

    The recipe, with the coconut paste filling looks perfect! I wonder if I could make these into coconut bunnies, covered in shredded coconut, with the little ear snipping technique? If so, I wonder if I would use the egg wash to hold the additional shredded coconut to the bun? Advice welcome. Thank you!

    • Trang
      February 23, 2020 /

      Hey Cynthia, I’ve never made those before but I think you could certainly make those cute little filled bunnies, perfect for Easter. The egg wash will help the shredded coconut stick to the outside, but you may not be able to be a lot to stick since you can’t roll them in coconut. And also they may burn since egg wash promotes browning and small things on the surface like the coconut shred would be quite easy to burn. I suggest perhaps skipping the coconut on the outside, just do the coconut paste filling on the inside, and egg wash the bread.

  9. September 3, 2019 /

    5 stars
    Oh wow! these are amazing. I would travel miles just to get my hands on them. Love the coconut filling and the gorgeous soft brioche

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