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Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.comThanksgiving is over but the feast continues. We have so much leftover, we’ll be eating turkey for weeks, in all forms and shapes, including these Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns (or Turkey Bao). In Vietnam, steam bun (bánh bao) is one of the typical street foods. I grew up eating it almost every day from the bao lady on the street corner. And they were sooo good, hot off the steamer, soft white bread, just slightly sweet, usually filled with pork and egg.

But today, we’re gonna put a little twist to these buns and fill them with turkey and all the fixings, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce! I prepared the dough the night before Thanksgiving day and let it rise in the fridge for a few days. I took it out on the weekend when I was ready to make my buns. Because seriously, after making all those pies and dinner rolls, it was nice to have ready-made dough for once!

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.comLeftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.comLeftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.comLeftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.comThere is really not much work for these buns, since you just roll them out, and fill them with leftover turkey and all the fixings. Normally you’ll see these buns with pretty pleated top, my pleats were… well… not quite pleats, they were just a mess of pinched dough, so I flip them over and hide the seal on the bottom. But if you know how to fold these, and make them look pretty, place the flat side of the bun on the parchment paper. 🙂 I found this tutorial how to fold steam buns after the fact, although I doubt I can make mine look that pretty… perhaps next time!

You can have these for breakfast when you’re too lazy for bacon and egg. They’re also the perfect grab and go light lunch/snack. To reheat these buns, you could use a steamer, boil the water, place the buns in the steamer and steam for about 5 minutes. Or you could put them in the microwave, wrapped in a damp paper towel, and heat for 1:30 minutes.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.com

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.com

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns

An Asian inspired leftover Thanksgiving recipe!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer, Bread, Snack
Cuisine: American, Chinese, Vietnamese
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 293kcal
Author: Trang


For the buns:

  • 1 cup of milk – about 105°F
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the filling:

  • 2 cup of chopped turkey
  • 8 tablespoon of stuffing
  • 8 teaspoon of gravy
  • 8 teaspoon of cranberry sauce


  • In a small bowl, add the flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt. Mix to combine and set aside.
  • Dissolve a teaspoon of sugar in 1 cup of milk, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast over the surface of the milk and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the mixture expands.
  • Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and vegetable oil into a mixing bowl, add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed (#2) until a wet dough is formed.
  • Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured board and shape into a ball. Grease a glass bowl, and place the dough ball into the bowl to rise for 1 – 2 hours until double in size. I make the dough the night before Thanksgiving and just let it rise in the fridge for a few days. Take it out the day of and let it come to room temperature before making the buns.
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal portions, about 2.5 oz each. Knead each portions a few times and shape into a disk.
  • Roll each portion of dough out to about a 6” circle, leaving the middle thicker than the edge.
  • Fill each with 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce, 1 tablespoon of stuffing, 1 teaspoon of gravy and 1/4 cup of chopped turkey.
  • Seal the rolls and flip them over and place it on a square of parchment paper. Let them rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Fill the steamer with water, a third full, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat just enough to keep the water boiling.
  • Place the rolls in the steamer, about 2” or so apart, leaving enough room for the buns to rise and for the steam to come through. I can fit 4 at a time in my steamer.
  • Steam for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.


Prep time includes waiting time for dough to rise.


Serving: 128g | Calories: 293kcal
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Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Steam Buns | wildwildwhisk.com


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  1. September 3, 2019 /

    5 stars
    What a brilliant idea! I’m always looking for new ways to use up the holiday leftovers. These happen to look gorgeous too even without the pleat.

  2. Becky T
    December 2, 2014 /

    Do you steam these covered or uncovered?
    Love the idea..going to go make up the dough today.

    • December 2, 2014 /

      Hi Becky, you steam them with the cover on. Just make sure to remove the cover when you are finished so the condensation doesn’t drip onto the buns.

  3. December 2, 2014 /

    I love bao zi! I contemplated making Thanksgiving leftover steamed buns as well but opted to make pull apart leftover stuffed bread with Hokkaido bread dough instead (http://the-cooking-of-joy.blogspot.com/2014/12/pull-apart-thanksgiving-leftover.html).

    I did end up wrapping my rolls “steamed bun style”, but it does take a bit of practice. It’s worth it though; not only is it really pretty, I think it might be the most efficient way to get a lot of filling inside the dough! It helps to roll the edges of the dough a little thinner than the middle.

    • December 2, 2014 /

      Thanks for visiting Joy! I definitely need to practice my bao folding skill. I love your stuffed bread too, look awesome!

    • December 1, 2014 /

      Thanks Robyn! Hope you try it, let me know if you do!

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