How to make huajuan, the Chinese scallion roll that looks like a flower

May 21, 2020

Huajuan are Chinese scallion rolls twisted into the shape of a flower—and they’re surprisingly easy to make.

In China, steam powers a lot of cooking. Some of the tastiest dishes are made by simply firing up a pot of water.

Huajuan 花卷, literally named “flower rolls” for their shape, are a popular steam-powered staple.

(Read more: What counts as a bao? An illustrated guide to all the different types of Chinese buns)

A variation of the cruder mantou 馒头, huajuan are made by simply steaming white dough. The difference between a mantou and a huajuan is that the latter is made by twisting several layers of dough together for a more elegant look.

Huajuan can be made with any type of filling—some even fill in the layers with meat—but the most common variation involves scallions.

Here is our recipe for steamed scallion huajuan.




Makes 12 rolls

  • 600 grams (4 cups) of flour
  • 320 milliliters (1¼ cups) of water
  • 3 grams (½ teaspoon) of baking powder
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of yeast
  • 7 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 4 scallions
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Salt to taste


  1. Add yeast and sugar to warm water, ideally heated to 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Stir until well mixed.
  2. Put flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Add in the yeast solution, and mix until it becomes dough.
  3. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, knead, and then pour a tablespoon of oil on top.
  4. Let the dough rest for 45 minutes, or until it has risen.
  5. Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a pan.
  6. Chop the scallions, and add into the pan.
  7. Add a pinch of salt to taste, and sauté the scallions under medium heat. Set aside.
  8. Punch the air out from the dough, and roll into a sheet.
  9. Brush scallion oil on top, and fold the sheet into thirds length-wise.
  10. Brush more scallion oil on top.
  11. Cut the sheet into 24 one-inch pieces.
  12. To make a roll, stack two pieces on top, and press down with a chopstick.
  13. Pull length-wise, then fold in half, using the chopstick as an anchor. Twist the dough, and pull out the chopstick. (Watch the video for a demonstration.)
  14. Let the rolls rest for 10 minutes.
  15. Place into steamer, and let the water boil. After the water boils, steam for another 15 minutes.
  16. Enjoy!
RecipesChinese buns


Producer: Clarissa Wei

Videographers: Clarissa Wei and Jessica Novia

Editor: Nicholas Ko

Mastering: Joel Roche