Ever since I discovered King’s, the humble hole-in-the-wall Chinese bakery in the heavily Hispanic Mission neighborhood, I cannot stop raving about their coconut buns — soft buns filled with sweet buttery coconut filling that are truly addicting.

These buns are actually reminiscent of the coconut buns I grew up with back home — pan de coco, which is basically a roll the size of a pan de sal but filled with the same sweet buttery coconut filling.  I can still recall how much I went crazy over a brown paper bag filled with warm freshly baked pan de coco that my mom brings home from the neighborhood bakery.  It was the perfect snack.

For Jun-blog reader Jessica who writes,

“Do you know of anyone who knows how to make these coconut buns?  There are no Chinese bakeries where I am [in Newfoundland] and I love them.  Any help?”,

here is my take on this seriously addicting sweet treat.

Coconut Buns Recipe,
Dough Recipe adapted from The Best of the Maya Kitchen: The Complete Guide to Baking, makes 10 to 12 buns

For the dough

2 tsp or 1 pack instant yeast
1/4 cup tepid water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
2 eggs
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

For the egg wash
1 egg
1 Tbsp water

For the topping
white sesame seeds

For the coconut filling

1 cup coconut flakes
3 Tbsp melted salted butter
5 Tbsp honey (or brown sugar)
1 egg yolk

Dissolve yeast in tepid water, which is water with a temperature anywhere between 100 and 110 degrees F.  To proof yeast, add 1 tsp sugar and let stand for 10 minutes. If the mixture doubles in volume then yeast is active.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the milk, melted butter, eggs, and yeast and combine well.  On a clean surface dusted with flour,  knead the mixture into a smooth elastic dough.  Add more flour, if necessary.

Let the dough rest in a bowl greased lightly with canola oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour or until the size doubles.  While the dough is rising, make the coconut filling.

Most grocery stores carry fine coconut flakes.  If only coarser ones are available, use a food processor to grind them into finer flakes.  In a small bowl, mix the coconut flakes, melted butter, honey, and egg yolk until it has a paste-like consistency.

Punch the dough and divide it into two.  Roll each half into an 8-inch log and cut into 3- to 4-oz pieces. There will be around 5 to 6 pieces.

Roll each piece into a 5- by 3-inch rectangle.  Place 1-1/2 tablespoon coconut filling lengthwise along the center. Bring the the long sides up and over the filling and pinch all the edges to seal. Make sure the edges are adequately sealed to prevent the coconut filling from spilling out while the buns are baking.


How to Make Coconut Buns


Place the pieces with the seam-side down on a greased baking sheet with around a 1/2-inch space between buns.  Let the buns rise for another 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the egg wash, whisk the egg and water together in a small cup.  Lightly brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds on top.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.


How to Make Coconut Buns

  • http://www.noteaafter12.com Audrey

    I’ve had Pan de Coco on my “must make” list for…um…a really long time. There is a Brazilian type of coconut bun that I’m also dying to try! Thanks for re-inspiring me! I might actually go for it this week.

  • http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com Kaitlin

    These sound amazing! I’ve never so much as seen a Chinese Bakery, but I keep seeing recipes from them that I want to try. I wish there was one around here!

  • http://tuppercooks.blogspot.com/ Tupper Cooks

    I’m really excited about this recipe- I’ve never seen anything similar and being a breadhead they look awesome. Thanks for posting this! Tupper.

  • http://lemonsandanchovies.wordpress.com/ Jean

    Oh, I remember these. Yours look so good. I’ve always regarded filipino sweets and pastries as too hard to make but these seem very manageable. Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.chewonthatblog.com Sophia

    Wow, never would have thought of using coconut for a buns recipes. Very innovative! What do you think of Butter Buns? http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/butter_buns.htm

    Definitely not as unique as coconut, but still pretty tasty!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://jessicasbaking.wordpress.com Jessica

    These will definitely be my next blog post! thanks :) I’m so excited I hope they turn out well, I will keep you posted :D

  • http://www.thefoodaddicts.com Daniel@ The Food Addicts

    I loved eating this at dim sum as a kid. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  • http://kitchen-worthy.com Liren

    Lovely! I remember buying these in NYC, and I also remember eating Pan de Coco whenever I would vacation in the Philippines as a child! My dad adored Pan de Coco. Paired with some chocolate milk from Magnolia, and I was on the best sugar high :) I’ll have to try this for nostalgia’s sake!

  • http://psychosomaticaddictinsane.wordpress.com iya

    pan de coco! so good with kapeng barako!

    good morning!

  • http://www.gearedtocook.com GearedToCook

    A visit to Chinatown in NYC isn’t complete unless you’ve had one of these sweet buns with coffee. It’s the perfect start before you load up on groceries and work up an appetite for dim sum. I’ve always wondered if this is the same dough you use for baked siopao. This is inspiring me to experiment. Thanks for posting this!

  • http://dailydosesofsugar.blogspot.com/ Eva

    Thanks for the recipe! I am definitely going to try this out! I love this when I was a kid too :D

  • Lee

    These were great! My only question is, I baked them for 20 min and the bread came out a bit dry. Do you think I just need to decrease my bake time, or is there another reason they might turn out dry? I didn’t add any extra flour.

  • http://www.junbelen.com Jun Belen

    Hi Lee,
    So sorry for the very late reply. I think it may just be because of the bake time. Ovens vary and baking times, consequently, vary as well. I suggest keeping an eye out next time and bake until the buns are golden brown. I hope that makes sense. Thank you for trying out the recipe!

  • http://buttercreambarbie.blogspot.com Tia

    I adore these. I have been looking for a recipe for months now. thank you!

  • http://coffeeat7.wordpress.com Renee

    My family has a favorite restaraunt in the city that we go to and I had never had coconut buns before until then. I fell in love with them and have more than my share every time! I can’t wait to try and make these at home myself.

  • steven

    Hello to all, I was wandering with the asian style bread when you buy it from these bakeries why days later it is still soft. I have made them on several occasions and they are hard the next day.
    Could someone please let me know what the secret is.
    Thank you!!

  • Emma

    Have you tried this sites recipe for the dough, you should be able to compare the difference.

    Although this recipe says ‘Japanese Style Sweet dough’, it is the same & is the texture that you’re probably looking for :)

    Happy Cooking


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000500413519 Janet Arcos Maus


  • Babybrew45

     Iknow this is a recipe for coconut buns. lol I would like to know if you had the recipe for the creamy type of coconut shrimp. not the fried coconut shrimp. . every where that I look up online I can’t find that recipe…It be on the buffet at one of the resturant here where I live and I would like to make it fro my bro-law. can you help me. my email is babybrew45@yahoo.com. it has a sweet taste to it and a thick creamy batter on it. not sure if it is cornstarch or flour. anybody can help . please do. Thank you.

  • Ca Chua

    Hi Jun, I just stared to bake, and had learned about the performances of the instant yeast and dry active yeast. If you use the instant yeast, there is no need to activating the yeast, just let it stay at room temperature then put them directly to the flour. For the active dry yeast, you need to activating the yeast. Perhaps, only in this recipe? Thanks,

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  • http://www.facebook.com/comaymay Co May May

    Hi Jun! Your Coconut Buns look just like the ones in HK :) They’re called Kai Mei Bao and it’s my favorite :) I make these once in a while using the Siopao dough recipe and for the filling, I mix in some Milk powder and Margarine instead of butter, it’s a lot creamier and comes really close to the HK version :D Love your pictures!

  • Winnie Wong

    Can I use Activedry yeast? That’s all I have right now.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Yes, Winnie. Active dry yeast will work.

  • Winnie Wong

    Thank you very much.

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  • Kirk Ong

    Can I use Instant dry yeast? That’s all I have right now.

  • david szeto

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I tried them and they turned out so well – I’m new to baking and seeing them come out of the oven (successfully) was a real joy :)