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+ servings

Coconut Buns with Milky Sweet Coconut Filling

These flavorful buns are filled with a tasty, milky filling and topped with a buttery sweet topping. 

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
rise times for the dough 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 11 buns
Calories 365 kcal
Author sanna


For the Bread: Tangzhong

  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

For the Bread: Dough

  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp whole milk powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk warmed to 105 F
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter unsalted

For the Filling

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter very soft, warm
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp cake flour
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes unsweetened

For the Toppings

  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 3 tbsp softened butter very soft
  • 4 and 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg for brushing the buns
  • 4 tsp runny honey for brushing the baked buns
  • coconut flakes for sprinkling on top of the baked buns


  1. Make the tangzhong: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour, water, and milk until the flour is dissolved. Heat the pan over medium heat and stir continuously until mixture turns into a thick paste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine warm milk (105-115F), 1 tbsp of the sugar, and the active dry yeast. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until foamy. Mix in the tangzhong, the powdered milk, egg, melted butter, the remaining sugar and the salt. Use a wooden spoon to stir everything together. Add the flour and stir well until a soft, shaggy dough is formed. If the dough is still too wet, sprinkle a little amount of flour, just until the dough comes together.

  3. Turn dough over onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 12-15 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Flour your hands and the surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking as you knead. The dough will be less tacky and can stretch thinly when you take a portion and stretch it with your fingers.

  4. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60-90 minutes, until puffy.

  5. Punch dough gently and divide into 11 portions. Form them into balls and use your palms to flatten them into an oval shape.  Spoon about 1/2 -1 tablespoon of filling into the oval dough and spread evenly across the surface. Roll them starting on the long side. Pinch the seams to seal and tuck both ends under to seal the edges as well.

  6. Arrange the assembled dough in a large baking tray that is lined with parchment paper. Let these rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, for 50 minutes. 

  7. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the surface of the buns with beaten egg. Shape the topping mixture into strips by rolling small portions against a surface to elongate them ( or put the topping mixture in a piping bag and pipe onto the buns). Place strips of the topping near both the ends of the buns. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Brush the baked buns with runny honey, avoiding the strips. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Combine and stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl until a paste is formed.

To Make the Topping:

  1. Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth.

Recipe Notes

An adaptation of the recipes from King Arthur Flour and The Woks of Life.