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Chinese Coconut Buns (aka Honey Buns)

April 3, 2013


So lately I’ve been thinking about these Chinese coconut buns (or as I’ve always known them, “honey buns”)

These buns are rich, sweet and filled with a mixture of coconut, butter and honey that seems to almost melt into the bread dough and leave a dense layer of sweet coconut filling.

Whenever we get a chance to visit Victoria, we stop at the Bakery in China town to bring home bean buns (for my dad) and we often scoop up some sweet buns.  The place is a tiny hole in the wall and I have a feeling I don’t want to know what the kitchen looks like but they sure do make amazing sweet rolls!

bbq bakery

(photo from

These rolls will never be quite as good as the real thing from the Victoria BBQ House Bakery but they will sure tie me over until I can have the real thing!

The recipe I used comes from Jun-Blog, it was the best looking recipe I could find and it actually used honey as an ingredient, many I searched contained no honey at all!


Chinese Coconut Buns (Honey Buns) makes 12 recipe from Jun-Blog

  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

for the filling:

  • 1 cup shredded, dried coconut
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 5 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for egg wash)

to finish:

  • reserved egg white mixed with 1 tsp water
  • sesame seeds

Begin by dissolving the yeast and the 1 tsp of sugar in the 1/4 cup of warm water.  Let this sit until the yeast bubbles so you know it is active. (I often skip this step and add the remaining ingredients right away but as I was starting a new package of yeast I wanted to be certain it was active)

If using a mixer, add the eggs, sugar, melted butter (that has been cooled) and milk to the yeast mixture and begin mixing using a dough hook.  Mix the salt into the first cup of flour and add flour one cup at a time, mixing it in until you have a soft, but not sticky dough.  I only needed to use 3 cups.

*You can also easily mix and knead this dough by hand.

Set the dough aside in a bowl greased with vegetable oil, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising you can assemble the filling.

Pulse the shredded coconut in a blender or food processor until it is quite fine.

Mix the coconut with the melted butter, honey and egg yolk.

Set the filling aside.

Once the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl on to the counter and divide it into 12 equal pieces.  For each piece, using a rolling pin or your hands, into a 5X3″ rectangle.

Place about 1 and 1/2 tbsp of filling down the middle of each pice of dough, lengthwise.

Fold the dough over and pinch the seams to seal.  Tuck each end underneath pinching to seal in in place….you should have dough that resembles a twinkie shape 🙂   Place rolls about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover to rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

*I stacked two baking sheets together to create a pocket of air under the pan so the bottoms of the buns wouldn’t become too browned.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until golden brown.  After 18 minutes I popped them under the broiler for a minute so they would brown up nicely on the tops.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!



16 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2013 1:58 pm

    Those buns sound amazing! I like the combination of the coconut filling with the sesame seeds on top. I wouldn’t have thought to pair those flavors myself, but the sweet and (slightly) savory must go really well together!

    • betchacanteatjustone permalink*
      April 4, 2013 5:55 am

      Not something I would have come up with on my own either! They are so so delicious, I hope you give them a try!

      • April 4, 2013 11:22 am

        Still, good for you for making your own!!

      • April 12, 2020 4:26 pm

        I know the exact shop you are referring to because I have similar childhood memories and the good fortune to work nearby as an adult. Now that coronavirus is keeping me at home I am going to try this recipe!

  2. April 3, 2013 7:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I worked right in the heart of Victoria’s chinatown for ages (ages ago) and there is nothing like fresh honey buns – not so many out here in the country where I am now. This will help!

    • betchacanteatjustone permalink*
      April 4, 2013 5:54 am

      We don’t get down that way nearly often enough, I am going to make these again this morning….my waistline is not going to thank me!
      They do harden up a little bit after the first day, but warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds (or wrapped in foil in the oven) they taste just like fresh baked!

  3. April 18, 2013 4:52 am

    I’m pretty sure that I ate these exact same buns when visiting Singapore a couple of years ago. They are so, so delicious (and moreish!). I never thought about making them at home… but I might just give your recipe a go. I am terrible at yeasted bakes though, so I am half expecting to end up with a failure (hm, I guess if I do I can just scrape out the coconut filling and eat it by itself, haha. Not so bad after all!)

    • betchacanteatjustone permalink*
      April 18, 2013 5:52 am

      haha, the coconut filling is really so SO good!

  4. Celest permalink
    July 22, 2013 4:02 pm

    You just made my day! I just found the recipe from Jun-Blog, but didn’t know how close they tasted to what I wanted. And what I wanted is EXACTLY the buns from the place you are talking about in Victoria! When I was in high school, we’d get Honey Buns from here and sell them at the school as a fund raiser. SOOOOOO GOOOOOD. The ones I find in Edmonton at T&T’s aren’t nearly as good, but I totally want to try making them myself.

    Thanks for confirming what they taste like in comparison to the ones in Victoria! 🙂 I think I need to go back to that place the next time I visit the island.

    • betchacanteatjustone permalink*
      July 22, 2013 5:19 pm

      Oh my goodness, now I really hope they meet your expectations!!! Best of luck with the recipe, I LOVE these buns! And I really do hope you can make a stop in to the bakery on your next visit! We don’t miss it when we go to Victoria for the day!

      • Celest permalink
        July 22, 2013 5:48 pm

        That’s so awesome. I’m not a very experienced Baker, so anything I make will be a good experiment 🙂

  5. Monique permalink
    January 25, 2020 10:09 pm

    I moved away from Victoria 10 years ago but that shop’s honey buns us what inspired me to find a recipe. Thanks

  6. Martin permalink
    February 5, 2021 8:37 pm

    Just a little confused it doesn’t say you need butter for the dough but in the description it says add butter

    • betchacanteatjustone permalink*
      February 5, 2021 8:40 pm

      1/2 cup melted Butter is listed in the ingredients. 🙂

  7. Olivia permalink
    February 27, 2021 3:34 pm

    Really great recipe, thank you! Randomly I also grew up on these in Victoria lol.. super weird! Ive made them twice now and both times I’ve had trouble keeping the filling sealed inside while they bake.. I’ve really tried to seal the sides well but yeah they keep opening up on me. Any suggestions? (They still come out tasting great)

    • betchacanteatjustone permalink*
      February 28, 2021 10:53 am

      You could try brushing the edge of the dough with a tiny bit of water before you pinch it together to help it seal. I haven’t made these for quite some time but I do believe mine leaked out a bit as well

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