Baked gluten-free buns are less tricky to make than steamed ones because you bake them in the same pan that you let them rise in. The result looks like giant macarons or pfeffernusse – low domes. They’re firmer and denser than your typical baked bao, but they are tasty in their own right.
Making a flavorful filling is important because it stamps the bao with extra texture and savor. I used char siu pork for the ones pictured above. Other filling options are mentioned below for savory and sweet buns. If you’re super sensitive to gluten, you’ll have to figure out alternatives for certain Asian ingredients used in the fillings. See this post for guidance on gluten-free Asian ingredients.