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Beijing Meat Pies

10 mins
1 hr
Courtesy Shirley Chung

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10 mins
1 hr


Bing dough for wrappers
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra to use dry
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
Beef filling
  • 1 pound coarsely ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for cooking
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups small diced onion
Fulfilled by

Chef notes

The shape of each meat pie looks like the giant golden nail heads on the gates of the Forbidden City, which is why the dish gets its name, “Men-din-rou-bing,” which means "nail heads" in Chinese. I grew up living next to the Forbidden City, running around through the giant red gates and counting the gold nails as games. Eating meat pie as breakfast while walking to school and seeing sunlight shining on the golden roofs of the Forbidden City is reminiscent of a perfect Beijing morning. 

Technique tip: Use warm water for the wrapper dough and emulsify beef stock into the filling to make it extra juicy. 

Swap option: You can buy store-bough dough for the wrappers.  


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Make the wrappers:


Place flour in a large, heavy-bottomed mixing bowl. Drizzle warm water all over the flour and pour in kosher salt. With a pair of chopsticks or a fork, stir together, making sure the water hydrates all the flour and the dough looks like threads of cotton. Use your hands to knead the dough until smooth, cover with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.


After the dough has rested, portion it into golf ball-sized rounds (about 1 ounce each in weight). Roll out the dough portions into round discs.

Make the beef filling:


Place ground beef chuck into a mixing bowl and drizzle stock, soy sauce and oyster sauce into the bowl and mix well, making sure all the liquid is absorbed into the beef. Add kosher salt and black pepper and mix well.


Drizzle canola and sesame oil into the beef filling while stirring the beef in one direction, fully emulsify the oils into the beef filling, then add the whole egg. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Add the onions into the beef and mix well.

Fold and cook the meat pies:


Place 1 golf ball-sized filling in the middle of the wrapper, pinch the edges together and form a “bao," then gently flatten the bao with the palm of your hand into a meat pie. Repeat this step until all meat pies are formed.


Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons canola oil. Place meat pies into the pan and cover for 2 minutes. When you can smell the dough and beef cooking in the air, flip it to the other side and cover again. After both sides are golden, about 8 minutes total, remove from pan. 


Serve with rice vinegar and chili oil as dipping sauce.

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