Melonpan メロンパン (Soft Milk Buns with Cookie Dough Crust)


Despite being familiar with melonpan for quite some time, I’d never actually had the opportunity to try one until our trip to Japan last year. During an excursion around bustling Tokyo, we chanced upon a little café located along a quiet alley in Asakusa. As soon as we laid eyes on their cookie dough encrusted buns on display out the front, we stopped and bought one. Since then, I’ve always wanted to make my own.

Yeast and Flour Equipment Instant Yeast

In a recent post about red bean buns, I quite ardently mentioned that I’ve been craving bread. Preferably soft, sweet Japanese bread. To continue with this theme, I attempted (finally!) to make some melonpan. Like anpan, melonpan is another popular type of sweet bun from Japan, made by covering a soft bread dough in a thin layer of sugar-sprinkled cookie dough. Despite its name, the buns are not traditionally melon flavoured (though it is becoming popular for people to add melon flavouring, among others). The sweet cookie-covered bun actually gets its name from its cross-hatched appearance, which supposedly resembles the rind of a rock melon/cantaloupe.

Kneading Bread Dough After Dough Has Risen Dividing Dough

Melonpan is similar to Hong Kong bo luo bao (pineapple bun) and Korean soboro ppang (streusel bread) in appearance, but is typically not so heavy, with a lighter crust and less buttery bread. This doesn’t make the Japanese variant any less tasty though!

Unbaked Melonpan Unbaked Melonpan Melonpan in the Oven Oven Temperature

Melonpan is not overly complicated to make, though there is a fair bit of waiting involved. But it is definitely worth it. Plus, there is something truly magical about lightly carving diamonds into the soft, pre-baked cookie shell and making them glitter with sugar crystals. Best eaten fresh out of the oven, when the sugar cookie crust is still crunchy and the bun is soft and fluffy!

Baked Melonpan Baked Melonpan Melonpan Crumb Shot

Melonpan メロンパン (Japanese Melon Bread)
soft milk buns topped with a crisp cookie dough crust | yield: 6 small buns

Cookie Dough Layer (Pâte Sablée):

3/4 cup cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons egg, beaten

Milk Bread Dough:

1 1/2 cups bread flour (high protein flour)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons full cream milk, warm
4 tablespoons water, warm
1 tablespoon egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, softened

for the shell:
previously prepared cookie dough (from above recipe)
some large-grain sugar, for dipping
Unbaked Melonpan


The full recipe has been moved to our new website, Milk & Dust.

Check out the recipe here: Homemade Melonpan メロンパン: Perfect soft milk buns with cookie dough crust

19 thoughts on “Melonpan メロンパン (Soft Milk Buns with Cookie Dough Crust)

  1. Great pictures! The buns look so good, just beautiful. I love bread–to make it and eat it; going to have to try these.

  2. Ooh I love pineapple buns! Funny that you said that melonpan has less buttery bread. Dad used to slice a pretty thick slab of butter and sandwich it in the pineapple bun, microwave it for a few seconds to melt the butter a bit, and voila! A delicious treat!

  3. Hi :)
    I just tried making the melon bread with your recipe and the bottom is a little dark brown is there a way to stop that? or was the cookie dough ment to wrap it around fully? Also is there a way to sweeten the bread dough?

    1. Hi Leandra! The darker bottom could be caused by many things. Did you preheat the oven prior to putting the melon pan in? That will allow the oven to reach a consistent temperature throughout. Also try putting the tray higher up in the oven, as the lower element may be putting out too much heat and burning the bottom. If that doesn’t work, try using a thicker tray, or even use a stone baking surface. If all else fails, try using an oven thermometer to see if your oven needs calibrating!

      To sweeten the dough you can increase the amount of sugar from 2tbsp to however much you’d like. If you add a substantial amount, make sure you compensate with more liquid though. As long as the dough is not too dry it should be fine.

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