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Best Sri Lankan Tea Buns (Tea banis)

Soft and sweet brioche bread rolls (Sri Lankan tea buns) filled with raisins. Typically served with butter.

Sri Lankan Tea Buns

As a child growing up in Sri Lanka we used to eat tea buns or tea banis as a tea time snack. The Breadman also know as “Chun pan” is a mobile bread delivery service that used to operate even before uber eats made its name in the society hahaha.

Every evening around tea time the bread van or trishaw with all Sri Lankan sweets, snacks and bread would make their way into the little streets in Sri Lanka. during tea time. This mobile bakery van would play the famous Mozarts symphony. I kid you not! this was how good their marketing tactic was to attract all the children.

Sri Lankan tea buns 2

This was the best part of my childhood waking up from my afternoon nap to eat these for tea. Ceylon tea is a big part of any Sri Lankan household, we drink tea morning, noon and night. and I cannot begin to describe how good this combination of tea banis and a strong Ceylon black tea is, it’s just a match made in heaven.

Different varieties of Sri Lankan tea buns

Kimbula banis ( Buns shape of a crocodile)
Jam banis ( Buns filled with jam)
Cream banis ( Plain buns sandwiched with sweet icing)
Plain banis (Another name for tea banis)
Sugar banis (Seeni banis)

Typically it’s filled with raisins but it also comes without raisins. Living in a foreign country there is a lot of things I miss and tea buns have to be on the top of my list of things I miss the most.

I love eating tea buns with a bit of butter and a banana. This was not limited as a tea time snack, I also use to get this for breakfast when I was a kid, this would usually be because my mom would have chosen the easy option some days and give me a store-bought banis hahaha. The truth be told I loved the easy options better than the healthy breakfast she used to put in my lunch box.

You can also try my moist chocolate cake recipe and check out my other desserts and sweets recipes as well.

Watch how to make Sri Lankan tea buns

Step by step guide how to make Sri Lankan tea buns

Sri Lankan Tea Buns

Best Sri Lankan Tea Buns (Tea banis)

Soft and sweet Brioche rolls
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes

Servings: 2 people


  • Oven


  • 260 g All- purpose flour
  • 60 g White sugar
  • 17 g Yeast Instant dry yeast
  • 155 g Water Warm
  • 30 g Milk powder Dry powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt Table salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 50 g Butter
  • 80 g Raisin

Egg wash

  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Milk Fresh milk

Melted Butter to apply in the bowl


    • Add the yeast, sugar, water in a small bowl and mix well and leave aside for 10 mins until it froths
    • Place flour, salt, butter and egg, milk powder mix well using a rubber spatula or spoon
    • Once the yeast has froth, then add the yeast mixture into the flour and mix it with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated
    • Add oil to the work surface and transfer the dough on to the surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes. Add raisins at the end at mix for further 1 minute ( If you have a stand mixer with the dough hook, then use the dough hook which will help to knead the dough easily)
    • Brush a bowl with melted butter and place the kneaded dough inside, cover with a cling wrap and let it rest and double in size in a warm area. ( Note: it may take longer than a usual dough as it is a very sticky and has a high moisture content. The resting time will depend on the humidity and temperature
    • Once doubled in size knock the air out by punching the dough and cut it into 6 equal pieces
    • Using your palm in a circular motion, make smooth balls by pressing it downwards and rotating it in one place
    • Place them on a tray leaving sufficient gaps in between and cover. Let it rise for the second time in a warm area until doubled in size ( you don't need to leave it for a long time, this will take half the amount of time it took for the first rise )
    • Preheat your oven to 200 Degrees (conventional)
    • Once the dough has risen egg wash the top just before putting it in the oven
    • Bake for 12-15 minutes in the middle rack of the oven until the top has a beautiful golden brown colour
    • Once it comes out of the oven, to get the signature crack top of a Sri Lankan tea bun, close the buns with a clean tea towel for 1 hour.
    • Enjoy it with a cup of Ceylon tea


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    7 thoughts on “Best Sri Lankan Tea Buns (Tea banis)”

    1. 5 stars
      I tried many recipes before for tea buns and none worked. This method actually really came out well and the buns were soft and yummy. Thank you very much for this.

      1. Hi Shenya,

        The dough itself has a high moisture content. The dough which has such a moisture level needs high Yeast content. Unlike other doughs because of its functionality, it needs high Yeast. Yeast is what will make it softer and fluffy.


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