These Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns are an incredible upgrade on regular dinner rolls or garlic bread. They are filled with a sweet cream cheese filling and dunked in a garlic butter custard before getting baked, resulting in a uniquely delicious sweet, salty and garlicky bread which hits all the right spots. In fact, this is the best type of garlic bread I've ever had!
Before I get started with this recipe, I need to give the disclaimer that I have never actually been to Korea or tried authentic Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread. This recipe is my take on it based on what I have read and seen on the internet (since it sounded so delicious), not an authentic recipe. My intention is never to misrepresent anything, so if I get anything incorrect, please let me know! I also recommend checking out the recipe from Holly Ford, a Korean food blogger!
WHAT IS KOREAN CREAM CHEESE GARLIC BREAD?
Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread originates from South Korea where it is enjoyed as a street food. It consists of a soft, fluffy bread roll generously stuffed with a luscious cream cheese filling and dipped in a savory garlic butter spread. The contrasting textures of the crispy exterior and the pillowy interior, along with the delectable marriage of creamy, garlicky, and slightly sweet flavors, make it very unique and special, explaining why it has been going viral on social media.
Let's talk about the ingredients you will need for this recipe (all quantities are listed in the recipe card below):
- King's Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls - I love using these, but you can use any kind of brioche sliders, or even homemade brioche buns! Classic Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread is made with larger buns (around 5" in diameter) but I like the smaller version made with King's Hawaiian as it is more easily sharable
- Cream cheese filling:
- Full fat cream cheese, room temperature. Try to get the block form if you can!
- Sweetened condensed milk - I know it sounds strange to add a sweet ingredient in garlic bread, but it works beautifully! Just like salt complements cookies 😉
- Garlic butter custard:
- Unsalted butter, melted
- Large egg - if you don't eat egg, you can skip this
- Whole milk
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Minced or chopped garlic
- Shredded or grated parmesan cheese
HOW TO MAKE KOREAN CREAM CHEESE GARLIC BUNS?
Check out this short video in which I walk through the steps of making these buns:
Now let's go through the steps:
1. Prepare the buns
Pre-heat your oven to 350F (conventional). Divide up the Hawaiian rolls, and using a long serrated knife, make 4 cuts in each roll that go about 75% of the way so the rolls stay intact. I like to make 2 cuts perpendicular (like a plus sign), and then 2 diagonal cuts. This will create 8 sections in the roll, giving it a spikey look.
If you are using brioche sliders or homemade buns, do the same thing!
Tip: Since Hawaiian rolls are really soft, it helps if you let them dry out first for 2 hours or so. Make sure you use a sharp serrated knife and cut in a light sawing motion when cutting, instead of applying downward pressure. If you find this too challenging, you can do just 2 cuts, so the rolls have 4 sections instead of 8.
2. Fill the buns with the cream cheese filling
For the cream cheese filling, mix together the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and salt until combined. Transfer to a piping bag and make a small snip in it.
Carefully and gently fill each roll with the cream cheese filling, filling each crevice. You don't need to fill all the way, the amount you add depends on your preference!
3. Dunk in the garlic butter custard
Mix together the butter, egg, milk, sweetened condensed milk, garlic, salt, parsley and paprika, and whisk until combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully dip each roll in the custard mixture on both sides (2 seconds per side is enough), and place on the baking sheet.
Tip: Chopped garlic can sink to the bottom of the custard - after I have dipped all buns, I like to lift up some of the garlic on a pastry brush and brush on top of them.
4. Bake the buns
Right before baking, sprinkle some shredded / grated parmesan cheese on each roll.
Transfer to the oven and bake for ~15 minutes until the rolls are golden and aromatic.
5. Serve and enjoy
And tadaaa!! The delicious Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Buns are ready for you to enjoy.
If you like this recipe, you will also love these:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can use any brioche sliders for this recipe. You are also welcome to make your own brioche buns at home following any recipe you like. These are mini rolls, but you can make larger ones (traditionally, these buns are around 5" in diameter).
Yes, you can skip the egg. Adding the egg helps set the custard a bit more during baking.
You can keep these buns in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 1 week. Reheat in the oven whenever ready to eat.