Sweet Red Bean Paste

1 cup dried red beans*
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil

Place the beans in a large pot. Cover with water and boil until soft (warning: this can take about 2 hours, depending on your beans) adding additional water if needed. Drain. Mash the beans with the sugar. Heat the oil in a pan, add the beans and cook until all of the moisture has cooked out. Store in an air tight container.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cup red bean paste

*aka azuki beans, not kidney beans. They are small and rather plump.

My thoughts:
I love read bean flavored things, red bean ice cream, red bean candies and most of all red bean steamed buns. You can buy it already made in a can, but if you can find dry red beans at an Asian market is isn’t difficult to make you own paste. The beans are so soft, they don’t have to soaked overnight, although you can-just cut down on the boiling time. Red bean paste can be used in a variety of Korean, Japanese and Chinese recipes, sometimes with minor variations to taste. Some common uses are to fill steamed buns, in red bean pancakes, sesame balls, steamed cakes, soup, yummy mochi, mooncakes, glutenous rice balls and ice cream. And if you are a hard core red bean fan with a love of kitch (like I am) be sure to check out Anpanman, a superhero who is also a sweet bean paste filled bun (anpan).


  1. I absolutely love steamed red bean buns! Thanks for this recipe–I can’t wait to try it!

  2. I definitely need to try this for our next oriental meal! We love all kinds of oriental food, whether Chinese, Japanese, Thai and these sound like they would be really good!

  3. Now I can finally have those sweet bean buns I had to leave in Japan in 2004–thanks for the recipe!

    I don’t suppose you’ve got a red bean ice cream recipe waiting in the wings? 😀

  4. This is one of my favorite Korean foods! (Well, the red bean paste soup with the rice balls is my favorite, but that can get really sweet…)

    I have personally always bought them from the store, but it would be neat to make them from scratch. My mom used to make them from scratch – good stuff! 🙂

    Love you site, btw!

  5. how long does this store?

  6. These look delish – thanks for the recipe! I always pick some of these up when I visit an asian or international market.

  7. Spent the day making Red Bean Steamed buns for the first time and they turned out AWESOME!!! They taste almost exactly like the ones I ate for breakfast in Taiwan:) I'm so proud of myself! Thanks for posting this recipe.