Fresh Red Bean Paste (Anko)

Let’s go over how to make fresh red bean paste at home! One of our favorite flavors or fillings is red bean paste and homemade red bean paste is by far the best way to enjoy this delicious sweet, because you can control the sweetness and texture so it pairs perfectly with whatever you use it with. Chunky red bean paste is called tsubuan and smooth red bean paste is called koshian. Fresh anko is so simple and you can incorporate it in so many desserts, snacks, and even drinks!

Homemade Red Bean Paste

Makes roughly 575-585 G of red bean paste depending on amount of water used and how thick you prefer your paste.

From Namiko Chen’s Just One Cookbook


  • Pot
  • Spatula
  • Strainer
  • Masher (optional)
  • Blender/Food Processor (for smooth paste)


  • 200 G red (adzuki) bean
  • 175-200 G white sugar, we prefer 175 G
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • water

How to Make Red Bean Paste (Anko)

  1. In a small pot, put your red beans and add enough water to cover at least an inch.
  2. Bring to a boil and start a timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Then drain the water and refill with fresh water to cover an inch again. This first boil is to remove any astringencies and to clean the beans.
  4. Bring back to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer the beans for about 1 – 1.5 hours. The beans are done when you can squish them with just your fingers.
  5. Drain the water once more, saving a little of this water. You may need it to thin out your paste, especially if making the smooth red bean paste.
  6. For chunky red bean paste (tsubuan): mash cooked beans to desired texture. If you’re making smooth paste, you can skip this part.
  7. Add salt and sugar and stir often to prevent any burning or sticking. Cook on medium heat until the paste thickens to the desired thickness. Typically you want it thick enough that you can just begin to draw a line through the paste and see the bottom of the pot.
  8. For smooth red bean paste (koshian): purée the paste in a blender or food processor. You may need to add some of your reserved bean water to help the blending along or to make a thinner or wetter paste. Traditionally, the paste would be passed through a sieve and not include any of the hull, though this way works just fine!
  9. Store your red bean paste in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.
  10. The paste will last a couple weeks in the refrigerator and a couple months in the freezer, depending on how much sugar you use. The more sugar, the better preserved it will be.

What to use red bean paste for:

So many things! You can put red bean paste in buns, dumplings (like oyaki!), pancakes (like taiyaki), or mochi (check out our mochi making journey here!). You can put it in drinks or top it on anything like ice cream or shaved ice.

Red (adzuki) beans
Red (adzuki) beans
Cover red beans with 1 inch of water
Cover red beans with 1 inch of water
Boil red beans for 5 minutes
Boil red beans for 5 minutes
Strained red beans
Strain the red beans, boil the beans again for 1-1.5 hours, strain again
Mashing cooked red beans
Mash the red beans to the desired texture
Sugar poured into cooked red beans
Add sugar and salt into drained red beans
cooked red beans
Thicken red bean paste until you can draw a line and see the bottom of the pot
Chunky (tsubuan) red bean paste
Chunky (tsubuan) red bean paste
red bean paste in the blender
For smooth paste, blend or process the paste
Smooth (koshian) red bean paste
Smooth (koshian) red bean paste

Tools Used To Make This Dish*
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