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This quick Anko (Japanese Red Bean Paste) recipe is the easiest way to make this sweet treat that forms the basis for sweets like mochi and ohagi.

Red Bean Paste

Sweet Red Bean Paste is the foundation of many Japanese sweets, and I've come up with an easy way to make it. This Anko recipe stacks several kitchen hacks to reduce the time required to prepare Red Bean Paste from several hours to about forty-five minutes with only a few minutes of active work.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword wagashi
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Legume
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Fat, Pescatarian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 133kcal


  • 225 grams adzuki beans
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams sugar (~1 US cup)


  • Put the Adzuki beans in a strainer and wash them well.
    225 grams adzuki beans
    Washing adzuki beans in a strainer.
  • Add Adzuki beans, water, baking soda, and salt to a pressure cooker and affix the lid.
    4 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt
    Adzuki beans in a pressure cooker with water, salt and baking soda.
  • Set the pressure to high and bring the cooker up to pressure over high heat.
  • Adjust the heat down to maintain a gentle stream of steam escaping from the valve and then set a timer for 20 minutes.
    Cooking Adzuki beans in a pressure cooker.
  • When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the pressure drop naturally for 20-30 minutes.
  • When the pressure has dropped, open the lid and then dump the beans into a strainer set over a frying pan (a non-stick pan works best). Press on the red beans with a spatula to get as much liquid out of the beans as possible, but don't press the beans through the sieve.
    Separating the cooking liquid from the Adzuki beans.
  • Add the sugar to the bean liquid and bring the mixture to a boil. Skim any scum off that floats to the top and continue boiling the mixture until it is thick and syrupy and has reached a temperature of 230°F (110°C).
    200 grams sugar
    Reducing Adzuki liquid with sugar to a make a syrup.
  • Add the Adzuki beans to the syrup and stir well to combine. Continue cooking the mixture while constantly stirring until the red bean paste has thickened enough that you can run a spatula across the pan without the Anko immediately running back into the path.
    Finished red bean paste is nice and thick.
  • Let the Anko cool to room temperature and transfer it to a container and refrigerate it overnight.
    Let the Anko rest overnight in the fridge.


Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg