How To Make Anko (Red Bean Paste)

How To Make Anko | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.comAnko, sweet red bean paste, is used in many confectioneies in Japan.  It is usually prepared by boiling and sometimes mashing azuki beans and then sweetening the paste with sugar.  The most common types of read bean paste include Tsubuan and Koshian.

Tsubuan is prepared by boiling and sweetening with sugar.  Koshian is prepared by passing through a sieve to remove bean skins, and this is most commonly used for wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery).

Other varieties of anko includes Shiroan, made from Japanese white beans and Kurian made from chestnuts.

Anko is used in Anmitsu, Daifuku, Dango, Dorayaki, Oshiruko / Zenzai, Taiyaki, Manju, and Yokan.


Here’s a easy homemade Japanese red bean paste recipe, learn how to make anko from scratch.


Sweet Red Bean Paste (Tsubuan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 600g (1.3 lb) anko
  • 200g (7 oz, a little bit less than 1 cup which is 220g) Azuki beans (Today I used Hokkaido Dainagon Azuki Beans (bigger than regular azuki))
  • Water
  • 200g (7 oz, 1 cup) granulated white sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Soak the azuki beans overnight (8-12 hours).
  2. Rinse azuki beans.
  3. Use a big saucepan/pot because the amount of azuki beans will double after cooking. Put washed azuki beans in the pot and pour water till 1-2 inch above azuki beans. Turn the heat on high.
  4. When boiling, turn off the heat and cover with lid. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Throw away water and put the azuki beans into a sieve.
  6. Put the azuki beans back in the pot. Add enough water just to cover the beans and turn the heat on high. Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium low and keep it simmering.
  7. Once in a while push the azuki beans under the water with slotted spoon. Water will evaporate so you need to keep adding water to cover just above the beans. If you put too much water, the beans will move and break. If you need to leave the kitchen, make sure to turn off the heat. You will be cooking for 1+ hour.
  8. Pick one azuki bean and squeeze it with your fingers. If it is smushed easily, it’s done.
  9. Turn up the heat to high and add sugar in 3 separate times. Stir constantly. When you draw a line on the bottom of the saucepan and see the surface for more than 2 seconds, add salt and turn off heat. Anko will thicken more when it cools.
  10. Pour into a container to cool down. Do not leave it in the pot. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge to store after cool down. If you aren't planning to use it all at once, you can divide it into 100g packages. Wrap in plastic bag and store in Ziploc Freezer bags and can store in fridge for a week and freezer up to a month.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.



This is from a packaged koshian.

Recipes with Sweet Red Bean Paste

Strawberry Daifuku |

Strawberry Daifuku (Mochi)

Daifuku Mochi | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Daifuku Mochi

Dorayaki |

Dorayaki (Japanese Red Bean Pancake)

Taiyaki - Japanese fish-shaped cake snack with sweet red bean filling, traditionally sold by street vendors. | Easy Japanese Recipes at


Anmitsu | Easy Japanese Recipes at


Sakura Mochi | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Sakura Mochi

Green Tea Shaved Ice (Ujikintoki) 宇治金時かき氷 | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Ujikintoki (Green Tea Shaved Ice)

Zenzai |

Zenzai / Oshiruko (Red Bean Soup)

Anko Dango |

Anko Dango

Red Bean Ice Cream |

Red Bean Ice Cream

Red Bean Pancake |

Red Bean Pancake

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    • Hi Victoria! I don’t think the kinds of sugar would affect the final result that much. I chose white granulated sugar so most people can use this recipe. If you use different type of sugar, please adjust the sweetness based on the kind you use. :)

      • Elizabeth

        Re: sugar substitutions: if I might add something, please? As long as the sugar in a recipe is being measured by weight, you should be fine substituting one form of cane sugar for another — *except* for icing/confectioner’s sugar (it contains corn starch which could affect the consistency). Sugar substitutes measured by volume could, however, affect the final level of sweetness. With sugars of the same granule size as refined white sugar, there would be little difference between volume measures, but brown sugar (white sugar with some molasses added) can be packed loosely or tightly into a cup (recipes including brown sugar usually specify which) so the weight of a cup of brown sugar can actually vary between recipes.

        All nit-picking aside, I’ve often substituted brown sugar for white in recipes for pies and I imagine that it would work fine in the anko recipe. If a kitchen scale is not available, then I would suggest ‘loosely’ packing the brown sugar when measuring (I see that Nami has already kindly provided the volume measurement for white sugar in another reply). 😉

        My two cents’ worth. Best wishes.

        • Hi Elizabeth! This is WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! It’s very true about the difference made by the volume, which is why I started to use the weight for baking just to get more precise result. :) Thank you once again for your kind feedback!

  1. giovanna

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I have tried to do this before but sadly missed the mark. Your recipe was easy and really tasty.

  2. I had started using another recipe but found yours to be much more in depth and it helped me know when it was done! Thanks so much, I am making it as a surprise for my Japanese exchange student who said this was her favorite dessert! Hopefully it turns out! Thanks,

  3. SLD

    I have two questions, how much salt should be used?

    And when I cooked it, the beans lost their red colour, but it became perhaps a bit purple, with white inside. Is that okay?

    • Hi SLD! I have updated my recipe – it should be just a pinch of salt. Thank you for noticing and letting me know. :)

      About your beans. What kind of Azuki beans did you use? If you see my picture at step#8, you can see white color inside beans. That’s okay. It’s no longer “red” like red color at step #9. Are you referring that color as purple? Then yours seem just fine. :)

  4. SLD

    Thank you for the reply!

    I bought a Shirakiku brand Azuki bean – I don’t know of that’s good or not? Either way, a lot of red did disappear over all, but the end result was a bit purplish-maroon. It tastes great, despite the fact that I should have cooked it a bit longer to reduce the full beans in the paste.

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe! :)

    • Hi SLD! Shirakiku brand is okay – not the top quality azuki beans but I sometimes use that brand products too.

      And it does disappear some red color as you cook. My red bean color is just like how you see in my pictures. It’s hard to call this “red” though so we may have the same color. Was yours different color? At step #8, the bean is smushed very easily, almost without any strength. That’s the key for hardness. Thank you so much for your feedback again!

    • Andre

      I just checked this and 7 oz of beans, is just under 1 US cup for the brand of red bean I have.

      The sugar (I have Rogers fine granulated) worked out to ~85/100 cup. That should be about approximately 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp.

      By the way, love the recipe! My friends from Japan thought the diafuku I made with this anko were wonderful.

      • Hi Andre! Thank you SO much for answering to a reader’s question. I really appreciate it. :)

        I’m so happy to hear you liked the recipe. It’s nice to make homemade anko because we can control the amount of sugar we put in, while premade anko is convenient but often it’s too sweet. Thank you very much for your feedback on this recipe. I’m very glad your friends from Japan enjoyed your daifuku! YUM!

  5. Mellow

    This recipe was a complete success! I think I cooked it slightly too long and added too much extra suger, but it’s going to be perfect next time. Thanks so much! :) I’ll be making it for dorayaki soon.

  6. Tina

    Great recipe! Great blog! Can’t wait to try this to put it in my mochi! :)

    Question: What do I do if I want to make Koshian style instead?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Tina! Thank you for your kind words.

      Koshian requires more extra steps so I haven’t actually had time to photo shoot and prepared it for the blog.

      After step 8, you can either use food processor (short cut) to make a paste, or use fine sieve to strain using rubber spatula.

      After that you put the mashed beans in cloth and squeeze the liquid out.

      Then add the mashed beans and sugar in a pot and mix until sugar melts completely. Add the salt at the end.

      Hope this helps. :)

  7. Felicia

    Hi Nami,
    At step 9, we check for the consistency and then turn off the heat. After turning off the heat, do we drain off the water and mash the red beans? I don’t see this step.

    Appreciate your advise.

    • Hi Felicia! We do not need to drain. The moisture from anko will continue evaporate and the mixture will be harder. This is “tsubuan” recipe (has texture of beans), which still has texture. For “koshian” recipe (mashed paste), please see the comment number 21. I briefly mentioned how to make it. Hope this helps. :)

    • I’m not sure if other kinds of red bean work… I have never tried and I assume the taste and texture are quite different. However if you happen to try and it works, please let me know so others can follow as well. :)

      • I used ‘normal’ red bean, although it did say ‘Azuki beans’ on the packet. But it was the small red beans that the Chinese often used. Product of Australia, it said on the packet…
        Thanks Nami, loved the detailed instructions and pictures. I’d always wanted to make this. I used the same technique.
        With 200g of sugar (I used raw sugar), it’s still on the sweeter side. What is the smallest amount of sugar you’ve tried using to get the same texture?

        • Hi Trudy! I usually use 200g, if it’s for sweets. Canned or packaged anko is even sweeter, and 200g works for making dorayaki and mochi filling, especially drinking bitter green tea. 😀

          Try reducing 20 gram to see if it fits your liking. The texture should be okay. It’s more of your preference for sweetness. :)

      • I tried it with small red bean bought in Kroger and it didn’t work! I didn’t continue my cooking after finding that the red color had gone with the water after soaking, then it became much more whitening when boiled and simmered, then I went back to this page to look for related comment and here I am :))

  8. John

    Hi, With the uncertainty of Japanese products possibly being contaminated from the nuclear fallout after the tsunami and the knowledge that millions of pounds of tainted products were shipped to be sold abroad do you know a domestic source of those beans? I mean, if they grow in japan, they will possibly grow in a large part of the rest of the world in similar climates. Any idea where to get some that are not from Japan?

    • Hi John! I wish I know the answer but I don’t know. Other Asian cuisines use red beans for their sweets, so maybe try finding in Chinese and Korean market. Hope that helps. :)

    • Alice

      I have found them on Amazon, although your local health food or grocery store may carry this brand, which also markets Buckwheat Flour and other grains.
      Bob’s Red Mill – Premium Quality Adzuki Beans, package is marked Product of the USA.

    • Hi Vanessa! It’s usually recommended to use within 1 month, but 3 months is okay but remember the quality level is not the same as within 1 month period. :) I’ll update the info in my recipe. Thanks for asking!

  9. Nicole

    Incredible site Nami, Directions are strait forward and easy to follow, the pictures are amazing & helps ease my NEED for occasional Japanese cuisine :)

    Just curious, has anyone made anko with artificial sweetener? (I try to cut back on sugar as much as possible & it looks like this recipe is actually pretty healthy; considering the fiber in the beans :))

    I’ve had red bean ice cream & bean rolls (i believe) & they were absolutely wonderful; what other sweet red bean snacks can you recomend?
    Thank you for all the very helpful info! :)

    • Hi Nancy! I saw the post – I never heard of “anko custard” in Japanese but I think it’s their recipe with anko and whip cream. Sorry I can’t help, but maybe try experimenting with the ratio between anko and whip cream to get the delicious anko custard. :)

  10. NI

    I really liked this recipe. It has easy instructions and the photos are really useful! I followed it to make my own red bean paste. I decided that the store bought paste with corn syrup could be improved upon! Instead of white sugar, I used organic coconut sugar by Madhava (Costco) and the taste is delicious. One thing though. I will cook it far beyond the beans being “easy to squish” next time because when I did that the end product wasn’t a paste; instead it was semi firm whole beans after it became more solid during the cooling (still yummy). Next time I’m going to boil it beyond that by double the time I think.

    • Hi NI! Thank you for trying this recipe. Yes, store bought ones are usually a bit too sweet. I need to share how to make “koshian” which is probably the one you are looking for – the paste is smooth and not coarse. This recipe is “tsubuan” which should have some bean texture (which I actually like to use for most of my anko filling sweets). Thanks so much again! xo :)

  11. Donna Whitley

    I am very excited to try this recipe. I want to make taiyaki and my pan has just arrived.
    Do you have a taiyaki recipe?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Donna! I’m so jealous you got Taiyaki Pan! I’ve been thinking about purchasing it for years, and every time I go back to Japan I think about it, then my luggage is too big that I give up. 😀 Maybe one day! Hope you enjoy homemade Taiyaki!

  12. Pat Manning

    I made this and used your Dorayaki recipe with it. Everyone but my mom loved it. She ended up just eating the dorayaki pancakes. Thank you for posting this!

  13. WillowTree

    I’m looking forward to trying this!

    By the way, the word you are looking for in step 9 is ‘thicken’. That is, instead of “When anko cool down, it will be a little harder (more solid)” you can say “Anko will thicken when it cools” or “When the anko cools down, it will become thicker”

    Thanks a lot for the recipe

  14. oz b.

    Hi! There is no accessible Japanese store in my area, so looking for the word Azuki is hard :( Are azuki beans the same as red mung beans?

    Thank you! And great photos! I absolutely love your attention to details! Those little slippers are so cute!

  15. Bill

    Hi Nami, Thank you so much for your detailed steps with very helpful accompanying pictures! I’m going to give it a try and have a question before I take the plunge. Presumably a purpose of step 5 is to remove the skins using a sieve. Could you elaborate on how to get the skins out? Best Regards, -Bill

    • Hi Bill! No, you do not remove the skin of the beans at all. The purpose of throwing the water there is to get a clean water to cook azuki so that azuki has beautiful red color (instead of cooking in the initial dirty water). Hope this helps! :)

      • Bill

        Thank you for the prompt response! Your final product looked perfectly fine and smooth in the picture. I was guessing skins were removed since they tend to leave bits & pieces. I’m wondering which step(s) were primarily responsible for making that nice texture?

  16. Thank you!! My nieces have just tried red bean for the first time, and have fallen in love. Unfortunately, where we live there are few places to buy red beans sweets. Now I can make some for them. AMAZING!

    • Hi Fiona! I’m happy to hear your nieces liked sweet red bean! It’s one of my favorite ingredient for Japanese sweets. Hope you like this recipe. :)

  17. Jingwei Han

    It’s my first time to make tsubuan.My mum knows how to make it but she is not here with me. She uses the traditional chinese cooking way of red bean paste. So i come to Nami’s website. I’m going to make anpan.So i need the stuffing. I stayed in Sagagen,JP for one year. That’s why I love red bean products.It’s a good recipe and my red bean paste can stay in fridge for a few days , ready to make all kinds of sweets. Thank you~but could you be so kind to tell me the amount of salt? onegaishimasu:)

    • Hi Jingwei! I love anko too! Good luck making anpan! It’s one of my favorite pan… :) Generally, pinch of salt is 1/16 tsp (0.36 gram)… which is hard to measure. Just use your fingers. :)

    • Hi Amy! Thank you for asking the question. :)

      Traditional method usually includes a process of emptying water for 1-2 times. The reason is to remove impurities (we call it “aku” – English translation is “scum” – not sure if that’s the right word) from the azuki beans. They taste bitter and you don’t want to cook with them, so we get rid of it by changing the water. Some people do once, some do twice, but you don’t want to lose too much of azuki flavor, so I believe one time is good. Hope this helps. :)

  18. Yunari

    Nami you are my hero!
    I used to love ohagi and daifuku when I was little, but never got to make them again because when I moved, I couldn’t find any type of anko paste, or even azuki beans themselves. Finally found azuki at a local grocery store, stumbled on your recipe, and now can make the pastes anytime. Thank you so much! My picky 3 year old daughter can’t get enough of the strawberry daifuku, and loves your dorayaki recipe (I make her the pancakes with our Hello Kitty pancake maker). She even requests them in both Japanese and English! Thank you so much! :)

    • Hi Yunari! Aww thank you for your sweet words! 😀 I’m so glad to hear you like the recipes! And your daughter is just like mine, loving dorayaki… except that I don’t make a cute HK pancake shape. Haha :) Thank you so much for your kind feedback!

  19. Fahad

    Hey there! First off just like to say this looks soooooo good! Been taking a look at your recipes for two days and they all look amazing! Just screaming to be made!

    Is it possible to substitute red beans or kidney beans or something else for the Azuki? It’s impossible to find Azuki where I live! Thanks! 😀

    • Hi Fahad! Thank you so much for your kind words. There are many substitute information when you look for azuki beans’s substitute. Some says kidney beans are ok, some said not good. As I haven’t tried it myself, it’s very hard for me to make a suggestion (especially taste and texture are important). Azuki beans can be found in health food store , and maybe you can check there instead of regular supermarket. Hope this helps.

  20. Kira

    When I tried to make koshian before, I stored it in a glass jar (unsealed) in the refrigerator. Sugar crystals formed in the koshian afterwards. How do I prevent that? Did I do something wrong in the recipe? I may have used more sugar than suggested.

    • Hi Kira! To tell you the truth, I am not sure. I have never made koshian before, and with regular anko I haven’t had this issue before. Is it really bad that you have to cook it before using it? Wish I can help, sorry. :(

  21. Elizabeth

    Thank you for posting this! I’m interested in making mochi and this recipe will help me know how to cook the beans just right! Can you direct me to a good mochi recipe?

    I also have discovered a red bean boba shake and I would like to try making it myself as I think it would be tasty even without boba added.

  22. Karen Freeman

    Hi Nami: Success! We now have red bean paste cooling in the fridge. I loved that you explained “how” and more appreciated the “why” so I had no surprises and was assured success. I was introduced to red bean paste in Korea and enjoy it very much as a substitute for chocolate…..but really there is no substitute for chocolate. I have read the comments to this recipe and I don’t think you would ever be able to substitute the sugar for a low/no calorie option as a sugar is needed to caramelize the beans. Thank you…this is a “keeper” recipe for me and I will be creating a cheesecake w the paste I made today.

    • Hi Karen! So glad to hear your anko turn out well so far! I am also happy that you thought my instructions were helpful. Thank you so much for your feedback, as well as feedback on sugar. :)

      You’ll make cheesecake with red bean paste! Wow I’ve never tried that before and I’m jealous you get to eat it. :) Hope you enjoy anko!

    • D Furukawa

      To elaborate, I have tried your recipe and it came out really well; I used it for taiyaki. Yay. Now I have an ambition to serve the azuki with shave ice here in Hawaii for a fundraiser and will need a lot of azuki. I am planning on making 20 bags worth in one big pot and was wondering if you ever made this recipe in bulk, and if you had or know of any issues with cooking this much at once.

      Mahalo for your time!

      • Hi Fukukawa-san! I’m glad your anko came out well! :) Theoretically, it should work. I’ve seen my mom and my grandma cook for a bigger batch. As long as the beans are “equally” cooked, it should be okay. While cooling the beans, the moisture evaporate and it’ll become harder. If you need anko to have some moisture/softer, please be careful not to lose too much liquid. :)

        Good luck!

          • Thank you so much! Hope your fundraiser will be successful. If I was in Hawaii, I’d be your frequent customer because I love shaved ice with matcha and azuki! :)

            • Deron Furukawa

              Hi again,

              Update: the azuki with shave ice was a hit. Topped everything off with sweetened condensed milk. Winner! The only problem I had was cooking the beans. I had to break up the batch into smaller batches because cooking 20 bags all at once was taking too long. Also, 20 bags was A LOT, too much for the biggest pot haha. All in all it was a success. Thank you so much for this recipe! Aloha, Deron Furukawa

              • Hi Deron! Thank you for the update! Awesome news! So glad to hear the azuki with shaved ice was a hit! I need to buy a shaved ice machine this year… :) I wish I live nearby so I could have leftover anko! Thanks again!

  23. Matiwariat

    The pictures were really helpful. I ended up adding the sugar a bit too early i think and had to evaporate more water to get the proper texture but it still came out great. Now to use up the paste in your other recipes :p

    • Hi Patt! Wrap in plastic bag and store in Ziploc Freezer bags, and then store in fridge for a week and freezer for up to a month. :)

  24. Christine

    Hi Nami,

    It is my first time attempting anko.
    Are the adzuki beans supposed to look
    shrivelled after soaking? My beans had
    smooth surfaces initially but looked a little
    strange after soaking for only 1 hr.

    Also, do we top up with tap water or hot water when the water evaporates? Thanks!

    :) Christine

    • Hi Christine! I did some research on the wrinkles after soaking, but couldn’t find the same case. However I read the same thing happened to soybean (daizu) and the reason was that the skin is soft and got expanded first by hydrating. But the wrinkles disappear when the soybean (inside) start to expand after hydrating. That kind of makes sense and I wonder if your wrinkles also disappeared after soaking for more hours.

      The wrinkles for azuki usually happen after cooking and cooling, but it was my first time hearing about wrinkles before cooking. Hope the result was okay.

      We use water (I use filtered water) instead of hot water. Hope this helps!

  25. Christine

    Dear Nami,

    Thank you so much for your reply.
    Yes the beans became smooth again after
    soaking overnight.

    However the insides of the beans were cream so I ended up with a paste that was more pinkish than red. And I must have misread your recipe as I threw out the water I cooked the beans in before adding the sugar. :(

    I will try again with another pack of beans.


    • Hi Christine! I’m glad to hear the bean’s wrinkle problem was solved. 😀 I think the color of beans are based on the kind of beans, so you may not be able to change it. Hope next pack of azuki works better. :)

  26. Christine

    Dear Nami,

    I managed to get another packet of adzuki beans from my local Isetan. It says King Dainagon Azuki so hopefully it will work this time!

    I am going to experiment with only 100g
    of beans.

    Btw I just grabbed another 2 packets of Sanuki Udon again today. I have tried your
    yaki udon, miso soup, nikujaga and okonomiyaki recipes so far. They all work great! Except for my okonomiyaki which I added too much cabbage. The whole mixture didn’t really hold well together.

    :) Christine

  27. Christine

    Dear Nami,

    I see. Anyway I made dorayaki with the tsubuan. Hehe. Really enjoy trying out the recipes. I hope one day you will publish a hard copy cookbook!

    :) Christine

    • Hi Christine! So sorry for my late response. I’m so happy to hear you enjoy my blog! Thank you for following! :) Awww thank you so much for your interest in a hard copy cookbook. Well, I barely have time to keep up with my blog right now with 2 posts per week, and I’m responding to readers so slow… =P Maybe one day, when kids are much older. Thank you Christine!

  28. Danielle Osborn


    I love your recipes, I was wondering if you had the calorie per serving breakdown for the green tea ice cream and the red bean ice cream. Also, perhaps I missed it on the website, if so please direct me to the calorie break down for recipes.

    • Hi Danielle! Thank you for reading my blog! Unfortunately, as I am not a registered dietician, I am not comfortable sharing nutritional information for any of my recipes. I recommend utilizing online calorie counters at your discretion to obtain such information. I know it would be very convenient though. :)

  29. Olivia

    Hi Namiko-san! Thank you for your easy to follow recipe. I’m cooking the anko right now and the smell of adzuki beans cooking away makes me so happy :)
    Question, will the recipe still work well if you keep a lid on the pot while it simmers for the 1+ hours? Wouldn’t it save having to add additional water throughout?

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Olivia! I hope your anko turned out well! You have a very good question. I cook with no lid without thinking (from my memory of my mom and grandma cooking) but your question made me curious, so I checked other recipes online (mostly videos). Most people cook without lid, and some mention that you need to make sure the water amount. In order to keep the beans in good shape (and texture), we cook the beans under the water just above the beans. If you put too much water, beans will dance around in the water and it will easily break (according to the theory). When you close with the lid, you can’t see how the beans are doing (moving too much or covered by enough water), so most people leave the lid open to keep checking. Some people use Otoshibuta (drop lid) instead of regular lid so that beans won’t be moving too much. Hope this helps!

  30. Elizabeth

    Thank you for posting this! Your directions are very clear.

    Anko cannot be bought locally… but I did track down a source for the beans, so I plan to play soon with your recipe. I own a mouli (hand-cranked food mill), so I might even experiment a bit to see if I can make a bit of koshian, too! :)

    • Hi Elizabeth! Thank you so much for your kind words. How cool to own a mouli! We use a very fine sieve and press anko through it, but I wonder how a mouli would work for koshian! Let us know your experience if you try! 😀

      • Elizabeth

        Hello Nami,

        I made the anko today — it had a pretty good flavour for beans from the local Bulk Barn (my only source for the dried beans — Heaven knows which brand they are). And, the mouli worked! I now have a batch of koshian.

        If anyone else reading this is confused about just what a mouli is, I should add that American suppliers tend to call them hand-cranked, or manual, food mills. The name mouli is used more in the UK; I’ve heard both terms used here in Canada. They are the niftiest gadgets for making soups and preserves and now I know that they can also make koshian. 😉 My mouli, bought at our local Home Hardware, came with three grating discs — I used the finest gauge to sieve the anko.

        I had been debating whether to mill the anko hot or cold; ended up doing it hot as it was already quite thick. In fact, it was the thickest thing I’ve put through the mouli. Near the end, I kept scraping down the paste so that the turning blade would catch it (the nice thing about a hand-turned food mill is that there’s no danger of catching a finger or utensil while doing this as you have to stop cranking, heh!) There was very little waste when I was finished — maybe a teaspoon left over in the mouli. You could see a difference in the colour of the paste from start to finish as the bean skins were slower to make their way through the mill, so I just stirred everything together. The final product was a very smooth paste — not certain if it would pass muster in a Japanese kitchen, but I’m happy with it. :)

        And, I have fresh strawberries… Hmm. 😀

        Best wishes,


        p.s. Maybe for proper koshian, there should have been less of the skins in the final product, Nami? Or, do you also force the skins through the sieve when you make koshian? What do you think?

        • Hi Elizabeth! Thank you SO MUCH for the update! I had really fun reading your full report! Wow I wished that I could see the process in person. It must have been a very interesting and fun (and delicious!) project. Usually Koshian doesn’t have skin in it, but depends on the brand or preference, you could add some skin for texture. It’s amazing you only had about a teaspoon worth of waste in the mouli afterwards. I hope you enjoy homemade koshian! I have to try making it one day… yeah one day… :)

    • Hi M. Yamashita-san! The key is not to break the beans. Lots of rules to make just anko, but there are rules that we follow… and that’s why we don’t put a lot of water either because beans will bounce around and break. So in that sense, stirring is not a good idea. However, to be honest, if you don’t care about the “perfect” look, you don’t have to follow… Sometimes Japanese recipes can be a bit too much. 😀

  31. Aya


    thank you very much about Anko Recipe ^_^ , I love it , I interested in Japanese cooking

    but If I didn’t found azuki beans can I use Kidney bean ( Phaseolus) instead ??
    Are they same taste ?

    • Hi Aya! I believe it’s not the same but some readers tried other kinds and said it worked. I just never tried to make anko rather than azuki, so it’s hard for me to answer.

      According to this site (, azuki’s substitute is black azuki beans OR red kidney beans OR Tolosana beans. Hope that helps. :)

    • Hi Ann! No puree for Tsubuan. This recipe is for coarse red bean paste, not the fine texture one called koshian. You need to have the bean shape and texture of the beans. :)

  32. Alex

    I made this today having trouble finding the packaged paste. I amazed myself that I had the patience to make this as it took more than an hour to get the beans soft. I love how the instructions are detailed and photographed. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi Alex! I’m so glad to hear you tried making homemade anko! I hope you enjoy making sweets with anko now. :) Thank you so much for the kind feedback!

  33. Ruth

    I thought I remembered that you have a recipe for nikuman on your site but today I cannot find anything but this anko filling, and no manju at all. Is there any chance you would want to write one? I’ve watched some YouTube videos on how to make the buns but would love to have a Japanese version of the meat filling. I think the anko above would work well for sweet. Don’t know if there are other fillings or not–so I hope you would want to present them if there are. Thanks.

    • Hi Ruth! No, I don’t have recipe for Nikuman or Anman yet… something to consider in the future. Thank you for your suggestion! There are Curryman too. For homemade, you can stuff in fillings that we don’t normally have in Japan. I’d love to make homemade version. I’ll need to test the recipe. Thank you again!

  34. Rhonda

    Hello Nami!

    I wanted to write to you to thank you for such a well written recipe. You pointed out little things to watch out for that made it easy completely understandable.

    I had some azuki beans laying around so thought making mochi balls would be the perfect thing to do with them.

    Anyway, I ended up putting 1/2 cup honey in place of the sugar. I’m not sure how much that weighs, but I think it might be a good amount. It’s just cooling right now, but I tasted it and it seems to be the right sweetness.

    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Rhonda! Thank you so much for your kind feedback! I’m happy to hear my recipe was helpful. Glad honey worked and thank you for sharing the amount for honey with us!

    • Hi Gabrielle! To be honest with you, I’ve never use any substitute, so it’s hard for me to say. I looked up on internet and I learned that equal amounts of kidney or red beans work but… I don’t know if they turn into a nice consistency or flavor at the end to call it “anko/red bean paste”. Sorry I wish I could help you more…

  35. Karishma

    ii just wantes to ask that i am from india and inwest so that i could not find the adzuki beans. is there any other kind i can use? thank you.

    • Hi Karishma! To be honest with you, I’ve never use any substitute, so it’s hard for me to say. I looked up on internet and I learned that equal amounts of kidney or red beans would work but… I don’t know if they turn into a nice consistency or flavor at the end to call it “anko/red bean paste”. Sorry I wish I could help you more… :(

      • karishma

        Thank you so much. i wanted to prepare dorayaki for my husband and also because i am a great fan of japanese sweets. but i would really want to appreciate the effort you made for me. you seem to be sweet personality and again I AM A SWEET FAN! I wish you all the best. i will visit your website as often as i can and try them out. thank you!!

        • Hi Karishma! Thank you very much for your kind words! Hope you find azuki beans one day. Or you could try out with different beans meanwhile. :) Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  36. Ahomiya

    Thank for your recipes, i’ll try some when i’ll have time to cook, really enjoying reading it. Nice finishing product picture !
    it’s really making me want to cook some !

  37. Johnny

    At one time I had a source for pre-made steamed anko buns at a shop where I went to college, but they were discontinued and the shop couldn’t find them anywhere (for a reasonable price). Years go by until I come across your website (which has amazing recipes) and now I’ve got a big pot of anko cooking down. :3

    Unfortunately, I accidentally added water an extra time during the cooking process, so I get to wait 4 times as long for it to thicken, but “preliminary tasting” is proving quite delicious. Soon I will have my bean buns! (and other delicious anko treats since I made a HUGE batch) 😀

    • Hi Johnny! Oh I love those steamed buns with anko inside! I really need to try developing a recipe for it. I’m glad to hear you enjoy my blog and thanks so much for following! I hope you enjoy all the anko recipes I have on my site after cooking a big pot. 😉

  38. Aranka


    Ever since I’ve been to Japan and tried Taiyaki there I’ve been wishing to make it at home again, because it was so delicious.
    However since this year I can’t eat any sugar anymore, so I was wondering if you could tell me if it’s possible to make anko with Stevia instead of sugar, or is it really necessary to use some kind of actual sugar for the stickiness or some other property of sugar?

    • Hi Aranka! You can use Stevia instead of sugar, although I have never used Stevia myself, I am pretty sure it will work. Let me know if it works or doesn’t work. Hope you enjoy! :)

  39. Jamie

    Hello, Nami, and all of her readers. I saw that a lot of people in the US were having problems finding the adzuki beans. I just wanted to share that the store Whole Foods now sells them in their bulk section. I had to drive about and hour to my nearest Whole Foods, but I believe that it was well worth it. I bought about 5lbs so I could make lots of anko to make the daifuku for a friend of mine’s birthday. I hope that this is helpful to anyone having problems finding the adzuki beans.

    I am also planning on trying to make them with kidney beans to find out how they compare. I will report back soon!

    • Hi Jamie! Thank you so much for sharing helpful information! A lot of healthy stores carry Azuki beans too. And please let us know about the comparison with kidney beans! Azuki has certain texture (kind of hard shell) and flavor that kidney beans don’t have. So I’m afraid anko is missing the taste and the right texture when it’s cooked. Looking forward to it!

  40. Jade

    Hi there,

    I quite literally just made an extra large batch of anko using your recipe, and it is truly the most delicious anko I have ever tasted outside of Japan.

    I love Japanese sweets, and Anko filled daifuku is most definitely my favourite..I live in South Africa where finding ingredients for use Japanese recipes is very difficult. Although I have managed to get my hands on some pre-made anko, this recipe trumps it by far.

    Thanks so much for sharing!!

    PS. I used brown sugar for this recipe with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to adzuki beans, and it came out perfectly!

    • Hi Jade! I’m so glad to hear your anko came out well and thank you for your kind feedback! Thank you for sharing the tips on brown sugar ratio! :)

  41. Lark

    Hello Nami,

    I’ve tried to follow this recipe a couple of times now, and of the two, the first was the most successful. I seem to be having difficulty with the 7th/8th steps; beyond a certain point the beans do not get significantly softer during the simmering, and in the finished paste (I got bored around 1hr30) I found there were still some rather hard beans which were unpleasant to eat. Other than that, the flavour and smell was good. I ended up mashing it with a paste for my purposes, and removing any hard beans I found. Perhaps you have some idea what my problem is?

    Anyway, thanks for the detailed recipe, the pictures and all. I’m going to give this another shot later this week 😀

    • Hi Lark! Azuki beans are famous for hard outer skin. The new beans are softer, but the old beans are very hard which will take a longer time to cook. When the beans are boiled in a short period of time over high heat, the beans gets softer outside and inside remains hard. It’s recommended to add cold water several times while boiling so that we can reduce the temperature difference between outer and inner red beans. Your beans might be older beans, so make sure to soak in water for a bit longer time. Make sure to cook on low heat as well. :) Good luck!

      • Lark

        Hello again!
        I tried again, and did some further research and experimentation. Supposedly adding the sugar gradually helps to prevent the beans from becoming hard during the later stages, as it draws moisture out of them. I can’t confirm this, but that seems to be the point at which my beans became most hard. I have also acquired some fresher beans which may perform better next time I try.

        I tried a bunch of things with this batch – I tried blending them, but my blender isn’t very good. I also mashed them with a fork, which was successful with my first batch, but these were even harder. In the end I just forced them through a strainer – koshian style, but with the sugar already added – producing a very small quantity of smooth paste. I don’t recommend doing it this way around, as it’s probably easier before the sugar is added, when the beans are softer.

        In the end the amount of smooth paste I had was not enough, so I mixed the remaining part of the beans (which still had a lot of useful flesh) with some cream, blended it, and pressed it into the strainer again. This more-or-less doubled my product, but I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of what I have done XD

        • Hi Lark! Wow you are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your cooking experience with us! I haven’t made koshian myself as it requires more steps… Your feedback will be very useful when I try! Thank you!!

  42. Darlene

    Hi Nami,
    I attempted to make the re bean paste today. It is cooling but I think there is too much liquid. Before adding the sugar, what should have been the level of water in the pot?

    • Hi Darlene! At step 9, when you draw a line on the bottom of the saucepan and see the surface for more than 2 seconds, add salt and turn off heat. Until then you reduce the water. :)

  43. Taylor

    I wanted to asking if adzuki beans were the same as azuki beans? They look the same but this is my first time making this so I wanted to make sure!

  44. Hi namiko! Love your recipes , thanks for the hard work ! It’d be great if u could produce a video on how to make anko :) thanks a lot for considering ! Sandra

  45. Anuka

    I’ve tried this recipe before, but I normally use canned azuki beans and they come in 15oz cans, so I double up on the sugar, too. Is that wrong? Also, it always seems to harden because of the sugar… So what am I doing wrong?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Anuka! I’m sorry but this recipe is not for canned azuki beans. Are the canned beans already cooked? Seasoned, or just boiled? Sugar helps the azuki beans to be tender. :)