Homemade Red Bean (& Mung Bean) Paste

I have used red bean paste in so many of my recent recipes, so I thought I would share my homemade version. Here is my Homemade Red Bean Paste. This is the final recipe of my Red Bean Series!

I recently watched “Sweet Bean”,  a Japanese movie revolving around the ubiquitous red bean paste. They described the process of making it as respecting and honoring the beans. They said to gently stir the beans, not to aggressively smash them. Then add sugar to enhance the beautiful earthiness of the beans. They cooked to respect the beans as opposed to simply make them edible. It really was enlightening to see a different culture’s point of view on food.

For me, red bean paste represents a piece of my childhood. Ever since I was young, we would buy frozen red bean buns (here is my homemade version: The BEST Steamed Red Bean Buns). We would eat mochi stuffed with it or even just eat by the spoonful from a can.

Since then, I have made red bean/mung bean paste every month for our family because of how universal and just delicious it is. A lot of Chinese desserts use bean pastes because of their universal flavor. I really like red bean or mung bean paste on bread, in nian gao, or with ice cream.

A lot of bean pastes will add butter and too much sugar. I like to keep it simple. Since this recipe doesn’t use a fat, the paste will solidify easily. When you do need to use it, microwave however much you need with a bit of water and it will return to a soft paste.

5 Word Summary:


Bean-y (not sure what this means)

Super easy

Reduced sugar


If you like red bean or mung bean, check these recipes out:

Red Bean Rice Fudge

Red Bean & Yam Swirl Mochi

Homemade Red Bean (& Mung Bean) Paste

This red bean paste recipe is the easiest one you will find with the best results. This recipe only requires three things: red beans, sugar, and water. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword dairy-free, gluten-free, homemade, mung bean, oil-free, red bean, vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Calories 199 kcal


  • 1 lb adzuki beans (or mung beans)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1
  • 1/2 tsp salt


w/ an Instant Pot:

  1. Wash the beans. Combine with the water into the pot.
  2. Turn the pot on to the "Beans setting" and make sure the top is sealed.
  3. Once the Instant Pot beeps/sings (is done), remove the lid and check whether or not the beans are fork tender or easily mashed. Add the sugar and salt.
  4. Turn the Instant Pot to the "Sauté" setting and cook the water off. This will take awhile. Use a rubber or wooden spatula to continuously stir. Make sure to scrape the bottom because this bean paste can burn easily.
  5. Cook until thick and the texture of bean paste that you want. I like a thicker one, so I cook it for much longer.
  6. Once done, allow to cool. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

w/o an Instant Pot:

  1. Soak the beans overnight. In the morning, wash the beans and pour into a pot with the water listed in the recipe.
  2. Cover the pot and cook until fork tender (soft enough to be mashed). Then add the sugar and salt.
  3. Remove the lid and begin to cook the remaining water off. This varies in time depending on how much water cooked off before. Make sure to continuously stir with a rubber or wooden spatula because this bean paste will burn easily.
  4. Allow to cool completely and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

  1. I used turbinado sugar, but cane sugar, white, brown, coconut, etc. all work.

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