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homemade tsubuan thumbnail

Homemade Tsubuan (Chunky Sweet Red Bean Paste)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Approx 250g Red Bean Paste 1x


How to make delicious Japanese Tsubuan (粒あん) chunky red bean paste made with light brown sugar and adzuki beans.


  • 100g Dry adzuki beans
  • 100g Light brown sugar
  • Water
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Pour 100g of dry adzuki beans into a bowl and fill it with water until the beans are fully covered. 
  2. Swill the beans around and then drain the water. Repeat 2-3 times to wash the beans.
  3. Transfer the adzuki beans to a pot and add 750ml (3 US cups) of cold water.
  4. On a medium heat, bring the water to a boil. 
  5. Once boiling, allow it to bubble for 5 minutes and then drain the water. (You can drink the water as a red bean tea or discard it.)
  6. Return the beans to the pan and add 750ml (3 cups) of fresh water.
  7. On a medium heat, bring to a boil again. Once it's boiling, lower to medium-low. (If they stop bubbling you will need to increase the heat again. Adjust accordingly.)
  8. Allow to simmer for 1 hour. Make sure to check the beans occasionally, stir them and top up the water when needed to ensure even cooking. They should always be submerged so don't let them be exposed to the air.
  9. After 1 hour, take one of the larger beans press it between your thumb and forefinger, if it's soft and squashes easily, the beans are cooked. If it's a little hard in the middle, keep simmering. Repeat this step every 10-15 minutes until they're cooked. (Run the bean under a cold tap to cool it and prevent burning yourself!)
  10. Once they're soft, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan. Leave them to steam for about 20 minutes. 
  11. After they've rested in the steam, pour the cooked adzuki beans through a sieve to remove the excess liquid.
  12. Transfer the adzuki beans to a heatproof bowl/container with 100g of brown sugar and mix thoroughly.
  13. Optional step (recommended): cover with a lid or damp cloth, rest for 5-6 hours. (If resting overnight, place in the fridge.)
  14. Transfer the contents of the bowl into a pan and heat on medium. 
  15. Stir constantly and when the mixture starts to bubble, add a pinch of salt. 
  16. Keep mixing over the heat until you reach your desired consistency. Use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to crush some of the beans.
  17. Use your homemade tsubuan chunky red bean paste to make delicious, traditional Japanese desserts!


For best results, let the beans and sugar rest for 5-6 hours. 

Store your homemade tsubuan in an airproof container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you can't use it in 3 days, divide it into portions and freeze for up to 1 month. It can be defrosted in the microwave.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Resting time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: Japanese

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