Classic Chinese Red Bean Pastry Recipe

red bean pastry
Getty Images / Marta Ortiz
  • 01 of 10

    Gather Your Ingredients.

    Red Bean Pastries step 1
    Red Bean Paste. D.Schmidt
    Gather together your ingredients (Makes 10-15 pastries depending on how large you make them). For this recipe, you will need:
    • 1 package prepared red bean paste (available at Asian/Chinese food stores - see above picture)
    • 2 cups regular white flour
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil or butter, softened - I like organic Omega Nutrition brand coconut oil
    • just under 1 cup cold water (1 cup minus 2 Tbsp.)
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar OR regular white vinegar OR apple cider vinegar
    • optional: 1 egg, beaten (although not necessary, the egg will give your pastries an added golden-brown sheen)
    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Measure Ingredients into a Bowl or Food Processor.

    Adding Water to the Flour Mixture. D.Schmidt
    Here I'm using a food processor to mix the dough, but you can also simply place the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir them together by hand with a spoon. Start by measuring into your bowl or processor: 2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/3 cup softened coconut oil or butter, 1/2 tsp. vinegar, and just under 1 cup cold water (2 Tbsp. less than 1 cup). Make sure your coconut oil or butter is very soft (but not liquid) - otherwise it will be hard to mix it into the flour without over-handling the dough.
    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Stir Together or Process Ingredients to Create the Pastry Dough.

    Mixed Pastry Dough. D.Schmidt
    Stir the ingredients together by hand (a wooden spoon works well), or use your food processor to create the pastry dough. This dough should come together fairly easily. Try not to use your hands at this point. Using a spoon, tilt your bowl or processor to bring the dough out onto a floured surface.
    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Gently Knead the Dough.

    Kneading the Dough (without touching it too much). D.Schmidt
    Use a couple of large spoons to turn and gently knead the dough. If you prefer, you may use your hands, but very briefly, as the warmth from your hands will harden the dough and cause it to be less flaky. If you want to knead by hand: use only your fingerstips, which are cooler than the palm of your hand. Rinse your fingers first with cold water and dry them before touching the dough. Also, only knead as much as the dough requires to come together - less is definitely more when it comes to pastry.

    Pastry Tips:

    • If you find the dough too sticky: Sprinkle a little more flour over the dough as you knead it until it's drier but still elastic.
    • If the dough is too crumbly and won't come together: it is probably too dry. Try adding another Tbsp. or two of cold water and knead it until holds together nicely.
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Roll out the Dough.

    Rolling out the Dough. D.Schmidt
    Dust a clean space very lightly with flour and roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Roll the dough until it is quite thin (1/4" or less).


    • If the dough sticks too much to the rolling pin: flour the rolling pin plus sprinkle a little flour over the surface of the dough.
    • If the dough is moving around too much on your counter, it means the underside has too much flour and is therefore slippery. Try turning the dough over and rolling it out again (without re-flouring the surface) to achieve a stickier surface.
    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Cut Out the Pastry Rounds.

    Cutting out the Pastry Rounds. D.Schmidt
    Using a large round cookie cutter, OR the rim of a wide cup or jar (I am using a Mason jar), cut out as many pastry rounds as you can. You can make your pastries as small or large as you like - mine are about 3.5 inches wide.

    The best way to remove the pastry rounds from your counter is actually with your fingertips (from here onward a certain amount of touching the dough is necessary). Gently peel them away from the counter and place them on a separate surface. When you've removed all the rounds, use your hands to scrunch the remaining dough together, then re-roll and re-cut until you've used up all the dough (or as much of it as possible).

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Spread the Red Bean Paste.

    Red Bean Pastries Step 7
    Spreading the Red Bean Paste. D.Schmidt
    Drop a heaping tsp. (adjust this amount to suit the size of your rounds) onto the center of each round. Do this for half the number of pastry rounds, leaving the others plain. If you have an odd one left over, give it some paste too.

    Now, using the back of your spoon, smooth out the red bean paste to cover most of each round except for the outer perimeter.

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Finish the Pastries.

    Red Bean Pastries Step 8
    Finishing the Pastries. D.Schmidt
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While your oven is heating up, finish making the pastries. Cover each prepared round with another of the plain pastry rounds, as if you were making a sandwich. Lightly press down or pinch around the perimeter. Then pick up the pastry and, turning it between your fingers, pinch together the outside edge until you can no longer see where the 2 rounds were separate. As you finish each pastry, place it on a lightly greased baking sheet. If you have an odd round left over without a top, simply fold it over to make a half-moon shaped pastry.
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Bake the Pastries.

    Red Bean Pastries Step 9
    Flipping the Pastries. D.Schmidt
    If you'd like your pastries to have that typical Asian pastry "shine", brush a little beaten egg over the surface of each pastry. Then bake the pastries for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip the pastries, then bake the other side for another 15 minutes. Again, brush the tops with egg, if desired.
    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Serve the Red Bean Pastries!

    Red Bean Pastries Step 10
    Serving the Red Bean Pastries!. D.Schmidt
    When the pastries have turned light golden brown on both sides, remove from oven. (If they're still pale, continue baking and flipping another 5-10 minutes, if necessary, until you're happy with the color). Allow to cool slightly, and serve.

    These pastries are best served warm, but are also good at room temperature. To quickly rewarm: briefly microwave the pastries, or simply pop them in your toaster (like the pop tarts you had when you were a kid!).

    To store your pastries: place in a cookie tin or jar, or in a plastic bag on your counter for the first 2 days; refrigerate thereafter.