Red Bean Paste

red bean sweet paste
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Ratings (10)
  • Total: 10 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 8 hrs
  • Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 3/4 cups (5 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
168 Calories
0g Fat
37g Carbs
6g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Made from adzuki beans, red bean paste is used in many Chinese desserts typically served for the New Year and other festivities. Foods enjoyed during this time of year include sesame seed balls, sweet bean paste pancakes, sticky rice cakes, rice pudding, and even dumplings are other. Such sweets are said to help one start the New Year with luck, good health, and prosperity. 

Once you learn to make the paste from scratch, it will be that much easier to make the foods filled with the condiment. In fact, you can make a large batch of the paste to reserve as filing for a variety of dishes at the same time. So, why is red bean paste associated with the New Year? The color red symbolizes luck in China. Fortunately, red bean paste isn't just thought to bring good luck to you; it's also good for you! Because the paste is made from beans, it is chock full of iron, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals essential to health.


  • 2/3 cup dried red beans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

Wash the beans and throw out any that are damaged. (They may be misshapen or discolored.) Place the beans in a small to a medium-sized saucepan. Cover them with water and soak them overnight. (This helps shorten the cooking time and rids the legumes of gas.)

The next day, bring the beans and water to a boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the beans have softened. Add more water as necessary. Drain.

Process the beans in a blender until smooth. Remove them from the blender, and stir in the sugar.

Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry the beans on medium-low heat for a few minutes until they are dry, pressing them gently with the back of a spatula to form a paste. Cool and use as called for in the recipe.

Kitchen Tips and Variations

  • If you store homemade sweet red bean paste in a sealed container in the refrigerator, it should last for approximately one week. Throw out any unused portions after then.