Anko, or red bean paste, is a three-ingredient smooth and lightly sweet filling used in Japanese cooking that’s easy to make at home in the Instant Pot or on the stove. 

If you haven’t made red bean paste at home before, it’s a great (and surprisingly easy) Japanese recipe that you can add to your repertoire. Then you can keep some on hand and always have a slightly sweet bean paste for desserts and savory foods alike.

Anko Red Bean Paste

What is Anko?

Anko is also called red bean paste or red bean jam. This recipe makes smooth anko, versus the chunky kind. Smooth anko is also called “koshian.”

While the bean paste can be savory, this version is slightly sweetened with coconut sugar. While most store-bought versions are sweetened 1:1 with sugar and beans, this version is slightly less sweet. Plus, you can adjust the sweetness to taste if you like!

How do you Make Anko?

Yes, you can find Anko for sale at most Asian markets. But it’s also so easy to make at home! You can make it on the stovetop, but it’s also quick and easy to make in an Instant Pot to cut back on time.

Where to Find Azuki Beans?

The beans used to make Anko are called adzuki beans, or red beans. You can find them online or at most Asian markets and some regular grocery stores as well.

How to Use Anko?

Once you have your homemade anko red bean paste, you can use it to fill dozens of sweet and fun Japanese pastries!

Think mochi, dango, anpan and more.

To get you started, try these popular Japanese sweet recipes:

Anko Red Bean Paste

More Japanese Recipes

If you’re on an East Asian kick, I have plenty more easy and fun Japanese recipes to make next, including:

If you love this Anko red bean paste recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, I LOVE seeing what you make!

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Anko Red Bean Paste

Anko – Red Bean Paste (vegan, gluten free)

  • Author: Remy
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 cups 1x
  • Category: desserts, snacks
  • Method: instant pot
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Vegan


Anko, or red bean paste, is a three-ingredient smooth and lightly sweet filling used in Japanese cooking that’s easy to make at home in the Instant Pot or on the stove.



  • 1 1/2 cups dry azuki beans
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3/41 cup coconut sugar, or cane sugar


  1. Rinse your dry azuki beans in cool water and drain completely. Transfer to your Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
  2. Add water, make sure the lid is on the sealing function and cook using the “beans” setting. Once ready, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then force release.
  3. Drain the cooked beans and return them to the instant pot container. Add your sugar and stir until all of the sugar dissolves and the beans thicken slightly. You can also let the mixture sit and cool for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Pour into a container and let chill in the fridge until completely cool and firm.

Keywords: Anko, red bean paste


Filed under: Basics, Eat, Gluten Free, Sweet Treats

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BY Remy • April 29, 2021

Anko – Red Bean Paste (vegan, gluten free)

Anko Red Bean Paste

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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

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COPYRIGHT © 2020 Veggiekins   ☼   Website by Sunday Stories