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How to Make Smooth Homemade Red Bean Paste (Anko)

Anko 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.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: desserts, snacks
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Anko
Servings: 3 -4 cups
Author: Remy


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


  • Rinse your dry azuki beans in cool water and drain completely. Transfer to your Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Secrets to Success

    • Sourcing Adzuki 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.
    • Sweetness: The sweetness in this recipe is a matter of preference. I like my paste to be less sweet, but you can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking. 

How to Use 

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 and traditional Japanese sweets:
    • Kashiwa Mochi

Storage Tips

Store the sweetened paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks. 
To freeze, store in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.