Why Cook with Adzuki Beans?


Adzuki beans are red, dry beans known to have a sweet nutty-flavor that are quite common in Japanese and Chinese dishes. Adzuki beans are often cooked, puréed and mixed with sugar to make a bean paste, which is then used to fill cakes and desserts. Adzuki beans are also used in red bean ice cream.


What is the Nutritional Value of Adzuki Beans?

Although online resources for the nutritional value of Adzuki beans vary, most reliable sources state that a ½-cup serving provides about eight grams of protein with less than one gram of fat, while providing iron, potassium, folic acid and calcium. In Japan, Adzuki beans are prized for their health-giving properties and are often touted as good for the liver.


How to Cook Adzuki Beans

Soak dry Adzuki beans for one to two hours in a large stockpot. Drain water and cover with ample fresh, cold water for cooking. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, tilting the lid slightly to allow steam to escape; cook for about an hour, or until tender. Drain and use in recipes of choice.


How to Cook with Adzuki Beans

Although you can use Adzuki beans in place of most beans in recipes, you might want to try making traditional Japanese red bean ice cream for a special treat. Here is a recipe to try from AllRecipes.com.


  • 1 cup of dry Adzuki beans
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 3½ cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a saucepan, combine the Adzuki beans, 1/3 cup of sugar, lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil, and boil uncovered for three minutes. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for two and half to three hours, or until the beans are very tender. When done, the beans and liquid should amount to three cups. If not, add more water to compensate.

Strain the bean mixture through a sieve – I use a wooden paddle for this, and discard the bean skins. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until cold.

In a saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. While you wait for that to boil, whisk together the egg yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar in a medium bowl. When the cream and milk come to a boil, ladle about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid into the bowl with the egg yolks, and whisk until smooth.


Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the cream, and cook over low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. This should take about five minutes. Do not cook too long, or you will get lumps. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until cold.


Once both of the mixtures are cold, stir them together. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


You can also check out Pinterest for even more great Adzuki bean recipes.

Jennifer M. Wood, MS, RD

Jennifer M Wood, MS, RDN is registered dietitian nutritionist and successful food and nutrition consultant in Southeastern Minnesota. As the founder of a nation-wide gourmet food company, Wood wrote Jenny’s Country Kitchen…recipes for making homemade a little easier! (2003), which is a timeless collection of make-ahead, freeze-ahead and pantry-stocking recipes and time saving tips to help busy families put nutritious food on table. Wood graduated with a pre-med bachelors degree in nutritional science in 2001, completed her dietetic internship in 2007 and went on to complete a master’s degree in food and nutrition in 2011.

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