5 Popular Japanese Sweets with “Anko” Red Bean Paste

Beans are a crucial ingredient in Japanese cuisine. For example, the 2 seasonings that represent Japan, miso and Shoyu, or soy sauce, are made from soybeans.

Meanwhile, in Wagashi, “Anko (餡子)” or sweetened Azuki red bean paste makes up an indispensable part.

The sweet red bean paste Anko is roughly divided into two types; one is called “Koshian (こしあん)” with a smooth texture, while the other is a chunky coarse paste called “Tsubuan (つぶあん)”.

Popular Japanese Wagashi Sweets with Anko

There are many varieties of Wagashi confections made with Anko, out of which today I will introduce 5 most loved sweets for those who have never tried the bean paste.

Yokan (羊羹)

Yokan Sweet Red Bean Paste JellyFirst, Yokan (羊羹) is a traditional Japanese sweet made by solidifying smooth Anko red bean paste with agar or “Kanten (寒天)”.

There are 4 major types of Yokan, and the most common variety is “Neri Yokan (練り羊羹)”.

Neri Yokan has a texture like firm tofu featuring a gentle, refined sweetness from Anko.

Dorayaki (どら焼き)

Dorayaki (どら焼き) is a traditional Japanese confection known as Doraemon’s yummy buns.

It is made from Anko paste sandwiched between 2 round baked pancakes. Since the dough of this cake contains honey, it holds moderate moisture.

Oshiruko (おしるこ)

Oshiruko Sweet Red Bean Soup
Oshiruko (おしるこ) is a traditional Japanese soup made from Azuki red beans simmered in water, sweetened with sugar.

Oshiruko is a long-time favorite winter dish, often served with “Mochi (餅)” rice cakes.

Manju (饅頭)

Manju Steamed Cake
Manju (饅頭) is a traditional Japanese steamed bun filled with Anko paste. It comes in many types and flavors, and the most common variety is “Cha Manju (茶饅頭)”.

The dough is made with wheat flour, brown sugar, and baking soda or baking powder. This pastry is soft and fluffy and matches perfectly with its Anko filling.

Daifuku (大福)

Ichigo Daifuku
Daifuku (大福) is a small round cake consisting of sweet red bean paste wrapped in a thin layer of soft Mochi.

This treat is also available in various types, and the most popular variety is “Ichigo Daifuku (苺大福)” with a strawberry-Anko filling.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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