9 Common Types of Anko : Japanese Sweet Bean Paste

Anko (餡子), or Japanese sweet bean paste is not only an essential ingredient for “Wagashi (和菓子)“, or traditional Japanese sweets, but it is also used for Japanese cuisine.If you want to know about Wagashi confections with Anko bean paste in detail, this article I wrote before will help.

I think the Japanese sweet bean paste has been gaining recognition outside of Japan along with the Japanese food boom.However, when it comes to the type, it isn’t known well.

The Type of Anko (餡子)

Actually, there exist many variations of Anko in Japan, and those can broadly be classified into several types based on the production method and the ingredient.Therefore, today I want to introduce each type.

4 Common Types of Anko, based on the production method

First, here are 4 common Anko types based on the production method.

Tsubu-an (つぶあん)

Tsubu-an is a chunky, coarse Anko paste.It is made so as not to break the husk of beans as much as possible, instead of pureeing.

Tsubushi-an (つぶしあん)

Tsubushi-an is a mashed, sweet bean paste.This type is made by mashing beans with the seed coat.

Koshi-an (こしあん)

Koshi-an is a smooth, sweet bean paste.This type is made by pureeing beans after the seed coat is removed.

Ogura-an (小倉あん)

Ogura-an is a processed Anko like a cross between Tsubu-an and Koshi-an.It is traditionally made adding the Azuki red bean simmered and soaked in molasses “Dainagon (大納言)” to Tsubushi-an or Koshi-an.Dainagon doesn’t break easily.

5 Common Types of Anko, based on the ingredient 

Finally, here are 5 common Anko types based on the ingredient.

Azuki-an (小豆餡)

When Japanese people just say “Anko”, that means Azuki-an made with red “Azuki (小豆)” beans.It is the most common type of Anko in Japan.This Anko is widely used for various types of Japanese confections.

Aka-an (赤餡)

The word, “Aka (赤)” means red in Japanese, so Aka-an is another name for Azuki-an.Aka-an also refers to the Anko paste made using red beans, such as red kidney beans.

Shiro-an (白餡)

The Japanese word, “Shiro (白)” means white, so Shiro-an is the Anko paste made with white beans such as white kidney beans.Although there are 2 types of Shiro-an, Tsubu-an-type and Koshi-an-type, the latter is more common and also called “Shironeri-an (白練餡)”.Shironeri-an is used in various ways for traditional Japanese sweets, including Manju (饅頭) (Amazon.com).

Uguisu-an (うぐいす餡)

Uguisu-an is the Anko paste made with green peas.

Zunda (ずんだ)

Zunda is the sweet bean paste made by grinding green soybeans.It is famous as a local specialty of Miyagi and Yamagata Prefecture.

(Reference page of this article : Wikipedia 餡 )


I'm Japanese living in Niigata Prefecture,Japan.I want to introduce things about Japan,especially unique Japanese products,sightseeing places,my daily life and Japanese culture.

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