Have you ever made Adzuki Beans before? I'm going to walk you through how to cook adzuki beans on the stovetop, in the Instant Pot, and in the slow cooker. These tips and tricks will leave you with perfectly cooked beans every time.
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What are adzuki beans?
Adzuki Beans, also called aduki or azuki, are sweet little red beans that are commonly found throughout east Asia. You’ll recognize the sweet taste if you’ve ever had a red bean dessert before, like a sesame ball stuffed with red bean paste.
I use adzuki beans to make my Fudgy Adzuki Bean Brownies, but they're also delicious used in savory recipes like soups, stews, and curries.
Are adzuki beans healthy?
You bet they are!
Like all beans, adzuki beans provide a good amount of plant-based protein, and are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Beans tend to be very satisfying, as the combination of protein and fiber helps to slow digestion and moderate the uptake of sugar into the blood stream.
Adzuki beans also provide folate, phosphorous, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and vitamin K. A good source of antioxidants, adzuki beans have been linked to improved heart health, blood sugar control, and contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.
A one cup serving of adzuki beans contains around 15g of fiber (over half of the daily recommended intake), and 15g of protein. Much of the fiber is indigestible, which supports digestive health, particularly in the lower part of our digestive tract.
The protein-fiber combination is also key in stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace. Beans are also rich in soluble fiber, which is helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels and supporting cardiovascular health.
DO YOU NEED TO SOAK Adzuki BEANS?
No! Adzuki beans are small and quick to cook compared to other beans like black beans or chickpeas, so no soaking is required before cooking them.
Of course you can soak your adzuki beans if you prefer. Many people swear by soaking beans, discarding the soaking water, and then cooking them in fresh water to remove flatulence-causing compounds and make them easier to digest.
Please note that all of the cooking times in this post are for unsoaked adzuki beans.
We’re going to go through a few different cooking techniques, but regardless of which one you choose the first thing you need to do is put your beans into a mesh strainer and give them a good rinse. Sift through the beans with your fingers and check for any small stones or anything else that might be hiding with the beans that you wouldn’t want to bite into.
COOKING ADZUKI BEANS STOVETOP
Cooking your adzuki beans on the stove top is the most simple and straightforward method. It doesn’t require any soaking in advance (although pre-soaking the beans does reduce the cooking time), and the beans are nicely cooked in about 45 minutes.
The stovetop is also my preferred method as you can keep an eye on your beans as they cook and pull from the heat when they’re perfectly tender. If you’re making a salad with adzuki beans, for example, you may want a more “al dente” bean than if you were making soup or veggie burgers.
To cook adzuki beans on the stove top, place in a pot and cover with plenty of water (I usually go with one part beans to four parts water). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender.
INSTANT POT ADZUKI BEANS
Guys, I’m not going to lie, cooking adzuki beans in the Instant Pot is kinda tricky. Much like when I was doing my instant pot trials for How to Cook Mung Beans, it took several trials to get it right.
I assumed that since mung beans and adzuki beans are a similar size, they would have a similar cooking time. Nope! Adzuki beans take waaaaay longer to cook than mung do.
I tested several of the most popular recipes on the internet before FINALLY figuring out what actually works, including a variety of cook times with quick releasing or natural releasing.
What I didn’t know before embarking on my megathon for learning how to perfectly cook mung beans, is that using the quick release function on the Instant Pot actually increases the temperature to way above boiling. I consistently found quick-released mung beans were too mushy, no matter how short the cooking time was, and the same was true for adzuki beans.
In the photo above, the beans on the left, which are a good firm, "al dente" bean, would be great for adding to a salad or wrap were cooked for 5 minutes at high pressure, with a 20 minute natural release.
The beans on the right, which are very soft and would be perfect for adding to soups, stews, or making bean brownies, were done for 10 minutes at high pressure and a 20 minute natural release.
I also experimented with a shorter quick release, and found that 10 minutes at high pressure and a 10 minute natural release yielded a bean that is soft, but with crunchy bits. That may be ok if you're going to add it to a soup or another recipe where it would continue to cook, but if you wanted a smooth bean purée it wouldn't be great.
After trialling more than 10 batches of adzuki beans in the instant pot, my official recommendations for both firm and soft beans are those stated above, with a 20 minute natural release.
SLOW COOKER ADZUKI BEANS
I tend to not cook beans in the slow cooker these days since the Instant Pot is so much faster, but for those of you who want to “set it and forget it” you can certainly use your slow cooker for adzuki beans.
Just as cooking adzuki beans on the stove top, you’ll want to add one part beans to four parts water. You can set your slow cooker on high for 3 hours, or low for about 6 hours.
Cooking times will vary from slow cooker to slow cooker, but the advantage of this method is being able to take the lid off and test the beans when they are close to done.
THE BEST WAY TO COOK ADZUKI BEANS
If having a perfectly cooked adzuki bean that is neither too soft nor too firm is important to you, my recommendation is to cook them on the stovetop so you can monitor them to see when they are perfectly done.
If you're ok with erring on the side of slightly soft, then the thoroughly-tested pressure cooker instructions above should work for you. It is always a bit of a risk with not knowing how old your beans are, and not being able to remove the lid to check doneness.
Having said that, you can't beat the convenience of the Instant Pot if you've got one.
HOW TO STORE ADZUKI BEANS
If you cook up a big batch (or five) of adzuki beans, they’ll last about 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze adzuki beans.
To freeze your beans, simply portion them into freezer bags (I love these reusable silicon freezer bags), squeeze the air out, label them, and pop into the freezer. Your beans will be good for about 3 months in the freezer.
AZUKI BEAN RECIPES
Adzuki beans are versatile and delicious. Since they're on the sweeter side compared to black beans, they're great in sweet recipes as well as savory. Here are some recipes to get you inspired!
LOOKING FOR MORE BEANS?
Be sure to check out our other guides to cooking beans!
- How to Cook Mung Beans
- Spicy Instant Pot Black Beans
- Pinto Beans in Instant Pot
- How to Cook Black Eyed Peas
- Instant Pot Chickpeas
- How to Cook Dry Black Beans
- How to Cook Kidney Beans from Scratch
How to Cook Adzuki Beans
- 1Instant Pot
- 1 cup adzuki beans rinsed well and checked for stones
- 4 cups water
- Rinse your adzuki beans well and check over for any stones.
- Place 1 cup adzuki beans and 3 cups water in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender. This will take about 45 minutes.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Place 1 cup adzuki beans and 4 cups of water into the insert of an Instant Pot.
- Seal the lid and ensure that it is set to "sealing".
- For firm beans, set to high pressure for 5 minutes. For soft beans, set to high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot has reached pressure it will beep and start naturally releasing the pressure. Allow to natural release for 20 minutes, and then flip the valve to "venting" and release the remaining pressure.
Slow Cooker instructions
- Place 1 cup of beans and 4 cups of water in the slow cooker.
- Set to HIGH for 3 hours, or LOW for 6 hours. Check beans towards the end of the cooking time.
- You can scale the quantity of beans up or down, but it should always be one part beans to four parts of water for cooking.
- Drain any remaining water when the beans are cooked.
- Cooked adzuki beans can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer.