Japanese
Azuki Bar Recipe

Azuki Bar is a popular frozen popsicle in Japan made from sweet Azuki red bean paste. This amazing treat has been enjoyed for decades for its nutty flavor and grainy bean texture. Azuki Bar contains nothing complicated or artificial, but is pleasantly sweet and full of flavor. It looks like any popsicle with a stick. It's a wonderful cold dessert during Japan's brutally hot and humid summers, but can also be eaten year-round.

Azuki Bar was created by Imuraya, a long-established Japanese confectionery company, in the 1970s. Imuraya developed this product with the desire to offer the traditional taste of Azuki beans as a modern ice cream product. Since its initial launch, they have been committed to a manufacturing process that preserves the flavor of Azuki beans without artificial ingredients. Over time, as production technology evolved, Azuki Bar developed its current pleasant flavor and texture.

The Azuki Bar is known for being harder than many other popsicles. This hardness has become one of the distinguishing characteristics of the product. Because it uses Azuki bean paste as the main ingredient and due to the dense packing of simple ingredients, there is little air content, which makes it harder when frozen. Furthermore, no additives such as emulsifiers or stabilizers (which make the food softer) are used. This characteristic hardness is loved by many fans as part of Azuki Bar's unique dining experience.

Azuki Bars do take some time to make because of the cooking and freezing of the beans, but the cooking steps are pretty simple. It’s pretty much like making Anko (sweet red bean paste) with extra water, so it’s very easy to make in your home kitchen. The only thing you need are popsicle molds, but they’re easily available at most stores or online. Interestingly, if you get tired of eating Azuki Bars as popsicles (if that happens), you can turn the bars into Zenzai (sweet red bean soup) by thawing and reheating them. Heat them in the microwave or on the stove, add a little water, and you’ve got yourself a warm soup. If you like sweet red bean Anko, this is a must-try dessert. I hope you give it a try this summer!

Azuki Bar

Sweet frozen red bean popsicles: a refreshing summer treat

Time to cook1 Now 45 minutes

Freezing time8 hours

Total time9 hours 45 minutes

Course: Sweet

Kitchen: Japanese

Keyword: azuki, vegan

Portions: 6 bars

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  • 7 ounce Red azuki beans
  • 8 ounce sugar
  • Wash the red beans and boil them in a large pot with 4 cups of water over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain, then return the beans to the pot. Add 2 cups of fresh water and cook for 10-15 minutes if using a pressure cooker. Or cook in a regular pot for 1 hour over medium-low heat, adding water occasionally to keep the beans submerged. Press with your fingers to see if they are soft enough to crush. Once softened, boil most of the remaining water.

  • When the water is almost gone, mash the beans in half with the back of a spatula. Add the sugar in thirds, stirring and cooking over medium-low heat for 5 minutes between each addition. Finally, add 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) water to the red bean paste and simmer to thin it out for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

  • Pipe the diluted red bean paste into ice cream molds. Insert plastic or wooden sticks into them. Place them in the freezer for a day to allow them to freeze and solidify completely.

  • Pour tap water over the molds, then pull the sticks to remove the frozen popsicles.

From Japanese Cuisine101

Noriko and Yuko, the authors of this site, are both from Japan but now live in California. They love cooking and eating great food and share the same passion for home cooking using fresh ingredients. Noriko and Yuko plan and develop recipes together for Japanese Cooking 101. They cook and take photos/videos in their home kitchen.

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