An Pan (Red Bean Bun/Bao)

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An Pan

So I’m not the biggest fan of sweet red bean (azuki bean) paste.  There.  I said it.  However, my husband LOVES LOVES LOVES sweet red bean, and red bean paste.  It’s one of his favorite sweets.  So as I’ve been playing around with my milk bread recipes, creating different kind of buns and such, he started whining… “Why don’t you make it with red bean????!!!!????”

Now I could have soaked some red beans, cooked them until soft, and mashed them with sugar…. but I was feeling much too lazy to do that.  Instead I pulled out a can of sweetened red bean paste from the pantry and used that instead.  One 16 oz. can was the perfect amount for making 16 buns (exactly 1 oz. of bean paste per bun).

(I’ll be attempting to figure out Japanese style “Cream Pan” next… so stay tuned!)  (Update 2/5/2012:  I figured it out… here’s my Cream Pan recipe.)


An Pan:

  • 1 (18 oz.) can red bean paste
  • 1 recipe of tangzhong milk dough

Tangzhong Milk Dough:

  • 2 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. tangzhong

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T. water
1. First, make the dough.  You can follow the instructions in the “Japanese Milk Bread” recipe – there are also instructions here for how to make the tangzhong (which is a cooked mixture of 1/3 c. bread flour + 1 c. water).  I basically dump all the wet ingredients into the bottom of my bread maker pan, put the flour over the wet ingredients, and the yeast on top.  Allow the dough to knead and rise until ready.  (15-20 minutes kneading by hand or stand mixer dough hook, about a 1 hour rise.)
2.  When the dough is ready, divide it into 16 pieces, and roll each piece into a ball.
3.  Flatten each ball with a rolling pin or the palms of your hands.
4.  Scoop out 16 balls of red bean paste with a cookie scoop (scraping off the edge) from the can of red bean paste.  You should have just enough paste for 16 rounded balls with a flat bottom.  You can make your own red bean paste by cooking red beans and sugar – the making into a puree – but it’s easier to purchase red bean paste already made.
5.  Place a piece of filling on top of one flattened piece of dough, and bring the edges up and pinch to enclose.
6.  Place the bun seam side down on a baking sheet.
7.  Cover the buns loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm location for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 335 degrees.  Beat the egg yolk with water to make an egg wash.
8.  Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds (if desired).
9.  Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes at 335 degrees.  Remove and remove to a wire rack to cool.


  1. Wow, those look amazing! I need to make these and bring them in to the office!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Thanks! You can probably fill them with anything if you don’t like red bean…. mung bean… jam… nutella…. chocolate chips…. whatever you like!

  2. Veronica says:


    This recipe was fantastic! Ever since I moved back to the US after living in Japan for a number of years, I longed for azuki buns. I had always had them steamed, but this baked recipe was simple and delicious!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi Veronica! Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad it worked out for you! ;)

  3. Vickie says:

    So glad to have found your blog and this particular recipe. Made them for the family and they gobbled them up!

  4. Helen says:

    Hi Mika!
    I just tried to make the red bean bun as your recipe taught, but still a problem occurred, the flavor and such are just as good as the bought ones, but the appearance of mine doesn’t equal to yours.
    Somehow, my buns overdid rised too much, and just fell flat when I cooked them. So they became a some kind of flat bun. My dought also seemed to be really soft and sticky when manipulated, and as it happened with the coconut bread earlier, there were bubbles in the dought as I was flattening it with the roller. Is it because of my yeast, or might it be another possible reason? Thank you!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Dear Helen,
      I replied to you on what went wrong on the Chinese Coconut Milk Bread recipe page, but will add some advice here too for anyone reading the comments on this bun recipe:

      Baking is more of a science than an art… so if any one of the components changes, then you can change the balance of the recipe. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, by proofing the yeast, you changed two components of the recipe: liquid ratio and time. My recipe does not call for yeast proofing; you add the dry yeast directly to the ingredients for mixing the dough. When you proofed the yeast in the extra liquid, you then added too much moisture to the dough, making the resulting dough too soft and sticky. Also, by proofing the yeast, you gave the yeast a head start in the CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) formation, so that they produced way too much gas by the time you were finished. To improve your results next time, do NOT proof the yeast, and make sure your rise times are 1 hour exactly (or slightly less).

      If you found that your buns rose too high, then fell flat, then it points to a problem with the yeast/leavening. I think the yeast proofing was the problem… you created too much gas which when heated, expanded… then collapsed!

      • Helen says:

        Thank you very much! It shows how much of a beginner I am at baking. Thank you for the advices, I shall retry this recipe tomorrow, and I’ll let you know if I got successful or not :D

  5. noob baker says:

    Hey, so I’ve never baked bread in my life and decided on a whim to make red bean buns, stumbled on your blog, and thanks to your amazing recipe and instructions they turned out beautifully :D .

    But…I’m left with a stupid question >_>…do these awesomely fluffy milk buns need to be refrigerated?

    If so, can they be left out a few days, then refrigerated? or should they be refrigerated immediately?

    • Mika Mika says:

      For the red bean paste version, you can actually store these at room temperature for a few days. However, if you want to keep them longer (or think you won’t finish them within a few days), then I would refrigerate.

      Glad the recipe worked out for you! :)

  6. Lee says:

    Have you ever tried nikuman pan? I’d love to know how to make the filling!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there! Yes, Nikuman is on my to-do list… Stay tuned!

  7. Michael says:

    Hey there!

    Your Red Bean Buns look fantatic, I can’t wait to try them myself :) But can you tell me what “c.” means? I am from Germany and not used to the Imperial system TT
    Thank you!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there. “C.” is the standard American volumetric measurement that stands for “cups”. 1 US cup = 236.6 mL
      “T.” stands for “Tablespoon” (14.8 mL)
      “tsp.” stands for “teaspoon” (4.9 mL)

  8. Yoshiko says:

    I go to Mori no Ike (The Japanese Concordia Language camp) every year and this site has EVERY baked good we have. I have been searching far and wide for an An Pan recipe! I was also delighted to see you had Melon and Cream Pan as well!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Yay! Let me know how it turns out for you once you have a chance to try it. :)

  9. Yodamom says:

    I made these and they tasted great. the dough raised like it should, Everything went as planned till I went to egg wash them they fell flat ? I followed your directions exactly, the only thing I can trace it to is that is very cold in the kitchen and it shocked the yeast ? I’ll give them a try again when it warms up a bit. Thanks for the great recipe and pictures

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m not sure? How cold, exactly was your kitchen? If everything was rising properly, I wonder if maybe they were rising too long to the point the CO2 bubbles burst and collapsed? When you brush the egg wash on, make sure you don’t push too hard – just gently brush with a light touch.

  10. Anna says:

    Hi Mika, I want to try this recipe, but I have the 1 lb zojirushi bread maker, so should I cut the recipe in half? Or is there a trick to it?
    Thank you!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Yeah, I would probably cut the recipe in half. You can always mix it by hand if you have time (and the hand strength). :)

  11. Htaw says:

    Hello I was wondering if you could use all purpose flour instead of bread flour?

    • Mika Mika says:

      You can substitute with AP flour, but I think bread flour works slightly better…. use bread flour if you have it. Otherwise, AP flour is probably fine.

  12. judy says:

    Hi Mika, I came across your site while looking for some recipes. your milk bread recipe just great i try it. keep up the good recipe sharing.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Thank you!

  13. Sher Sher says:

    Thanks so much Mika for sharing! I made this using a different recipe. Yours looks so good and will try very soon. I made red bean paste cause couldn’t find a can of red bean anywhere! I was desperate. Can’t wait to make your recipe. I love red bean buns! I am also going to try your other recipes of Japanese cream pans-I love these too!!!
    YOu are AWESOME!!!!!! GOD bless you!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Thank you! :)

  14. Samantha says:

    Do you think these would freeze okay?

    • Mika Mika says:

      Maybe? I think they taste best fresh. But if you do want to try freezing, I would wrap them (individually) tightly with plastic wrap.

  15. Gelly says:

    It looks delicious like the milky bun they sell with ice cream in Afters. Do you have the recipe for that milky bun?.

    • Mika Mika says:

      No, I’m sorry… I don’t know what a milky bun is.

  16. Guy says:

    I don’t owe a bread machine. Can i follow the same instructions?.

    • Mika Mika says:

      yes, you can knead by hand

  17. Tina says:

    Hi Mika,

    I’ve been struggling to find a recipe with taro paste buns. Your red bean buns have been the closest I got. There is a chain here that sells delicious taro buns, they don’t look too hard to make but I can’t seem to get the recipe for the paste. Have you tried this before?


  18. Tina says:

    Hi Mika, I tried this recipe yesterday. Not sure what i did wrong but the dough was very very sticky. It just stuck to my fingers and I couldn’t get it off. Added a whole lot more flour.

    I kneaded using a bread machine.

    • Mika Mika says:

      Hi there! It is a very sticky dough…. but for me just a little bit of flour is usually all I need to keep it from sticking. Make sure that you didn’t add the whole entire recipe of tangzhong… you only need 1/2 cup. If you added the whole recipe than that could explain why it’s overly sticky.