Red Bean Ice Cream (Vegan)


I’m continuing my Asian-inspired ice cream flavors this week with this red bean ice cream made with sweet red bean paste! Last week I posted a black sesame ice cream, which you absolutely must try!

Red bean paste (known as anko) is a common filling to mochi, dumplings, cookies, and other Chinese and Japanese desserts. At first the idea of beans in my desserts made me cringe, but after I tasted that sweet red paste, my mind was filled with new dessert recipe ideas!

But first, ice cream . . . 🙂

full shot

It’s difficult to describe the flavor of this ice cream, because it definitely doesn’t taste like beans. In fact, I didn’t tell my husband what the flavor was before he tried it, and he couldn’t guess it!

To make this dairy-free dessert, simply replace one of the usual two cans of full-fat coconut milk with a can of adzuki beans, which have been cooked down into a sweet paste with pure maple syrup. Bonus: This ice cream has nearly half the fat of my usual vegan ice creams! As a result, the finished product is not as creamy and is slightly fibrous due to the beans, but the outstanding flavor makes up for it!

Because this recipe contains an entire can of beans, it makes a great nutritious dessert for kids! In addition to the healthful fat from the coconut milk, this ice cream contains protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. Abby loves it!

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you could always use this recipe to make popsicles for a cool summer snack.

All you need is one can of coconut milk, one can of adzuki beans, pure maple syrup, salt, and vanilla extract — simple!

adzuki beans, close-up

close-up, partial

You can always purchase red bean paste from an Asian market, but it probably contains refined sugar in high amounts. I decided to use pure maple syrup, which is slightly more nutritious than cane sugar. It’s so easy to make your own anko, so why not do it yourself?

Red Bean Ice Cream (Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Asian-inspired dessert made of adzuki beans, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Half the fat of regular vegan ice cream, and full of fiber, protein, and iron!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 1 quart
  • 1 15-oz can adzuki beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup + 2 T. pure maple syrup, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 15-oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup nondairy creamer (I use SO Delicious brand)
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • Optional: black sesame seeds for sprinkles
  1. Combine beans, ¾ cup maple syrup, and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low (it should remain at a low, steady boil). Continue to cook, uncovered and stirring every few minutes, about 30 minutes until it becomes a thick paste. Remove from heat when you can draw a line in the bottom of the pan with a spoon, and the line remains for two seconds. Add the salt and allow to cool completely.
  2. In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients (including the remaining 2 T. maple syrup) with the bean paste. Place in the fridge to cool at least two hours.
  3. When mixture is cool, use ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions, then place ice cream in the freezer to solidify.
  4. To serve, pull ice cream out of the freezer about 15 minutes to soften, then scoop and sprinkle with black sesame seeds, if desired.

beans in pot

side view

overhead view


I’m loving these new interesting ice cream flavors! They’re delicious, fun to make, and actually good for you.

I can’t wait to experiment more with red bean paste. Stay tuned! 🙂

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