What can I use instead of adzuki beans? The best alternatives if you don’t have adzuki beans are black beans, red beans, red kidney beans, cannellini beans, mung beans, split yellow mung beans, pinto beans, black sesame seeds, and surprisingly chestnuts.
Adzuki beans are also called azuki, aduki, red chori, or red mung beans. They are small, nutty, earthy, sweet-tasting beans. They’re often used in Asian cuisine as an ingredient in desserts, soups, and stews. Adzuki beans are popular in many Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Nepalese dishes.
The Best Adzuki Bean Substitutes
Black Turtle Beans
Black turtle beans are one of the few substitutes for adzuki beans that work equally well in savory and sweet recipes. Black beans are our top pick when you cannot find adzuki beans.
Black beans are indigenous to native America with a creamy, mild, earthy taste comparable to that of adzuki beans.
The red variety of adzuki beans is the most popular, but they are also available in black, white, or speckled varieties.
Black bean paste has the same texture as red adzuki paste. Use black bean paste to fill Asian sweet treats like mooncakes, mochi, or anko. You can also enjoy them in salads, stews, soups, or stir-fries.
Like adzuki beans, black beans contain various minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Black beans are good for managing heart disease, blood sugar balance, and healthy digestion.
As black beans are larger than Adzuki beans, use about half the amount the recipe suggests. Remember to soak black beans before cooking, which reduces cooking time and helps with nutrient absorption.
Red beans (Vigna umbellata) are also known as rice beans, as the seeds are the size of rice kernels. They are an Asiatic species in the same genus as adzuki beans (Vigna angularis).
Red beans are small, round beans closer to adzuki beans in shape and size than red kidney beans.
Remember that they have a more pronounced taste than adzuki beans but with the same mild and sweet flavor and buttery texture.
Use red beans as an alternative for adzuki beans in savory dishes, as their strong taste might not suit dessert recipes. Also, note that red beans do not form a paste, like black beans or adzuki beans.
Rice beans contain healthy amounts of minerals, amino acids, and protein. The phytic acid in red beans can hinder the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc, so always soak them before cooking.
When you substitute red beans for adzuki beans, use the same amount or a little less to adjust for the more pronounced flavor.
Red Kidney Beans
Red kidney beans or speckled beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are native to Mexico and roughly kidney-shaped. They are a popular substitute for adzuki beans because they are readily available and similar in color, taste, and texture.
This speckled bean is a hot favorite when combined with chili in Mexico and all over India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Louisiana.
We suggest adding a sweetener when you use kidney beans in dessert recipes. Mix the sweetener with the beans before adding them to the recipe.
Canned kidney beans are safe to use uncooked, but red kidney beans should never be eaten raw, as they can be toxic.
Soak and cook dry kidney beans for longer and at higher temperatures than adzuki beans.
Red kidney beans are nutritious and contain various vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.
Note that red kidney beans are much larger than adzuki beans, so use half the amount of red kidney beans to replace adzuki beans in a recipe.
Cannellini beans or white kidney beans are an excellent choice to replace adzuki beans, especially in savory meals.
White kidney beans originated from the south of Italy.
This bean species has a buttery, nutty flavor and a creamy, fluffy texture.
The taste of cannellini beans differs from adzuki beans but is mellow enough not to be a problem in most recipes.
Cannellini beans’ fluffy texture is best utilized to make a white bean paste that is a good substitute for adzuki red bean paste. Remember to remove the tough skins and add a bit of extra sweetener when using it in cakes and desserts.
Like most other beans, cannellini beans are nutritious and beneficial in promoting bone health and regulating blood pressure and blood sugar balance. Cannellini beans are a valuable addition to a low-fat diet.
When substituting cannellini for adzuki beans, use roughly half the amount suggested in the recipe.
Split Yellow Mung Beans
If you are not fussed about the color difference, split yellow mung beans are an excellent replacement for adzuki beans.
Split yellow mung beans or mung dal are just whole mung beans split in half and hulled.
Yellow mung beans are slightly sweet with a nutty taste and are a popular choice in Asian cuisine for both sweet and savory dishes.
Use split yellow mung beans as an alternative filling for Japanese cakes and buns like moon cakes, sesame balls, and mochi.
All mung beans, whether whole or split, are healthy additions to your diet. Try these little beans if you are looking for protein-rich food with zero cholesterol.
You do not need to soak these beans, as the various vitamins and minerals they contain are easily absorbed.
Use at least double the amount of split yellow mung beans to replace adzuki beans.
Mung beans (Vigna radiata), also known as green gram or munggo, are a versatile alternative to adzuki beans.
These tiny, olive-green seeds are native to India and are widely used in Indian and Asian cuisine.
Their nutty, sweet-tasting, earthy flavor and soft texture make them the ideal replacement for adzuki beans in desserts, cakes, stews, stir-fries, soups, or salads.
Mung beans are considered a detox food with substantial health benefits.
Mung beans are easy to digest and can be sprouted and eaten raw, enhancing their significant health benefits. Mung bean sprouts are high in Vitamin B, potassium, copper, and iron, to name a few.
Replace adzuki beans with whole mung beans in a 1:1 ratio, but remove the semi-tough hulls when making bean paste.
Pinto beans are a worthy alternative to adzuki beans. They are also called frijoles pintos (painted beans) in Spain because of their mottled look. Pinto beans are a cultivar of kidney beans.
Painted beans are widely grown in Mexico and the southwest of the United States, where they are popularly used in savory vegetarian stews, soups, rice dishes, dips, salsas, and burritos.
Pinto beans are similar in flavor and texture to kidney or cannellini beans but sweeter, making them an ideal adzuki bean substitute for salty recipes.
Use pinto beans as a substitute for recipes like ‘adzuki bean hummus with coriander and lemon’ or Korean danpatjuk (red bean porridge).
Always soak pinto beans well before cooking them to improve the absorption of their high nutrient content.
Pinto beans are cholesterol free and extremely high in fiber and minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium. They provide vitamins B1, B2, and B6, which boost your body’s energy.
Use pinto beans on a 1:1 ratio when you substitute them for adzuki beans.
Black Sesame Seeds
Black sesame seeds work surprisingly well as an adzuki bean replacement, although these seeds are tiny compared to adzuki beans.
Black sesame seeds are born in the pods of the Sesamum indicum plant that grows wild in Africa and India. They have been produced as an oilseed crop for thousands of years.
As the seed with the highest oil content, black sesame is valued and utilized worldwide. They have a nutty, mild, and earthy, taste.
Black sesame seeds are not advised in savory recipes, as they lack the soft creamy consistency of beans.
To use black sesame seeds in red adzuki bean paste recipes, grind the seeds into a paste with water. Compensate for the lack of sweetness by adding honey or rice syrup.
Black sesame seeds are a valuable substitute for adzuki beans with a comparably high macro-nutrient content. Black sesame seeds are reputed to prevent cancers and balance blood pressure.
Use a ¼ cup ground black sesame seed to replace every ½ cup adzuki beans.
Chestnuts are the seeds or nuts produced by chestnut trees (Castanea sativa). Chestnuts are sometimes used as a flavorant in adzuki bean recipes.
Chestnuts can be used as a substitute for adzuki beans because of their mild, nutty flavor and bean-like texture. Chestnut flour smells somewhat like adzuki beans.
Use roasted and ground chestnuts to replace adzuki beans, especially in recipes like Japanese cakes and buns with sweet fillings.
Always cook or roast chestnuts, as they could have a high tannin content.
Chestnuts are a valuable source of various minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. Chestnuts are high in vitamins C and B, which help to boost the immune system.
The best way to replace adzuki beans with chestnuts is to use the chestnut paste on a 1:1 ratio.