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Anpan {Japanese Red Bean Bun}

Anpan is Japanese Red Bean Bun, made of soft sweet bread stuffed with a sweet red bean paste filling. These make a delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast that will pair perfectly with a Matcha Latte.
Anpan or Japanese Red Bean Buns in a basketBack in the day when I was in college just a few years back (not really), we used to frequent an Asian bakery called JJ bakery. We would pack our trays with all sort of Asian bread, including delicious Anpan (Japanese Red Bean Bun) or simply Red Bean Bun. We hoard enough for a week worth of snack and breakfast. We have since graduated to 85 degrees C bakery but my love for these buns hasn’t changed. They’re soft, sweet and extremely satisfying.

Anpan or Japanese Red Bean Buns in a basket with one cut openI do not claim to be original all the time, I learned how to make these Red Bean Bun and the methods from Just One CookBook’s Anpan recipe. But Nami made the buns using dough enriched with egg and butter. I use just a simple Milk Bread recipe for my buns. No egg or butter, just soft and milky bread dough surrounds a ball of sweet red bean paste. Let’s make them!

How to Make Anpan

Anpan or Japanese Red Bean Bun dough in a mixing bowlIf you’ve made Brioche before, you know enriched dough takes just a bit more work, not impossibly difficult, just slightly more work. I don’t want to ever discourage you to try making brioche, but this milk bread dough is super simple and you really can’t go wrong. The dough comes together easily as one-two-three.

Anpan or Japanese Red Bean Bun dough in a glass bowlAnpan or Japanese Red Bean Bun dough divided into 8 portionsThe first rise should take somewhere from 2 – 3 hours, may be longer depending on the ambient temperature. Keep the dough covered and in a warmer spot of the house if possible. One batch of dough is enough to make 8 buns. Divide it into 8 equal portions, you can use a kitchen scale to be exact, or just eyeball it.

Flattening dough to fill with red bean paste to make AnpanOne the dough balls are divided, let them rest for 15 minutes to relax the gluten. This will help the next step of filling and shaping the bun easier. When you’re able to shape them more evenly, they will rise and bake more evenly in the oven. Once filled and shaped, they will need to rest for a second rise before baking.

Filling dough with red bean paste to make AnpanSealing the red bean paste in and shaping the dough for AnpanI usually use a coarse red bean paste with some of the bean still visible in the mixture. You should be able to find them at Japanese or Korean grocery store. This Sweet Red Bean Paste is the same brand, the packaging will be similar, but this one is a “fine” paste. These are usually in the dried or canned goods section, and not refrigerated. I always refrigerate the leftover once the package is open.

Adding egg wash before baking AnpanA coat of egg wash will ensure your Red Bean Buns come out golden brown and delicious. Traditionally, these buns are garnished with a dot of black sesame seeds, but you can see I’m quite the rule breaker here and use white sesame seeds instead. They were just what I had in my freezer. You can toast them, or use them raw like I did.

Adding sesame seeds to Anpan before bakingThe trick to add the sesame seeds in a neat round cluster is to use a small pestle or something with about 3/4” diameter. Dip the flat end of the pestle in egg wash, then immediately dip it in the sesame seeds to pick them up, lightly press them on top of the dough to deposit the sesame seed cluster. Make sure you add egg wash to the bun before adding the sesame seeds so they will stick. Bake the buns for 15 minutes or longer if necessary until they’re golden brown.

Unbaked and baked Anpan side by sideThese Anpan or Japanese Red Bean Buns sure bring back lots of good memories of my college days, which for some reason always involved food. I guess even before I even knew it, bread ran my life, and I don’t mind it at all. Do me a favor and have a Red Bean Bun with a cup of homemade Matcha green tea latte, I think you’ll love it!

The inside of an AnpanIf you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!

Anpan or Japanese Red Bean Buns in a basket with one cut open

Anpan (Japanese Red Bean Bun)

Anpan is Japanese Red Bean Bun, made of soft sweet bread stuffed with a sweet red bean paste filling. These make a delicious snack or on-the-go breakfast that will pair perfectly with a Matcha Latte.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Rate
Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 buns
Calories: 273kcal
Author: Trang



  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoon (reserved)
  • Extra flour for rolling
  • 1 cup of red bean paste

Egg wash

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • Sesame seeds


  • Add cream and milk to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, turn off heat and transfer to a stand mixer mixing bowl. Dissolve the sugar in the hot milk mixture using a whisk or spatula. Let it cool down to below 110°F.
  • Sprinkle active dry yeast over the liquid surface and let it bloom for 10 - 15 minutes, the mixture should puff up.
  • Add 2 cup of flour along with the salt to the liquid mixture. Knead with the dough hook on speed 2 until the dough comes together. If the dough is too wet, add the reserved flour, 1 tablespoon at at time, and continue kneading. The dough should still be wet but not too tacky.
  • Dump the dough out onto a lightly flour counter top and knead into a ball. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2 - 3 hours until at least double in size.
  • Dump the risen dough out onto a lightly flour counter top, divide into 8 equal portions and shape into balls. Place dough balls on a lined baking sheet and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Working with one dough ball at a time, press and stretch it out with your fingers into a circle about 3 - 4 inches in diameter. Add two tablespoons of red bean paste in the middle, and pinch the edges to seal the red bean paste inside. Place on a lined baking sheet seam side down.
  • Repeat with the rest of the dough balls and let rise in a warm place for 1 - 2 hours until double in size and puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Beat one egg with a tablespoon of whole milk to make egg wash. Lightly brush egg wash all over the top and sides of the dough. Now dip the flat side of a small pestle into the egg wash, then immediately dip it into a bowl of sesame seeds, and lightly press the sesame seeds on top the dough.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. Rotate the pan during the last 2 - 3 minutes if necessary to brown evenly.


Serving: 96g | Calories: 273kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @WildWildWhisk or tag #WildWildWhisk!

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Anpan is Japanese sweet bun filled with red bean paste. This recipe is made using milk bread for the dough. It's perfect for breakfast or a snack. #wildwildwhisk #anpan #bread #breadrecipes #sweetbuns #asianrecipes #breakfastideas #snackideas #homemadebread #yeastbread #sweetbread

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  1. Mimi
    June 26, 2020 /

    Hi! We only have instant yeast, not active dry yeast. Will this be an issue when making the dough? Yeast is very difficult to come by where we live (darn pandemic!)

    • Trang
      June 26, 2020 /

      Totally understand, instant yeast is fine, you don’t need to activate it, just mix it in with the flour! But same principles apply, use warm milk, not hot.

  2. Nadia
    June 22, 2020 /

    Can I freeze the dough?

    • Trang
      June 22, 2020 /

      Yes, make sure to thaw completely before working with it.

  3. Mihane
    April 28, 2020 /

    4 stars
    I love anpans!!! I haven’t had some in a long time, and I was craving them, so I decided to make it myself for once. It turned out pretty good. I don’t think it was exactly what it was supposed to be like, but it still tasted pretty good. My first worry was when the yeast didn’t “puff.” Also, my dough definitely didn’t double in size. Whoops. Anyways, it was still a hit in my family– so gonna try this recipe again 🙂 … hopefully with no errors next time.

  4. Lenna Nabulsi
    March 28, 2020 /

    5 stars
    This recipe was very very good. I only ended up having 1/4 cup of heavy cream and I used 3/4 C of milk and they turned out good still. Very very yummy. I made mine into smaller buns and made 12 small buns

    • Trang
      March 29, 2020 /

      Thanks Lenna, so glad to hear they turn out great for you with the substitution!

  5. MKim
    March 28, 2020 /

    When I tried to stuff the buns, it got quite messy and I couldn’t close some of them because the bean filling kept spilling out. Any suggestions?

    • Trang
      March 28, 2020 /

      How about try rolling the dough out a little larger to help with the wrapping or add less filling. If you portion the filling out and freeze it for a bit, I think it will help it not “spill” out.

  6. January 3, 2019 /

    5 stars
    These red bean buns look delicious! I need to buy a stand mixer to start making buns again, had to sell mine when we moved :(. How do you store these buns and how long do they last?

    • Trang
      January 4, 2019 /

      Oh no 🙁 A stand mixer certainly helps speed things along, but you could just mix the flour into the liquid with a wooden spoon and knead by hand for the time being. I keep these at room temperature for a few days. But if it’s humid and hot, and if you want to keep them for longer than 3 days, I would store in the fridge. You can warm them up in the toaster oven before eating. For microwaving, I would cover them with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out.

      • January 6, 2019 /

        Thanks for the detailed answer! And I forgot to say Happy New Year in my previous comment :D.

        By the way, can I ask you a blog-related question? If that’s ok, I’ll pm you on Instagram. Thanks!

  7. Kenneth Orloff
    January 3, 2019 /

    5 stars
    ready to eat

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