Skip to Content

The 5 Best Substitutes for Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans are a vegetable that can be used in both Asian and Western dishes.

They have a nutty flavor that is slightly sweet with an earthy taste, making them ideal for stir-fry or salads with Asian flavors, but these same attributes also allow them to be cooked in recipes with traditional Western spices.

The flavor of this vegetable, however, can be very distinctive.

Some people love the taste; others find it overwhelming.

If you are looking for a change in your diet to help with weight loss or increased energy but dislike the flavor of adzuki beans, some alternatives will work just as well in recipes.

In this article, we will look at five alternatives to adzuki beans that will work just as well in your recipes.

What are Adzuki Beans?

what are adzuki beans

For many, the word “adzuki” may not have significant meaning.

However, too many cultures worldwide, particularly East Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea, these small red-colored beans are a staple in their diet.

They are also known as sweet red bean paste or simply ‘red beans’.

The adzuki bean is a variety of the species Vigna angularis.

They are about the size of a common pea, ranging from 5 to 10 mm in diameter.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Oil in Pancakes & Waffles

These beans were cultivated for around 3,000 years and were first domesticated in China.

Today, they can be readily found growing wild throughout Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

They also grow abundantly in Japan and Korea, recognized as major crop plants.

Adzuki beans can be raw, cooked, or ground into flour and used as a thickener for soups.

The beans are also used to make sake, a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice.

In China and Korea, the beans are eaten whole or made into red bean paste.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Adzuki Beans

If your recipes call for adzuki beans and you don’t have any on hand, fear not; there are several great substitutes that you can use instead.

Here is a list of the top 5 best replacements for your needs:

1 – Red Beans

red beans

For many people, red beans are a pretty standard alternative to adzuki.

These beans come in either dry or canned varieties.

They are similar to adzuki beans in size and color, but they tend to be softer when cooked.

Red beans also have an earthy taste that is slightly more savory.

When available, they are usually located in the same section of your local grocery store where you would find black beans.

They can be used in various dishes ranging from Mexican, Italian, and Caribbean cuisines.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Capers

Red beans are an excellent replacement for your recipe if you are looking to make something with a Cajun twist, as they are common in the cuisine of the American South.

2 – Pinto Beans

pinto beans

Pinto beans are very closely related to kidney beans.

They have a mild flavor and soft texture when cooked.

These beans have been around for centuries and have been used by various cultures worldwide, particularly in Latin America and Mexico.

They take on a wide variety of flavors, making them a versatile ingredient in many recipes.

While they are a great replacement for adzuki beans, they may not be a perfect substitution for red bean paste.

Pinto beans can be bought in cans or dried.

Depending on your recipe, you can either use them fresh or soaked overnight and cooked the next day.

When used uncooked, they should be boiled with salt added to give them flavor.

3 – Kidney Beans

kidney beans

Many people say that kidney beans make a good replacement for adzuki beans.

They are typically red, white, brown, or spotted and can be found in cans or dried.

This bean is widely used and versatile and gives your recipes a pleasant texture and taste when cooked.

It’s important to note that the size may vary depending on the variety, but they are typically medium-sized.

Kidney beans tend to have a stronger flavor than adzuki beans, so less will need to be used in your recipe.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Asian Pear

You can either boil them or use canned versions to prepare kidney beans.

In addition, you should always rinse them thoroughly before cooking as the liquid may contain some form of sugar or salt.

These can be bought near where you would find other types of beans.

4 – Mung Beans

mung beans

Mung beans are versatile and make a great replacement for your adzuki bean recipes.

They can be bought dried and generally found in the same section where you would look for other beans.

You can also find these beans in either brown or yellow hues, but they will be labeled as mung beans regardless of what color they are.

Mung beans don’t need to be soaked overnight and can be boiled in about half an hour so that you can prepare them quickly.

They have a mild flavor and soft texture, making them a versatile addition to many recipes.

While mung beans are not used as red or white beans, they are still a good substitute for your recipes.

You can buy these beans in bulk easily and store them for later use.

5 – Cannellini Beans

cannellini beans

Last but not least, cannellini beans make a good substitute for your adzuki bean recipes.

These white or cream-colored beans are also known as “Italian kidney,” and while they may appear similar to other types of beans like navy beans, they are not the same.

What to Serve with Sweet Potato Soup? 7 BEST Side Dishes

Cannellini beans can be found in cans near where you would look for other types of beans.

They have a mild taste and soft texture that gives your recipes a solid base.

Plus, they can be stored in your pantry and quickly prepared when needed.

When cooking cannellini beans, you can add onions and garlic to let the mild flavor come out.

Additionally, when using them in soups and salads, they will work best if blended before adding other ingredients.


Adzuki beans can be used in a wide variety of recipes.

Many substitutes work well and give you the same flavor and texture if you cannot find them in your local grocery store.

Each of these substitutes may not be a perfect replacement for adzuki beans, but they will work well in your recipes and add great flavor.

Hence, they are worth considering when looking for a substitute ingredient.

Thanks for reading.

We hope this article was informative and helped you learn more about substitutes for adzuki beans.

Please visit our blog for more articles like this one.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Adzuki Beans

The 5 Best Substitutes for Adzuki Beans
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Red Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Cannellini Beans


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
    Skip to Recipe