These soft and fragrant Pandan Buns are stuffed full of Red Bean Paste. Sweet bean buns are so popular in Asia that they’ve even made a cameo in Kung Fu Panda. I grew up eating deliciously sweet homemade red bean buns for breakfast. I put a spin on this family favourite by adding Pandan, one of my favourite flavours.
Why You’ll Love These Pandan Buns
Natural Colour: The vibrant colours of these pandan buns are all-natural, baby. The beautiful green bread is coloured with pandan juice. The deep purple filling is from adzuki bean paste. And you can make both of them at home!
Generous Filling: Don’t you hate when you buy stuffed buns from a bakery and there’s more dough than filling? Not a problem when you make your own at home. These buns are stuffed to the brim with sweet bean paste (or you can use any filling of your choice).
Ingredients + Substitutions
A few important notes on some of the ingredients used in this Pandan Red Bean Bun recipe:
Pandan Juice: I use my own Pandan Juice made from fresh pandan leaves. Or, you can use water + 1 to 2 tbsp of commercial pandan extract.
Matcha Variation: Substitute the pandan juice with water or soy milk, and add 1 to 2 tbsp of matcha powder. Still a gorgeous green colour, but adds a subtle earthy matcha taste instead of pandan.
Bean Paste: I prefer using Homemade Anko (red adzuki bean paste) for the aesthetic contrast between green and purple. A storebought variety such as Shirakiku works too. You can also use mung bean paste or shiroan (white bean paste). Or try substituting taro paste for a creamy and rich taro flavour instead.
Yeast: You can use either active dry yeast or instant yeast. The difference is active dry yeast needs to be dissolved, “bloomed” in warm water to activate it before using. With instant yeast, you can start mixing it right away with the other ingredients, no need to wait around.
Flour: I use all purpose flour for these red bean buns. Bread flour is also a good option.
Oil: Can be substituted with melted butter.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Pour warmed pandan juice into the stand mixer bowl.
Step 2: Sprinkle sugar and yeast over top. This hydrates and activates the yeast.
Step 3: Once the yeast is foamy, add flour, oil, and salt, in that order.
Step 4: Use the dough hook attachment. Mix on medium speed until the dough starts to come together.
Step 5: Once the dough starts to form into a ball, switch to the second-lowest speed setting. Knead the dough until it’s strong and smooth.
Step 6: Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl. Let rise in a warm place.
Step 7: Once the dough has doubled in size, divide it into 16 pieces.
Step 8: Flatten each piece of dough into a circle. Place red bean paste in the center.
Step 9: Gather together the sides of the dough.
Step 10: Pinch the sides together to seal the filling inside. Turn them over so the seams are at the bottom.
Step 11: Arrange the buns on a baking sheet. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise again. Meanwhile, preheat the oven.
Step 12: Once the buns look puffy, put them in the oven and bake them until the tops are light golden brown.
Optional: Set another baking tray on top of the buns as they bake, to give them an even shape.
Fridge: Since these pandan buns contain red bean paste, it’s best to keep them refrigerated. Let the buns cool down to room temperature, then seal them in a ziploc bag and refrigerate for up to five days.
Freezer: Seal the fully cooled pandan buns in an airtight bag and freeze for up to three months.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave for a few seconds or a toaster oven for a few minutes. If frozen, it’s best to defrost the red bean buns at room temperature (takes about 3 hours). But if you’re in a rush, wrap each bun with aluminum foil and heat in the oven at 200 °F until warmed through.
Pandan bread is a soft, fluffy bread infused with pandan leaves, which are native to Southeast Asia and lend a rich aroma to the bread. The bread’s signature green hue is typically achieved through the addition of pandan extract or fresh pandan juice. It can be shaped into a pandan loaf or individual pandan buns. Some variations also include sweetened toasted coconut flakes, red bean paste, or custard as a filling.
Red bean buns are popular Asian breads made with soft sweet yeast dough enveloping a filling of red adzuki bean paste. The red bean paste is made from azuki beans that are boiled, mashed, and then sweetened with sugar to form a creamy paste. Frequently eaten as a breakfast and snack throughout Asia.
A red bean bun has a sweet and earthy flavour thanks to the sweetened red bean paste. The bread is usually a soft, slightly chewy sweet dough, and it acts as a neutral base that allows the red bean filling to shine through. The red bean paste complements the yeasty bread with a taste that’s both nutty and sweet. Total comfort food! It’s no wonder why red bean buns are one of the most popular treats in East Asian countries.
Instead of azuki bean paste, you can make these stuffed pandan buns with mung bean paste or shiroan (white bean paste), or even taro paste.
These red bean buns are definitely healthy in moderation. Red bean paste is made from azuki beans, which are a good source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. However, it’s also high in sugar, which is unhealthy in large amounts. The bread part of the buns is made from refined wheat flour, which lacks some fiber and other nutrients found in whole grains. But a homemade red bean bun will almost always be healthier than any storebought version you can buy, since it doesn’t contain preservatives and uses less fat and sugar.
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Pandan Buns with Red Bean Paste
Use Imperial/Metric buttons below to toggle between volume vs weight measurements. I recommend weighing out your ingredients for best results.
- Heat pandan juice until it reaches 100 °F (38 °C), then pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle sugar and yeast over top. Wait 5–10 minutes for the yeast to bloom (you can skip the wait if using instant yeast).
- Once the yeast is foamy, add flour, oil, and salt.
- Using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed until the dough starts to come together into a ball. Switch to the kneading setting (typically the second-lowest speed on most mixers) and knead for 12 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours.
- Divide the dough into 16 pieces (65g each). It’s easiest to first divide it in half, then divide each piece in half again, and so on.
- Flatten each piece of dough into a rough 6-inch circle. Place 3 tbsp (45g) of red bean paste in the center of each dough. Gather together the sides of the dough and pinch them together so the bean paste is completely wrapped in dough.
- Arrange the buns on a baking sheet. Cover and let rise for another 20 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
- Optional: Set another baking tray on top of the buns as they bake, to give them a flat, even shape.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are light golden brown.
- Pandan Juice: You can substitute the pandan juice with 1 tbsp commercial pandan extract mixed into 1½ cups water or soy milk. Or substitute 1 tbsp matcha powder instead of pandan extract for a different flavour.