Azuki Bean Ice Cream

  • Serves

    makes 1 QUART

A common ingredient in Asian cuisines—particularly Japanese, where they are often used for confections and sweets—azuki beans are available in Asian markets and health food stores.



  • 1 cup washed azuki beans
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt


  • 2 fresh vanilla beans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 12 cups milk
  • 1 12 cups heavy cream


Step 1

For the azuki paste: Put beans in a saucepan full of water, bring to a boil, then drain in a colander. Return beans to pan, add 3-4 cups water, cover, and simmer until beans are very soft and have absorbed all the water, 30-40 minutes. (Azukis cook faster than many other varieties of bean.) Stir in sugar and cook over low heat until sugar has dissolved and beans form a soft, chunky paste. Add salt and allow paste to cool.

Step 2

For the ice cream: Slice vanilla beans lengthwise down the center with a sharp paring knife. With your fingers, spread beans open, then scrape out and reserve black seeds, discarding pods. Put seeds in a small bowl, add ¼ cup of the sugar, and mix well.

Step 3

In a medium bowl, combine remaining ¾ cup sugar, vanilla–sugar combination, and egg yolks, and beat until mixture becomes creamy and turns a pale yellow. Add milk and cream and mix well into a custard-like consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use, preferably overnight.

Step 4

Pour custard into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. About 10 minutes before ice cream is ready, feed ½ cup of the azuki paste into ice cream maker. Serve immediately or freeze in an airtight container to keep ice cream soft until ready to use.

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