Soft Asian bakery bread is filled with sweet red bean paste and chewy mochi for a perfect sweet, fluffy, and chewy treat all in one. They’re perfect if you want to make homemade buns that taste just like the bakery version – with a mochi twist!
A classic red bean bun will forever be my favorite sweet Asian bakery bun. They’re soft, fluffy, and taste like Saturday morning trips to the local Asian grocery store.
I wanted to mix up my childhood favorite by adding fresh, homemade mochi to the filling of the bun. So along with the soft, fluffy bread and creamy, sweet bean paste, you have light and chewy mochi. It’s an unlikely but absolutely delightful combination of textures and flavors!
How to make mochi red beans buns
This recipe can be a little time intensive, but it’s well worth the effort. I love to make these buns on a weekend and then enjoy them all week long!
There are 3 overall steps to making perfect mochi red bean buns:
- Make the dough, which is an enriched bread using a combination of milk and heavy cream for the perfect texture
- Make the mochi and prep the filling
- Wrap and bake the buns
Tips for soft and fluffy bread
The bread uses the recipe from these pineapple buns from the Omnivore’s Cookbook. It’s a very soft and rich milk bread that achieves it’s rich flavor and soft texture through a combination of milk, heavy cream, and butter.
If you’ve never made bread before, I recommend you check out my guide to baking bread. It walks through the process end to end to help you feel confident about bread making. If you want to practice on a simpler loaf, you can try my soft Japanese milk bread recipe.
Make the mochi and prep the red bean filling
The filling consists of a generous ball of red bean paste plus mochi. No skimping with the filling here!
Where can I find red bean paste?
I decided to make my own red bean paste using this easy recipe from Just One Cookbook. It’s an Instant Pot recipe, so it was super simple and hands off, and I made plenty of bean paste that I was able to use in other recipes as well.
If you don’t want to make your own paste, you can use a store-bought version, like this canned Companion brand that you can find at your local Ranch 99 or other Asian grocery store. If you don’t have an Asian grocery store near you and don’t want to make your own bean paste, you can try this brand from Amazon. The store-bought versions will generally taste sweeter.
How to make mochi
Mochi is a sweet, chewy sweet made from glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water. It’s incredibly easy to make – we’re going to do it in a microwave!
Make sure you get glutinous rice flour, which is not the same as rice flour. Glutinous rice flour creates a sticky consistency that you cannot achieve with regular rice flour. You can use either mochiko or shiratamako, two different types of glutinous rice flour, in this recipe.
To make the mochi, we’re simply going to mix together the glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water in a bowl. Then, we’ll microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until the mochi is cooked. It will become translucent and solid – magic! Make sure not to cut down on the sugar, since it is important for the texture.
How to shape perfect bread buns
Assembling the buns is straightforward, but there are some tricks to help you get the most even and beautiful buns.
- Divide up the dough into 16 even pieces. If you have a food scale, measure each piece for the most even buns. They should be about 64g each.
- Roll out each piece into a circle. Roll from the edges up into the middle, and pause at the center. Then turn the dough slightly and repeat. This ensures that the center of the dough is thicker than the edges, which is important for creating even dough distribution around the filling.
- After you have filled the bun, gently roll it around the table to help smooth out the edges and make it rounder
These mochi red bean buns are some of my favorite breads that I’ve baked! They’re the perfect breakfast treat and I hope you love them as much as I do.
Other Asian-inspired bakes I love:
- Matcha strawberry cream bars
- Black sesame and red bean sourdough
- Japanese milk bread by hand (no milk powder)
If you make this recipe, please let me know! I would love to see your beautiful bread buns. You can comment below or tag me on Instagram @halicopteraway.
Mochi red bean buns
- Mixing bowl
- Rolling Pin
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- 3/4 cup (180g) milk, lukewarm
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast (one standard packet)
- 3/4 cup (160g) heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 2 1/4 cups (300g) bread flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 3/4 cups (225g) all purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 tbsp (50g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup (90g) glutinous rice flour
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (180g) water
- corn starch, for sprinkling
Filling and topping
- 2 cups red bean paste
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- black sesame seeds (optional)
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the milk, sugar, and yeast and stir to combine. Make sure the milk is warm but not hot, as too hot liquid can kill your yeast. Let the mixture sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast becomes active and frothy.
- Add the heavy cream, egg, bread flour, all purpose flour, and salt to the bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together on low speed until a cohesive dough forms. Then, while the stand mixer is running, add pieces of butter to the dough. Change speed to medium-low and knead for 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and passes the window pane test. You can also do this step by hand.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise for about 1 hour until doubled in sized.
- While the dough is rising, prep the filling. Take 2 tbsp of red bean paste and shape into a ball. Place on a sheet of parchment paper. Repeat until you have 16 balls of red bean paste. I recommend chilling your red bean paste in the fridge beforehand to make it easier to handle.
- Make the mochi. Mix together the glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then give the ingredients a stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir again. Microwave for a final 30 seconds until the mochi is cooked. It should be translucent and solid. Let cool for a minute or 2 before handling.
- Sprinkle the mochi generously with corn starch to avoid sticking. Divide into 16 equal pieces. Place one piece of mochi on top of each ball of red bean paste.
- Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper in preparation for the buns.
- Once the dough has finished proofing, punch down to release the air. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 equal pieces. To be extra precise, you can use a food scale – each dough ball should weigh about 64g. Shape each piece into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll into a circle 4 – 5 inches wide, making sure that the center is thicker than the edges. To do this, push the rolling pin with your dominate hand. Use the other hand to rotate the dough in a circle so that you only ever flatten the edges.
- Place the filling in the center of the wrapper, mochi side down. Gather the dough and pinch to seal. Gently shape into a perfect round ball and place on the baking tray. Make sure to space at least 1 inch apart.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Let the buns proof for another 30 – 45 minutes. When you gently press an index finger into the bun, it should only fill halfway.
- Whisk together the egg and milk to create an egg wash. Brush the tops of the buns generously with the egg wash and sprinkle the center with black sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes until a light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and enjoy!