image of close up baked sourdough red bean buns recipe with sesame seeds

Sourdough Red Bean Buns

What better way is there to celebrate Lunar New Year than with some baked Sourdough Red Bean Buns? Of course, I had to make Red Bean Buns with only sourdough as the leavening agent…because I love a challenge. And don’t worry, the buns don’t have any sour flavor from the sourdough. They’re super delicious.

I’m quite obsessed with red bean paste. I grew up eating red bean anything whenever I could get my hands on it. I would convince my mom whenever we were in Chinatown to take me into the bakeries just so I could get a million red bean items. And then of course, we’d go in and I would be too shy to tell the bakery staff what I wanted in Chinese.

image of baked sourdough red bean buns recipe

To this day, my mom brings me anything red bean, sweet zongzi, steamed red bean buns, moon cakes, baked red bean buns…whatever she finds. I’ll always be a die-hard red bean fan. Red bean over green tea all day, every day. Fight me. Both together, though? I’m in heaven.

Now, these are actually way simpler than you think. The stand mixer mixes the dough for you the night before, and it rises on its own at room temperature overnight. You’ll make the red bean paste the night before as well and let it hang out in the fridge overnight. You also don’t even have to make the adzuki beans from scratch! Feel free to use canned adzuki beans if you can find them. I’ll be honest…I use canned beans all the time.

Sourdough Red Bean Buns: the easy breezy timeline:

The night before:

  • Mix the dough & make the red bean paste.
  • Set the covered dough on the counter & the red bean paste in the fridge when cool.

The morning:

  • Shape the buns & set to proof at room temperature.
  • Bake the buns!
  • Consume happily.

If you make this recipe, please comment and rate the recipe below! I love hearing from you all. Also, you can tag me on Instagram @higheralchemybaking with your bake!

image of baked sourdough red bean buns recipe

Sourdough Red Bean Buns

These baked sourdough red bean buns are the tastiest treats. The bun dough is 100% leavened by sourdough and encase a deliciously sweet red bean paste, which is easily made on the stovetop. This recipe is simpler than you might think and takes only one night & morning to complete! These can also easily be made vegan. Check the notes!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 22 mins
Total Time 15 hrs
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Chinese, Japanese, Vegan
Servings 8 buns
Calories 605 kcal


  • 1 baking sheet


for the bun dough

  • 400 mL canned coconut milk (shake the can before you open it!)
  • 50g sourdough starter
  • 55g sugar
  • 350g bread flour
  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

for the red bean paste

  • 850g cooked and drained adzuki beans
  • 140g brown sugar

for the egg wash/topping

  • 1 egg (use plant-based milk for wash if making this recipe vegan and omit the water)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (white or black!)


the night before

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the coconut milk, starter, and sugar with a fork until mostly broken up. Then add the flour and salt and mix at low speed with a dough hook until fully combined and the dough is soft and formed (about five minutes).
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and oil the bowl. Casually ball the dough and place back in the bowl. Cover and let rise overnight (12-14 hours).
    image of dough ready to rise for the sourdough red bean buns
  • Now, make the red bean paste. Place the beans in a small saucepan with the brown sugar. Stir over low-medium heat until the paste is dry and mushy (about 10 minutes). You can smash the beans a little while cooking with the back of a spatula or a fork after cooking (if you wish!). Place the bean paste in a container and let cool completely. Then cover and place in the fridge overnight.
    image of red bean paste

in the morning

  • Your bun dough should now be fully risen!
    image of risen dough for sourdough red bean buns
  • Dump out your dough and equally separate it (preferably by weight) into 8 balls on a lightly floured surface.
    image of balled up dough for sourdough red bean buns
  • Separate your red bean paste into 8 equal parts as well (you can eyeball it!) and with oiled palms, ball up the bean paste. (Note on the picture: Your bean paste balls will be much larger than these balls.)
    image of balled up dough and balled up red bean paste filling
  • With your fingertips or a small rolling pin, press the dough into wide pancake, almost the size of your hand.
  • Place a ball of red bean paste into the center of your dough pancake.
    image of ball of red bean paste filling inside of dough pancake
  • Pinch the edges into the center to wrap up the bean ball.
    image of making a red bean bun
  • Keep pinching until the dough is fully level.
    image of flattening red bean bun bottom
  • Place the seam side down on a surface and gently twist it on the surface to ensure a full sealing on the seam. Repeat with the rest of your buns, setting them on a lined baking sheet for proofing.
    image of red bean bun bottom
  • Cover and proof for 2.5 hours. They won’t look very different in size when done with proofing (the picture is them after proofing!). When almost done with the proof, preheat the oven to 350F.
    image of proofed sourdough red bean buns on baking sheet
  • Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and teaspoon of water, or if making this vegan, just use a small amount of plant-based milk. Brush the buns with the egg wash or milk and as you do each one, place a pinch of sesame seeds on top so they stick to the wash.
  • Bake for 22-24 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before eating. Enjoy warm! Let me know what you think below in the comments or on Instagram @higheralchemybaking!


This recipe can be easily made vegan by omitting the egg wash and instead using plant based milk as the wash (as noted in the recipe ingredients). The buns won’t be as golden brown, but they will still be very delicious!
Your sourdough starter needs to be thriving for this recipe to work best! Make sure to feed it twice daily at 1:1:1 (starter:water:flour) for best results.

Let me know what you think of my recipe in the comments below! And if you want another sourdough starter dessert recipe, check out my Carrot Cake With Sourdough!

2 thoughts on “Sourdough Red Bean Buns

  1. 5 stars
    These rolls were so fun to make!
    The buns were easy to handle and I had a great time playing around with filling options ☺.
    I pressure-cooked my adzuki beans for the red bean filling (unsoaked, high for 23 min, 15 min natural release) and also experimented with a “char-siu”-like variety with fantastic results!

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