Red Bean Soup | Tang Yuan

by Sarah

in Asian Dishes, Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Egg-Free, vegan


Hello! Update: Some of you have asked me where to find certain cooking tools and ingredients, particularly Asian cooking and cake decorating material, so I have set up an amazon shop with links to where I get the things I use. There are annotations under many items about how I use it, and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment under the link and I’ll get back to you.

Particularly you may wonder what certain Asian cooking ingredients look like. There are pictures of these in the shop to so you can browse and find all the ingredients in this soup. Whether you buy it from amazon or your local Asian store is totally up to you! Amazon is easier if you don’t live by an Asian store, but if you are in close proximity to the actual store you should get it there because it will come in smaller quantities instead of in bulk (but if you like this soup so much you want to buy red beans in bulk, I would be so flattered). Now onto the recipe today :)


This red azuki bean soup is a classic Chinese dessert soup that tastes sweet and velvety. It’s typically served in restaurants after a meal, but can also be eaten for breakfast or part of the main meal. This soup can be eaten warm or chilled, depending on if you like hot or cold desserts.

This soup tastes very soft and luxurious, because the red beans are cooked until they are mushy and their contents have spilled out. To achieve this texture (with minimal work) I use a slow cooker. In the morning I add everything into the slow cooker, and when I come back in the afternoon I add some sugar and it’s ready to eat. You can also make this over night, or in just 3 hours if you cook it on high in the slow cooker. This soup can also be made in a pot, however you will need to watch the pot on the stove so it will take more work. If you are looking for a slowcooker, the one I use is the Crockpot slowcooker in the 3 quart size. I have a very old one handed down to me by my mom when she got a new slowcooker, but it is the same slowcooker as this updated one. The 3 quart size is perfect for 1-2 people, but if you have a family you might consider getting the 6 quart slow cooker. You can find additional info on the slowcooker as well as other kitchen tools I use in the shop!

Red Bean Soup | Tang Yuan

The ingredients in this soup are mostly found in a Chinese supermarket. For the soup components, we have red azuki bean (also spelled adzuki), lotus root, rock sugar, and barley. These are almost exclusively in the dry goods aisle, and there will be many different brands of azuki bean or lotus root, etc. I don’t think it matters which particular brand you go with, so you can use any one you want.

ingredients for red bean soup with tang yuan |

The yuan xiao, also called tang yuan, are found in the frozen section by the dumplings. They are coated in a white dough and filled with a sweet paste. The paste comes in many flavors, most typically black bean, peanut, and red bean. Since it is a red bean soup, I recommend the red bean flavor. Despite looking like white rocks in the non-cooked form, these cook very fast, just 5 minutes in boiling water (boil until they float to the top of the water) so don’t add them to the slow cooker. Adding these are optional, but if you choose to do so I recommend boiling some and adding it to the soup right before serving.



Red Bean Soup | Tang Yuan


  • 200g Red Azuki Bean (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon barley
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried lily bulb
  • 4-5 lotus seed (optional)
  • 1 Liter water
  • 3/4 cup rock sugar (amount depends on desired sweetness)
  • 1 package frozen tang yuan (yuan xiao)


  1. Put all ingredients except the rock sugar in the slowcooker. Cook 3 hours on high or overnight on low (I put mine in for 7 hours on low).
  2. Add Rock sugar 20 minutes before serving. Add 1/4 cup at a time, stirring for 1 minute and letting the slow cooker run a few minutes before adding more sugar. Stop adding when it has reached desired sweetness (can be from 1/4 cup to 1 cup!)
  3. Right before serving, boil frozen tang yuan (also called yuan xiao) in hot water until floating (about 5 minutes). Then scoop out and add 2-3 balls to each bowl of soup.


Adding Tang Yuan (yuan xiao) is optional.

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sally May 23, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Yum! This looks very healthy. Do you know how long it would take on the stovetop instead of the slowcooker?


2 Sarah May 23, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Hi Sally! If you boil everything on the stove top, it will probably take about 45 minutes on medium to medium-high heat. Since every stove is different, the key to knowing if it’s done is to see if your red beans are soft and split open.


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