These red bean Popsicles are super creamy with bits of chewy beans inside. Only three ingredients are required—they’re very easy to make.
Every time we make a trip to the Asian market in the summer, we stock on red bean Popsicles. For me, it is a sweet treat that reminds me of my childhood. For my husband Thomas, it is a nostalgic food that brings him back to his adventurous days of living in China.
You might find sweetening and freezing beans into an ice pop to be a weird idea. But if you grew up in Asia or you’ve tried these sweet bean treats while traveling, you know how delightful they are.
Back in the early 90s, making a trip to get my weekly sweet treat was almost a ritual. My grandpa would load me onto his three-wheeled rickshaw and slowly ride through the bumpy road in the hot sun. It took 15 minutes to get to the Popsicle stand at the vegetable market. Those stands didn’t even use fridges, which would have been a luxury. They’d hide the ice pops in several layers of thick cotton blankets in a wooden cart to keep them cold. My favorite part was seeing the street vendor flipping through the blankets to fetch a Popsicle. It was like watching a magician pull a rabbit from his hat.
Fast forward to 2010, when I’d just met Thomas, I was surprised to see him getting a red bean pop from 7-Eleven. “Most of my foreign colleagues would pass on the bean Popsicles and go straight for the chocolate-coated ice cream bars,” I told him. But deep down, I was giggling because Asian culture had caught onto him.
When we finished our latest batch of store-bought red bean Popsicles, I decided to make a batch at home using my new Vitamix blender. The whole cooking process required some patience, but it was so simple and straightforward.
- Start by soaking dry beans overnight. Then simmer them until tender.
- Blend the beans with milk until smooth and silky. Add a small cup of whole beans for a bit of chewy texture. You can adjust the blending time, so the bean paste will reach the desired consistency.
- Add condensed milk and blend again. This is a key ingredient to making creamy popsicles, just the way we like them.
- Transfer the mixture into popsicle molds, resisting the temptation to drink the whole batch of the mixture, and freeze them.
These red bean Popsicles are creamy with chewy beans inside, moderately sweet, and very refreshing. Not to mention that each serving only contains just 158 calories. So it is one of those desserts that I have no guilt eating every evening.
It was raining heavily throughout the past weekend. We decided the best way to spend the day would be to stay indoors and catch up on our favorite shows. After dinner, we both fetched red bean Popsicles at the same time. Chewing on the crunchy beans while watching the season finale of Game of Thrones felt like home.
More Asian sweet treats
- 4-Ingredient No-Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream
- Sticky Rice Cake with Red Bean Paste
- Black Rice with Coconut Milk and Fruits
- Traditional Mooncakes
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
This post is sponsored by Vitamix. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that keep this blog going.
Creamy Red Bean Popsicles (红豆冰棍)
- 1/2 cup dried red beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked, unsweetened red beans)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- Add red beans into a medium-sized bowl and add water to cover, at least by 1 inch. Soak until the beans are rehydrated (3 hours at a minimum, up to overnight).
- Drain soaked red beans and transfer to a medium-sized pot. Add cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cook over medium high heat until brought to a simmer. Immediately turn to low heat. Simmer covered until the red beans turn tender without breaking apart, about 50 minutes (*Footnote 1). Rinse the red beans with tap water to cool and drain.
- (Optional) Separate and save 1/4 cup whole red beans to add into the Popsicles for texture, if desired.
- Combine the cooked red beans and milk in a blender (I used a Vitamix). Start at low speed and increase to high, blending for 30 seconds if you like a texture with tiny pieces of crushed beans, and 1 minute for a smoother texture.
- Add condensed milk. Start at low speed and increase to medium, blending for 5 seconds, until the condensed milk is just incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture into Popsicle molds and place them in the freezer for 30 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Meanwhile, soak the Popsicle sticks in water. (*Footnote 2)
- Insert the Popsicle sticks, keeping them as straight as possible. Return the Popsicle molds to the freezer for another 4 to 5 hours, until the Popsicles have solidified.
- To remove a Popsicle, run the mold under warm water for 3 to 5 seconds, and then gently pull the Popsicle out and enjoy!
- It takes 50 minutes to cook beans that have been soaked overnight, and 20 to 30 minutes longer to cook them if you've only soaked them for a couple of hours.
- This step helps the Popsicle sticks stay straight, makes the Popsicles easier to pull out of the molds, and prevents the sticks from coming loose.