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Sweetened Red Beans (Instant Pot Recipe)

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Homemade sweetened red beans are versatile to make Chinese desserts or fillings, such as this chewy and delicious Baked Red Bean Coconut Cake that is a crowd-pleaser in my family gathering.

The red beans are supposed to be just cooked and softened, still retaining the shape, without breaking the skins apart. They are perfect sweetened red beans that I like the most.

It sounds difficult to achieve this result, isn’t it? On the contrary, it's not that difficult as you thought. The key to successfully making perfect sweetened red bean is attention.

Sweetened Red Bean Instant Pot02

If using regular pot over electric stove, you can easily make sweetened red beans. You need to pay attention to the stove power. Don’t leave it unattended for too long. Stir the mixture occasionally to avoid from sticking to the pot bottom. (Recipe is coming on its way!)

I used to make sweetened red beans in my heavy-based pot over stove until I bought an Instant Pot. All I need to do is to put in all the ingredients, turn on the power, select the “high pressure” function and set the timer. The rest is left for the machine to get it done for me.

Sweetened Red Bean Instant Pot Procedures

When the cooking finishes, the machine will alert you with a beep sound. You don’t need to hurry to do anything. Wait until the pressure inside releases.

Drain up the red beans. Handle with care though. They are really soft. Discard the water and put the beans back into the pot. Lightly stir in some sugar.

If you find some of the red bean skins are broken apart, and they are not too many, it’s normal. Let it cool completely. You can use them right away, or store in refrigerator for later use. Sounds simple?

Sweetened Red Beans (Instant Pot Recipe)

(Printable recipe)

Prep time:
Cook time:
Yield: 2 cups (about 550 gm)

Sweetened Red Bean Instant Pot03

Instant Pot available at Amazon: 
  • If you're interested in getting an Instant Pot, here's the info for you. I got it from Amazon (UK) as the model for sale in UK, with 220 volts, suitable for using in Australia.
  • If you’re living in US or any countries with 110~120 volts electrical system, the model listed on Amazon (US) is the one to go for.

  • 1 cup red beans
  • 4 cups (1 L) water
  • 120 gm raw sugar

Method :
  1. Rinse the red beans and drain well.
  2. Prepare Instant Pot. Put in red beans and 4 cups of water. Secure lid to “Sealing”. Select "Bean/chilli", high pressure cooking for 25 minutes. Natural pressure release. Wait until the float valve drops down. Remove the lid.
  3. Drain the cooked red beans through a sieve. Discard the water. (Or you might like to keep it in fridge for drinks.) Put the red beans back into the pot. Lightly stir in sugar. The cooked red beans are very soft. Be careful and try not to break the bean skins. Press “Saute”, select low heat to cook 5 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside and let it cool down completely. Chill in fridge with cover until ready to use.

  • The red beans will turn very soft after cooking. Be careful when stirring in the sugar as you don’t want to break the bean skins.
  • If you find too many cooked red beans are broken apart or become mushy, no worries, it’s not a big deal. You still can use it, or make some red bean paste with it if you like.


  1. No more canned beans :-) The freshness and creaminess of home made beans are just unbeatable.

    1. Hi Angie,
      Yeah, nothing can beat the homemade sweetened red beans. We can control the sweetness.

  2. Christine, thanks for sharing this great way to cook red beans. Can use this method to cook 馬豆 for making 馬豆糕. Appreciate your advice.

  3. Sure you can use this method. But you need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

  4. Hi!!
    Can we use 片糖 instead of the raw sugar? I’m not quite sure what raw sugar is.

  5. Hi Kookie,
    Sure you can. You might adjust the amount of 片糖 to your liking.
    Happy cooking!

  6. Hi, if I cut the ingredients in half, should I maintain the same pressure cook time?

  7. Hi,
    You won't save any cooking time. But beware that Instant Pot needs a minimum amount of water to build up the pressure. Please check the manual out.