How to Boil Dried Red Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans are often used in Japanese sweets. Learn how to reconstitute and cook them to enjoy the texture!

How to Boil Dried Red Kidney Beans
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi

Recipe by
Eiko Oba


Beans & Tofu



  • As needed red kidney beans



Rinse the red kidney beans in a bowl filled with water.


Drain and place in a pot. Add three times as much water and set aside for over six hours, preferably overnight. The reconstituted beans will be larger and plump, with a lighter color.


Place the pot of beans and soaking liquid over medium heat.


When it comes to a boil, empty into a sieve to drain. This is done to remove the bitterness or harsh taste and is refererred to as preliminary boiling.


Put the beans in a pot and cover with water. Place over medium heat.


When it comes to a gentle boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes.


The residual heat will complete the cooking process and the beans will become soft and plump. Once the beans are cool enough to handle, separate into beans and liquid.


The swollen beans will be 2.5 times heavier. The boiling will have drained out some of the color. But the color can be returned by simmering the beans in the boiling water.


Do not discard the boiling water as this will be used to simmer the beans.