Red bean swirl buns

Red bean swirl buns are something you may find at your local Asian bakery (if you’re lucky enough to have one). You can easily make your own at home!

red bean swirl buns

Happy Cinco de Mayo! While I’m not celebrating with traditional Cinco de Mayo recipes today, I am sharing this fabulous Asian pastry with you. Why? Because it happens to be my half birthday, and this is what I wanted to celebrate. Ha!

I am really missing travel right now. Yes, I got my second vaccine, and I am considered fully vaccinated on Friday. But, I can’t help but think I should have been in Tokyo, or Taiwan or somewhere in Europe. Hopefully, travel will open back up once we start to reach herd immunity across the country and globe.

red bean swirl buns

Oh – my dad is in Taiwan right now. Although the Taiwanese government mandated a 14-day strict quarantine to all visitors, he completed it. He was stuck inside a small hotel room for 14 days. He was not allowed outside the room at all. The government texted him twice a day, and he had to respond back with his vitals (temperature, overall health). In addition, the hotel would text him twice a day with similar questions. On top of that, the Taiwanese version of the CDC would contact him once a day.

Once he finished his hotel quarantine, he was under house quarantine. He was unable to take public transportation, and anybody who wasn’t staying with him was not allowed to see him. In addition, he had to wear masks while around people, and he still had the joy of responding to the government texts once a day.

red bean swirl buns

After 3 weeks of temperature checks and mandatory government texts, my dad is finally able to live like a normal person. He’s been eating his way throughout the city of Taipei, and he has the photos to prove it. One thing I’ve been seriously missing are my authentic Taiwanese pastries.

Since I have a feeling of nostalgia and want to be in Taiwan with my dad, I made these red bean swirl buns. I love, love, love sweetened red beans and could eat it every day. I had a bit of trouble with the dough since it was so sticky but after a few dustings of flour during the rolling step, they were fine.

My red bean buns baked up beautifully and definitely made me think of Taiwan. Hopefully I’ll be able to travel there soon to visit my extended family.

Husband’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5

Red bean swirl buns

Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Resting time2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time3 hours 55 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Asian, Bread, Breakfast
Servings: 12
Author: Eva Bakes


Bun dough

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • cup granulated sugar
  • cup corn starch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 package (2 and ¼ teaspoons) instant (quick rise) yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can sweetened red bean paste Can find this at your Asian grocery story or sometimes in the international aisle at your regular grocery store

Simple syrup (for topping; optional)

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water


Make the dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together the heavy cream, milk, egg, granulated sugar, corn starch, flours, yeast and salt on medium speed for about 10-15 minutes. Your dough should be elastic and a bit sticky.
  • Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl. Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place (I put mine in the oven using the bread proof setting) for 2 hours. Alternatively, you can put it in the refrigerator and let it rise there overnight. Just make sure the dough is room temperature before you move to the next step.
  • Transfer the proofed dough to a well floured surface. Divide it into 12 equal portions.
  • Take one portion of the dough and roll it out to about a 6" square (mine weren't squares, so no need to be exact with this).
  • Brush the top of the dough with about 1-2 Tablespoons of the red bean paste. Leave about a ½" space around the perimeter.
  • Fold the dough in half. Then, using a paring knife, make 3-5 slits along the long side of the halved dough. Twist the dough and roll into a log. Then curl it up into a coil, tucking the ends underneath.
  • Place the coiled up bun on a parchment paper or silicone-mat lined baking sheet. Repeat with the 11 remaining pieces of dough.
  • Allow the buns to proof one more time, in a warm spot, for about 45 min. Brush the top with an egg wash (break an egg into a small bowl and whisk). Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Make the simple syrup

  • As the buns are baking, make the simple syrup. Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan set over medium high heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and set aside.
  • Once the buns have finished baking, brush the tops with the simple syrup. Let the buns cool slightly and enjoy!


Leftover buns should be stored, covered, in an airtight container at room temperature and will last a few days. You can microwave or bake them to reheat.
Source: Eat Cho Food

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