When can babies eat adzuki beans?
Adzuki beans may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Where do adzuki beans come from?
Adzuki beans originated in Asia, where there are hundreds of varieties in hues from brown to green to black to white, but the red beans are perhaps the best known. Also known as red mung beans, the small adzuki bean was first cultivated in the Himalayas, and over time, it became a staple food throughout the continent, where today it goes by different names, including chori, đậu đỏ, hóngdòu, pat, and ravan. In China, Japan, and Korea, the adzuki bean’s firm texture, rich taste, and crimson color flavor myriad foods such as moon cakes, mochi, and stews like patjuk and zenzai.
Are adzuki beans healthy for babies?
Yes. Adzuki beans are an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein to help support baby’s developing gut microbiome and fuel growth and development. Adzuki beans are also remarkably rich in potassium compared to other beans, which help supports baby’s heart and electrolyte balance. Like other beans, they are also packed with iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin B6, which collectively support healthy blood, immune function, neurodevelopment, and metabolism.
Adzuki bean pastes can be high in sugar, so try to hold off on serving these to children until closer to the second birthday.
Are adzuki beans a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Adzuki beans are a choking hazard due to their small size and rounded shape especially when raw or undercooked. To reduce the risk, cook until soft, and mash beans into a paste or flatten each bean before serving. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.
Are adzuki beans a common allergen?
No. Adzuki beans are not a common allergen, though rare reactions have been reported.1 Bean allergies have been reported in some patients with allergies to other legumes, including peanut and soybean (which are common food allergens). However, being allergic to one type of legume does not necessarily mean that an individual will be allergic to others, although the risk of having more than one legume allergy can increase.2 Fortunately, most individuals with peanut or soy allergy are able to tolerate other legumes just fine.3 Note that adzuki beans are closely related to mung beans so, in this case, allergy to one of these legumes may increase the risk of a reaction to the other.
Individuals with allergies to birch tree pollen and/or Oral Allergy Syndrome (also called pollen-food allergy syndrome) may be sensitive to legumes, such as adzuki beans.4 5 Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction.
As you would when introducing any new food, start by offering a small quantity for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
Can babies have canned adzuki beans?
Yes, but read labels before purchasing. Many canned adzuki bean products have added sugar, which is best reserved until closer to the second birthday, or salt, which should be minimized in infant diets. Look for adzuki beans marked “no salt added” or “low sodium” and opt for cans marked “BPA-free,” when available. Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to line the interior of some food containers, and studies show that frequent exposure can affect baby’s neurological development.6 7
Are the lectins in adzuki beans safe for babies?
Yes. Often called anti-nutrients, these naturally-occurring plant compounds (including lectins, oxalates, and phytates) break down during the soaking and cooking process and are generally harmless in healthy people when consumed as part of a balanced diet.8 9 10 Lectins and oxalates can even offer health benefits, such as antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.11 12
Do adzuki beans need to be soaked before cooking?
No, but soaking them in water prior to cooking can help reduce cooking time, reduce levels of lectin and of a gas-producing carbohydrate, raffinose, and help make the bean’s key nutrients (like iron and zinc) more digestible.13 14 15
Here are a couple of soaking methods:
- Traditional overnight soak: Use a ratio of 1 lb (454 g) of dried beans and 10 c (2 ½ liter) water, and soak the beans in water for 4 or more hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the beans prior to cooking.
- Hot soak method: Use a ratio of 1 lb (454 g) of dried beans and 10 c (2 ½ liter) water, and bring the mixture to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, then soak for a few hours. Drain and rinse the beans prior to cooking.
Can adzuki beans help babies poop?
Yes. High levels of fiber and resistant starches in adzuki beans interact with certain bacteria in the gut, resulting in gas, helping move poop along, and contributing to a diverse ecosystem in the digestive tract.16 While gas is normal and expected, excess gas can be uncomfortable for baby. To minimize digestive discomfort, introduce high-fiber foods like adzuki beans gradually and regularly in baby’s diet as tolerated.17 Remember that pooping patterns can vary significantly from baby to baby. If you have concerns about your baby’s pooping and digestive function, talk to your pediatric healthcare provider.
How do you prepare adzuki beans for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 8 months old: Blend cooked adzuki beans into a paste that baby can scoop. If you prefer, serve the paste with a pre-loaded spoon or thinly spread the paste on thin rice cakes or strips of toast. Alternatively, stir the paste into soft scoopable foods like congee, dal, mashed vegetables, or yogurt. Just start with small portions to minimize any digestive discomfort. Hold off on serving sweetened adzuki bean pastes until baby is older, ideally after the second birthday.
9 to 11 months old: Offer whole, soft adzuki beans that have been gently flattened between your thumb and finger before serving. Alternatively, continue serving mashed or pureed adzuki beans for baby to scoop with hands or spoon, or use as a dip.
12 to 24 months old: By this age, you can serve whole, cooked adzuki beans, either on their own or as part of a meal, or continue to flatten individual beans or mash and serve as a paste.
24 months and up: Serve and cook with adzuki beans as desired, and at this age, feel free to serve foods with sweetened adzuki bean paste in moderation.
Get recipe ideas for the whole family from our guide 100 Dinners for Babies & Toddlers.
Recipe: Adzuki Beans and Rice
Yield: 3 c (720 ml)
Cook Time: 30 minutes + overnight soak
Age: 6 months+
- 1 15-oz (425-g) can adzuki beans
- ½ c (120 ml) dry basmati rice
- ¼ c (60 ml) plain yogurt (optional)
- 1 tsp (3 g) sesame seed (optional)
This recipe contains common allergens: dairy (yogurt) and sesame (seed). Only serve to a child after these allergens have been safely introduced.
- Rinse the beans to remove excess sodium.
- Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
- Place the rice in the pot and add 1 ¼ c (300 ml) of water or stock.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Keep the rice covered in the pot and let it steam for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff the rice, and stir in the beans.
- Set aside some beans for your child. If you are sharing beans and rice with babies under 12 months of age, mash the beans and rice with yogurt to minimize the risk of choking.
- Before serving, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and season your portion with salt to taste.
Serve the Beans and Rice
- Offer beans and rice to the child, then let them self-feed.
- If help is needed, pre-load a utensil for the child, then hold it in the air in front of them and let the child grab it from you.
- Eat beans and rice alongside the child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Adzuki Beans and Rice keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP. Board-Certified Pediatric Dietitian and Nutritionist
K. Tatiana Maldonado, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS, CLEC. Pediatric Feeding Therapist
K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT. Pediatric Feeding Therapist
Dr. S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)
Dr. R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist
- Ohtani, K., Fujimoto, M., Inagaki, H., Kitsuda, K. (2015). Azuki bean allergy in a Japanese child: A case report. Juntendo Medical Journal. 61(3): 302-304. DOI: 10.14789/jmj.61.302. Retrieved September 15, 2022
- Chan, E.S., Greenhawt, M.J., Fleischer, D.M., Caubet, J. C. (2019). Managing Cross-Reactivity in Those with Peanut Allergy. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice, 7(2), 381–386. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaip.2018.11.012. Retrieved May 24, 2022
- Bublin, M., & Breiteneder, H. (2014). Cross-reactivity of peanut allergens. Current allergy and asthma reports, 14(4), 426. DOI: 10.1007/s11882-014-0426-8. Retrieved March 14, 2022
- Kashyap, R.R., Kashyap, R.S. (2015). Oral Allergy Syndrome: An Update for Stomatologists. Journal of allergy, 2015, 543928. DOI:10.1155/2015/543928. Retrieved May 24, 2022
- National Health Service. Oral allergy syndrome. Retrieved September 15, 2022
- Mustieles, V., & Fernández, M. F. (2020). Bisphenol A shapes children’s brain and behavior: towards an integrated neurotoxicity assessment including human data. Environmental health : a global access science source, 19(1), 66. DOI: 10.1186/s12940-020-00620-y. Retrieved March 14, 2022
- Rochester, J. R., & Bolden, A. L. (2015). Bisphenol S and F: A Systematic Review and Comparison of the Hormonal Activity of Bisphenol A Substitutes. Environmental health perspectives, 123(7), 643–650. DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1408989. Retrieved March 14, 2022
- Singh, B., Singh, J. P., Shevkani, K., Singh, N., & Kaur, A. (2017). Bioactive constituents in pulses and their health benefits. Journal of food science and technology, 54(4), 858–870. Retrieved September 15, 2022
- Deol, J. K., Bains, K. (2010). Effect of household cooking methods on nutritional and anti nutritional factors in green cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) pods. Journal of food science and technology, 47(5), 579–581. DOI:10.1007/s13197-010-0112-3. Retrieved August 4, 2021
- Chitra, U., Singh, U., Rao, P.V. (1996). Phytic acid, in vitro protein digestibility, dietary fiber, and minerals of pulses as influenced by processing methods. Plant foods for human nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands), 49(4), 307–316. DOI:10.1007/BF01091980. Retrieved August 4, 2021
- Grases, F., Costa-Bauza, A., Prieto, R.M. (2006). Renal lithiasis and nutrition. Nutrition journal, 5, 23. DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-5-23. Retrieved August 4, 2021
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Are Anti-Nutrients Harmful? Retrieved August 4, 2021
- Queiroz Kda S, de Oliveira AC, Helbig E, Reis SM, Carraro F. Soaking the common bean in a domestic preparation reduced the contents of raffinose-type oligosaccharides but did not interfere with nutritive value. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2002 Aug;48(4):283-9. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.48.283. Retrieved September 15, 2022
- Fabbri, A.D.T., Crosby, G.A. (2016). A review of the impact of preparation and cooking on the nutritional quality of vegetables and legumes. International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science 3:2-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2015.11.001. Retrieved September 15, 2022
- Margier, M., Georgé, S., Hafnaoui, N., Remond, D., Nowicki, M., Du Chaffaut, L., Amiot, M. J., & Reboul, E. (2018). Nutritional Composition and Bioactive Content of Legumes: Characterization of Pulses Frequently Consumed in France and Effect of the Cooking Method. Nutrients, 10(11), 1668. DOI : 10.3390/nu10111668. Retrieved September 15, 2022
- Singh, B., Singh, J. P., Shevkani, K., Singh, N., & Kaur, A. (2017). Bioactive constituents in pulses and their health benefits. Journal of food science and technology, 54(4), 858–870. DOI: 10.1007/s13197-016-2391-9. Retrieved September 15, 2022
- Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2016). Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 11(1), 80–85. DOI: 10.1177/1559827615588079. Retrieved September 15, 2022