Authentic Air Fryer Red Bean Wheel Pie Imagawayaki Recipes: Satisfy Your Cravings

Examine the cultural significance and lengthy history of Imagawayaki, a well-known Japanese cuisine. Discover its origins, traditional preparation methods, and why it has remained a popular treat for centuries.

Essential Ingredients for Perfect Red Bean Wheel Pies

Creating the perfect Red Bean Wheel Pies, or Imagawayaki, requires a few essential ingredients. Every element is essential to guaranteeing the genuineness and delectability of this classic Japanese dessert. Here’s a detailed look at the ingredients you’ll need:

  1. Red Bean Paste (Anko)

Red bean paste is the star ingredient in Imagawayaki. Red bean paste comes in two primary varieties:

  • Tsubuan (Chunky Red Bean Paste): This paste is made by boiling azuki beans with sugar and lightly mashing them. It has a coarser texture and bits of whole beans.
  • Koshian (Smooth Red Bean Paste): The azuki beans are boiled, pureed, and passed through a sieve to remove skins, creating a smooth, velvety paste. Koshian is more commonly used for Imagawayaki.

You can make red bean paste from scratch or purchase pre-made versions from Asian grocery stores. Ensure it’s sweetened and of good quality.

  1. Flour

The batter for Imagawayaki typically uses all-purpose flour. Some recipes incorporate rice or cake flour for a lighter, fluffier texture.

  1. Sugar

To sweeten the batter, add granulated sugar. You can change the amount of sugar to suit your tastes.

  1. Eggs

The batter gains structure and richness from the eggs. They help create a soft and tender texture, ensuring the pies hold their shape and remain moist.

  1. Baking Powder

As a leavening agent, baking powder aids in the batter’s rising and airiness. This is essential for achieving the characteristic fluffiness of Imagawayaki.

  1. Milk

Milk is used to thin out the batter and provide moisture. You can use whole milk for a richer batter or choose low-fat or non-dairy alternatives.

  1. Water

Water is often added to the batter to achieve the right consistency. The combination of milk and water ensures the batter is smooth and easy to pour.

  1. Salt

A dash of salt rounds out the flavor and counteracts the batter’s and filling’s sweetness.

  1. Oil or Butter

Oil or melted butter is added to the batter to keep it moist and tender. While melted butter adds a deeper taste, vegetable or canola oil works well as a neutral oil.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Vanilla Extract: Gives the batter a subtle flavor that balances the red bean paste’s richness.
  • If you would like a bit more sweetness and delicate taste depth, you can add honey or maple syrup.

Gathering these essential ingredients will equip you to make authentic and delicious Imagawayaki. Every element adds to this popular Japanese delicacy’s distinct flavor and texture. Whether making it for the first time or refining your recipe, using high-quality ingredients will ensure your Red Bean Wheel Pies are truly satisfying.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Imagawayaki in an Air Fryer

Making Imagawayaki in an air fryer is a modern twist on the traditional method, providing a convenient and efficient way to enjoy this delightful Japanese treat. Follow these detailed steps to create perfect Red Bean Wheel Pies using your air fryer.

  1. Gather Your Ingredients and Equipment

Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment:

  • Ingredients: Red bean paste (anko), all-purpose flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, milk, water, salt, oil or melted butter, and optional vanilla extract.
  • Equipment: Air fryer, mixing bowls, whisk, measuring cups and spoons, silicone molds or small baking cups, spatula.
  1. Prepare the Batter
  • Combine Dry Ingredients: In a sizable mixing basin, mix one cup all-purpose flour, one teaspoon baking powder, and a little pinch of salt. This guarantees an equal mixing and aids in the removal of any lumps.
  • Combine Wet Ingredients: Beat one egg, two tablespoons sugar, half cup milk, quarter cup water, two teaspoons oil or melted butter, and one teaspoon vanilla extract (if applicable) in a separate bowl. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients: Whisk continuously as you gradually mix the wet and dry ingredients to make a smooth batter. The batter ought to be pourable but thick. If it’s too thick, add a little more water or milk.
  1. Preheat the Air Fryer

Take roughly five minutes to have your air fryer ready at 350°F/175°C.

Preheating ensures that the pies cook evenly and achieve the right texture.

  1. Prepare the Molds

Lightly grease your silicone molds or small baking cups with oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking. Please place them in the air fryer basket, ensuring they fit well and have enough space for air circulation.

  1. Fill the Molds with Batter and Red Bean Paste
  • Layer the Batter: Pour a small amount of batter into each mold, just enough to cover the bottom (about 1-2 tablespoons).
  • Add Red Bean Paste: Place a spoonful of red bean paste (anko) in the center of the batter. Try to keep the filling centered to ensure even cooking.
  • Cover with More Batter: Add more batter to the red bean paste, filling the molds about 3/4 full. Refrain from filling because the batter will expand while cooking.
  1. Cook the Imagawayaki
  • Place the Basket in the Air Fryer: Carefully place the air fryer basket with the filled molds into the preheated air fryer.
  • Set the Timer and Temperature: Cook at 350°F (175°C) for 8-10 minutes. Cooking times can change depending on the brand of your air fryer, so make sure it’s done after 8 minutes.
  • Check for Doneness: The Imagawayaki should be golden brown and puffed up. Insert a toothpick into the batter portion (not the filling); it should come out clean. If not, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  1. Remove and Cool

After carefully removing the basket from the air fryer, let the molds cool slightly. Use a spatula to gently lift the Imagawayaki out of the molds and cool them on a wire rack.

  1. Serve and Enjoy

Once cooled, your Imagawayaki is ready to be enjoyed! Serve them warm or at room temperature. They’re a delicious delicacy served with coffee or tea.

Tips for Success

  • Avoid Overfilling: Be mindful of the batter and filling levels in the molds to prevent overflow during cooking.
  • Consistent Size: Ensure the red bean paste portions are consistent even when cooking.
  • Monitor Cooking Time: Air fryers can vary, so keep an eye on the Imagawayaki during the last few minutes of cooking.

Following these simple instructions, you can make authentic and tasty Imagawayaki with your air fryer. Enjoy the process and the delightful results of these traditional Japanese wheel pies.

Advice and Techniques for Getting the Best Outcomes

Making Imagawayaki in an air fryer can be both fun and rewarding. Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve the best results and ensure your Red Bean Wheel Pies are as delicious as possible.

  1. Use High-Quality Ingredients
  • Red Bean Paste (Anko): Opt for high-quality, sweetened red bean paste. You can either make it from scratch or purchase it from a reliable source. Good-quality anko will significantly enhance the flavor of your Imagawayaki.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh eggs, milk, and flour to ensure your batter’s best texture and taste.
  1. Preheat the Air Fryer

Preheating the air fryer is crucial for even cooking. Preheat it to 350°F (175°C) for about 5 minutes before placing your molds inside. This helps achieve the right texture and color.

  1. Proper Batter Consistency
  • Smooth Batter: Make sure there are no lumps in your batter. Sifting the dry ingredients and whisking the wet ingredients thoroughly will help achieve this.
  • Correct Thickness: The batter should be slightly thick but still pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk or water to reach the desired consistency.
  1. Grease the Molds

Lightly grease your silicone molds or small baking cups with oil or cooking spray. This will facilitate the removal of the cooked Imagawayaki and stop the batter from sticking.

  1. Evenly Distribute Filling
  • Center the Filling: Keep the red bean paste centered in the mold when adding it. This ensures even cooking and a balanced flavor in each bite.
  • Consistent Portions: Use a consistent amount of red bean paste for each pie to ensure uniform size and cooking time.
  1. Avoid Overfilling

Fill the molds about 3/4 full to allow room for the batter to expand as it cooks. If you overfill, the batter may flow over and cook unevenly.

  1. Monitor Cooking Time
  • Check Early: Start checking for doneness at around 8 minutes. Depending on your air fryer model, cooking times may vary slightly.
  • Toothpick Test: Check to see if the batter—not the filling—is cooked with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, your Imagawayaki are ready.
  1. Cooling and Handling
  • Cool Slightly in Molds: Let the Imagawayaki cool slightly in the molds before attempting to remove them. This will help them set and reduce the risk of breaking.
  • Use a Spatula: Gently lift the pies from the molds to avoid damaging their shape.
  1. Storage and Reheating
  • Storing: Imagawayaki leftovers keep well for up to two days at room temperature or up to seven days in the refrigerator when kept in an airtight container.
  • Reheating: To reheat the fried meals without drying them out, place them in the air fryer and preheat for a short while at a low temperature (150°C or about 300°F).
  1. Experiment with Flavors and Fillings
  • Flavor Variations: For a unique twist, add a hint of matcha powder, cinnamon, or cocoa powder to the batter.
  • Different Fillings: For various flavors, try using custard, chocolate, sweet potato, or savory fillings like cheese and ham.
  1. Presentation
  • Serve Warm: Imagawayaki is best enjoyed warm. Serve them as soon as they cool slightly for the best taste and texture.
  • Pairing: For a delightful treat, pair your Imagawayaki with traditional Japanese teas, coffee, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

You can make delicious, perfectly cooked Imagawayaki in your air fryer using these techniques and tactics. Enjoy experimenting with different variations and sharing this delightful dessert with family and friends.

Variations and Creative Twists on Traditional Imagawayaki

Imagawayaki is a versatile treat that lends itself well to various creative twists and variations. While the traditional red bean paste filling is beloved by many, experimenting with different flavors and ingredients can bring a new dimension to this classic Japanese dessert. Here are some exciting variations and creative twists to try:

Different Fillings

  • Custard: A creamy custard filling offers a rich and smooth alternative to red bean paste. You can use store-bought custard or make your own from scratch.
  • Chocolate: Melted chocolate or chocolate ganache makes for a decadent filling. Mix chocolate with nuts or fruit for added texture and flavor.
  • Sweet Potato: Mashed sweet potato, sweetened with sugar or honey, provides a naturally sweet and earthy filling.
  • Fruit Preserves: For a fruity twist, use fruit jams or preserves such as strawberry, raspberry, or apricot.
  • Cream Cheese: A blend of cream cheese and a touch of sugar creates a tangy and creamy filling that complements the batter beautifully.

Flavoring the Batter

  • Matcha (Green Tea): Adding matcha powder to the batter gives it a vibrant green color and a subtle, earthy flavor. Matcha pairs well with both traditional and innovative fillings.
  • Cocoa Powder: Incorporate cocoa powder into the batter for a chocolatey twist. This works especially well with sweet fillings like custard or chocolate.
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg: A hint of nutmeg and cinnamon will give the batter a warm, fall-appropriate spice.

Savory Variations

  • Cheese and Ham: A savory option could involve adding tiny cheese and ham cubes to the batter. The result is a delightful, savory snack that’s great for breakfast or lunch.
  • Pizza Style: Use mozzarella cheese and a small amount of marinara sauce for a pizza-inspired Imagawayaki.
  • Spinach and Feta: Spinach and feta cheese mixture creates a delicious and healthy savory filling.

Gluten-Free Options

  • Gluten-Free Flour: To make Imagawayaki suitable for those with gluten sensitivities, substitute all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Ensure the flour blend produces a texture comparable to regular flour and appropriate for baking.
  • Rice Flour: Using rice flour can give the batter a slightly different texture while keeping it gluten-free.

Vegan Alternatives

  • Egg Replacements: Use flaxseed meal or chia seeds mixed with water as an egg substitute. One spoonful of flaxseed meal or chia seeds should be combined with three tablespoons of water for each egg. Allow the mixture to settle for a few minutes to thicken.
  • Non-Dairy Milk: Substitute regular milk with almond, soy, or oat milk.
  • Vegan Butter or Oil: In the batter, use vegan butter or a neutral oil, like coconut or vegetable oil.

Festive Twists

  • Seasonal Flavors: Incorporate seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice for autumn or peppermint for winter holidays.
  • Decorative Toppings: Dust the finished Imagawayaki with powdered sugar, drizzle with melted chocolate, or add colorful sprinkles for a festive touch.

Combining Multiple Fillings

  • Layered Fillings: Create a layered effect by adding two different fillings—a layer of custard topped with a layer of fruit preserves or chocolate.
  • Marbled Fillings: Swirl two fillings together, such as red bean paste and chocolate, to create a unique marbled effect.

You can tailor Imagawayaki to suit different tastes and occasions by experimenting with these variations and creative twists. Whether you prefer sweet, savory, traditional, or modern flavors, a version of Imagawayaki will satisfy your cravings. Enjoy the process of creating and discovering new favorite combinations!

Pairing Imagawayaki with Beverages: Tea, Coffee, and More

Imagawayaki, with its delicious fillings and soft, fluffy batter, pairs wonderfully with a variety of beverages. The appropriate beverage can improve this traditional Japanese treat’s flavors and experience. Here are some excellent beverage pairing ideas to complement your Imagawayaki:

  1. Traditional Japanese Teas
  • Matcha (Green Tea)
    • Description: A finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves.
    • Pairing Notes: The slightly bitter, earthy flavor of matcha contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of Imagawayaki. This pairing offers a traditional and authentic Japanese experience.
  • Sencha
    • Description: A popular type of Japanese green tea made from whole tea leaves.
    • Pairing Notes: Sencha’s fresh and grassy flavor pairs well with the sweet and savory fillings of Imagawayaki, balancing out the sweetness.
  • Genmaicha
    • Description: Green tea mixed with roasted brown rice, giving it a nutty flavor.
    • Pairing Notes: Genmaicha’s toasty, nutty flavor complements the sweet red bean paste and other fillings, adding a warm, comforting element.
  • Hojicha
    • Description: A roasted green tea with a mild, smoky flavor.
    • Pairing Notes: Hojicha’s roasted, slightly caramelized notes enhance the flavors of sweet and savory Imagawayaki, providing a delightful contrast.
  1. Herbal and Flavored Teas
  • Jasmine Tea
    • Description: Green tea scented with jasmine blossoms.
    • Pairing Notes: Jasmine tea’s floral aroma and delicate flavor complement the sweet fillings, enhancing the overall sensory experience.
  • Chamomile Tea
    • Description: A soothing herbal tea made from dried chamomile flowers.
    • Pairing Notes: Chamomile’s mild and slightly sweet flavor pairs well with all types of Imagawayaki, offering a calming and relaxing pairing.
  • Fruit Teas
    • Description: Herbal teas infused with fruits like berries, citrus, or apples.
    • Pairing Notes: These teas’ fruity notes contrast the sweet and savory fillings, making for a lively pairing.
  1. Coffee
  • Espresso
    • Description: A concentrated form of coffee with a strong flavor.
    • Pairing Notes: Espresso’s bold and robust flavor pairs well with sweet Imagawayaki, particularly chocolate or custard-filled versions, creating a rich and satisfying combination.
  • Latte
    • Description: A coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk.
    • Pairing Notes: A latte’s creamy texture and mild flavor balance the dessert’s sweetness, providing a smooth and comforting pairing.
  • Cappuccino
    • Description: An espresso-based coffee drink topped with steamed milk foam.
    • Pairing Notes: The frothy texture and balanced coffee flavor complement sweet and savory Imagawayaki, offering a well-rounded taste experience.
  1. Other Beverages
  • Milk Tea
    • Description: Black tea mixed with milk, sometimes sweetened with sugar or honey.
    • Pairing Notes: The creamy and slightly sweet flavor of milk tea pairs excellently with the red bean paste and other sweet fillings, enhancing the dessert’s richness.
  • Soy Milk or Almond Milk
    • Description: Plant-based milk alternatives.
    • Pairing Notes: These dairy-free options offer a subtle flavor that complements the dessert without overpowering it. They are especially good for those who prefer non-dairy beverages.
  • Hot Chocolate
    • Description: A rich, creamy chocolate drink with milk and cocoa powder.
    • Pairing Notes: Hot chocolate’s decadent flavor pairs wonderfully with sweet Imagawayaki, especially when filled with chocolate or custard.
  • Sparkling Water with a Twist of Lemon
    • Description: Carbonated water with a splash of fresh lemon juice.
    • Pairing Notes: The refreshing, tangy flavor cleanses the palate between bites, making it a great pairing for sweet and savory Imagawayaki.
  1. Alcoholic Beverages
  • Sake
    • Description: A Japanese rice wine with various flavors, from sweet to dry.
    • Pairing Notes: Sake’s clean, crisp flavor pairs well with sweet and savory Imagawayaki, offering a traditional and elegant pairing.
  • Plum Wine (Umeshu)
    • Description: A sweet and fruity Japanese liqueur made from plums.
    • Pairing Notes: Plum wine’s sweetness and slight tartness complement the dessert flavors, creating a harmonious and indulgent pairing.

By selecting the right beverage to pair with your Imagawayaki, you can elevate your dessert experience and enjoy a perfect balance of flavors. Whether you prefer traditional Japanese teas, rich coffees, or other creative options, there’s a pairing that will enhance the delight of eating these delicious wheel pies.


Imagawayaki is more than just a dessert; it’s a piece of Japanese culture you can bring into your kitchen. You can savor this dish with a contemporary twist using an air fryer while preserving its original flavors. Whether you stick to the traditional red bean filling or explore new variations, making Imagawayaki at home is a delightful way to satisfy your cravings. Try these recipes, experiment with your creative twists, and enjoy the delicious journey of making and eating these wonderful wheel pies.


  1. Can I use canned red bean paste for Imagawayaki?

You can use canned red bean paste (anko) for convenience. For the best results, ensure it’s smooth and of good quality.

  1. How long do I cook Imagawayaki in an air fryer?

Typically, Imagawayaki is cooked in an air fryer for eight to ten minutes at 175°C (350°F). Cooking times, however, could differ based on the brand of air fryer you own.

  1. Can I freeze Imagawayaki?

Yes, you can freeze cooked Imagawayaki. Let them cool completely, wrap them in plastic, and store them in an airtight container. When ready to eat, reheat them in the air fryer or microwave.

  1. What other fillings can I use besides red bean paste?

Try experimenting with other fillings, such as chocolate, custard, or sweet potatoes, or go savory with cheese and ham.

  1. Do I need any special equipment to make Imagawayaki?

While traditional Imagawayaki is made using a special pan, an air fryer can be used effectively. A silicone mold or small baking cups can help shape the pies in the air fryer.

Additional Resources:

  • Imagawayaki Recipes and Tips: Just One Cookbook
  • Air Fryer Cooking Tips: Air Fryer World
  • Japanese Sweets and Desserts: Japan Centre
  • Exploring Japanese Street Food: Serious Eats
  • Buy Japanese Cooking Ingredients: Mitsuwa Marketplace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *