Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

Bingsu is a Korean shaved ice treat. You can easily make a quick version with canned red beans, but the sweet red beans are easy to make at home. Either way, it will certainly cool you body down on hot summer days. 

DSC2369 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

Nothing says summer more than bingsu (빙수) in Korea! It’s a shaved ice dessert with various sweet toppings. While there are infinite variations, one topping that’s in most  of the variations is sweetened red beans, called pat (팥). Whether you choose store-bought sweetened red beans or homemade from scratch, patbingsu (팥빙수) is a delicious summer treat!

In Korea, many popular patbingsu places make their bingsu simply with pat (red beans) and tteok (떡, rice cake). That’s exactly how I like it, but feel free to load it up! Try it with your favorite fruits, ice cream, cookies, and/or anything else you want. Green tea powder, roasted grain powder (misugaru, 미수가루), and nuts are also popular. 

Hope you make some bingsu at home this summer. Indulge in it and feel your whole body cool down on a hot summer day!  

DSC2383 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

How to make patbingsu

Making patbingsu at home is pretty easy if you have an electric ice shaver. It’s relatively inexpensive. Imagine having bingsu anytime you want on hot summer days without traveling to Korea or not having to pay $12 for it if you have a place near you.

As an alternative, use a blender or a food processor if it has an ice shaving or crunching blade.

Regular ice is typical, but in Korea, shaved ice milk has become popular in recent years. Simply, freeze some milk and shave it. 

For a quick and easy version, you can use pre-made, canned sweetened red beans. However, nothing beats homemade red beans that are made with good quality beans and sweetened to your taste. 

DSC2381 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

Sweetened red beans (pat) 

The most important ingredient in patbingsu is obviously the pat, the red bean topping. These red beans, aka adzuki beans, are tiny and have a white ridge on one side. You can find dried red beans at Korean/Asian markets.

Cooking the red beans is easy, but it takes time as they need to be slow cooked. Soaking the beans is not necessary. The cooked beans should be soft, mostly intact, and moderately sweet.

I usually cook one pound (about 2 cups) at a time. It may seem like a lot, but when you spend time cooking them. you might as well make enough to have bingsu a few times.  Or, puree the leftover (or pass it through a sieve) and make danpatjuk (단팥죽), sweet red bean porridge – another popular sweet treat in Korea.

How to cook adzuki beans in the Instant Pot

If you have an Instant Pot or any other pressure cooker, it’s much faster. To cook the red beans in the Instant Pot, bring the beans to a boil with 4 cups of water on the Sauté  function and continue to boil 5 minutes. Drain off the water, and add 6 cups of fresh water. Cook on Manual High Pressure for 20 minutes. Release after 10 min. Add the salt, sugar, and honey and cook on Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, gently stirring. Cool before using. 

Patbingsu recipe 21 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

Sweet rice cake (injeolmi) 

Patbingsu is usually topped with injeolmi (인절미), a type of rice cake (tteok) made with sweet rice powder. Fresh injeolmi from your Korean market will be great for bingsu. Some Korean markets also carry frozen rice cake pieces made for bingsu.

However, you can try making a simple version with sweet rice powder (chapssalgaru, 찹쌀가루) in the microwave as I’m showing here. 

You can dust the rice cake pieces with corn starch or roasted soybean powder (konggaru, 콩가루) Koreans make injeolmi with. Sweet rice cake is sticky, so the powder makes it easier to handle, but not necessary. Just wet everything — your hand, rice cake, knife, cutting board, etc — with water to deal with the stickiness. 

Other ingredients

Typically, bingsu is drizzled with sweet condensed milk as a flavoring, but you can leave it out if you want, or use regular milk instead. You can make homemade condensed milk by simmering the milk (2 cups) with some sugar (1/4 cup or to taste) over medium low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until it’s reduced by half. Stir frequently while simmering.

Green tea powder, roasted grain powder (misugaru, 미수가루), chopped or sliced nuts, and cookies are all very popular toppings. You can find misugaru at Korean markets. It’s a healthy, multi-grain powder that we dissolve in water or milk to drink.

Patbingsu recipe 4 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

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DSC2381 350x350 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

Patbingsu (Shaved Ice with Sweet Red Beans)

5 from 3 votes
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For patbingsu (per serving)

  • 1 bowl shaved ice or milk ice
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons sweetened red beans (pat, 팥), aka adzuki beans canned or from scratch
  • 2 tablespoons condensed milk
  • a few sweet rice cake pieces (injeolmi, 인절미), aka mochi store-bought or from scratch

Optional toppings

  • Fruits, nuts, green tea ice cream, cookies, misugaru, green tea poweer, etc.

For the red beans

  • 1 pound dried pat (팥, aka adzuki beans) about 2 cups
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of sugar adjust to taste
  • 1/3 cup of honey

For the rice cake

  • 1 cup sweet rice powder (chapssal garu, 찹쌀가루)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch or roasted soybean powder for dusting - optional You can wet everything with water so rice cake won't stick instead.

Instructions

Assembling bingsu:

  • Before shaving the ice, make sure all the ingredients are cold. It also helps if you keep the serving bowls in the freezer for 10 minutes. Shave the ice in an ice shaver or in a blender or food processor.
    Patbingsu recipe 15 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the red beans. Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of condensed milk. Top it with a few rice cake pieces and your favorite fruit pieces, ice cream, and/or any other desired toppings.
    Patbingsu recipe 16 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

For the red beans:

  • Discard broken or rotten beans and rinse the beans. In a large pot, add the beans with 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, uncovered, over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and boil for 5 minutes.
    Patbingsu recipe 6 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Drain the beans.
    Patbingsu recipe 7 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Return the beans to the pot with 8 cups of fresh water. Bring it to a boil. Cover, and simmer over medium low heat for about 1 hour, until the beans are nicely soft. Gently stir occasionally to make sure the beans are not sticking at the bottom. Add more water if needed.
    Patbingsu recipe 17 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Gently stir in the salt, sugar and honey. Continue to simmer, uncovered this time, for about 10 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. The beans should be liquidy. Most of the liquid will be soaked up by the beans even after being cooked.
    Patbingsu recipe 8 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Transfer to a container and cool. Keep it in the fridge up to a week, or in the freezer for a few weeks. Thin it with cold water, if you want, when ready to use it again.

For the rice cake:

  • Combine the sweet rice powder, sugar and salt. Mix well with a whisk.
    Patbingsu recipe 10 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Add water and mix well again.
    DSC2318 640x427 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Cover with ceramic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes. Carefully open and flip the rice cake upside down and mix a couple of times. Microwave for another minute and check if the rice powder is entirely translucent. Microwave a little more (30 seconds) if needed.
    DSC2320 640x427 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Remove from the microwave and let it sit for 5 minutes. Knead well with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes for a chewier rice cake.
    Patbingsu recipe 11 1024x685 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • You can wet your hand and the cutting board, and turn the rice cake out on a wet cutting board. OR: Dust the cutting board with a tablespoon of cornstarch or roasted soybean powder. Flatten it with your hands into a rectangle.
    DSC2335 640x427 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)
  • Cut into 1/2 to 3/4- inch strips. Wet the knife with water. Cut each strip into 3/4 inch cubes. Lightly dust the cut parts of the rice cake pieces with the cornstarch to prevent from sticking, if desired. You can freeze leftover rice cakes.
    DSC2339 640x427 - Patbingsu (Shaved ice with Sweet Red Beans)

Notes

To cook azuki beans in the Instant Pot, boil the beans with 4 cups of water on the Saute function for 5 min after coming to a boil. Drain off the water, and add 6 cups of fresh water. Cook on Manual High for 20 minutes. Release after 10 min. Add the salt, sugar, and honey and cook on Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, gently stirring. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

This recipe was originally posted in July 2011. Here, I have updated it with new photos, more information and improvements to the recipe. 

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Comments

  1. oh no why does my ricecake have such a bitter taste?

  2. Thank you so much for creating this blog/website. My boyfriend is Korean and misses Korean food so much so I’ve been using all of your recipes to make him a ton of dishes and he loves every single one of them! I do, too, of course! Thanks again!

  3. 2309432p859023854092834098jdkfljasdof09s8uf09283048234lsjdf09i0 says

    had this today thank you

  4. Julianna Blaskie says

    I just came back from Korea, and I’m definitely missing bingsu! The very first thing my host family took me to eat after my plane touched down was melon bingsu at a cafe in Buyeo. It really is a great way to help ease the summer heat, thank you for recipe!

  5. What a beautiful version of shaved ice! I’ll be honest, I usually buy my ice syrup premade from http://www.realhawaiianice.com — Tiger’s Blood is my favorite — because I can be lazy, but this recipe definitely looks worth the effort! And ah, homemade rice cake! Mochi has always been my favorite topping, but I never knew you could make it at home so easily, thank you! xx

  6. Mellody Zhye says

    How great..thank for sharing this..I was looking for very basic recipe of patbingsu everywhere..most other post the modify version and I dont like it even it may taste good but I love yours coz its very basic and traditional one..

  7. Fern @ To Food with love says

    I have a shaved ice maker at home, which I never got around to using. Looks like it’s time to get it out! This looks wonderful, like many shaved ice desserts, looks like there’s always red bean in it, even this one. Love the addition of the sweet rice cakes. And mmm…condensed milk….:)))

  8. Holly | Beyond Kimchee says

    Hyosun! I love the new look of your site! Great job and congratulations!
    Patbingoo is my weakness. I can eat it everyday. I have been thinking about getting an electric ice shaver for a while and I think It is about the time. Love all the vibrant colors of the topping. What a refreshing and delicious way to kick off the summer! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, Holly! I’m very happy with my ice shaver. Hope you get one soon. Your children would love it!

  9. i love love love this. thanks for reminding me. i need to get some!

  10. So serendipitous that you’re posting about bingsu today! I was trying to find an excuse to head out to a local Korean chain, SunO, which makes a fabulous milk based bingsu -i.e. instead of shaving plain ice, they shave a block of frozen water/milk/sweetner. The result is ‘snow’ that has a soft, velvety texture. I love it! Then they add all the various syrups and toppings you expect with bingsu. I didn’t manage to drag the family out that far, but now I’m super excited about trying to duplicate it at home.

    Thanks also for the sweetened condensed milk recipe! I’ve never seen the stuff made with organic, r-bgh free milk in regular supermarkets and am looking forward to making my own.

    P.S. You’re the best! I hope you get a kickback because I made a purchase of the ice shaving machine through your link.

    • Frozen milk is great for bingsu. It’s also fun to be out with the family to enjoy bingsu together. We do that sometimes. I don’t receive anything from Amazon, but I’m glad you bought an ice shaver. Hope you use it as much as I do. I made 5 servings today for my family. Thank you for the nice words!