Homemade Kinako Roasted Soybean Flour

2 weeks ago 11

Discover how to make delicious kinako roasted soybean flour right in your own kitchen to elevate your desserts and dishes!


Kinako, a traditional Japanese ingredient made from roasted soybeans, offers a delightful nutty flavor to various sweet treats and dishes. It’s commonly used in Japanese cooking so it’s fairly easy to find in supermarkets but homemade is always better! It can be a fresher and healthier alternative to store-bought versions and allows you to make it to suit your preference. Roasting the soy beans at home means you can control the intensity of the flavour so you have your own custom soybean flour. It’s also easy to create homemade kinako and can be used in a variety of recipes!

kinako roasted soybean flour served on a small round plate with a little wooden spoon

What is Kinako ?

Kinako is a traditional Japanese ingredient made from soybeans. Soy products like soy sauce and tofu are a big part of Japanese cuisine so it’s no surprise that the beans were also turned into a flour. It’s made by finely grinding roasted soybeans into a golden yellow powder. The roasting process gives kinako a rich, nutty flavor with a slightly sweet undertone. It has a light golden colour and a fine texture similar to regular all purpose flour. The earthy and nutty taste of kinako powder is comparable to peanuts and its aroma is reminiscent of roasted nuts or toasted grains. 

In Japan, kinako has been used for centuries to add a nutty sweetness to various dishes and desserts especially mochi and dango. It pairs well with both savory and sweet dishes so it has many uses not only as a garnish for Japanese sweets. 

Apart from its delicious flavor, kinako has several health benefits that make it even more appealing. Being derived from soybeans, it is naturally high in protein and dietary fiber while being low in fat. It also contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron along with B vitamins (B1 and B2).

It is said that the original form of soybean flour existed in the Nara period, but it was not until the Edo period that it became popular. It is said that Shizuoka’s famous Abekawa Mochi, which is sprinkled with soybean flour, was even presented to Tokugawa Ieyasu.


Kinako soybean powder (flour) is made from just yellow soybeans as the sole ingredient. Yellow soybeans are readily available from whole food stores, asian groceries, or online stores. Sugar and a pinch of salt can also be added to the soy flour to make it sweet before using on desserts and sweet foods.

dry yellow soybeans on a rectangular shaped bamboo tray

Making Homemade Roasted Soybean Flour

Although it’s convenient to buy soybean flour commercially, making it yourself is worthwhile. When mass-producing soybeans at a factory, the soybeans are roasted at high temperatures using a large rotary roaster, cooled, and then blended into soybean flour using a large crusher machine. This is the soybean flour that we usually find in stores.  But at home, we can use a cast iron skillet/frying pan and a blender/food processor. 

soybeans roasted in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spatula

1. Roast soybeans in a cast iron skillet. 

2. Cool the soybeans down.

3. Blend the soybeans and if necessary sift the bended soybean in order to remove coarse bits. There are two ways to grind roasted soybeans: one is to grind them with the skins on, and the other is to grind them after peeling them. Peeled soybeans have a smoother texture.

4 images collage, roasting soybeans in a cast iron skillet, blending in a blender, shifting through a fine sieve, and kinako soybean flour in a glass bowl

Tips to Make Kinako Soybean Flour

Using a blender or food processor means that some coarse soybeans may be mixed in. If you are concerned, sift through a sieve to remove coarse soybeans. This process creates a soft texture.

How Is Kinako Flour Used?

Kinako is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many ways. 

1. Traditional Desserts: Kinako is extensively used in Japanese sweets. The most common and popular use of kinako in Japan is as a topping for mochi. The chewy rice cakes are often filled with red bean paste then coated in the soybean powder. The combination of the soft mochi texture with the delicate sweetness and nuttiness of kinako creates an irresistible treat. It’s also used as a garnish for daifuku, yomogi dango, wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets), ohagi, and warabi mochi. Pairing it with kuromitsu (Japanese black sugar syrup) is very popular because the flavours complement each other perfectly. 

three ohagi served on a round plate

2. As a condiment: Kinako can also be sprinkled over other desserts like matcha ice cream, pancakes, and waffles to add flavour. It can be added to breakfast dishes like yogurt, oatmeal, and french toast in the same way as cinnamon by sprinkling a bit on top along with honey or maple syrup. 

3. Baked Goods: It can be incorporated into baked goods such as cookies, breads, and muffins to provide flavour and protein. It can also be added into pancake batter rather than just as a topping. 

4. Drinks: Some cafes offer kinako lattes or milkshakes and this is easy to do at home too. Also as kinako is high in protein, it is often added to smoothies.

warabi mochi with kinako soybean flour served in a small bowl

Storing Kinako

To ensure the longevity and maximum freshness of the kinako powder, proper storage is essential.

Avoid places that get high temperatures and high humidity. For that reason, the refrigerator is the most suitable. The low temperature and dry environment of the refrigerator can slow down the rate of quality deterioration. 

Also kinako absorbs the smell of other foods so be sure to store it carefully. In order to maintain the quality and taste, keep it in a ziplock bag or air tight container to prevent odors from transferring. You can also store it in the same way in the freezer.

kinako soybean flour stored in a ziplock bag

If you love kinako and Japanese desserts then here are some recipes you’ll want to try:  

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kinako roasted soybean flour served on a small round plate with a little wooden spoon

Kinako Soybean Flour

Discover how to make delicious kinako roasted soybean flour right in your own kitchen to elevate your desserts and dishes!

Course: condiments

Cuisine: Japanese

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 15 minutes

Servings: 1

Calories: 202kcal

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  • 1 cup dry yellow soybeans or 7oz/200g


  • Roast soybeans over low heat in a skillet or a frying pan for about 10 minutes.

  • Turn the heat off and leave it to cool down.

  • Place roasted soybeans in a blender or a food processor to blitz.

  • Store the kinako soybean flour in an airtight container.


Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.9g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 10.9g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 632mg | Fiber: 7.6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 41IU

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