The Magic of Kinako (Roasted Soy Bean Flour)

Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Blog, Desserts & Treats, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Vegetables & Vegetarian, Wagashi | Japanese Sweets | 5 comments

Kinako Roasted Soy Bean Flour Judy_Ung

As a kid, one of my favorite Japanese foods was sweetened kinako, or roasted soy bean flour. Of course, back then, I had no clue as to what the dry, golden brown, powdery flour-like substance called kinako was, other than the fact that my mom said it was made from soy, but to me, it was magical.

It was the most delicious food ever, especially when my mom dusted fresh warm mochi with sweetened kinako.

The sugary sweetness of the kinako, combined with its natural toasty flavor was addictive, to say the least. I remember licking sweetened kinako straight from the bowl. Not surprisingly, Bebe is just like me.

One of her favorite snacks right now (aside from strawberry Pokey Sticks and fruit gummies) is mochi with sweet kinako. I often catch her licking her fingers to try and eat every last bit of any leftover sweetened kinako in her bowl.

It wasn’t until much later in life that I learned that kinako was simply unsweetened, roasted, soy bean flour. It turns out that soy bean flour can be purchased at health food stores (try Sprouts or Whole Foods), and then kinako can be made at home by simply roasting the soy bean flour in a pan over the stove.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make kinako from scratch! Soy beans can be roasted in a hot pan, then ground in a food processor.

Unfortunately, I’m not very adventurous. Just like my mom, I buy pre-roasted, unsweetened soy bean flour at our local Japanese market. It is conveniently packaged in a small bag that can be stored in the pantry for a few weeks, or in the refrigerator or freezer for much longer.

To make sweetened kinako, simply mix equal parts of kinako and granulated white sugar. Of course, the amount of sugar can be adjusted to suit your palate. My recipe post on sweetened kinako is available here.

For more information regarding kinako, or roasted soy bean flour, check out my kinako article, “Ingredient Spotlight: Five Ways to Use Kinako” on here.


  1. avatar

    I love it. it’s hard to fiend in our neighborhood. But I always have roasted peanut flour on hand, and that is really similar! :)

    • avatar

      I remember all of your creations with peanut flour! Yes, it is very similar and this stuff is so versatile, isn’t it! Hope all is well.

  2. avatar

    can I use soy flour to toast in oven or put in the pan on stove top to make kinako? I don’t have spice grinder and nearby my area don’t have kinako available.

    • avatar

      Hi Renee, I think that roasting soy flour in a dry pan on the stove top might result in that roasted flavor, and it might also add a nice toasty beige color to the flour as well. – Judy

  3. avatar

    Left over, sweetened kinako is so good on bananas!
    Thank you for the chi chi dango recipe. Wonderful non-dairy treat for the 4 year old grandson.