Red beans and rice is a classic recipe that is hugely popular in not only New Orleans, but all of Louisiana. This meal is a southern tradition that has been passed down for generations in just about every household.
This dish is traditionally made on Mondays, using up the leftovers from Sunday meals. The combination of the various ingredients makes this dish full of flavors that meld together perfectly.
However, don’t think about making this recipe only on Mondays. Even without leftovers, you can make this meal any day of the week with some common, and budget friendly ingredients.
And with Mardi Gras carnival season in full swing, and Fat Tuesday just around the corner, it is the perfect time to make this recipe.
However, before we get started, there are a few things that you need to know about making Red Beans and Rice. First of all, the traditional recipe takes a few hours to simmer on the stove before it can be served.
And if you making this recipe using dried red beans, additional time is require to soak the beans. Plan on an additional 8-12 hours for the beans to soak.
However, there are also a few other ways to get soaked beans done a little faster, which I will explain below.
Red Beans vs. Kidney Beans
Many people, especially in the areas not located in the South, may not be familiar with red beans. Instead, they might automatically assume that red beans are kidney beans.
However that is not the case. Although they are both legumes, and both are delicious to eat in soups, stews and with rice, there is a difference between the beans.
Kidney beans are large and are named for their shape. They hold up well in the cooking process and are used in many chili and Mexican vegetarian recipes.
On the contrary, red beans are smaller in size and retain their oblong shape when cooked. They typically cook faster than kidney beans because of their petite size.
Red beans are they the preferred choice when it comes to Cajun and Creole cuisine.
Red Beans and Rice Recipe
*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.
- Dried red beans
- Smoked ham hock
- Andouille sausage
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onion, finely diced
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Celery, finely diced
- Green bell pepper, chopped
- Black pepper
- Cajun Seasoning
- Chicken Stock
- Bay leaves
- Hot sauce (optional)
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped
- Cooked white long-grain rice
Instructions for Cooking Red Beans and Rice:
Rinse and sort the red beans, discarding any bad beans. Then place them in a large bowl and cover them in water, with the water at least an inch over the beans. Soak them for 8-12 hours.
Other methods to soak the beans:
Although the traditional way is to soak the beans overnight, there are a couple of short cut methods that you can take to make the beans softer before cooking.
1. Cover the beans with water and soak for 10 minutes. Then bring the pot with the beans to a boil for 20 min. Remove the pot from the heat and let them sit in the water until ready to cook.
2. You can also use a pressure cooker to ‘soak’ your beans. Place the red beans in the pot and cover with water, 1 inch above the top of the beans. Lock the lid in place and move the valve to the SEALING position.
Pressure Cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes. Once the cook time is up, allow the pot to naturally release the pressure. The total time for this process will take approximately 45 minutes, from start to finish.
Once the beans have been soaked, it is time to start cooking your Red Beans and Rice meal. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot set over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, brown the sliced Andouille sausages until brown on both sides. Then remove the browned sausages from the pot.
In the same pot that you browned the sausage, add the remaining oil and diced onions, celery and green pepper. Sauté over medium heat until onions become tender.
Then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant, stirring constantly so that the garlic does not turn too dark.
Quickly add the chicken stock, beans and ham hock into the pot and stir. Then add the black pepper, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, and a few dashes of hot sauce and stir one more time.
Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let the beans simmer until they are softened, about 2 hours.
Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Based on your taste, you may want to add more ground black pepper or hot sauce to the beans.
Before serving the red beans and rice, you will need to thicken the mixture. Do this by removing 1 cup of beans to a bowl and smash them with a fork. Add them back into the pot and stir.
Cook for an additional 10 minutes, adding a little water if needed. Remove the bay leaves and ham hock. Serve the beans over white, long-grain rice with chopped parsley and diced green onions if desired.
How to store and reheat the leftovers?
Refrigerate: Place the red beans in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. However, I do not recommend combining the red beans and rice before storing.
It is best to use leftover rice within 24-48 hours of cooking, otherwise it begins to turn stale. However, it is very quick an easy to make Instant Pot Rice, stove top rice or even steam-able bagged rice in a hurry.
Reheat on the stove: Place the beans and rice together in a pan and add a 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover and place over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
How To Make This Recipe Quicker
Although you can’t beat the taste of this recipe simmering for hours on the stove, there are a few ways that you can get Red Beans and Rice on the table in a shorter amount of time.
1. The first method involves using a pressure cooker. I have already explained how to soak your beans in an Instant Pot. However, you can make the entire recipe in the pressure cooker: Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice.
2. Instead of using dry red beans, use Canned Red Beans instead. Because you won’t have to cook the beans until tender, this recipe can be on the table in under 1 hour! However, be sure to decrease the amount of liquid you add to the recipe because the beans will already be in liquid.
Other Popular New Orleans Recipes
If you are looking for other recipes to celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, or simply want to make something delicious, here are some of my other favorite Bayou recipes:
- Crock Pot Jambalaya
- Cajun Gumbo
- Southern Pralines
- Baked Beignets
- Shrimp Po’ Boy
- Shrimp Creole
- Cajun Crawfish Etouffee
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Red Beans and Rice
Classic New Orleans red beans and rice recipe made with dry red beans. An easy and delicious meal that will keep you full for hours.
- 1 ½ pound dried red beans
- Smoked Ham hock
- 4-5 Andouille sausage links, each approximately 6 inches in length
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely diced
- 2 large rib celery, finely diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-6 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 3 bay leaves
- hot sauce (optional)
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped
- Cooked white long-grain rice, for serving
- Rinse and sort the red beans, discarding any bad beans. Then place them in a large bowl and cover them in water, with the water at least an inch over the beans. Soak them for 8-12 hours.
- Slice sausage in 1/2 inch rounds. Then in a large Dutch oven or stock pot set over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, brown sausage on both sides, remove from the pan.
- Add the remaining oil and diced onions, celery and green pepper. Sauté over medium heat until onions become tender, approximately 5 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, scrape and deglaze the bottom of the pot to remove any brown bits. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the pot and stir. Drain the beans and pour them into the pot, along with a ham hock, cajun seasoning, black pepper, bay leaves and a couple of dashes (or more to taste) to the pot and stir. Add more chicken stock if needed, making sure that the beans are covered. The amount of chicken stock needed will depend on the width of your pot.
- Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the beans are softened, about 2 hours. Add additional chicken stock or water as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- 10 minutes before serving, remove 1 cup of beans to a bowl smash with a fork. Add them back into the pot and stir. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, adding up a little more water if needed. Remove the bay leaves and ham hock bone.
- Serve over white long-grain rice with chopped parsley and diced green onions.
Recipe provided by Make Your Meals
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 453Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 1276mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 25g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.