Red Beans and Rice Recipe – smoky, spicy, and overly comforting beans and rice combo with smoked sausage and turkey flavored with creole seasoning. Delightfully full of complex flavors that is simple and easy. Truly a must-have on your weekly rotation!
I can’t believe how time flies and we’re now months away till Christmas Fa-la-la! For now, let just celebrate regular Wednesday and any day of the week with this hearty Red Beans and Rice.
Since we’ve been on this food journey together for years now, I want you in for a little secret — I really really love beans. Uggghh. I can eat it EVERY SINGLE DAY – like you can call me the “Crazy Beans Lady”. As evidently seen with my numerous rice and beans recipes. 😉
Heeey, what’s not to love with beans?
What is Red Beans and Rice?
This Red Beans and Rice is a signature dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine that’s traditionally prepped up on Mondays made primarily with red beans, vegetables (onion, celery, and bell pepper – the holy trinity of creole cooking), common spices, and pork, slowly cooked in a pot and served with rice.
Back then, Mondays in New Orleans were traditionally a laundry day. And women need a dish that they can just leave on the stovetop to cook itself while they do the laundry.
This easy red beans and rice recipe uses common pantry spices, a dash of fresh herbs, some smokey cuts of pork, and red kidney beans (or other types of beans). This one here, folks, flies off the table quickly.
All you need are these ingredients below:
- Red Kidney Beans – these healthy beans can keep you full for long periods of time, perfect for those who are always on the go. Plus, they are rich in iron, potassium, and phosphorus and an excellent source of fiber and protein, too.
- Vegetable Oil – or feel free to use any cooking oil you prefer, we’ll need it to saute the garlic, onions, sausage, etc.
- Andouille Sausage – it has an interestingly distinct flavor with a coarse, smoky, and sharp taste. The sausage is already cooked and will render more savory flavors as you saute it.
- Hamhock or Smoked Turkey – you can’t go wrong with adding more proteins to this cajun red beans and rice. Plus you’ll love the added rich meaty flavors.
- Garlic – I really love the taste and the aroma of fresh garlic. I sometimes go crazy and add more than what the recipe calls for. I just can’t help it! 😉 Check out How to Mince Garlic here.
- Onion – Did you know that onion is rich in antioxidants and a great immune booster? Plus, it makes this red beans and rice more savory and flavorful. Learn How to Cut Onions here.
- Celery – Both the leaves and stalks are edible and a nice addition to scrumptious dishes like soup, stews, and salad.
- Bell Pepper – you’ll love its peppery flavor notes with a hint of sweetness. If you want to keep it crisp, take them out after sauteing and put them back on as garnished. 😉
- Bay Leaves – the tea-like aroma adds another layer of flavor to this dish. Adding a hint of minty flavor to any dish like this classic comfort food takes it to a whole new level.
- Thyme – one of my favorite herbs along with basil coz’ it blends well with other herbs with its subtle minty, earthy, and a hint of sweetness.
- Paprika – you’ll love this spice, too. It has a pungent taste because of its pepper origins, but it’s rich in flavor with a hint of sweetness from bell peppers.
- Creole Seasoning – when your dish feels like missing a flavor, leave it to this wonder seasoning and let it do its magic. 😉 Here’s how to make Immaculatebites Creole Seasoning.
- Cayenne – you can skip it or add more of it – it’s completely up to you. Just omit this if you want your red beans and rice recipe to be kid-friendly.
- Fresh Thyme – a sprig of fresh thyme gives fresh herby flavors to any dish and gives more character to it.
- Chicken Stock – concentrated chicken flavor in soup stock. Its savory and amazing flavors are then absorbed by the rice and beans, resulting in the best-tasting red beans and rice recipe ever. 😉
- Salt and Pepper – the best seasoning duo there is! They are very affordable and accessible yet give full flavors to every dish.
- Green Onion – is often used as a garnish but this pungent straw-like veggie is actually a delicious addition to any dish. Here the link to How to Cut Green Onions.
- Cooked Rice – completes this delightful comfort food. The perfect accompaniment to these delectably cooked red beans and sausage.
Andouille Sausage Substitutes
- Kielbasa Sausage – is a smoked sausage often made with pork. If you like garlicky and spicy flavor, you’ll love this one too. 😉
- Smoke Beef Sausage– this one is very similar to Andouille Sausage. Unlike Kielbasa Sausage, this one is lightly spiced and less garlicky.
- Chinese Sausage or Chinese Chorizo– is generally sweet and salty in taste, often used in Asian-inspired dishes like stir-fry and stews.
- Vegan Sausage– good thing they exist. You can now enjoy this dish completely vegan. 😉 They are often made from buckwheat flour, white beans, or tofu.
Ham hock Or Smoked Turkey Substitutes
- Leftover Ham – this is actually a great replacement for ham hocks. It’s oozing with great flavors and can make this dish more scrumptious and enticing.
- Chicken – very versatile meat you can add to any dish and delivers amazing flavors, too.
- Seafood – shrimp, scallop, and lobster are the best substitute if you’re not a fan of red meat. They are an equally delightful addition to this easy red beans and rice recipe.
- Black Beans and Rice – they are pretty much similar but differs in some herbs and spices like cumin and Taco Seasoning.
- Caribbean Rice and Beans – just add coconut milk and scotch bonnet peppers to enjoy this classic comfort food.
- African Rice and Beans – this one has diced tomatoes and crayfish and uses Basmati Rice.
- Jamaican Rice and Peas – a spicy rice and beans dish that uses kidney beans. It has coconut milk, scotch bonnet pepper, and flavored with whole allspice seeds.
Ways to Cook Red Beans and Rice
- Stovetop – though the cooking time takes about 2 hours, I assure you it’s truly worth waiting. 😉
- Crockpot – this one is perfect for busy moms like me. I can just leave it there to cook while I do my house chores or runs some errands. Try Red Beans and Rice Crockpot recipe.
- Instant Pot – If you want to take a shortcut and reduce the cooking time, Instant Pot is the way to go! Like this Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice.
Storing And Reheating Instructions
Remember to store leftover red beans and rice separately because cooked rice has a shorter shelf life. As much as possible, consume rice within the day because it can easily get spoiled.
- Place the leftover beans in an airtight container.
- Leftover beans can be stored in the fridge for about 1 week.
- And can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Tip: If freezing a big batch, store them individually in small portions and place them in freezer-safe ziplock bags.
- Stovetop – place the leftover beans in a saucepan and add a splash of water or stock. Heat on medium heat until heated through.
- Microwave – in a microwave-safe bowl, add a little amount of water or stock to the leftover beans and cover lightly. Heat on medium power for a minute or more, or until heated through. Occasionally stir at 30 seconds intervals.
Tip: Reheat frozen beans directly, no need to thaw, to avoid the beans from getting too mushy.
Although Red Beans and Kidney Beans are sometimes used interchangeably, these two are actually NOT the same. They may have the same deep red color, but Red Beans are quite smaller and rounder compared to Kidney Beans. But we’re pretty flexible here… so feel free to replace kidney beans with red beans if that’s what you have on hand.
The answer is YES. You may use canned cooked beans but if you want to have that creamy flavor and texture then stick with dried beans.
Well, the answer depends on what kind of diet you are into.
No, if you’re trying to lose weight coz of its high carb content.
Yes, if you’re doing intermittent fasting. Beans and rice can make you feel full for a longer time perfect for fasting.
Yes, if you’re into a vegan diet. You can enjoy a guilt-free vegan full meal by omitting the Andouille Sausage. Or you can just use vegan sausage to make it completely vegan. 😉
How Can I Thicken Up My Red Beans And Rice?
The starch from rice and beans will naturally thicken up your red beans and rice. Just add enough water or stock so it won’t be too watery and soupy. Cook it UNCOVERED until the excess liquid evaporates until desired thick consistency.
Do You Cover Red Beans While Cooking?
The answer is, NO. You cook them uncovered because it allows the water to evaporate leaving the great flavors behind and get absorbed by cooked red beans and rice.
Cooking your beans with the lid on will make them mushy and creamy. However, cooking time will be reduced by 15 minutes if, covered.
Actually, this meal combo is already good enough. But a side salad would go well with this and also this homemade Skillet Cornbread. Here are other recipes that you can try to serve along:
More Delicious Southern Recipes
How To Make Red Beans and Rice
Soaking the Beans
- Wash the dry beans – Rinse dry beans and pick through and discard any foreign object. (I did not have to do this because I used the package beans,). (Photo 1)
- Soak the beans in water, overnight – Add beans to a large pot covering with 3-4 inches of cold water. Let it sit overnight. (Photo 2)
Sauteing the Sausage
- Drain the soaked beans – rinse, set aside. (Photo 3)
- Cut the sausage and saute – Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Cut sausage and ham hock or turkey into 1-inch chunks and add to oil, saute for about 3- 5 minutes stirring, frequently, any browned bits off the bottom of the pot, until brown. (Photos 4-5)
- Add the veggies and herbs – Then add onions, garlic, celery, bell peppers, bay leaves, thyme, and sprig fresh thyme to the pot. (Photo 6)
- Season – vegetables with Creole seasoning, paprika, and cayenne, if using. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to wilt.
Cooking the Red Beans
- Add the beans and broth – Place the rinsed beans in the pot and stir, then pour in broth or water. (Photos 7-9)
- Boil and simmer uncovered – Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 -2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until beans are tender and slightly thickened. Note: Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick, the texture of the beans should thick, somewhat creamy but not watery. (Photo 10)
- Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig.
- Season – Taste and adjust for seasonings with pepper and salt if needed.
- Serve – over cooked rice and garnish with green onion.
Watch How To Make It
This blog post was first published in September 2019 and has been updated with additional tips and a video.
Red Beans and Rice
- 1 pound (450g) red kidney beans
- ¼- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or canola)
- 1 pound (450 grams) andouille sausage sliced
- ½ pound (225 grams) hamhock or smoked turkey chopped
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 medium size garlic)
- ½- ¾ cup celery diced (about 1 medium rib celery)
- 1 large bell pepper diced
- 2 -3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons Creole spice homemade recipe here
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 7-8 cups chicken stock or water
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 green onion diced (for garnish)
- 3- 4 cups cooked white rice
- Rinse dry beans and pick through and discard any foreign object. (I did not have to do this because I used the package beans,). Add beans to a large pot covering with 3-4 inches of cold water. Let it sit overnight.
- Drain the soaked beans, rinse, set aside.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Cut sausage and turkey into 1-inch chunks and add to oil, saute for about 3- 5 minutes, stirring frequently any browned bits off the bottom of the pot, until brown.
- Then add onions, garlic, celery, bell peppers, bay leaves, thyme, and sprig fresh thyme to the pot. Season vegetables with Creole seasoning, paprika, and cayenne, if using. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to wilt.
- Place the rinsed beans in the pot, stir, then pour in broth or water.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 1 ½ -2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until beans are tender and slightly thickened.
- Note: Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. The texture of the beans should be thick – somewhat creamy but not watery.
- Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig.
- Taste and adjust for seasonings with pepper and salt if needed. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with green onions.
Tips & Notes:
- Add more stock or water if the mixture becomes dry and thick, the texture of the beans should be thick, somewhat creamy but not watery.
- Soak your beans in water with salt overnight to help them cook up more tender and evenly.
- You can sub red kidney beans with red beans, white cannellini beans, and black beans while following the same cooking preparation. But if you want to yield an authentic real red bean flavor, then go with dried red kidney beans.
- You may use canned cooked beans but if you want to have that creamy flavor and texture then stick with dried beans.
- To prepare smoked ham hocks for cooking, you can shred off the meat and skin from the bones (you can also use the bones to make a flavorful broth so don’t throw it out) and cut it into small pieces. Then you can sauté it with the other ingredients in the recipe and continue with the rest of the instructions.
- Browning first the sausages and turkey yields a more robust flavor rather than just throwing everything in the pot right away.
- I use chicken stock most of the time to cook beans instead of just water to add more flavor. But on this recipe, plain water works fine since the dish itself makes its own stock from bits of added pork.
- I prefer adding fresh thyme on my stews but you may opt for dried thymes too. Since I’m also a heat seeker, adding cayenne is the way to go but you may leave it out.
- Andouille sausage is the best option for this recipe since it yields that spicy and cured flavor that adds depth to the flavor.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.