Red Beans and Rice – Jo Cooks

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Get ready to make your kitchen sing with the soulful flavors of New Orleans with this Red Beans and Rice recipe! This iconic dish pairs light and fluffy white rice with tender red beans slowly simmered to perfection with smoky sausage and Cajun spices!

red beans and rice in a white bowl garnished with green onions.

What Is Red Beans And Rice

Straight from the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana, this popular classic packs a punch of flavor and comfort! Red beans and rice is a hearty and satisfying combination of red beans, the aromatic holy trinity, smoked sausage, and a flavorful blend of Cajun spices slowly simmered to perfection. The delicious bean stew is then served over a bowl of warm fluffy white rice to complete its warm and tasty embrace.

red beans in a skillet with a wooden spoon inside.
ingredients needed to make red beans and rice.
  • Red Beans: These small, rounded beans have a faintly nutty taste and are light red in color. You can also use red kidney beans if you can’t find red beans.
  • Smoked Sausage: Adds depth and a hint of smokiness to the dish. Andouille sausage is the most popular choice and adds a little spice too. 
  • Holy Trinity: A common ingredient in Cajun recipes, it’s a mixture of onions, bell peppers, and celery. In this red beans and rice recipe I used green bell pepper but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand. 
  • Garlic: Infuses the dish with a rich, pungent garlicky flavor.
  • Seasonings: Salt and black pepper enhance the overall flavor of the dish. 
  • Herbs and Spices: A combination of paprika, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, and thyme adds aromatic flavor and a little kick!
  • Water: Needed for cooking and simmering the beans. 
  • Long-Grain White Rice: Serves as the base for serving the beans and provides a neutral canvas for the flavors. 
  • Chopped Green Onions: Used to garnish the dish, it adds fresh mild onion flavor and a pop of color. 

This recipe is straightforward and stress-free! Whether you’re an experienced cook or a beginner, you’ll find that whipping up a hearty bowl of this popular Cajun dish is both convenient and delicious.

process shots showing how to make red beans and rice.

To begin, cook the sausage over medium heat in a large pot until well browned. Then remove it from the pot and set it aside, but leave the fat.

process shots showing how to make red beans and rice.

Next, add the chopped onion, green bell pepper, celery, and minced garlic to the same pot. Then saute the mixture for about 5 minutes until the vegetables have become softened.

process shots showing how to make red beans and rice.

First, put the browned sausage back in the pot. Next, add the soaked beans, salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, and thyme. Then stir everything together well, pour in the water, and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. 

process shots showing how to make red beans and rice.

After you’ve got everything in the pot, lower the heat to low. Then cover the pot with a lid and let the beans simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When done, the beans will be tender.

Once cooked, take the back of a spoon and mash some of the beans against the side of the pot. This step thickens up the beans and makes the dish creamy. 

When ready, ladle the flavorful bean stew over a bed of perfectly cooked white rice. Then garnish the dish with some freshly chopped green onions and serve your red beans and rice!

red beans and rice in a white bowl garnished with green onions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I add?

Some popular additions include diced tomatoes, hot sauce for extra heat, and a splash of vinegar for tanginess. You can also experiment with other proteins like shrimp or ham. Additionally, some people like to cook the beans with a ham hock or ham bone.

Why are my beans taking so long to cook?

The cooking time for beans can vary due to factors like the age of the beans and water quality. Older beans may take longer to soften, so consider using fresher ones. Also, make sure you’re simmering them over low heat and that there’s enough water in the pot. If your beans are still not softening, it’s possible that your water might be too hard.

Do you have to soak beans overnight for red beans and rice?

It’s definitely a recommended step that does make a difference. However, if you’re short on time, you can use the quick soak method. Add the beans to a pot of water, bring them to a boil for a few minutes, and then let them sit for an hour in the hot water. 

red beans in a skillet with a wooden spoon inside.

Storage

If you have leftovers, you’ll want to store the red beans and rice in separate airtight containers. They will both keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then just gently reheat the dish on the stove in a saucepan or in the microwave on medium heat.

red beans and rice in a white bowl garnished with green onions.

Discover More Beans Recipes

red beans and rice in a white bowl garnished with green onions.

Red Beans and Rice

Prep 20 minutes

Cook 2 hours 15 minutes

Total 2 hours 35 minutes

These Red Beans and Rice are the epitome of Southern comfort. Slow-cooked beans infused with spicy sausage, aromatic spices, and a melody of veggies, all served atop perfectly fluffy white rice. Every bite is a heartfelt embrace of tradition and flavor.

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Instructions 

  • In a large pot over medium heat, cook the sausage until browned and remove it from the pot, leaving the fat behind.

  • Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Return the sausage to the pot along with the beans, salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir everything together until well combined.

  • Add the water to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender.

  • To thicken the mixture, use the back of a spoon to mash some of the beans against the side of the pot.

  • Serve the beans over cooked rice, garnished with chopped green onions.

Notes

  1. Bean Prep: Soaking the beans overnight not only cuts down the cooking time but also helps them cook evenly.
  2. Spice Levels: Feel free to adjust the cayenne pepper based on your heat preference.
  3. Rice Matters: Use long-grain white rice for the best texture. Cook the rice separately and fluff it with a fork to keep grains separate.
  4. Leftovers: This dish tastes even better the next day! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat gently on the stove.
  5. Vegan Variation: Omit the sausage or replace with a plant-based alternative for a vegan-friendly version.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1servingCalories: 395kcal (20%)Carbohydrates: 61g (20%)Protein: 19g (38%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 20mg (7%)Sodium: 560mg (24%)Potassium: 947mg (27%)Fiber: 10g (42%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 283IU (6%)Vitamin C: 17mg (21%)Calcium: 80mg (8%)Iron: 5mg (28%)

Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.

red beans and rice in a white bowl garnished with green onions.

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