Red Beans and Rice Recipe - Our Best Bites (2024)

As a lot of you probably know, we moved to Louisiana about a year ago. When we announced that we were moving here, we heard one of two things: 1) “Why?!” and 2) “The food there is absolutely amazing.” Actually, a lot of times we heard both.

I’ll spare you the gory details of our move down here, but I will tell you that it involved a missed flight, a week in an extended-stay hotel that my 3-year-old referred to as the “ho-temple” (and I won’t lie, he wasn’t too far off), and leaving our families on the other side of the country.

Our first night here, we went to an Italian restaurant where the waitress called the little girl at the table next to us “little mama” and I felt so out of place and conspicuous with my “definitely not from here”accent and having NEVER referred to anyone as “little mama.” I was convinced that everyone was going to automatically hate me.

We ate out a lot those first few weeks as we were settling in and after a little while, we decided to step out of our comfort zones and try some of the more regional fare since, supposedly, Louisiana has the most delicious food in the world. That’s when I tried red beans and rice for the first time. I’d never had it before, and I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered it. And I don’t know if it was the loneliness and upheaval that we were feeling in our lives at the time or if it truly was that delicious, but even though it was something new, it tasted like going home. And I have to say that it’s a good thing that red beans and rice was the first Louisiana food I ate here, because my first several encounters with gumbo were unpleasant ones (I was finally converted–this is my tried and true recipe). If you’re curious, okra is a vegetable imported straight from hell and personally hoed by Satan himself (unless it’s fried, and then all bets are off.)

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Slowly, we came to discover that no one in Louisiana hated us (at least not to our faces!) In fact, I’d never felt more accepted or loved by complete and total strangers in my whole life, like the ladies at the grocery store who call me “baby” and ooh and ahh over my own “little mama” and “little man.” In the year that we’ve been here, I’ve eaten a lot of red beans and rice; everyone has their own way of doing it, kind of like everyone has their variation of funeral potatoes in Utah. But every pot I’ve ever had has been made with love, and that makes me love it even more–even the ones I ate (kind of) that had a little meat in there that tasted and looked suspiciously like squirrel…

So this is my version–red beans from a Utah girl living in the South and learning from the best…Oh, and if it looks familiar, I borrowed some seasonings from Sara’s black beans.

how to make it

You’re going to need a pound of dry red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted for any inedible things like stones, an onion, a whole bunch of garlic, some Cajun or Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s, which is a national brand, but there are many varieties that are widely available), some cumin, coriander, oregano, and just a pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 of a teaspoon.)

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You’re also going to need about 6 cups of chicken broth. I’m using Sara’s recipe for homemade chicken broth. In case you’re curious, those little plastic containers that Talenti gelato comes in are the perfect thing for freezing 2 cups of chicken broth, which is about the equivalent of one can.

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Also, it’s kind of funny to see your husband’s reaction when he opens up the freezer and sees 8 Talenti gelato lids, pulls one out, and realizes it’s chicken broth.

You’ll also need to cut about about 1/3-1/2 pound of smoked pork sausage. Try and find the good stuff–even if you don’t live in Texas or Louisiana where good smoked sausage is widely available in grocery stores, many butchers around the country smoke their own sausage and sell it in their shops.

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Combine all ingredients in a crock pot

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and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low all day. Or you can start on high until it starts to simmer and then switch it to low. If you live at a high elevation, you’ll need to cook the beans longer or soak them overnight before slow cooking the next day.

When beans are tender, mash about 85-90% of them against the side of the crock pot. Give them a taste and add any extra seasonings if you need to, particularly more Cajun seasoningor salt and pepper. Replace lid and set heat to “low.” Or off. Whatever. It’s pretty hard to screw stuff up in the crockpot. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 c. water, 1 Tbsp. white vinegar, and 2 c. of white rice to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam for 20 minutes.

Now…this may be heresy to people who grew up eating red beans and rice, but I prefer it with the beans on bottom and the rice on top. I just think it’s prettier.

Serves about 8, with 1 c. beans and 1/2 c. rice per person.

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Red Beans and Rice Recipe - Our Best Bites (7)

Kate’s Red Beans and Rice

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  • Author: Our Best Bites
Print Recipe


1 lb. dry red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted

6 c. chicken broth

1/31/2 lb. smoked sausage (Andouille sausage if you can find it), quartered and cut into thin slices. You can also use a large, meaty ham bone.

1 onion, chopped

45 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere’s is the best; omit this if using Andouille sausage)

3/4 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. coriander

3/4 tsp. oregano

1/8 tsp. cinnamon (sounds weird, but DON’T leave it out!!!)

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika or liquid smoke to taste


Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low all day. Or you can start on high until it starts to simmer and then switch it to low. If you’re at a high elevation, the beans will need to cook longer and/or you need to soak them overnight before you start cooking them in the morning.

When beans are tender, mash about 85-90% of them against the side of the crock pot. Give them a taste and add any extra seasonings if you need to, particularly more Tony’s or salt and pepper. Replace lid and set heat to “low.”

Or off. Whatever. It’s pretty hard to screw stuff up in the crockpot. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 c. water, 1 Tbsp. white vinegar, and 2 c. of white rice to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam for 20 minutes.

Serve beans with rice.


Freezer Instructions: Chop sausage, onion, and garlic and place in a quart-sized freezer bag. In a gallon-sized freezer bag, place the remaining ingredients except the rice and broth. When ready to cook, place the contents of both bags in a slow cooker and add the water. Cook according to the recipe directions and serve with rice.


  • Serving Size: 8
Red Beans and Rice Recipe - Our Best Bites (2024)


Why add butter to red beans and rice? ›

A delicious fat for your red beans

And if you love cooking red beans, you probably have a favorite kind of fat that adds the dimension, flavor and creaminess you can't live without. For many, it's butter — with its rich, creamy dairy flavor, it feels good in your mouth and makes other flavors taste better, too.

What thickens red beans and rice? ›

A slurry is a thickening agent for hot liquids such as soups, stews, and gravies. For this recipe we are going to use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch + 2 tablespoons of COLD (again, COLD) water. Mix the two ingredients and add the slurry to the red beans mixture while stirring.

What meat is good with red beans and rice? ›

A few that come to mind are:
  • Fried, grilled or smoked chicken.
  • Fried Oysters, scallops, shrimp or clams.
  • Smothered, grilled or fried pork chops.
  • Steak.
  • Smoked meats such as pork ribs, pulled pork, brisket, or hot links.
  • Fried, grilled, or blackened fish.
  • Meatloaf.
Mar 2, 2018

Is red beans and rice healthy? ›

Rice and Beans Are Protein-Packed Foods

One of the significant benefits of rice and beans is their high protein content. They provide you with healthy plant-based protein, coming in at around 12 grams of protein per cup. These winning sides contain amino acids that blend together to make complete proteins.

What is the secret to great beans? ›

Brine your beans while soaking them by adding a tablespoon or two of salt to the soaking liquid, a trick from Cool Beans author and bean guru Joe Yonan. It effectively brines the beans, making them both tastier and more evenly cooked as it helps to soften the beans' skins, improving the final texture.

Do you cook red beans covered or uncovered? ›

Bring to a boil and reduce to a bare simmer. Cover and cook until beans are completely tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Older beans can take longer.) Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened and turned creamy, about 20 minutes.

What if there is too much liquid in red beans and rice? ›

If there's too much liquid in the pot, raise the heat back up to a rolling boil to burn off some of the liquid. After letting the pot boil for 10-15 minutes, reduce heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes. To make it a memorable experience, add a bottle of beer to the pot when you add the red beans.

Do you have to soak your beans for red beans and rice? ›

Soak the beans: Place the dry red beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak overnight or for at least 8 hours. This helps to soften the beans and reduce cooking time.

Why is my red beans and rice so watery? ›

After boiling the beans for one hour, the beans should be tender but the pot as a whole will still look pretty watery. To thicken the pot, begin smashing the red beans against the side of the pot with your spoon. Smash the red beans and let it continue to simmer without a lid for an extra 30 minutes.

What day do you eat red beans and rice? ›

Red beans and rice became a traditional dish on Mondays in New Orleans because it made use of the ham bone left over from Sunday dinner. Monday was typically wash day, and the beans could be simmered for a long time on the back of the stove while the laundry was being done.

What protein to eat with red beans and rice? ›

Red beans and rice is a hearty one pot meal that's of course delicious over rice, but you can also serve the beans over grits, eggs, or toast. It can be prepared with a variety of large or small red or even black beans, with the addition of protein like sausage, chicken thighs, or shrimp.

What dessert goes with red beans and rice? ›

A true Southern staple, pecan pie is ideal and one of the best desserts that you can pair with your red beans and rice. It is a dish best served afterward, but the richness of the pie will balance with the heat from the red beans.

Is it OK to eat rice and beans everyday? ›

Yes, you can eat rice and beans every day. Many people in third world countries do. Rice and beans are complementary vegetables that together provide all the necessary amino acids and minerals to live on, although either alone will be deficient in some. A 50/50 mix is ideal.

Is it OK to eat red beans everyday? ›

Nutritionists often recommend beans as part of a healthy diet because of their high nutritional value. Like other beans, kidney beans can be counted as both a protein source or a vegetable. Eating at least a half-cup of beans per day can improve overall health.

Can I just eat rice and beans everyday? ›

The combination of rice and beans gives you even more protein and fiber, as well as other important vitamins and minerals, like folate. Although it probably won't harm you to eat rice and beans every day, it's best to include a variety of nutritious foods in your diet for complete nutrition.

What does adding butter to rice do? ›

Depending on what type of butter you use, the rice may take on characteristics of tangy, salty, and sweet notes, per Taste of Home, but overall, the rice will be enhanced with rich and buttery flavors. This can be done in one of two ways: toasting the rice in butter or adding butter directly to a pot of rice.

Does butter thicken red beans? ›

The consistency of the beans should thicken up and become creamy the longer it simmers. If they become too dry, add 1-2 cups of more water. Optional step: add ½-stick of non-salted butter, or 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, about 5 minutes before serving. This will make the beans extra creamy and rich in flavor.

Do people put butter in beans? ›

My red beans secret: Put a stick of butter into your pot. of red beans after they've been cooking all day, right. before you serve 'em. Makes them super creamy!

Does butter thicken beans? ›

In a separate pan, melt some butter and add an equal amount of flour. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it turns golden brown. Then, gradually whisk the roux into your bean soup, making sure to incorporate it well. The roux will not only thicken the soup but also add a rich and savory flavor.

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