Creamy, savory and loaded with deep, rich flavor and spices, classic Louisiana Red Beans & Rice is one pot comfort food that easily feeds a crowd and warms the soul. It’s sure to become a favorite to take to potlucks, tailgates and share around the family table!
Red Beans & Rice might be a New Orleans Monday tradition, but you can enjoy a taste of the Crescent City whenever you want with this simple authentic Louisiana recipe. It takes a little time for all those flavors to come together, but that’s ok. Let it simmer low and slow on the weekend and have dinner for your family all week!
What Makes This Recipe Work?
- Bacon and ham cubes are easy-to-get substitutes for the cured pork (salt pork/salt meat) and ham bone or ham hock found in older, traditional recipes while still supplying the deep layers of flavor you’d expect from a Louisiana dish.
Red Beans & Rice Ingredients
I’ll walk through an overview of ingredients & steps in this section along with helpful tips!
Look for specifics at the end of the post in the recipe card.
- dried small red beans
- andouille sausage or beef smoked sausage (add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper if using smoked sausage)
- cubed ham
- green bell pepper
- yellow onion
- minced garlic
- all purpose creole seasoning (or cajun seasoning)
- bay leaves
- chicken stock or broth
- long grain white rice
- parsley or chopped chives (optional)
Kitchen Tools for This Recipe
Are Kidney Beans and Red Beans The Same?
No, red kidney beans and red beans are not the same kind of bean. However, while small red beans are the traditional choice for a New Orleans recipe, there’s no problem with using kidney beans if that’s what’s available where you live.
Should I Soak Dried Beans Before Cooking?
The case for soaking dried beans before cooking is shorter cooking time and fewer broken beans while cooking. But you don’t have to soak them if you don’t want to.
I prefer to either quick soak or boil my beans before adding them to the recipe. The flavor is better and the cook time is about the same as it would be with an overnight soak.
Check out all the options in this list below, and don’t miss the video about cooking with dried beans in the recipe card!
- You can quick soak your beans in a large bowl, measuring cup or pot of warm water- soak for 1-3 hours, drain, rinse, then cook
- You can boil for them for 10 minutes, drain, rinse, then cook
- Or you can soak them overnight in the refrigerator, drain, rinse, then cook
How To Make The Best Red Beans & Rice
Make the base. Sautee the holy trinity of vegetables in bacon drippings with minced garlic in a Dutch oven or large pot.
Build the flavor. Add cubed ham, sausage and creole seaoning.
Add the final touches. Add broth, water, beans, bacon and bay leaves and let simmer for 2 hours.
Thicken. Remove 1 cup of beans from the pot, mash and return to the pot to thicken the beans. Let cook for another 30 minutes to an hour.
Serve. Serve with fluffy white rice, a few chopped chives and a hit or two of Louisiana hot sauce!
Making It Ahead of Time
Red Beans & Rice is an ideal one pot recipe to make ahead of time. A night in the fridge will make those rich savory flavors even deeper! To reheat, place beans on the stove over a low heat. Stir in ½ to 1 cup water. Then stir occasionally while heating to keep the beans from sticking.
Storing & Freezing
Louisiana Red Beans & Rice leftovers keep nicely in the refrigerator for 4-5 days if covered in an airtight container. They are also freezer friendly. Just cool completely and store in a freezer proof container for up to 3 months.
What To Serve with Red Beans & Rice
- Roasted Cabbage Steaks
- Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins
- Simple Green Salad with Creamy Mayo Vinaigrette
- Creamy Southern Coleslaw
Other Classic Louisiana Recipes You’ll Love
Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
- Dutch Oven or 6 qt. Stock Pot
- 3 slices thick bacon
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic (or 3 cloves garlic)
- 8 ounces cubed ham
- 12-16 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into medallions (or beef smoked sausage)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose creole seasoning
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 4 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- 16 ounces small dried red beans
- 4 cups instant long grain white rice
- Cook chopped bacon in dutch oven. Remove when done and drain on a paper towel. Add diced bell pepper, onion and celery to hot bacon drippings and sauté over medium heat. When vegetables are tender, add minced garlic. Cook until vegetables are almost translucent.
- Add cubed ham, sliced sausage and creole seasoning to the vegetables. Sautee for another 3-5 mins.
- Stir in chicken broth, using the broth and steam to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in red beans, water, chopped bacon and bay leaves and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer for 2 hrs. Stir occasionally to make sure beans aren't sticking. Add more boiling water if needed.
- After 2 hours, remove about 1 cup of beans from pot. Mash and stir back into pot to make a thick and creamy sauce. Let simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally as beans continue to thicken.
- Serve over white rice with chopped chives or parsely for garnish