There's nothing better than a big ole' bowl of Louisiana Red Beans and Rice with a side of cornbread!
Dried red kidney beans simmered in a savory broth with smoked meat, onion, bell pepper and celery served over a bed of rice!
This rich and creamy red bean recipe is easy to make and satisfies the urge to hop on a plane to The French Quarter!
Beans and rice are a complete protein! That means, if you were stranded on deserted island and this is all you had to eat, you'd survive!
What you need to know first
- You can buy a pound of red beans that have a seasoning mix already in the package, but I'm not sure EXACTLY what's in it, so this recipe has no "pre-made" seasoning mix.
- The seasonings for Louisiana Red Beans and Rice are derived from a combination of The Holy Trinity, some kind of smoked meat, and a little Creole or Cajun seasoning. If you want a spicy version, feel free to add in a little cayenne pepper!
- To give a rich flavor to the beans, you need some sort of smoked meat. You can use a smoked ham hock, turkey leg, sausage or andouille. Or, you can cook some bacon.
- If you use a smoked ham hock or something like that, brown it in a little oil first and use that meat-seasoned oil as a base for your flavorings.
- If you use bacon, just cut it up, cook it in the dutch oven and either remove the bacon pieces or not - but definitely leave the bacon-seasoned oil in the pan.
- You'll typically find andouille sausage in this recipe. My recipe doesn't include sausage, but I'll tell you how to make it this way in the recipe card notes below.
Smoked meat of some kind, onion, celery, bell pepper, beans, Cajun or Creole seasoning, parsley, ground thyme and cayenne (optional.)
How to make it
This is an overview of how to make this recipe. Details and exact measurements are below in the recipe card.
Louisiana Red Beans are very similar to kidney beans, but a little smaller. You can use either in this recipe.
Like pintos, and they need to be soaked first. For plump beans that are not shriveled or split, soak a pound of the legumes in 4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of salt. Soak them overnight, covered, but not refrigerated.
Brown the meat, remove from pan; reserve the pan drippings
Add The Holy Trinity (onion, celery and bell pepper); saute for 10 minutes; add garlic and cook another 5 minutes
Add beans, seasonings and water; add cooked meat back into stockpot; simmer uncovered for 3 hours or until beans are tender
No. You can do a "quick-soak" on the stovetop. But the overnight soak is the best way to ensure your beans don't split, shrivel or explode. Simply cover beans with salted water and allow to stand for 6-8 hours. Do not refrigerate the soaking legumes.
Adding salt to the soaking water allows the ions to exchange properties, and allows the beans to "plump." The ratio of salt to water is: 2 tablespoons salt to 4 cups water.
If you want to do a "quick-soak," bring the beans to a rolling boil in unsalted water for about 20-minutes; turn the stove off, cover and let them sit for 1 hour. Pour off the water and resume the recipe.
- Do not skip the soaking step; this is KEY to the success (and plumpness) of the beans
- Use this ratio for soaking: 4 cups water : 2 tablespoons salt
- Drain the soaking water off the beans, but do NOT rinse
- Do not add salt to the beans while they're cooking. This may keep them from softening.
- Simmer the beans uncovered
- This is a "hands-off" recipe, but you may need to check the liquid level occasionally
- If you want a "creamy" version of Louisiana red beans and rice, once the beans are tender, remove 1 cup of beans and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon, then add them back into the stockpot; allow to simmer uncovered until thickened
Storing and reheating
Store in fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Red beans will thicken upon storage, so you may have to add a little more water when reheating.
Reheat on the stove for best texture.
Louisiana Red Beans and rice are a complete protein. This simple dish provides all the amino acids you need.
If you're on a budget or trying to eat healthier, this is a good staple item to have around!
More Louisiana recipes
- Shrimp Etouffee
- Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
- Crab Puffs
- Louisiana Seafood Gumbo
- New Orleans Chicken Gumbo
- Fried Oysters
- Restaurant-quality Fried Catfish
If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a comment and rating! I love to hear from you!
Louisiana Red Beans and Rice Recipe
- 1 pound red kidney beans
- 4 cups distilled water , for soaking beans
- 2 tablespoons salt , for soaking beans
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup finely chopped bell pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped celery (about 2-3 large stalks)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1½ tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
- 1 pound smoked ham hock, or other smoked meat
- 2 tablespoons oil , to brown the ham hock
- water , enough to cover beans
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 4 cups water
- Soak the red kidney beans in salted water overnight; drain beans; do not rinse1 pound red kidney beans, 4 cups distilled water, 2 tablespoons salt
- In a Dutch oven, add oil and brown ham hock (or whatever meat you're using) about 10 minutes; remove large pieces and set aside; leave the oil in the Dutch oven1 pound smoked ham hock, or other smoked meat, 2 tablespoons oil
- Add finely chopped onion, bell pepper and celery to oil; saute for 10 minutes (or until soft); then add the garlic; saute another 5 minutes1 cup finely chopped onion, 1 cup finely chopped bell pepper, ½ cup finely chopped celery, 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Add soaked beans and browned meat back to Dutch oven
- Add water to coverwater
- Add thyme, parsley and Creole or Cajun seasoning and bay leaves; combine and cook on low, uncovered for 3 hours1 teaspoon ground thyme, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, 1½ tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning, 2 dried bay leaves
- After the beans are tender, remove large pieces of meat and bay leaves, taste for seasonings; add more Creole/Cajun seasoning and/or cayenne pepper if you want it spicier½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Serve over prepared long grain white rice and enjoy!2 cups long grain white rice, 4 cups water