Homemade Red Beans and Rice – perfectly hearty Louisiana style comfort food at it’s best! Red beans and smoked sausage are cooked low and slow with flavorful cajun spices, then served with fresh cooked rice to create a homestyle dinner recipe you’ll crave again and again!
Red Beans and Rice Recipe
Before even tasting this can’t you just tell from the delicious blend of ingredients that it’s got to be good?
Creamy red beans, spicy, smoky andouille sausage, flavorful aromatics and a generous dose of spices and herbs. Talk about flavor!
The prep is easy, the hardest part is just waiting while it simmers allowing time for the beans to soften and all those rich and well seasoned flavors to marry together.
It’s just one of those recipes that you want to cozy up to in your warmest sweater on a cold autumn day. Good for the soul southern comfort food!
Red Beans and Rice Ingredients:
- Dried red kidney beans – pick over them first before soaking. Once in a while you’ll find clumps of dirt or small pebbles that you wouldn’t want to someone to bite into.
- Andouille sausage – if you don’t want spicy red beans and rice then use a mild smoked sausage, not Cajun.
- Olive oil – vegetable oil can be substituted.
- Red bell pepper, celery, yellow onion and garlic – these aromatics build up the first layer of flavor, the dish would be really bland without them. And really any color of bell pepper will work fine. Red just seams the sweetest to me and ends with a nice color after cooking.
- Chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano and thyme – these spices and herbs build that traditional cajun style flavor in this dish (sorry I forgot to include paprika in the ingredients photo, it would still be good without it though).
- Low sodium chicken broth – need to cut the sodium down in the recipe? Use unsalted chicken broth.
- Fresh parsley and green onions – these finish the dish with a final layer of bright fresh flavor. If you don’t want to buy both you can use one or the other.
- Cooked white rice – standard long grain white rice is my go to option here but you can use another type like jasmine, calrose, basmati or even brown rice.
How to Make Red Beans and Rice:
- Soak beans overnight: Add beans to a large bowl, pour in enough water to cover beans by 2-inches. Let soak at least 8 hours or overnight, then drain.
- Brown sausage, set aside: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, tossing occasionally, until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, leave rendered fat in pan (there should be about 2 Tbsp).
- Saute veggies: Add onion, celery and bell pepper, saute 3 minutes.
- Add seasonings and continue to saute: Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and paprika, saute 1 minute longer.
- Add liquid, dried herbs, beans and return sausage: Pour in chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water, drained beans, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and return sausage to pot. Season with salt to taste.
- Simmer mixture: Bring mixture to a light boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
- Add greens, serve with rice: Stir in parsley and green onions. Serve mixture warm with prepared rice.
Can I Cook it in a Crockpot?
Yes, this can also be made in the crockpot. To do so cook all ingredients (except green onions and parsley), + 2 cups water, in a slow cooker on high heat 6 – 8 hours. If time allows brown the sausage first for best flavor and for this method you don’t even need to soak the beans first.
Can I Freeze It?
Yes. Freeze red bean mixture and rice separately up to 3 months. Thaw overnight (or even 2 days for a full batch) in the refrigerator.
Tips for the Best Red Beans and Rice:
- Don’t try to use canned red beans. That’s not authentic red beans and rice. They’d end up way overcooked with this method anyway.
- Adjust spice level to taste. Like I mentioned before the Cajun sausage is spicy replace with another mild sausage if preferred and omit cayenne (if you like it really spicy add more cayenne pepper to your hearts content), you don’t want to make a dinner you or someone you’re serving to can’t tolerate. You can always make the full recipe mild then add cayenne to single servings of those that like heat.
- Allow time to simmer. Beans won’t be cooked through if you don’t allow enough time for simmering and liquid won’t reduce down.
- Let sausage brown. With just about any dish browning the meat really adds so much flavor. Don’t toss the sausage constantly, let it rest a bit between tossing so it can brown. For maximum browning you can even brown in two batches.
What to Serve with Red Beans and Rice?
- Grilled Corn on the Cob (or boiled)
- Collard greens or mustard greens
- Roasted vegetables or steamed vegetables
- Coleslaw or side salad
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Red Beans and Rice
- 1 lb. dried red kidney beans, picked over
- 1 1/2 cups water, plus more for soaking beans
- 13 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced about 1/3-inch thick*
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (2 cups)
- 2 large celery ribs, sliced (1 cup)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
- 1 (32 oz) carton low-sodium chicken broth (4 cups)
- 1/4 cup each chopped fresh parsley and green onions
- 2 cups white rice, cooked according to package directions
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Add beans to a large bowl, pour in enough water to cover beans by 2-inches. Let soak at least 8 hours or overnight, then drain.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, tossing occasionally, until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, leave rendered fat in pan (there should be about 2 Tbsp).
- Add onion, celery and bell pepper, saute 3 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and paprika, saute 1 minute longer.
- Pour in chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water, drained beans, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and return sausage to pot. Season with salt to taste (you should only need about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp).
- Bring mixture to a light boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
- Stir in parsley and green onions. Serve mixture warm with prepared rice.