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Published October 29, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious homemade red beans and rice recipe is jam-packed with Cajun country flavors and is perfect for grazing on all day long.
We are such big-time comfort food eaters in our house. We love being able to nibble on a smoked pork shoulder all day or even sip on matzo ball soup during the winter months. If you’re like us then definitely check out my Hoppin’ John or potato soup recipe.
Red Beans and Rice
Red beans and rice are a staple in Louisiana, in fact, red beans are held in the highest of regards in New Orleans when it comes to the entire legume family. The origin story of red beans and rice is certainly up for debate. Did come from Spanish-Caribbean settlers in Louisiana, Enslaved African Americans in that territory, or Acadians from Canada who migrated to the area in the 1700s. All have claim over this prized dish.
The basics of the recipe consist of slow-cooked red beans in a broth of the trinity (onions, celery, bell peppers), ham, and then served with some andouille sausage and alongside some white rice. It’s a very comforting dish that is incredibly flavorful and fairly easy to make.
How to Make Red Beans and Rice
Use these easy-to-follow instructions for making this tasty red beans and rice recipe:
- Add red beans to a container and cover them with about 4-6 inches of cold water and let sit overnight. The next day when ready to cook, drain, rinse, and set aside until ready to use.
- Sweat the onions, celery, peppers, and garlic in a large pot with rendered bacon fat, butter, or oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Next, add in the beans, stock, bay leaves, cajun seasoning and herbs, and ham.
- Cover and cook over low heat for about 2 hours or until the beans are very tender and the liquid is thick.
- Finish by stirring in sliced pre-cooked andouille sausage, tabasco, salt, and pepper.
- Serve alongside cooked white rice and garnish with sliced green onions.
Should It be Soupy?
The red beans should be a creamy mixture and the beans should be tender and soft. The liquid with the beans should be that of nappe or coat the back of a soup. It should never be broth-like inconsistency.
How to Thicken Red Beans and Rice
If your red beans and rice is on the thinner side, you can either add a roux or a simple slurry to help thicken it. Use a simple ratio of 1 part cornstarch to 2 parts water to make the slurry add about a ¼ cup of it and gently whisk it into the red beans.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 day ahead of time.
How to Store: Cover and keep separate from the rice in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze well covered and separate from the rice for up to 6 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of red beans and rice to a small pot and heat over low heat until warm. You can also heat in the microwave until warm.
chef notes + tips
- When using canned beans, drain, and add with half the amount of chicken stock and cook for ½ the amount of time.
- To fast track soaking the beans, cover them with boiling water, and let stand for 1 hour before using.
- If you do not want to use the Cajun seasoning, substitute for 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons of garlic granules, and 2 teaspoons of dry thyme.
- Other dry herbs you can use are oregano, sage, or basil.
- For the ham, you can simply use leftover ham, a smoked ham hock, or a small shoulder cottage butt.
- Use Camellia red beans if you can.
- Absolutely use water in place of chicken stock as that would be more traditional. I believe chicken stock adds another layer of flavor to the recipe.
- If your andouille sausage is not pre-cooked, add it to the red beans pot about 30 minutes before it’s finished cooking.
More Comfort Food Recipes
Homemade Red Beans and Rice Recipe
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans
- 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat, butter, or oil
- 2 peeled small diced yellow onions
- 3 small diced celery stalks
- 1 seeded small diced green bell pepper
- 1 seeded small diced red bell pepper
- 4 finely minced garlic cloves
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 ham hock or 1 ½ cups of large diced smoked ham
- 1 pound cooked sliced andouille sausage
- 4 cups of cooked white rice
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- sliced green onions for garnish
- Add the beans to a large container and completely cover them with cold water until the water is about 4-6 inches over the top of the beans. Let sit overnight. When you’re ready to start cooking, drain the beans, rinse with water, and set aside until it’s time to add them into the recipe.
- Add the bacon fat to a large pot over medium heat and sweat the onions, celery, peppers, and garlic, stirring frequently, which takes about 10 minutes.
- Next, add in the beans, stock, bay leaves, seasonings, and ham, cover with a lid, and cook over low-medium heat for about 2 hours or until the beans are very tender and the liquid has thickened.
- Finish the mixture with sliced cooked sausage, Tabasco, salt, and pepper, and cook for 10 more minutes over low-medium heat.
- Serve with cooked white rice and garnish with sliced green onions.