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This authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe has all of the classic Cajun flavors that you know and love from the old-fashioned dish. Andouille sausage and a smoked ham hock give the meal rich, satisfying flavor. Serve each bowl with fluffy white rice, a dash of hot sauce, and plenty of cornbread to soak up the extra broth!

Overhead shot of a bowl of New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

You won’t believe how thick, zesty and delicious this New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe tastes! The traditional Louisiana Creole dish was typically prepared on Mondays, using a combination of red beans, vegetables (such as bell pepper, onion and celery), spices, and pork bones leftover from Sunday’s supper. Since ham was a classic Sunday meal and Monday was wash day, the pot of beans and bones could simmer on the stovetop while the women were busy scrubbing clothes.

Times have obviously changed, this dish has become popular throughout the Southeast, and you can prepare the easy red beans and rice whenever the craving strikes (not just on Mondays)! The smoky, flavorful beans and sausage are delicious over a bed of fluffy white rice, with flaky buttermilk biscuits, sour cream muffins, or skillet cornbread on the side to sop up that extra broth.

Ingredients for an Authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Recipe

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the easy red beans and rice recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Small dry red beans: a 1-lb. bag is perfect for this recipe.
  • Olive oil: to brown the sausage and vegetables.
  • Andouille smoked sausage: or substitute with kielbasa.
  • Onion, green bell pepper and celery: the “holy trinity” in Cajun cuisine.
  • Garlic, bay leaf, thyme, oregano and Cajun or Creole seasoning: for plenty of authentic Creole flavor.
  • Smoked ham hock: lends a rich, smoky, salty flavor to the pot of beans.
  • Cider vinegar: a dash at the end brightens up the dish.
  • Salt and pepper: wait to salt the beans at the end — you might not need much, thanks to the ham hock.
  • Hot sauce: for a bit of heat, if you like.
  • Cooked white rice: an essential component of this classic dish!

Are red beans and kidney beans the same thing?

No, red beans and kidney beans are two different types of beans. Red beans are slightly smaller than kidney beans, and have a rounder shape than kidney beans. Kidney beans are a dark red color, while red beans have a pinkish red color. Red beans typically have a smoother texture than kidney beans. Again, both of these beans have great flavor and both can be used in this recipe!

Soaking red beans in a pot of water

How to Cook Red Beans and Rice

I grew up on my mom’s easy red beans and rice recipe, which she prepared regularly for a shortcut dish with canned beans. As an adult, I’ve learned that starting from scratch with a pot of soaked beans that slowly simmers on the stovetop with a ham hock is truly the best way to cook this meal. It’s definitely worth the extra time and effort!

  1. Soak beans in a pot of water overnight. Drain.
  2. Brown sausage, then remove to a plate.
  3. Sauté vegetables, garlic and herbs.
  4. Add ham hock, beans, Cajun seasoning and water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Gently simmer the pot, uncovered, for about 2 hours.
  6. Stir in vinegar and browned sausage, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
  7. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with fresh parsley.
Cooking celery bell pepper and onion in a pot
Browning andouille sausage in a pot
Process shot showing how to make the best new orleans red beans and rice recipe
Hands holding a Dutch oven full of the best red beans and rice recipe

How to Make Creamy Red Beans and Rice

If you like your beans to have a more creamy consistency, use a spoon or a potato masher to mash some of the beans at the very end of the cooking time. Then give the pot a good stir. It will thicken up the broth and add a creamy texture to the dish. Just be careful that you don’t mash all of the beans!

What goes with Louisiana Red Beans and Rice?

Serve this classic Cajun dish with any of these easy sides:

Horizontal shot of homemade red beans and rice served with cornbread

Storage

Store the leftover bean mixture separately from the cooked rice. The leftover red beans will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Leftover rice should be used within 24 hours, and then you can just make additional fresh rice as needed for serving later.

Can you freeze homemade red beans and rice?

Absolutely! Again, the red beans should be frozen in a separate airtight container from the rice. The red beans and sausage will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the red beans in a saucepan on the stovetop over low heat, just until warmed through.

Recipe Variations

  • If you can’t find dry red beans at your grocer, you can substitute with dry red kidney beans.
  • I use andouille smoked sausage, but you can substitute with kielbasa.
  • This recipe isn’t too spicy on its own, so feel free to add hot sauce for serving.
  • To prepare red beans and rice in your Instant Pot pressure cooker or in the slow cooker without pre-soaking the beans, see this recipe.
Overhead image of a pot of easy red beans and rice

Tips for the Best New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Recipe

  • Wait to add the salt until the end of the cooking time. Ham hocks tend to be quite salty, so you don’t want to add too much additional salt until you’ve had a chance to taste it.
  • For added heat, season the beans with extra Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning, some hot sauce, or a dash of cayenne.
  • Stir the pot occasionally while the beans are cooking. This will help to break down the beans, distribute the starches, and make the broth nice and creamy!
  • Adjust the total cooking time to suit your preferences. An hour and a half might be sufficient if you like more in-tact, sturdy beans, while the full 2 hours might be necessary for a more broken-down, creamy pot. That’s the beauty of using a Dutch oven (rather than a slow cooker or Instant pot) — you have full control and can easily take them off of the heat when necessary.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs (such as chopped parsley or thyme) or sliced green onions for a bright, colorful touch.
Overhead shot of a bowl of Cajun red beans and rice

More Cajun Inspired Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of a bowl of New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 30 minutes
Resting Time 12 hours
Total: 14 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 362 kcal
This authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe has all of the classic Cajun flavors that you know and love from the old-fashioned dish.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. dry small red beans (or dry red kidney beans), rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces andouille smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8-12 ounce smoked ham hock
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • For serving: cooked white rice; chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Place beans in a large stockpot or Dutch oven; add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover the pot and soak the beans overnight.
  • Drain beans.
  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until nicely browned (about 3-5 minutes). Remove sausage to a plate and set aside for later.
  • Add onion, bell pepper and celery to the pot. Cook, stirring, until tender (about 3-5 minutes). Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme and oregano; cook for 1 more minute.
  • Stir in the ham hock, drained beans, Cajun seasoning, and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  • Gently simmer the pot, uncovered, for 2 hours, or until the beans are very tender, stirring occasionally. Add more water if the mixture gets too thick. Use a spoon or a potato masher, if desired, to mash some of the beans to give the mixture a creamier consistency. Remove the ham hock and bay leaf. If you’re using a meaty ham hock, you can pull off any good meat and return it to the pot (this is optional).
  • Stir in the vinegar and browned sausage; season with salt, pepper and hot sauce, to taste. Simmer for about 5-10 more minutes, just until the sausage is heated through.
  • Serve over rice; garnish with fresh parsley.

Notes

  • Wait to add the salt until the end of the cooking time. Ham hocks tend to be quite salty, so you don’t want to add too much additional salt until you’ve had a chance to taste it.
  • For added heat, season the beans with extra Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning, some hot sauce, or a dash of cayenne.
  • Stir the pot occasionally while the beans are cooking. This will help to break down the beans, distribute the starches, and make the broth nice and creamy!
  • Adjust the total cooking time to suit your preferences. An hour and a half might be sufficient if you like more in-tact, sturdy beans, while the full 2 hours might be necessary for a more broken-down, creamy pot. That’s the beauty of using a Dutch oven (rather than a slow cooker or Instant pot) — you have full control and can easily take them off of the heat when necessary.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs (such as chopped parsley or thyme) or sliced green onions for a bright, colorful touch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the recipe (not including rice)Calories: 362kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 21gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 390mgPotassium: 957mgFiber: 9gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 205IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Recipe, Red Beans and Rice
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, cajun, creole, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    All I can say is OMG! This recipe is super easy to follow, and the flavors are incredible! My husband and I loved it, and it will definitely be added to my ideas for dinner moving forward.
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yay! Thanks, Patricia! I’m so glad that you both enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to come back here and let me know. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    We tried this last night using pinto beans and the pressure cooker. We did not have Cajun seasoning or Creole seasoning, but we added everything else. We thought it was very good and will make this again.