This red beans and rice is dried red beans simmered with ham, vegetables, spices and sausage, then served over steamed rice. A classic comfort food dish that’s perfect for the heartiest of appetites!
Sometimes you just need some comfort food in your life. When I get a hankering for a simple yet satisfying meal, I make a big batch of red beans and rice. They’re so easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for the beans to cook!
How do you make red beans and rice?
This recipe starts with onion, celery and bell peppers, which are sauteed until tender. A pound of dried beans, herbs, spices and a ham hock go into the pot. The beans simmer in chicken broth until tender. The final step is to chop up the meat from the ham hock and stir it into the beans, along with some andouille sausage. Serve your beans over steamed rice and enjoy!
Tips for red beans and rice
- I use dried red kidney beans for this recipe, but another variety of red beans will also work.
- Ham hocks can be found in the meat section of most grocery stores near the prepared hams. If you can’t find a ham hock, you can use a ham bone or simply stir 1 cup of chopped smoked ham into the beans when you add the sausage.
- Andouille sausage is a smoked sausage that can be found in almost every grocery store. It typically has a bit of a kick to it, so if you don’t enjoy spicy food, you can substitute kielbasa.
- These beans make great leftovers! You can reheat your beans on the stove top over low heat until warmed through. Store your rice separate from the beans so that it doesn’t absorb all the liquid.
- You can freeze your beans and sausage mixture for up to 2 months in a freezer safe container or resealable gallon sized bag.
Are red beans and kidney beans the same thing?
True red beans are a little smaller and rounder in shape than kidney beans. That being said, red beans are often not as readily available as kidney beans. I use kidney beans in this recipe because the flavor is similar. If you can find red beans, feel free to use them instead of kidney beans.
Do you have to soak red beans before you cook them?
You do not have to soak red beans before you cook them. I do prefer to soak my beans because I find that it dramatically reduces the cooking time. You should at the very least, rinse your beans well in a colander before cooking them.
Slow cooker red beans and rice
This recipe can easily be adapted for the slow cooker. Saute your vegetables, then add the vegetables, beans, spices, herbs, ham hock and chicken broth to a crock pot. Cook on HIGH for 6 hours or until beans are tender. Remove the ham hock, chop the meat and stir the meat into the beans along with the sausage. Cook on HIGH for an additional 20 minutes, then serve.
What I love about this dish is that it tastes like something you’d get at a restaurant, but you can enjoy them in the comfort of your own home. That combination of creamy beans and smoky meat just cannot be beat!
More Cajun food favorites
Red Beans and Rice
- 1 pound dry red kidney beans or another variety of red beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 smoked ham hock or 1 ham bone or 1 cup diced smoked ham
- 1 pound andouille sausage cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced
- 6 cups cooked white rice
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as chopped parsley and sliced green onions
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the beans. Put them in a bowl of water and soak for 6-8 hours.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper and celery.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Place the beans, chicken broth, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, thyme, parsley, Cajun seasoning and ham hock (or ham bone) in the pot. If you're using diced ham instead of a ham hock or bone, reserve it for later on.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until beans are tender.
- Remove the ham hock from the pot. Cut the meat off the bone then coarsely chop. Discard the bone.
- Add the diced ham and sausage to the beans. Cook for an additional 20 minutes or until sausage is heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve the beans over the rice, topped with fresh herbs.