4 Tasty Red Beans and Rice Recipes

The Easy Way to Get a Taste of New Orleans

Red beans and rice is a trademark Louisiana dish, traditionally served on Mondays using the ham bone left over from the previous Sunday's ham dinner. Red kidney beans are most often used, but many purists think that flavor is too strong and use the small South Louisiana red beans instead.

Here's an excerpt from The Picayune Creole Cookbook, 1900:

"In all the ancient homes of New Orleans and in the colleges and convents, where large numbers of children are sent to be reared to be strong...MORE and useful men and women, several times a week there appear on the table either the nicely cooked dish of red beans, which are eaten with rice, or the equally wholesome white beans a la creme, or red or white beans boiled with a piece of salt pork or ham."

Cooking Tips

  • Salting the cooking liquid for dried peas and beans tends to slow cooking and toughen the beans. Salt should be added after they're cooked.
  • When using dried beans in the crockpot, cook until tender before adding other ingredients. You can cook in plain water overnight (about six to eight hours) on low, then drain and add recipe ingredients in the morning. Follow package directions for water amount.
  • Simmer, don't boil. Boiling can cause the liquid to overflow and the beans to break apart and the skins to break off.
  • For softer beans, cover the cooking pot.
  • Test doneness by tasting. The beans should feel smooth yet firm and not mushy. Or gently squeeze a bean between your thumb and index finger; if the middle is still rather hard, cook them longer.
  • To reduce the risk of stomach distress, change the water two times or more during the soaking process and once after the beans have simmered for 30 minutes.
  • As soon as the beans have cooked, drain the liquid to prevent further cooking (unless the liquid is part of the dish).
  • Refrigerate leftover beans for up to five days to be used in salads and soups.
  • Dry bean yields: 1 pound equals about 2 1/2 cups uncooked; 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups cooked.
  •  Use baked ham instead of country or smoked ham.

Mix up a batch of this New Orleans comfort food from one of these easy recipes.
 

  • 01 of 04
    Plate With Chorizo, Red Kidney Beans and Rice
    Groesbeck/Uhl / Getty Images

    This easy recipe uses canned red kidney beans for a quick take on this classic.  Bacon; the "holy trinity" of onions, bell peppers, and celery; andouille sausage (if desired), and seasonings make this a tasty weekday dinner. Serve over white rice with warm French bread.

  • 02 of 04
    red beans and rice with sausage
    James Baigrie / Getty Images

    This traditional recipe for red beans and rice with sausage or ham is a commitment. It takes three hours and 15 minutes to cook, though the preparation takes just 10 minutes. You'll start by soaking red beans overnight and then cook for several hours with ham hock, sausage, onions, garlic, and seasonings. Serve this classic mixture over white rice.

  • 03 of 04
    New Orleans Red Beans and Rice
    sandoclr / Getty Images

    This is a slightly different version of this concoction, made the Louisiana way. This one uses ham hocks only; you can add smoked sausage if you like. Serve with hot white rice.

  • 04 of 04
    Southern red beans and rice
    Diana Miller / Getty Images

    You might be wondering what the difference is in Louisiana red beans and rice and Southern red beans and rice. This recipe turns up the heat with lots of crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin. It's an interesting take on the traditional recipe.