Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe

4.63 from 40 votes
1 hour 15 minutes
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Traditionally a dish that takes all day, this simplified version of the Louisiana classic can be ready in a little over an hour. This Easy Red Beans and Rice recipe is the ultimate budget, pantry and freezer-friendly dish that really satisfies!

“This. Is. Fantastic! I was looking for a new quick version to replace my old recipe which was quick and easy but lacked flavor complexity. This recipe 100% achieved that flavor!”

Easy Red Beans and Rice in white bowl on light blue background with fork scooping beans out.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Red Beans and Rice is one of our favorite meals! However, because the traditional method takes the better part of a day, I often do this simplified beans and rice recipe that is ready in a little over an hour.

Although it doesn’t take as long as the classic version, Easy Red Beans and Rice is long on flavor!

This red beans and rice recipe is also:

  • A great way to utilize ingredients already in your pantry.
  • Freezer-friendly so you can freeze any leftovers or make a double batch and have it ready in your freezer for quick meals.
  • On the healthy side with loads of fiber and protein.
  • Budget-friendly!
  • Easy with no difficult cooking techniques!

Origin and History of Red Beans and Rice:

More Creole than Cajun, Red beans and rice has been a Monday tradition in Louisiana since the 19th Century. It was common for families to have ham for Sunday dinner and red beans and rice extended the ham’s value into the week by using up leftovers along with the ham bone for added flavor.

Back then, Monday was customarily laundry day in New Orleans. Doing the laundry was no easy task and took all day so a pot of red beans with the leftover ham and ham bone could simmer away while the women did the laundry.

Easy Red Beans and Rice on fork being scooped up.

How to Make This Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe, along with how to prep. See the red beans and rice recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Easy Red Beans and Rice in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Onion, Celery and Green Bell Pepper: This vegetable combination consisting of one or two parts onion, one part celery and one part green bell pepper is a variation on traditional French “mirepoix” referred to as “the holy trinity” in Louisiana cooking. It’s essential to traditional red beans and rice, Creole, Cajun and New Orleans-style cooking in general.
  • Cajun Seasoning: Although red beans and rice is more Creole than Cajun, I usually use Cajun seasoning because it’s got more kick. Cajun seasoning typically has a variety of ground pepper such as white, black and cayenne along with paprika, onion, celery, and garlic. Creole seasoning is milder and is more of an herbal medley consisting of oregano, bay leaf, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and paprika.
  • Vegetable Broth: My preferred brand of vegetable broth is Kitchen Accomplice Reduced Sodium Concentrate. May also use chicken broth.
  • Andouille Sausage: Our preferred brand is Johnsonville which is readily available at most grocery stores. You can also use smoked pork, turkey, beef or even vegetarian sausage along with the more traditional ham and ham bone in this recipe.
  • Red Beans: Although kidney beans are sometimes used in this classic dish, I prefer actual red beans. Red beans and kidney beans are often confused with each other however they are not the same type of bean. When you compare the two the visual differences are immediately apparent. Kidney beans are one of the largest beans while red beans are smaller and have the classic oblong shape. While both are red, kidney beans have a darker, more crimson shade and red beans are more pinkish.
  • Rice: I used brown rice but use your favorite!

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes or until it softens up.
  • Add the celery and green bell pepper and continue cooking another 5-7 minutes or until everything is becoming melty soft.
  • Add the garlic, herbs and spices and give them a stir. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 10-15 seconds.
Cooked onions, celery, green pepper and spices in white Dutch oven.
  • Add the sausage and cook briefly.
Onions, celery, green pepper and andouille sausage in white Dutch oven.
  • Add the tomatoes, water to rinse out the can, broth, beans and Worcestershire.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes until reduced and thickened.
Beans and andouille sausage in white Dutch oven before being cooked.
  • Add hot sauce to taste. Or, serve the hot sauce on the side so each diner can fire up their own serving.
  • Add salt and black pepper to taste and parsley.
  • MAKE AHEAD:  Can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.  Cool thoroughly and refrigerate.
Red beans and andouille sausage in white Dutch oven after being cooked.

That’s it! This Easy Red Beans and Rice recipe is a quick version of the New Orleans classic!

Two bowls of Easy Red Beans and Rice on light blue background with glass of beer and bottle.
Easy Red Beans and Rice in white bowl with fork garnished with parsley and glass of beer.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Adding dried spices early (such as the thyme and Cajun seasoning in this recipe) so heat is applied directly allows them to “bloom.” They’ll be more flavorful than just adding them to liquid or sauce.
  • Unless canned beans are specifically “reduced sodium,” the liquid they’re canned in can be quite salty. You always want to drain and rinse the beans well under running water. Removing that salty cooking liquid will give canned beans a fresher, cleaner taste.
Easy Red Beans and Rice in white bowl with fork garnished with fresh parsley.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are beans and rice a complete protein?

Although beans and rice alone lack certain essential amino acids, the combination of the two creates a complete protein. Beans and rice are among the oldest foods known to humankind. They’re economical to purchase, easy to grow, are plentiful, filling and when uncooked store well for a long period of time at room temperature.

What goes with Red Beans and Rice?

Serve with cornbread, coleslaw, southern-style green beans or my Easy Braised Southern Greens or Cool and Creamy Potato Salad.

Can you make Red Beans and Rice in a slow cooker?

Yes, absolutely! Get everything started to the point of simmering then transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.

What other meats can I use in red beans and rice?

If you have other meats you want to use I recommend smoked sausage such as kielbasa, diced ham, bacon or even smoked pulled pork.

What goes well with red beans and rice? These!

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Easy Red Beans and Rice in white bowl on light blue background with fork scooping beans out.

Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe

4.63 from 40 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Traditionally a dish that takes all day, this simplified version of the Louisiana classic can be ready in a little over an hour. Easy Red Beans and Rice is the ultimate budget, pantry and freezer-friendly dish that really satisfies!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Pork
Cuisine American / New Orleans
Servings 6
Calories 396 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil - or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper - seeds and membrane removed, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks (ribs) celery - finely chopped (you want about the same amount as green bell pepper)
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning - (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce - + 1/4 cup water to rinse out the can
  • 2 cups vegetable broth - or chicken broth
  • 3 cans (15-ounce each) red beans - drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package (14-ounce) Andouille sausage - sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • Hot sauce - to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups cooked rice

Instructions
 

  • Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often until the onion is beginning to soften.
  • Add the green bell pepper and celery. Continue cooking another 5-7 minutes stirring often or until all the vegetables are softened.
  • Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning, thyme and bay leaf. Cook briefly, 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the sausage and cook that briefly, 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the tomato sauce, water from rinsing the can, vegetable or chicken broth, beans, and Worcestershire.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 25-30 minutes or until thickened.
  • Add salt, black pepper and hot sauce to taste. Add chopped fresh parsley. Serve over hot, cooked rice.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD:  Can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.  Cool thoroughly and refrigerate.
REHEATING:  Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.  You may want to add a small amount of water or broth to loosen it.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Place in airtight containers in the desired amount.  Freeze 2-3 months.  Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1428IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




23 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Better than I anticipated. Pair this with rice and étouffée and not a morsel was left on the plates. Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow, so delicious! Followed the recipe exactly. Quick and easy. Even my ten-year-old daughter loved it. Definitely saving this recipe!

    1. Hi, Amy, Thanks so very much and so happy you all enjoyed!! Thanks for taking the time to come back and comment. Hope you’ll check out some of my other recipes! Thanks again!

  3. I am interested in making this recipe. I do have a question though. Your final picture shows a topping on top of the rice and beans. Would you tell me what that is?

    1. Hi, Kat, Thanks so much for your question. It’s just some chopped fresh Italian parsley and thinly sliced scallion as a garnish. I didn’t add it to the recipe because it is just a garnish. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!

  4. The recipe calls for 2 cups of vegetable broth, but I don’t see it added in the directions. Which is the error — the ingredient list or the directions?

    1. Hi, Lacey, Thanks so much for your question. I’m seeing “broth” in the directions in #5. I’ll revise the directions to make it more pronounced.

  5. 5 stars
    A little soupy but the flavor is spot on! Will definitely make again when the weather cools down. Thanks for a “keeper” recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    Made a pot of this last week and it was delicious!
    I did use dried red beans that I soaked and cooked before 👍🏻

    1. Hi, Theresa, Thanks so much and so happy you enjoyed! Dried beans are definitely more traditional and this recipe can be adapted. Thanks again!

  7. I love this, but unfortunately it’s too soupy, even after letting it simmer an additional 10 minutes (40 min total). I will use less liquid next time.

    1. Hi, Jennifer, Thanks so much for the feedback and happy you enjoy the recipe. No one has mentioned that and if you prefer less liquid, simply use less next time. I like it a bit more “saucy,” so it’s not just “beans and rice.” You may also want to adjust the spices if you’re using less liquid; they could be on the strong side otherwise. Thanks again!

  8. 5 stars
    Just made tonight. FANTASTIC!! I followed exactly except I accidentally added an extra cup of broth but still came out incredible. Will add this to my rotation.

  9. 5 stars
    This. Is. Fantastic! I was looking for a new quick version to replace my old recipe which was quick and easy but lacked flavor complexity. This recipe 100% achieved that flavor! I subbed in one can of black beans for one of the cans of red beans, added some frozen corn, and subbed a yellow bell pepper (it’s what I had on hand). Absolutely delicious! I’m wishing I’d made a double batch so I’d have some leftover to freeze. Next time! Thanks sooooo much for this!