Red Beans and Rice

As a lot of you probably know, we moved to Louisiana about a year ago. When we announced that we were moving here, we heard one of two things: 1) “Why?!” and 2) “The food there is absolutely amazing.” Actually, a lot of times we heard both.

I’ll spare you the gory details of our move down here, but I will tell you that it involved a missed flight, a week in an extended-stay hotel that my 3-year-old referred to as the “ho-temple” (and I won’t lie, he wasn’t too far off), and leaving our families on the other side of the country.

Our first night here, we went to an Italian restaurant where the waitress called the little girl at the table next to us “little mama” and I felt so out of place and conspicuous with my “definitely not from here” accent and having NEVER referred to anyone as “little mama.” I was convinced that everyone was going to automatically hate me.

We ate out a lot those first few weeks as we were settling in and after a little while, we decided to step out of our comfort zones and try some of the more regional fare since, supposedly, Louisiana has the most delicious food in the world. That’s when I tried red beans and rice for the first time. I’d never had it before, and I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered it. And I don’t know if it was the loneliness and upheaval that we were feeling in our lives at the time or if it truly was that delicious, but even though it was something new, it tasted like going home. And I have to say that it’s a good thing that red beans and rice was the first Louisiana food I ate here, because my first several encounters with gumbo were unpleasant ones (I was finally converted–this is my tried and true recipe). If you’re curious, okra is a vegetable imported straight from hell and personally hoed by Satan himself (unless it’s fried, and then all bets are off.)

Red Beans and Rice from Our Best Bites

Slowly, we came to discover that no one in Louisiana hated us (at least not to our faces!) In fact, I’d never felt more accepted or loved by complete and total strangers in my whole life, like the ladies at the grocery store who call me “baby” and ooh and ahh over my own “little mama” and “little man.” In the year that we’ve been here, I’ve eaten a lot of red beans and rice; everyone has their own way of doing it, kind of like everyone has their variation of funeral potatoes in Utah. But every pot I’ve ever had has been made with love, and that makes me love it even more–even the ones I ate (kind of) that had a little meat in there that tasted and looked suspiciously like squirrel…

So this is my version–red beans from a Utah girl living in the South and learning from the best…Oh, and if it looks familiar, I borrowed some seasonings from Sara’s black beans.

how to make it

You’re going to need a pound of dry red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted for any inedible things like stones, an onion, a whole bunch of garlic, some Cajun or Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s, which is a national brand, but there are many varieties that are widely available), some cumin, coriander, oregano, and just a pinch of cinnamon (about 1/8 of a teaspoon.)

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You’re also going to need about 6 cups of chicken broth. I’m using Sara’s recipe for homemade chicken broth. In case you’re curious, those little plastic containers that Talenti gelato comes in are the perfect thing for freezing 2 cups of chicken broth, which is about the equivalent of one can.
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Also, it’s kind of funny to see your husband’s reaction when he opens up the freezer and sees 8 Talenti gelato lids, pulls one out, and realizes it’s chicken broth.

You’ll also need to cut about about 1/3-1/2 pound of smoked pork sausage. Try and find the good stuff–even if you don’t live in Texas or Louisiana where good smoked sausage is widely available in grocery stores, many butchers around the country smoke their own sausage and sell it in their shops.

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Combine all ingredients in a crock pot

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and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low all day. Or you can start on high until it starts to simmer and then switch it to low. If you live at a high elevation, you’ll need to cook the beans longer or soak them overnight before slow cooking the next day.

When beans are tender, mash about 85-90% of them against the side of the crock pot. Give them a taste and add any extra seasonings if you need to, particularly more Cajun seasoning or salt and pepper. Replace lid and set heat to “low.” Or off. Whatever. It’s pretty hard to screw stuff up in the crockpot. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 c. water, 1 Tbsp. white vinegar, and 2 c. of white rice to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam for 20 minutes.

Now…this may be heresy to people who grew up eating red beans and rice, but I prefer it with the beans on bottom and the rice on top. I just think it’s prettier.

Serves about 8, with 1 c. beans and 1/2 c. rice per person.

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Kate’s Red Beans and Rice

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5 from 2 reviews

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1 lb. dry red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted

6 c. chicken broth

1/31/2 lb. smoked sausage (Andouille sausage if you can find it), quartered and cut into thin slices. You can also use a large, meaty ham bone.

1 onion, chopped

45 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere’s is the best; omit this if using Andouille sausage)

3/4 tsp. cumin

3/4 tsp. coriander

3/4 tsp. oregano

1/8 tsp. cinnamon (sounds weird, but DON’T leave it out!!!)

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika or liquid smoke to taste


Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low all day. Or you can start on high until it starts to simmer and then switch it to low. If you’re at a high elevation, the beans will need to cook longer and/or you need to soak them overnight before you start cooking them in the morning.

When beans are tender, mash about 85-90% of them against the side of the crock pot. Give them a taste and add any extra seasonings if you need to, particularly more Tony’s or salt and pepper. Replace lid and set heat to “low.”

Or off. Whatever. It’s pretty hard to screw stuff up in the crockpot. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 c. water, 1 Tbsp. white vinegar, and 2 c. of white rice to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam for 20 minutes.

Serve beans with rice.


Freezer Instructions: Chop sausage, onion, and garlic and place in a quart-sized freezer bag. In a gallon-sized freezer bag, place the remaining ingredients except the rice and broth. When ready to cook, place the contents of both bags in a slow cooker and add the water. Cook according to the recipe directions and serve with rice.


  • Serving Size: 8
Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. These red beans and rice look awesome! 🙂 My hubby and I just recently moved to Louisiana, Kate (from Dallas, Texas) so I totally agree with you that it IS a whole new world! And even though I've been a southerner for my whole life, Louisiana is definitely MORE southern then Texas! haha Moving so far away from family was the hardest thing, but after living here now for about 3 months, I've learned to like it a lot more here. 🙂 The people are really friendly (they remind me a lot of Texans) and YES the food is pretty darn amazing! I have yet to try crawfish (though my husband totally digs them), but the other seafood here is really, really good (and I am NOT a big seafood fan at all). I can't wait to try this recipe! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! (Oh and btw, I think you guys' food blog is fantastic!!!)

  2. Mmm red beans and rice! My dad lives in Louisiana so I've eaten my fair share while visiting him. I tried making it at home several times using kidney beans and was always disappointed because it didn't taste quite right… Next time I was down in Louisiana, I took a close look at the red beans and realized they were way too small to be kidney beans. They actually are a bean variety called red beans! Bought a bag of dried red beans, took them home to Alaska, and made perfect crock pot red beans and rice 🙂 They've even started selling dried red beans at the store here so I don't have to bring them home in my suitcase. I suspect which variety of beans you use may be a regional thing?

  3. Couple things… reading this made me homesick, slightly. I'm not from Louisianna, nor have I ever lived there. But we recently lived in Gulfport, Mississippi for 18 months. Everything was foreign to me when we got there, but I made it home and tried out all those cajun recipes. Some were good, some not so good! I liked red beans and rice though; I'll have to try your recipe. I love the crock-pot idea!
    And secondly, I noticed the WW points. Were you counting points for awhile, because I've never noticed them before… Can you do that for all your recipes?? I love WW, and LOVE having the points there! YEA!

  4. This is the best red beans dish I have ever had…spiced just right! I have to admit that I have been eating it cold out of the leftover dish all morning.

  5. oh and we make our own gumbo… my husband hates louisiana gumbo which is so weird since he’s the one from louisiana.

    How we do ours… no veggies. None. Just chicken, sausage and roux with lots of tony’s and served over rice… YUMMY!

  6. I too once was a Utah girl living in Louisiana… I cried the whole 27 hours it took us to drive there.

    But everybody was right… some of the kindest people and the best food in the whole world! I miss living there every day.

    I can’t wait to try your recipe… we loooooooooooooooooo red beans and rice!

    Love this blog!!!!

    [email protected]

  7. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while. I finally made it for dinner tonight. I love this recipe! So easy! Delicious! I think my husband was convinced as soon as he saw the sausage! Up until now I’ve been intimidated by dried beans. I can’t believe how easy this recipe was! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  8. I have the beans in the crock pot for about 5 hours now, they are for tomorrow’s dinner, I’ll finish them tomorrow as they are not soft enough yet.

    We used to joke “Way up North in Shreveport”. We even thought BR was north 😉 growing up in NO and Met. We’re almost at the coast but near the TX border now, can’t get much more southern especially since RITA wiped out what WAS south of us.

  9. Bella–where we are depends on who you ask! 🙂 Most people consider us about as far north as you can get and still be considered South Louisiana. Let me know how this goes for you–and now I’m all nervous that someone from Louisiana is trying my recipe! 🙂

  10. North or South Louisiana? I’m in the South. I’ve never seen cinnamon in red beans but am going to try it. The idea of cooking in the crock pot is great too! Never tried it but am anxious to see how well it works for me so I won’t have to keep checking that the beans don’t burn. I’ve got ham and tasso on hand so may use that instead of the Andouille. Thanks for posting this!

  11. Wow, Kate, delicious!! Lanny made it for dinner tonight, and when he said rice and beans I thought, “Wha–?” Then he said it was coming from your blog so I knew it would be good…and it was!

  12. I loved these! So yummy and smokey tasting. The andouille is so worth it. I shared some with my MIL who is from the south, and she said they were fabulous. Thanks Kate! I’m glad I didn’t try the pinto beans 🙂

  13. I made this today and we all thought it was yummy!

    I put everything in my crock pot last night and then just let it all sit over night in the fridge. Then this morning I just plugged it in and turned it on before we left for church. It was so easy that way. We used turkey sausage too.

  14. I thought these were fantastic! I’ve made another recipe a few times by some guy named Emeril and I thought that one was pretty good, but I think these taste even better! I made it even healthier with turkey smoked sausage and throwing in some red bell pepper I had too.

  15. We love to eat beans and rice! I can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks Kate! And Hi to Miss Sara. . .

  16. Ahhh… a Utah girl living in Louisiana. I moved to Utah from Louisiana about 4 years ago. I can relate to your story! I’m not from Louisiana, just lived there for a couple of years. I’ve been craving red beans and rice. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  17. I just tried Sara’s Black Bean Soup this week and loved it. The flavors amazing. I love beans and rice, so this recipe I want to try too. Also, Costco has the most delicious Andouille sausage. So if anyone is looking for a good one. I think they come in 3 packages of 6 or so. You can freeze what you don’t use.

  18. I’m not going to lie, I probably won’t make this. My husband has serious gas issues when he eats stuff like this, sorry TMI. But I will say that I absolutely feel entertained when I read the history behind what you are making. You and Sara have some of the funniest expressions I have ever read. Thanks for brightening my day!

  19. Mandy–Are you in Louisiana?? Or just making King Cake for the heck of it (and Mardi Gras, of course! 🙂 )

    Kathy–I’ve never soaked the beans and they turn out great in the crockpot. On the stovetop, however, I’ve found I definitely need to soak them first.

    Sara–I’m SURE you could try it with canned beans; you’ll just have to get around 8 c. of mashed beans and liquid (you want it semi-soupy, not thick like caneed refried beans).

  20. Hey Kate- Have you ever tried this with canned beans (and less water of course)? I’ve got a bunch and I’m wondering how it would turn out…maybe I’ll give it a shot and come back with a report. I’m thinking if I used canned beans it might even work better on the stove-top simmering for a little while so the beans don’t turn into mush. Hmmm…any thoughts?

  21. This recipe looks great, but I have a question. Do you not soak the beans first? I usually have to soak them all night and then cook them all day to get them soft.

  22. I have never tried beans and rice. Your recipe sure looks yummy, I think I might just be adventurous and make it for my family. (I think the sausage will win them over!)

  23. Oh I think this sounds so good! We love slow-cooker meals on Sunday so I think I’ll try this one this week. Yum, thanks Kate!

  24. This will go perfectly with the King Cake I’m planning on making this month. Thanks for the awesome crockpot recipe!

  25. This is the first thing I’m going to make when I get back home and to my slow cooker! Mmmmm…