Bring the flavors of New Orleans to your own kitchen with my easy, authentic Creole Red Beans and Rice recipe! This dish has the perfect blend of spice and serves beautifully with fluffy white rice and buttermilk cornbread on the side.
I grew up in Mississippi, which means we frequently made trips to New Orleans for shopping, entertainment, but especially the FOOD. I consider NOLA food to be #1 in the country – and this recipe for red beans and rice is exactly what I make whenever I’m feeling a bit homesick for some delicious Cajun/Creole food.
- Dry Red Beans – The star of the show is dried red beans – not the canned versions. You can soak these overnight if you remember, or use the “quick-soak method” I talk about below!
- Smoked Sausage Links – Our protein is smoked sausage links. I always grab the turkey kind, but pork or beef will work just as well. Try and get andouille sausage if you can!
- Cajun Holy Trinity – As I always say, you simply can’t make a savory Cajun recipe without the Cajun Holy Trinity. Bell peppers, onions, and celery. Trust me, I’m not a HUGE celery fan but you can’t skip it in this recipe.
- White Rice (for serving) – Red beans & rice is almost always served with white rice. You can also sub for brown rice or riced cauliflower if you want; but you will have to adjust cooking times.
How to Make Authentic Red Beans & Rice
Red Beans & Rice was created to be an easy, hands-off recipe, usually made and simmered while the cooks of the home were doing other chores.
- We start out with soaked & drained red beans. You can either soak overnight, or do the “quick-soak method” I mention below that only takes about an hour.
- In a large pot, brown your sausage link rounds in a touch of olive oil; then, set aside.
- Sauté your veggies in the same pot for a few minutes until softened. Be sure to scrape up any bits from the sausage – that’s tons of flavor we’ll use for later.
- Season with our mix of Creole seasonings + spices.
- Pour in the soaked beans, stock, apple-cider vinegar, and a touch of molasses.
- Place a couple of bay leaves into the mixture and let it boil.
- Once the pot is boiling: reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about an hour.
- Remove the bay leaves and smash some of the red beans to thicken. I love to use a handheld blender for this part.
- Finally, add your sausage back in and cook for about 15 minutes. Serve with white rice and cornbread on the side!
This is a perfect Sunday dinner recipe because you barely have to stand over the stove.
I love to serve it with some cornbread on the side; the cornbread in my photos uses this Jalapeño Skillet Cornbread recipe but I skipped the jalapeño!
Forgot to Soak Your Beans Overnight?
If you forgot to soak your beans overnight – and trust me, I forget often – have no fear!
There’s a quick soak method to at least get your dry beans ready in about an hour.
- Rinse the beans in water and discard any debris. Drain that rinsing water.
- Boil the rinsed beans in a large pot of water for 5 minutes; you want them to come to a rolling boil.
- Cut the heat off, then let the beans soak in the hot water for an hour.
- Rinse and drain once more, then you’re ready to cook!
I love using “small red beans” that you can find in the dried bean section of your grocery store. You can also use light red kidney beans if you can’t find the red beans.
My recipe definitely has big flavors; but this isn’t too spicy. We only use a small amount of cayenne pepper. If you love spice, feel free to add a bit more cayenne pepper to taste!
Red beans and rice is a Creole dish! Creole and Cajun are two distinct cultures in Louisiana. Creole describes the culture of people born to settlers in French colonial Louisiana, especially New Orleans. A lot of people remember the difference like this: Creole food uses tomatoes and proper Cajun food does not.
Other Easy One-Pot Dinners You’ll Love!
Creamy Spinach Dip (Cheddar’s Copycat!)
Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Non-Dairy!)
Easy Red Beans & Rice
- 1 ½ cups small red beans, dry soaked overnight or using the "quick soak" method
- 12 oz. smoked sausage link
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ ct. yellow onion diced
- 2 ct. celery stalks chopped
- 1 ct. green bell pepper chopped
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. no-salt Cajun seasoning
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. ground thyme
- 2 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. molasses
- 2 ct. bay leaves
- white rice for serving
- Ensure your dry red beans have been soaked overnight, or using the "quick soak" method I mentioned above. Rinse, drain, and set aside.
- Slice your turkey sausage link into rounds about ½ inch wide.
- In a large pot, add the olive oil and the sausage rounds. Brown the sausages on medium heat and then set aside.
- Sauté the diced onion, celery, and green bell pepper on medium heat for about 4 minutes.
- Season the veggies with the smoked paprika, salt, no-salt Cajun seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground thyme.
- Pour in the soaked beans, chicken stock, apple-cider vinegar, and molasses. Stir to combine.
- Place the bay leaves in the pot, then allow the mixture to begin to boil.
- Once the pot is boiling, turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook for an hour.
- Remove the bay leaves. Using a soup blender (or smashing the beans against the pot with the back of a spoon), mash some of the beans to help thicken the sauce.
- Add back in the sausage rounds, cook for about another 15 minutes, then serve with white rice. Enjoy!
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The Coined Breakdown
- Total Cost per serving: $0.79
- Total Cost (8 servings): $6.28
- Those Other Guys: $14.00 per serving