Red beans and rice is Louisiana cooking at its finest!
With spicy Andouille sausage, red bean, and fresh veggies in a hearty tomato base, it’s pretty addicting.
Serving it over a scoop of steaming hot white rice makes this dish even better.
The rice soaks up all those delicious juices for an incredibly filling meal.
Seriously, after just one bowl and no one goes to bed hungry.
This recipe for red beans and rice makes a big batch, so there will be plenty of leftovers for a lunch you can look forward to.
Red Beans and Rice
So, what about red beans and rice earned it a coveted spot in the Southern comfort food hall of fame?
It’s an incredibly indulgent dish, but nothing is deep-fried, and it doesn’t pile on the cheese.
It’s spicy, savory, and oh-so-filling. Like any classic Creole dish, it doesn’t shy away from spices!
Using Andouille sausage takes this dish over the top.
It’s drier than your average sausage and has a consistency similar to salami.
While bright and spicy, it also has a distinctive smoky flavor that makes red beans and rice delicious.
In addition to smoky sausage, red beans and rice demand perfectly-soaked red beans.
Don’t get red beans confused with kidney beans!
They’re similar in color, but red beans a smaller and have tender skin that isn’t as tough as kidney beans.
This dish simmers on the stove all day to develop those rich and mouth-watering flavors.
It’s good right out of the pan, but it only improves with time.
How to Soak Red Beans
If you use canned red beans, the Cajun police might come to arrest you.
Authentic red beans and rice always uses dry beans. Dried beans take more prep time than canned, but the results are worth it.
They have more flavor, soak up the juices in your sauce, are lower in sodium, and taste better.
But to ensure that your beans cook a little faster (and digest easier), you must soak them.
Unsoaked beans won’t alter the finished product, but they take longer to cook.
To soak your beans, place them in a bowl and cover them with about two inches of water.
Soaking takes time and patience, so I recommend starting the soaking process the night before.
Throw your beans in water, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them soak overnight.
Tips for the Best Red Beans and Rice
While this recipe tastes amazing, there are some tips and tricks to make it even better.
These simple recipe hacks go a long way, from swapping your meat to adding acidic ingredients to boost flavor.
Check out some tips to make your classic Southern comfort food even better!
- Baby your beans. It’s super important that you thoroughly inspect your dried beans before tossing them into your pot. Raw beans sometimes have little pebbles and dirt, so give them a good inspection before using. After they soak, rinse them in water before using them.
- Add acidity. A touch of acidity goes a long way with all those savory spices and salty flavors. If you feel that your red beans and rice sauce needs a punch of something extra, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar.
- You don’t have to use Andouille sausage. I love Andouille sausage in classic red beans and rice, but it’s not for everyone. Plus, not all supermarkets carry this specialty sausage.
If you want to change the flavor profile, traditional red beans and rice often use any leftover meats that you have on hand.
Anything works, from ham hocks, chorizo, pork sausage, and even turkey!
If you want to keep it vegetarian, you can also omit the meat entirely.
How to Store Red Beans and Rice
As I mentioned, red beans and rice only improve with time.
This recipe is great for dinner and even better for lunch the following day!
Here are some tips to ensure that your leftovers taste great.
- Always store rice separately. The sauce for this recipe is soupy. If you keep the sauce and the rice together, the rice absorbs all that excellent broth and becomes mushy. Plus, it makes it near impossible to reheat!
- Cook this on the stovetop. The sauce will thicken in the refrigerator, so place a few drops of water in your saucepan before turning on the heat. Reheat it slowly, being sure to stir as you go.
- Reheat it in the microwave. Place your red beans in rice in a microwave-safe dish, add a few drops of water, and cover with a paper towel. Cook it in 30-second increments, stir, and continue this process until warm.
How to Freeze Red Beans and Rice
Yes, you can freeze leftover red beans and rice! Although it’s tasty, a pot may not last long enough to see the freezer.
If you want to make a batch to store in the freezer, it freezes incredibly well, rice and all!
To freeze, place pre-portioned rice and beans into freezer bags, and squeeze out the excess air.
Each portion lasts up to 3 months in the freezer.
When it’s time to reheat, don’t let your portions thaw first.
Place the frozen portion on the stove or microwave, and reheat.
Thawing frozen red beans and rice will make the rice very mushy.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?