Red Beans & Rice - the classic recipe

Red Beans & Rice

Years ago, my son and I had Red Beans and Rice in New Orleans – and if you’ve had that experience, you know how the flavors of that dish can literally haunt you; you’ll think about it, taste it again in your mind, and not be satisfied until you have it again. Luckily, its only a food or I’d sound like some kind of crazy stalker…

Red Beans & Rice - the classic recipe

Red Beans & Rice – the classic recipe

My son once tried to undermine me at a school conference and blurted out we had “no food” in the house! He meant junk food, being jealous of his friends with freezers full of hot pockets and pizza rolls.

The teacher, knowing me and my love of cooking just looked him up and down and said, “Well it’s not like you’re eating beans and rice.” We both started laughing because that was exactly what we had the night before –  and were planning on eating that night. Leftover it’s even better than the first night.

Being a Northerner, I often use Kielbasa instead of the lovely Andouille sausage. Do stay away from turkey sausage for this dish, which lends an “off’ flavor.

If you’d like a bit more heat, pass the hot sauce. While many serve this as a simple meal on its own, it is a bit light on the veggies and can be heavy – think smaller portions and why not go full-on Southern and pair it with super healthy Braised Turnip (or other) Greens?


Red Beans & Rice

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Cuisine: Southern


  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 bay leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pound red beans, rinsed (I like the small beans, not kidney, if available)
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, smoked sausage or keilbasa
  • 6 cups cooked rice
  • hot sauce
  • chili relish


In a Dutch oven, preferably a heavy one, cook bacon till lightly browned. Remove all but a tablespoon of fat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently till soft. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.

Add the rest of ingredients up to the sausage, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a vigorous simmer (should be steaming and several bubbles breaking the surface) and cook, uncovered, stirring now and then till the beans are soft and most of he liquid is absorbed, about 2 1/2 hours.

Stir in sausage and cook till liquid is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes, stirring now and then.

Serve over rice.

Keywords: Andouille, Bacon, Bargain Meal of the Week, Bell Peppers, Cajun & Creole, celery, Chicken Stock, Dried Beans, Pork, Rice, Sausage, Southern Cooking

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Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! Every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings!
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.


Per Serving: 494 Calories; 7g Fat (12.7% calories from fat); 30g Protein; 78g Carbohydrate; 15g Dietary Fiber; 13mg Cholesterol; 672mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 5 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

Put your own spin on it:

Vary the sausage, as I did, and vary or increase the vegetables.  You can also throw in a ham hock, taso, or other ingredients to up the flavor quotient and add to the creaminess of the dish.


Pricing History:

Red Beans & Rice made September 2011 for $2.57. Remade and repriced in April of 2014 for $3.72. The only sales pricing that was actually more was the Rice and the Bacon; the sales prices are holding steady for the other items. Part of the extra cost was I didn’t wait for a good sales price on the beans and spent about 50 cents extra and made this when peppers (the most expensive of the vegetables) were out of season: I overpaid about 66 cents.

By the way, if I carelessly spend an extra 66 cents a meal, it’s an extra $722.70 a year – not a huge mistake, but it adds up. For some it’s a pittance, for others a meaningful amount. It’s all in the perspective, isn’t it?

Red Beans & Rice - the classic recipe

3 thoughts on “Red Beans & Rice

  1. Jess

    yum! I love that you went back and updated the pricing info here! never really thought about what an extra couple of pennies can so to your budget long term. This is making a HUGE difference for me as I am not struggling to keep my grocery budget down. Last month we spent $1411 on food for our family of 6!!!!!!!! Over half of my husbands pay. :'( we are only half jokingly tossing around the idea I may need to pick up part time work JUST to pay for FOOD! crazy!

    • Hi Jess – See, that’s the problem with kids, they have all these expectations. Like getting fed! 🙂

      If it helps, I think MOST people underestimate the total amount that can be saved by careful shopping! It’s not just eating “cheap” food, but buying good food for cheap prices that makes a big difference!

      The good news is you have a handle on how much you spend and a lot of people don’t even know that! 🙂 I’ll hope you’ll explore more and that you’ll find a few hints here that will be helpful = and I love comments! 🙂

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