Southern Red Beans & Rice
A Southern Red Beans & Rice recipe combining two versions of red beans recipes I grew up enjoying —with a Caribbean twist.
I am a true Louisiana boy and I can honestly say that I grew up eating red beans and rice (and white beans) on the regular. I had the opportunity to be raised by two grandmothers that made this dish constantly and even though they had their own spin, it was delicious in either home.
Beans and rice is an iconic dish in Louisiana and depending on which parish you grew up in, you would either find the red or white variety. Where New Orleans is known for its red beans, you’ll find white beans to be the staple side dish at spots across Southern Louisiana. I’m sharing my red beans recipe this time around.
What type of bean should I use?
For my beans and rice recipe, I generally opt for red beans or kidney beans. Although they both result in a great tasting pot of beans, they are slightly different. Despite their subtle differences in size and texture, they are both great options.
Red beans are small and oval in shape. They have a mild flavor and the texture is much creamier in comparison. You’ll find these beans used heavily in Caribbean cuisine and generally the bean of choice when making Southern and Creole red beans and rice.
Kidney beans, on the other hand, are slightly larger, and they have a grainy texture. However, because of their firmness, they are difficult to overcook. They also maintain their shape and tend to absorb flavors well.
Do I need to soak my beans before cooking them?
When you buy beans they are typically dried. Because of this, they will need a little rehydration. If you consider the cooking time, you can opt to simply cook them longer, or you can hydrate them beforehand. This is the way I go.
This route ensures your red beans are not overcooked. Basically, soaking beans will reduce the cooking time and the texture of the beans will be ideal. But don’t worry, if you are pressed for time, you can certainly cook your beans without soaking them at all.
Can I use canned beans for this recipe?
Alternatively, you can use canned beans and omit the soaking step. You’ll want to drain any excess liquid beforehand. The remaining steps are the same and you’ll simply adjust the cooking time to 30 minutes (versus 1-2 hours). This allows the seasonings and spices to soak in.
To put my spin on this traditional recipe, I decided to add some Caribbean spices and coconut milk. The coconut milk brings a wonderful velvet texture to the resulting broth.
I don’t eat pork, but I grew up with red beans that incorporated ham hocks for added saltiness. Now I’ve replaced that with beef sausage to bring this recipe full circle.
If you need a good southern Louisiana recipe to satisfy the family for dinner give the Southern Red Beans & Rice a try and you will look forward to eating leftovers for days.
For more options, check out my other Southern side dishes:
- Creamy Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Carrot Soufflé
- Quick & Easy Creamed Spinach
- Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
- Southern Creamed Corn
Southern Red Beans & Rice
- Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 10 1x
This Southern Red Beans & Rice recipe is a mixture of the two versions of red beans recipes I grew up enjoying!
- 32 oz. Small Red Beans
- 5 cups Chicken Broth
- 3/4 cup Chopped Yellow Onion
- 3/4 cup Chopped Celery
- 3/4 cup Chopped Green Pepper
- 3/4 cup Chopped Green Onion
- 2 tbsp. Parsley
- 26 oz. Beef Sausage
- 27 oz. Reduced Fat Coconut Milk
- 3 tsp. Minced Garlic
- 2 Whole Bay Leaves
- 1 tbsp. Ground All Spice
- 1 tbsp. Ground Thyme
- 1 tbsp. White Pepper
- 2 tbsp. Paprika
- 1/2 tbsp. Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- Begin by soaking the red beans in a large bowl of water for 8 hours then remove from water.
- In a large cooking pot, heat to medium and add butter. Add minced garlic, chopped yellow onion, celery, green pepper, parsley, and green onion to pot and cook for 7 minutes. Add paprika, ground allspice, ground cumin, ground thyme, and bay leaves then cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Slice the beef sausage then set to the side.
- Add red beans, chicken broth and coconut milk then bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and cook covered for 30 minutes. Add beef sausage, red pepper, white pepper, and sea salt then stir and cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 more minutes.
- Cook rice according to cooking instructions and set to the side. Once the red beans are done cooking allow them to cool then serve with rice.
Soaking the red beans prior to cooking significantly reduces the cook time.
- Prep Time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 2 hour 15 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Southern
- Calories: 569
- Fat: 18.7g
Keywords: Southern Red Beans & Rice, Red Beans & Rice, Southern Beans & Rice, Beans & Rice
I grew up in Wyoming and when I moved to Georgia I thought I better learn to cook some southern staples. I always trust a good “Grandmother’s recipe” and since this is a combo of two grandmas how could I go wrong? Now I make this recipe all the time, it’s easily one of my favorite meals. I never would have thought to add coconut milk but it is key, so good thank you so much for sharing.
Wonderful flavor. After soaking beans beans overnight I had to cook them for 2 hours to get them tender. I used a cast iron Dutch oven. I just added more water as needed. No problem, that is what I am used to. The flavor was excellent.
Thanks, Valerie! If the flavor was there, that is what matters in the end. Glad you enjoyed it!
Hey I just went on instinct halved everything and added a about half a bottle of pilsner which I happened to have on hand… whole thing took a bit of extra time on account of beans gettin done and all… but it ended up excellent. I like your food my man?!
Question…I have a one pound of beans soaking and am just cooking for my wife and I so I want to half the recipe. Will just two cups of stock work or do I need to add more for some reason?
Jim, I think two cups of stock would work but you may want to add maybe a half cup more just to make sure you have enough liquid for the process. Let me know how it comes out and if that works.
Love your recipes! Quick question..is the following 3 cups of each or 3 cups as a combination?
3 cups of Chopped Yellow Onion, Celery, Green Pepper, Parsley and Green Onion
Hello Chamonix! First off, thank you. For these ingredients I typically used a pre-prepared freshly chopped creole seasoning mix/blend. However, if your local grocer does not have this blend, you can use 3/4 cup Chopped Yellow Onion, 3/4 cup Chopped Celery, 3/4 cup Chopped Green Pepper, 3/4 cup Chopped Green Onion, & 2 tbsp. Parsley. Enjoy!
The other day we were at a southern restaurant . they had something similar on the menu – a vegetarian option though. Do you think stew meat (beef/lamb) will be a good substitute for sausage ? .
Hello Syama. I have never tried to use lamb but I’m sure with additional seasonings to bring more saltiness that may be needed. I may give this a try myself.
I’m always so intrigued by southern dishes and never having my own ‘red beans and rice cooking grammies’ as a northern girl I am so happy I found this! I always have beef rope sausage on hand and loved the addition of coconut milk. So good!
Thanks a lot Tristin! I’m glad I can help. I think that beef option is a good one as well.
Love the addition of coconut milk! I’m vegetarian and I would omit the meat and use vegetable broth instead. Sounds super yummy!
Thanks Amanda! That sounds like a pretty good alternative.
These look so comforting, and I like the added creaminess from the coconut milk. Yum!
Thanks a lot Caroline! That definitely helps with the flavor.
Comfort food is the best, especially when it’s something from your childhood. This looks like a fab family dish. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Zahra! I appreciate it.
I almost cannot contain my excitement over these red beans and rice. They are legitimately one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’m not even sure where to begin… The flavors are outstanding. The combination of sauteed veggies really gives this dish so so so much flavor! It has plenty of spices (but is not spicy) which I love! And the coconut milk gives it the absolute creamiest, most delicious texture ever! We used canned light red kidney beans in place of the dried beans and a jalapeno (no ribs/seeds) in place of the green pepper but other than that followed the recipe exactly. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. And I REALLY can’t wait until we can have friends over for dinner again – this will be the first meal I make for them. Can’t wait to try your Cajun White Beans next!!! Thank you for sharing SUCH a lovely recipe.
Wow, thanks Kylie! The coconut milk really adds something special to this dish. I add it in all of my bean recipes now. And beans really do get better day after day. Thanks for sharing and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!