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Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice, made with hearty ham and sausage, is a wonderful way to bring some New Orleans flavor to your dinner table.


Red beans and rice in a bowl over rice with a spoon

Ham on Sunday, Red Beans & Rice on Monday.

In New Orleans, red beans & rice started with the tradition of a ham cooked up for Sunday supper. The next night, cooks would take the leftover ham bone, throw it into a pot to boil for hours on end with red beans. Waste not, want not! The resulting dish was so full of flavor that a new culinary tradition was born.

Today, we are more likely to head to our local grocery store to buy a ham hock, a little smoked ham, and some sausage to add to the New Orlean’s holy trinity (bell pepper, onion, and celery) and red beans. When it’s red beans and rice day in our homes, the day has a glorious slow pace. As we cook, our homes fill with amazing smells as the red beans and rice simmers for hours on the stove. It really is the best way to beat the Monday (or any day) Blues. Although this recipe takes a few more steps than our regular weeknight dinners, it is worth the effort.

Red beans and rice in a bowl over rice with a spoon

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How Do You Make Authentic Red Beans and Rice?

To be completely honest, we can’t vouch as to the authenticity of this recipe. When we researched this dish we found many different variations that claim to be traditional, and we did our best to do justice to the classic dish. We believe the results speak for themselves and this version of red beans and rice is one your family will come to crave. For what it’s worth, our belief is that if you are simmering this dish over the stove for hours and especially if you are cooking it on a Monday, you are doing it right!

How Do You Make Easy Red Beans and Rice?

This red beans and rice dish takes some time to cook, although, but is totally worth it. It’s a relaxing dish to make and will make your whole house smell delicious all day long. A few easy prep steps, and the simmer time does the rest. It really is easy. Here’s how to make it:

  • Boil the dry beans in a pot with water until tender but not cooked all the way through- about 45 minutes.
  • While the beans are boiling, sauté celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic.
  • Put the beans in a pot with the ham hock and the onion-garlic mixture.
  • Add spices and water to cover everything in the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 hours.
  • Sauté ham and sausage and add it all into the pot of beans.
  • Serve over white rice, pickled okra and louisiana hot sauce—and don’t forget the beer!
Red beans and rice in a bowl over rice with a spoon

What is the Best Way to Cook Red Beans and Rice?

You may see some recipes out there for red beans and rice made in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. Feel free to try these methods, but in our opinion there is only one way to cook red beans and rice—by simmering them in a pot over the stove for hours.

What Else Can You Add to Red Beans and Rice?

Super flavorful and full of protein, red beans and rice truly is a stand-alone dish. However, once you’ve got the method down, you can afford to get a little creative. Here are some things we love to add:

  • Cajun seasoning (a must!)
  • Andouille sausage AND Louisiana hot sausage.
  • Fresh parsley or green onions
  • Pickled okra
  • Pulled pork or leftover ham
Red beans and rice in a bowl over rice with a spoon

What Goes Well with Red Beans and Rice?

That’s an easy one...cornbread and a nice cold beer, all the way! You could also add a side of collard or mustard greens, green beans or corn on the cob. Holy smokes, who’s hungry? For bonus points from your friends and family, be sure to pick up a 6 pack of a nice brown ale and don’t forget the Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce!

Red beans and rice in a bowl over rice with a spoon

Your New Favorite Dinner?

If you make these Red Beans and Rice, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the post and tell your friends where you discovered the recipe!

Red Beans and Rice

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  2 hrs 15 min
  • Calories: 341


  • 1 lb dried red beans, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 large ham hock
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp creole seasoning (like Tony's)
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped (plus more for serving)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb smoked ham, diced
  • 1/2 lb Andouille sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 Louisiana hot sausage, cut on the bias
  • 1 jar pickled okra, for serving (optional)
  • Louisiana hot sauce (like crystal), for serving (optional)
  • 1 cooked white rice


  1. Place the beans in a large pot. Fill the pot of beans with water, double the beans volume. Bring to a boil. Boil the beans for 45 minutes making sure the beans are always covered in water. The beans should be tender with a little bite left in them.
  2. While the beans are boiling, sauté celery, onion and bell pepper in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan. When onions begin to soften add the garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. After the beans are done boiling, drain them and place the ham hock into the bottom of the pot. Add the onion-garlic mixture to the pot along with the beans. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and Creole seasoning. Add just enough water to cover everything in the pot. Bring to a boil them simmer for 2-3 hours. During this time the beans will release starch which will turn the water and seasoning into a rich gravy. How “wet” the sauce is depends on your liking. If it gets too sticky, add water ¼ cup at a time.
  4. While the red beans are melding with the deliciousness and making the sauce, add the last tablespoon of olive oil to the pan that was used for veggies. Sauté ham and sausage until slightly brown on all edges. During the last hour of simmering add it all to the pot of beans.
  5. Serve over white rice along side pickled okra, Louisiana hot sauce and of course good corn bread.


* Browning ham and sausage until crispy is completely optional if you're pressed for time. You'll still get great flavor, but we love the extra step as it crisps up the meat a little bit giving it a delicious texture!

* If you have a leftover ham bone from the holidays, use it in place of the ham hock! Much better than split pea soup.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories341
  • Protein30 g
  • Carbohydrates45 g
  • Total Fat14 g
  • Dietary Fiber26 g
  • Cholesterol56 mg
  • sodium1592 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Red Beans and Rice

Questions & Reviews

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    Any questions?

    Need to change up some ingredients? Unsure about a step in the method? Click the Ask a Question button above. We’re here for you.

  • Jenn

    This is a new family favorite!

    Yay! That is so great to hear, Jenn!