This Red Beans and Rice with sausage recipe takes no shortcuts in order to ensure each creamy bite is packed with maximum flavor. This inexpensive meal will soon be a family favorite!
One of the most annoying things bloggers do, other than going to the grammar store and buying big buckets of 'amazing' and proceed to slather it across every post they write, is to claim all of their recipes are "The best ever!" I guess, who can blame them. Would you click on a recipe titled, "A Slightly Above Average Red Beans and Rice Recipe"?
I have painstakingly avoided that phrasing. However, this time I am just going to come right out and say it, this red beans and rice recipe is the best ever! There are no shortcuts, just layers and layers of flavor!
Red Beans and Rice with Sausage
This red beans and rice recipe was one of the first recipes I mastered when I discovered my love of cooking. I was fairly broke, working a $25,000 a year job, so this budget-friendly recipe became my go-to for inexpensive sustenance. I reworked this recipe endlessly until it was perfect.
Traditionally you will find ham hocks in Red Beans and Rice. You can certainly add it to your recipe if desired, but I don't. I prefer Red Beans and Rice with sausage. Andouille sausage adds plenty of flavor and most people don't have ham hocks lying around.
Authentic Red Beans and Rice Ingredients
To make the best red beans and rice, you need to use the best ingredients. I use dry beans, rather than canned, which is more authentic and gives it a better texture. Fresh thyme rather than dried gives it better flavor, and searing the andouille sausage in a separate skillet helps build layers of flavor. My Red Beans and Rice recipe is the perfect balance of deep rich flavors and a bit of heat.
My recipe also calls for using bacon grease for sauteing the Holy Trinity - onions, peppers, and celery. Bacon grease adds a nice additional layer of smoky flavor, however, if you do not have any on hand you can certainly substitute butter or cooking oil instead.
How to Make Red Beans and Rice
This red beans and rice recipe is prepared by building layers of flavor. First, we saute vegetables until tender, then liquid and seasonings are added with the beans, which are simmered for a few hours to mingle the flavors and soften the beans.
Finally, rather than just dumping the sausage in with the red beans, we sear them off in a separate skillet which develops even more flavor. The skillet is deglazed to ensure no flavorful bits are left behind!
Since the Red Beans and Rice are going to simmer on the stove for a few hours, I love using a Cast Iron Dutch Oven (affiliate link) for this recipe. Cast Iron Dutch Ovens are my go-to cookware for any long simmer because they retain heat so well. You don't want a lot of temperature fluctuation because that will lead to scorching.
Try More of My Cajun and Creole Recipes
- Authentic Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
- Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- Homemade Creole Seasoning
The Best Ever Red Beans and Rice
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease, (or cooking oil)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 bell pepper, (chopped)
- 3 stalks celery (chopped)
- kosher salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worchestershire Sauce
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 quarts chicken stock (8 cups)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 1 pound ‘small red beans’ (rinsed and picked of debris)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 14 oz Andouille sausage (Chopped into beans sized chunks)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon of butter
- Sautee onion, pepper, celery, salt and pepper in the pot with oil (or bacon grease). Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the peppers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, stock, Worchestershire Sauce, oregano, paprika, and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 2 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
- In separate skillet brown sausage while beans are cooking. Deglaze the pan with liquid from the bean pot (or ¼ cup water, then add deglazing liquid back to the pot along with sausage and cayenne pepper.
- Increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you prefer an even creamier texture, mash some of the beans with a potato masher at this time.
- Add butter prior to serving.
- Prepare rice during the last 30 minutes of cooking the beans.
- Rinse rice by placing in a bowl and filling up, and promptly draining, three baths of cold water to remove excess starch which will prevent rice from sticking and becoming mushy. Water should run clear.
- Sauté rice in 1 ½ tablespoon of butter on medium heat for three minutes prior to boiling.
- Add water and bring rice to a boil and briefly stir to ensure rice is not sticking to bottom. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, about 15-30 minutes for white rice.
- Keep lid on as much as possible and refrain from stirring. Stirring releases starches which will cause the rice to become mushy.
- To test doneness, squeeze rice between thumb and index finger. Rice should be soft all of the way through.
- Serve red beans on a plate on top of a mound of rice.
This recipe was originally published on FoxValleyFoodie.com on January 21, 2017.
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This really is “the most amazing red beans and rice”. So good
Do you add the sausage at end of 2 1/2 hours, or during that cooking time?
This is a wonderful recipe - thank you so much for sharing! My husband grew up in Louisiana and said this is the best red beans and rice he's ever had!
Do the red beans need to be soaked overnight first?
Fox Valley Foodie
No, the long simmer will take care of them for you.
Great recipe again Fox. I'm somewhat of a red beans connoisseur and for the time and effort this is my go to. We do have a really good local andouille so I just sautee it in the same pot, remove, add a spoonful of oil and sautee/cook the rest.
Was worth all the time and prep. Very happy house tonight.
So I like this as a base recipe. I added in ham hock, cinnamon stick, a little Mexican spicy chocolate and beer. I've made red beans and rice with smoked turkey necks before and I can recommend it but some of my family got sort of grossed out by the concept (they liked the flavor though!)
I will have to send you the only recipe I ever use for red beans and rice. I loved in New Orleans and there was thks dirty little place on the quarter called Buster Holmes. That place had the best ever for years I searched for a recipe like it... finally found it. I will have to take pictures of the recipe, as it comes from cooks illustrated. If that is okay with you
Loved this recipe, I really liked the combination of herbs and seasonings. The smoked paprika is not traditional but gives an authentic smoky flavor. I used a smoked turkey leg instead of sausage, not a fan of pork sausage. my mom is a Louisiana Cajun, she would have loved it. Thank you