Beans and Legumes/ Recipes

Red Beans and Rice

I feel like this recipe pretty much completes the “Jenna Cooks Cajun” chapter on the blog. Okay, there isn’t really a jenna cooks cajun chapter, but I’m thinking about starting one since a certain boy in my life grew up on spicy, yummy Cajun food and loves it. And even though both eating and cooking Cajun food is relatively new to me, I’m trying because….well….what Southern guy doesn’t want his significant other to cook meals like his mama made? Let’s get real. It’s love!

So there you have it.

The biggest reason why I cook is because I love feeding people and seeing the huge smile on their face when they take a bite of a nostalgic meal…it’s almost like you can see memories pass before their eyes as they chew and swallow. I love that!

A few weeks ago, I was generously given some smoked andouille sausage straight from New Orleans from a friend at my yoga studio. He said that he fell in love with the sausage from this particular restaurant on a recent visit to NOLA and couldn’t find anything like it after returning back home. So, what did he do? He ordered a heck of a ton of smoked sausage straight from the source and was kind enough to share some with me! Thanks, Bill!


I was so excited to put that sausage to good use….and what better way than a big pot of creamy, slow cooked red beans and rice?!

So I got me some ham hocks and started cookin’. Yes, sir, I did. These beans cooked all morning long, and by the time that they were done, they had that delicious smoky taste from the ham hock, lots of spice from Tabasco sauce and that sausage. Oh, that sausage! It was the best andouille I’ve ever had.

This recipe takes some time. No doubt. But those who made my Cuban black beans awhile back know the merit of a good pot of beans. There’s just nothing like it. After a few hours, the bean water turns into some delicious magic gravy….almost like a very thick bean soup, actually. I would warn against using a crock pot here, even though it’s tempting. I’ve found that beans made in the crock pot just aren’t as thick and creamy as beans made the old fashioned way on the stove. And….I’m sorry vegetarians, I don’t recommend leaving out the ham hocks. Some things just must be done.

I use brown rice in my recipe but feel free to substitute it out for white. I just love the nutty chew of brown rice! And it’s healthy, so I like to think it cancels out all the ham hock and sausage-ness happening here.

This freezes well!!!! Make some then freeze half for a rainy day….also, instead of rice, try serving this over a big wedge of cornbread! Now we’re talking.

Red Beans and Rice

serves about 6

Print this recipe!


1 lb bag dry small red beans

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 tsp minced garlic

2 large bay leaves

2 ham hocks (about 1 lb)

2 tsp Creole seasoning (I love Tony Chachere’s)

2 tsp original Tabasco sauce

2 tsp salt

8 oz good quality smoked andouille sausage, roughly chopped

for serving—

1 cup dry brown rice

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

extra Tabasco sauce on the side!


The night before, rinse the beans under cold running water and then place beans in a large pot. Cover with cold water and let soak overnight.

In the morning, drain the beans. Add the chopped yellow onion, chopped green pepper, celery, minced garlic, Creole seasoning, bay leaves and ham hocks in the same pot with the beans. Cover with fresh water about three inches above beans (I used a five quart pot and pretty much filled the thing to the top with water).

Turn the heat to high and cover pot with lid, letting about an inch open to let out steam. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

After an hour and a half, stir in Tabasco sauce, salt and chopped andouille sauce. Simmer slowly for another hour, stirring often at this point.

When the beans are done, the liquid should have gotten very thick (almost like a gravy texture) and the beans will almost look mashed. Remove the ham hock and the bay leaves and turn off the heat. Cover the pot again while you prepare the rice.

To make the rice, boil the rice, water and salt together. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork when done and serve with the beans with additional hot sauce on the side.


3 hours (not including time to soak beans overnight—trust me, it’s worth it!)

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  • Alexia (Dimple Snatcher)
    May 31, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Jenna, looks delicious BUT WHERE IS THAT BAG FROM?!

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 8:02 am

      Kate Spade sample sale!

  • jenna
    May 31, 2012 at 3:20 am

    yum! how flavorful! Ava and I love rice and beans! it’s the perfect dish! and super affordable!

  • veronica
    May 31, 2012 at 3:50 am

    ooo! Andouille sausage! My grandparents used to live in Baton Rouge, LA and one of my favorite meals my grandmother would make had andouille sausage in it! I never thought to add it to beans and rice! My roommate from college is Puerto Rican and pretty much ate rice and beans every day πŸ™‚ Great idea! Now i just need to get my hands on some andouille…

  • sunflourjane
    May 31, 2012 at 4:17 am

    YUM! I want to make this…if only I could find andouille sausage in Italy…any other types of sausage that would work? (Italy has a zillion types…just none that are very cajun-y). Also…


    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Kate Spade sample sale awhile back!

    • Andie
      June 13, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Yes! you can use any type of smoked sausage, kielbasa, etc. (i’m a native New Orleanian) In fact, to save on calories, I usually use turkey sausage! Good stuff.

  • Katrina
    May 31, 2012 at 4:36 am

    This sounds super awesome! Love it!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    May 31, 2012 at 4:37 am

    “Or wife.” Is there a big secret that you’ve kept from us that the red beans and rice are to distract us from..? πŸ˜‰

    • RJ
      May 31, 2012 at 4:58 am

      I was wondering the same thing! πŸ™‚

      • Erica
        May 31, 2012 at 6:06 am

        Mmmm hmmm…I caught on to the same thing as well, my friend;)

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 7:38 am

      LOL. now i realize how dumb I sounded….I meant in general!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    May 31, 2012 at 5:01 am

    That’s so nice of your yoga student to bring you the sausage!! Like you said, it looks like there’s quite a bit of time involved in this recipe, but it sounds totally worth the wait!

  • Trey @ Dudes Cook Too
    May 31, 2012 at 5:03 am

    This southern boy right here can eat up some Red Beans and Rice. My wife’s grandfather grew up near New Orleans and can make the BEST Red Beans and Rice… and Gumbo I’ve ever put in my mouth! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Lisa
    May 31, 2012 at 5:09 am

    I. Need. that. bag!!! where is it from??

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

      I snagged it from the Kate Spade sample sale a few months ago….75% off!!!!

      • Lisa
        May 31, 2012 at 8:16 am

        You lucky lucky CA girl, you!!! πŸ™‚

  • Jen
    May 31, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Love how this post has more pictures of the process. I saw the title and was going to ask if you’ve gone vegetarian – and then I saw the sausage! πŸ™‚

    Does Adam’s family read your blog?

    • Nancy
      May 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

      I’m Adam’s mom and I do read Jenna’s blog! So very much of what I read here makes me super happy and proud but I just sit back quietly and restrain myself or I would be constantly gushing over this wonderful girl! πŸ™‚ Love you Jenna!

      • Jenn
        May 31, 2012 at 9:56 am

        That I’d wonderful! How sweet πŸ™‚

  • Cait's Plate
    May 31, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Can’t go wrong with red beans and rice! And I’m with you on cooking because feeding people and seeing them happy as a result is just the best feeling in the world!

  • Allyn
    May 31, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Oh, this is perfect! I was just saying the other day how much I needed a really good red beans and rice recipe. It’s one of those perfectly simple and cozy dishes when done right, but so many recipes are just… meh.
    Will be making this so very soon!

  • ks
    May 31, 2012 at 6:42 am

    FYI– a better reason not to cook beans, especially red beans, in the slow cooker, is that they have poisonous properties when theycook it boiled during the cooking process:

  • Elizabeth @ chronic venture
    May 31, 2012 at 7:21 am

    love me some red beans and rice! so delicious. cannot WAIT to give this recipe a try!

  • eliza
    May 31, 2012 at 7:46 am

    You must have gotten this recipe from a Louisianian! It is almost exactly like my grandmother’s recipe that I’ve been making since I was a little girl (born and raised in New Orleans)! If you want any passed-down creole recipes let me know πŸ™‚

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 7:53 am

      You have no idea how happy your comment makes me, eliza!!!!! why? because someone just told me I cook like a real Louisianian! eek! thank you πŸ™‚

  • Urban Wife
    May 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    This looks absolutely delicious! We make a similar version (Cuban) but instead of the andouille sausage we use spanish chorizo. It’s one of my favorite meals…I call it my “ratatouille”. πŸ™‚

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    May 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I know I should be paying attention to the food, but I am in love with your green bag! πŸ™‚

  • Macy
    May 31, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I love beans. Couldn’t be more excited to make this! Question: if I soaked the beans overnight, how should I store them during the day before I get back from work and make dinner?

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Drain them (in the morning) then put them in tupperware in the fridge. You can just cook the beans that night!

    • Alyse
      May 31, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Or you could just soak them while you were at work. πŸ˜‰ That’s what I do.

  • Sherie
    May 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

    More importantly…..WHERE did he order the andouille from????

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 8:35 am

      I need to ask him to find out!

      • Katina
        March 18, 2017 at 10:27 am

        Did you find out. I can’t find good andouille where I live.

  • LisaG
    May 31, 2012 at 9:24 am

    You mean California has ham hocks?!

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

      amazing, huh?! πŸ˜‰

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    May 31, 2012 at 9:25 am

    You know, it’s funny, but I was never a huge bean enthusiast when I was younger. I remember my mom making red beans and rice once and somehow not liking it, but now that I am older I find myself actually craving a great bowl of beans. These look so good, I think beans may be in my immediate future!

  • Sarah @
    May 31, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Yum! I love Cajun food- this looks great!!

  • Judith
    May 31, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Of course Cali has ham hocks and those of us who live here actually use them. In a variety of ways. I start my minnestrone soup with them.
    OK, Jenna, 2 questions:
    1. Kate Spade Sample Sale????? Where/when?

    2. lacking sausage ordering friends where do you suggest I look for some awesome andouille sausage? Know any great spots in SF? The Ferry Plaza, maybe?

    Love red beans and rice, thank you!

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 10:11 am

      1. I learned about the Kate Spade sample sale from Jessica (howsweeteats!). Basically, you have to go to the Kate Spade website and sign up for their newsletter. Then, a couple times a year you get invited to their private “sample sale” on their website. All the bags are 50-75%’s amazing (and dangerous!). I am not allowed to go there anymore. Heh

      2. I would suggest the ferry plaza, absolutely. There’s a sausage place in the ferry building—and I can’t remember the name right now, I apologize. But I’m sure they would have some great stuff!!

      • Laura @ She Eats Well
        May 31, 2012 at 10:45 am

        It’s called Boccalone in the Embarcadero Ferry Building. πŸ™‚

        Also, you should check out Cowgirl Creamery and 4505 meats while you are there!

  • kacia
    May 31, 2012 at 10:37 am

    oh man. beans + rice in the rice cooker is a new “lazy” meal favorite!!!! I’m totally trying this .. .maybe without the sausage tho. me + meat have a love/hate. ;o]

  • Lisa
    May 31, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Jenna, was wondering…whats your go-to chocolate? The place where I get my favorite stopped carrying it (gasp, srsly what are they thinking?) and I’m wanting some new… thanks!

  • Julia {The Roasted Root}
    May 31, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Sign me up for the Cajun Chapter, I LOVE cajun food! This dish looks superb…I want to bring it to every single barbecue I attend this summer…I want to eat it every day πŸ™‚

  • fabiola
    May 31, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I have one very important thing to say here:)… That sausage is making me drooool!!!!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Definitely making a pot of these beans on the next rainy day! They look delish!

  • Jenna
    May 31, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Ok…I may be able to get hubby to eat since there is meat in it!!!!! Looks soooo good!!!!!

  • bluebears
    May 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I have a question. Do you leave the lid a half inch off the whole time? Or just until it boils? Thanks.

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      the whole time—sorry if that wasn’t clear!

      • bluebears
        May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        Thanks! It’s my fault I’m sure. I’ve been trying to cook more and I am not what you’d call intuitive about the whole process yet. I love your recipes though. I’ve made several. πŸ™‚

  • Mel
    May 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Oh yum- love red beans and rice. I went to New Orleans for Spring Break last year and I think I gained about 10 lbs just in that week (it also happened to be over Mardi Gras- ‘hello’ King Cake!) I made a vegetarian version of red beans and rice with quinoa awhile ago and loved it!

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I definitely cook for love, too. πŸ˜‰ My husband has several recipes from his childhood that he just loves, so I cook them even though they aren’t my absolute favorite! πŸ™‚

  • Margarita
    May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Hey Jenna! I love how you did not skimp on the ingredients that make this dish truly what it is… where do people normally find some ham hock and what would be a decent substitute for it that will still give out rich flavors if I can’t find it anywhere? Also, all andouille sausages that I see in stores do not look right to me… I wish we had a real butcher shop that sells real andouille sausage…

    P.S. Your purse is super cute! I think it might be time to branch out of my Vera Bradley obsession.

    • jenna
      May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Ham hock is pretty easy to find! Look for it in the meat section of your grocery store and if you still can’t find it, ask your grocery store butcher. I’m SURE he has some back there! No need to make a special trip to a real butcher shop…I’m confident you can find everything you need at your regular ol’ store!

  • meagan
    May 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    That sausage looks amazing. No innuendo meant! Can’t wait to try this.

  • Danielle
    May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    The hubby is going to be gone for the weekend and you have presented me with the perfect comfort food for a weekend with the cat! The ingredients were purchased this morning and I can’t wait for dinner Friday night…..and leftovers for Saturday and Sunday…. πŸ™‚

  • Hilliary@Brunch and Cupcakes
    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I was just in New Orleans this past weekend, Loved the red beans and rice! I am going to have to make this recipe!

  • Tasha
    May 31, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Looks delicious!

  • Genet
    June 1, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I’d been very interested in your “Jenna Cooks Cajun” chapter! And those beans? They look amazing. Wish I had some leftovers about now–they’re great for breakfast too…cold…straight from the fridge (it’s a New Orleans thing)!

  • Moni Meals
    June 1, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Yum! easy, fast, annd hot! Works for me. πŸ™‚

  • Lindsay @ NOURISH
    June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

    This looks great!! Can’t wait to try!

  • Danielle
    June 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Pot’s simmering away. I did realize something while putting all my ingredients into the pot though. The ham hocks I grabbed are smoked ham hocks. So…..mine may be extra smoky……lol. Kitchen smells amazing!

    • jenna
      June 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      no, that’s perfect! that’s exactly what you need—nice work πŸ™‚

  • Angie RB
    June 4, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Made this dish yesterday for dinner and it was amazing! We substituted poblano for the bell pepper as the hubby is allergic to bell and it still turned out fantastic. So excited to have it again for lunch today and a large container is in my freezer for another meal.

  • Stesha
    June 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    You can also use smoked neck bones for seasoning too! I always put some in my beans for added flavor. I’m Louisiana born and raised!

    Hugs and Mocha,

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  • carolyn~
    June 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Hi Jenna,

    While I am sure you love the comments telling you how great the dish looks, I wanted to make sure and leave you a comment after making this recipe last night. It was DELICIOUS!!! I have always loved red beans and rice even being a native Californian. My husband is Puerto Rican and while he loves his beans and rice, they are a different version than this recipe. He loved these! He said “My wife has done it again” I had to give you full credit. I did not change a thing in this recipe and I am thrilled to have leftovers for today. I am even thinking of making this for our Santa Cruz beach house trip next month. There will be a big group of people and I know this will be a crowd pleaser.

    Thank you again for a wonderful and easy recipe. This dish will be made again and again in this house!

  • Andie
    June 13, 2012 at 9:45 am

    As a native New Orleanian (and Cajun, as both of my parents are Cajun) I have to say your recipe is pretty spot on! A quick tip- to make your beans extra creamy- is about an hour before they are done, smash up some of the beans on the side of the pot to make the beans a little creamier in texture. SO GOOD.

    Also- a fun fact- in New Orleans, Red Beans & Rice is a common “monday lunch special” because back in the early days, women of the house would always cook Red Beans & Rice for dinner because they would spend all day on Monday doing laundry and such for the week… so Red Beans would be a easy all day “sit on the stove” meal that would take little to no effort on their part. So if you come to New Orleans and go to any local mom & pop type of restaurant, Red Beans are always a monday lunch special.

    And YES! Cornbread (jiffy, especially) is AWESOME with a big bowl of red beans and rice. My mom always made cornbread with it.

    now I want to go get some red beans for lunch. LOL Too bad it’s not monday.

  • Emily
    June 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    I’m making this as we speak! Should I be concerned that there is still a lot of water in the pot after simmering for an hour and half? I’ve just added the salt and sausage for the next hour of cooking, but I’m a tad concerned about the current consistency.

    So excited to try this! Thanks for posting a very authentic recipe!

    • jenna
      June 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Nope, you’re fine. Keep on simmering! The longer you simmer, the better…it just takes some time πŸ™‚

      • Emily
        August 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

        Hi Jenna, I made this recipe a year ago. I actually had to pour out a ton of the water to make it correctly. I also don’t have 5 hours on a weekday to let this simmer (and no one in New Orleans does it this way anymore, either!) Once I poured out some excess water, it was delicious. I’ll be making it again tonight, but will remember to use less water. Also, will be making it without meat. πŸ™‚

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  • Nancy F.
    December 17, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Just made this for dinner last night – was just the thing for a lazy winter Sunday! Thanks for posting your recipe!

  • Christy
    December 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    I’m a southern girl and can appreciate smoked pork products.A few people I know avoid pork for health purposes. I’ve made good red beans using smoked turkey leg from Mollie Stones and chicken andouille from Trader Joe’s . To get the most flavor ask the butcher to chop the turkey leg.

  • AuBree
    January 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    These were amazing i made them without the ham hocks and sausage..pescotarian here πŸ™‚ i put extra veggies in it and my whole family loved it will be making again πŸ™‚

  • Carla
    January 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Jenna, how do you think this would turn out if one used lentils instead of beans?

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  • Lenka
    April 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I would just skip the salt, otherwise very nice. I will eat it also with other things than rice – tortillas, buckwheat.. πŸ™‚

  • Don
    May 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I have to chime in here and let you know that this recipe is simply amazing. I didn’t change a thing and we were floored at the flavor and consistency. It took a little longer to cook but I can work at that. This will be the only red bean recipe we use. Thanks for sharing. I’ve always shared my recipes and believe that by doing so, this country eats better food.

  • Don
    January 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Again, soaking beans for the best red beans and rice recipe on the planet. The beauty of it this time is I bought a 4 pack of smoked hocks so I get to use the new vacuum sealer my father in law bought us for Christmas for the two we won’t use. Thanks again for this amazing recipe.

  • Kelly Parks
    March 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    My family loved this recipe! This is the first Cajun dish I decided to try and followed it down to the letter, I had a hard time getting the liquid to thicken like you said it would, but I removed some liquid, cooked them longer and hotter and then added a touch of cornstarch…. and got it there. I must have added too much water in the beginning. Other than that, it was fantastic and I’ll definitely make it again!

  • Don
    April 29, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Again, all these years I thank you. We just finished dinner. I always follow the recipe to a T except one thing which is I use 1 lb of anodouille. This just fed 5 people with one good serving leftover for some lucky person’s lunch tomorrow.