Make Ahead

Mom's New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

May 22, 2018
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Every year for my birthday, I would ask for my mom's red beans and rice. They're comforting, creamy, and so-well flavored. Everyone who tries them loves them. My mom swears the secret is a cup of pickle juice. —Katie Macdonald

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 10 Slow-Cooker Recipes Made for Fall TV Binges. —The Editors

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 4 hours
  • Serves 9 to 12
  • Red beans
  • 1 pound red kidney beans (my mom uses Camellia brand)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, more to taste
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup pickle juice (dill or sweet)
  • 5 to 8 whole bay leaves
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced in 1/2 in sections
  • 1 smoked ham bone with meat (many stores will sell ham bones with some meat on them; ham bone will greatly improve the taste of red beans)
  • 1 pound smoked ham cut in cubes (Look for this in meat section, sometimes called "pickled pork" but it won't have a bone with it)
  • 1 tablespoon Cavender's Greek Seasoning
  • For the rice:
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 splash olive oil
In This Recipe
  1. Red beans
  2. In a large heavy pot, empty bag of red kidney beans; remove any dirt if there.
  3. Wash beans by rinsing in water and discard water. Add fresh tap water to cleaned beans so that water covers them by 2 inches.
  4. Put lid on and bring to a boil, then lower temperature to simmer for 1 hour and then turn off. Beans should be softened.
  5. Add all above remaining ingredients and add enough water to cover all ingredients by an inch.
  6. Bring back to a boil then immediately to a low simmer. It may take 3-4 hours on simmer for the beans to be ready to eat. The longer you keep them on a low simmer, the creamier they will get. You must stir the beans regularly so they don't burn.
  7. Slow-cooker variation: If you boil the beans first, you could then put them in a Crock-Pot with all of the other ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours, stirring every so often so it doesn't burn.
  8. Freeze any leftovers and they are good for at least 4 months in the freezer.
  1. For the rice:
  2. Prepare 1 cup of long grain brown rice. (2 cups water to each 1 cup rice plus good shake of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil), bring to boil then put on simmer for 15 mins or until done.

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.