Red Beans and Rice


Something tells me we’re not the only ones who get excited over beans and rice. Do you? Rarely a week goes by that we don’t have beans of some sort or another, and my mother’s chili beans with rice are a staple around here.

My father found a recipe in our local grocery store (Raley’s) circular for a Cajun red beans and rice using smoked pork shanks. Given my dad’s love affair with all things pork, he couldn’t wait to make it. Traditional Louisiana red beans and rice also uses Andouille sausage which we did not add, but you could if you wanted. There was plenty of flavor, and plenty of meat, with the smoked shanks.

Red Beans and Rice Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8

If you have access to ham hocks and not shanks, you may want to make up the difference in meat (hocks have much less meat) with sausage. Just take 1/2 pound of Andouille sausage, slice, brown first before adding to the beans with the ham shanks. If you do not eat pork, you might try making this with smoked turkey sausage, in which case I would replace some of the water with chicken stock.


  • 1 lb dry small red beans
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs meaty ham shanks
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of Cajun or Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere's or Zatarains) or to taste*
  • Tabasco sauce**
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked white rice (from about 3 cups raw rice)

*If you don't have access to packaged seasoning, just skip it and add some thyme (fresh or dried), a bay leaf (in with the beans and shanks in step 2), and a little paprika
**We used a combo of Chipotle Tabasco sauce and regular Tabasco, could also use cayenne pepper


1 Place dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with cold water by a couple of inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. (You can quick soak them by putting them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them, covering them by 2 inches, then letting them soak for two hours.) Drain.

2 Place beans, ham shanks, garlic, chopped onion, and water in a large (8-quart) pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

3 Remove ham shanks from the pot to a dish. Let cool slightly then shred the meat away from the bones. Return the meat back to the pot. Add the celery, bell peppers, Worcestershire and seasonings. Cover and cook for another hour or until the mixture gets thick. Season to taste with Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.

Serve over rice.

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Recipe adapted from "Something Extra", winter 2009 issue, Raley's and Bel Air Markets.

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Showing 4 of 59 Comments

  • !Queen

    This recipe with ham hocks is the absolute bomb!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave

    tomatoes vs no tomatoes?

    This seems like one of the main divisions for red beans and rice. I’m not from Louisiana but it seems to me from researching is that that tomatoes are an often used ingredient in Creole cooking compared to Cajun where its use was traditionally more sparingly. Since red beans are a Creole dish wouldn’t tomatoes be acceptable? Secondly, as red beans are a home spun recipe wouldn’t the ingredients list differ from household to household including whether or not to use tomatoes? Also in the olden days it would have depended on the season and whether tomatoes were readily available. No?


    Well, if you’re from New Orleans, Mondays are Red Beans and Rice days. Every Monday, every kitchen in New Orleans and suburbia has a pot of beans cooking. I have to say, I make one of the best dishes of RB&R ever! Its easy, and you don’t need a lot of spices, You don’t need to soak them, either. Here goes: 1lb Red Kidney Beans (has to be Kidney Beans, Camilla brand is the best), In a large pot of water with about 8 to 10 cups of water and a little salt, boil over a high heat. Boil for a couple of hours. Keep adding water as it evaporates, keeping about the same amount at all times. Chop an onion, a tablespoon or garlic, about three to four stalks of celery, and 1/2 lb bacon. Cook bacon in a fry pan until its done, not crispy, but where you can see through the fatty part. To that, add the onion, celery, garlic and sautee together until the onions are transparent. Slice up some Eckerage Keilbasa smoked sausage into little discs and add to the fry pan. Cook this together with the rest until the sausages get hot. Dump everything into the pot of beans. Add to that three Bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 2 to 3 more hours. They get better and better the longer you cook them. You’ll see the beans breaking down and the “water” will be a nice creamy sauce. Cook your rice (Jassmine is my favorite), Serve the Red Beans over the rice, scooping up the smoked sausages as many as you want. THAT’S THE WAY TO MAKE IT. ITS EASY! JUST DON’T LET IT BURN, SO KEEP STIRRING AND MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT WATER IN THERE. YOU WON’T HAVE TO PUT ANYMORE WATER AFTER YOU ADD THE SEASONINGS. ENJOY!!!

  • Cindy In Florida

    Several times a year we make domestic mission trip with 12 – 20 others and do the cooking.

    This year I used this recipe multiple times.
    On the first full day of the trip I usually put a fully cooked spiral cut ham in the crock pot for dinner. I save the juices from the pot and use it 2 or 3 days later in the red bean recipe in place of some of the water. Other than that I follow the recipe exactly.

    I have to print out multiple copies of the recipe because everyone always wants to take the recipe home with them.

  • stefanie

    this is really goood im so glad i made this dish this is a 5 star meal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a must try

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