New Orleans Red Beans & Rice Recipe

May 05, 2022

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice Recipe

The New Orleans Tradition of Red Beans & Rice

"In New Orleans, red beans are a Monday classic. My Mother really did do the wash on Monday. It was an all day affair for her. She played the soap operas on our floor model radio. While she cooked, washed and ironed, the background sounds of the heart wrenching stories and adventures of Stella Dallas and others filled the house. And, the whole while I’m sure she prayed that it wouldn’t rain. Heaven forbid if it rained. The mad scramble began - Momma pulling the clothes off the line and I would be behind her picking up the socks and undies that fell to the ground. Clothes pins flying and baskets piled high meant the entire house was covered with the fresh starched dresses, skirts and more. A lot of work. That really does explain why this dish is so important to the Monday culture. You can leave it and go. Also, no matter if you were rich or poor, uptown or downtown, we all were eating red beans on Monday. Red beans, the classic way, cooked all day is one of the best dishes of New Orleans and truly ties us together." –Harriet Robin, author of Across the Table

Traditional Red Beans & Rice Recipe

This recipe is reprinted from our Across the Table cookbook written by Anne Leonhard and Harriet Robin.


  • 1 lb. red beans, soaked overnight to soften
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 tbl. bacon fat 
  • 4 cups onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 4 toes (cloves) garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbl. Joe’s Stuff seasoning
  • 2-3 tbl. chicken or ham base
  • 1 lb. smoked ham hock
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped

Browse all of our Red Beans & Rice Products.


  1. In a large stock pot, add soaked beans and water. The water level should be at least one inch over beans or about a thumb knuckle over. 
  2. Add next 12 ingredients.
  3. Stir and cover. Maintain a slow simmer for about 2 ½ - 3 hours. Stir the pot gently and check beans every hour. 
  4. Taste the beans to see if there is a need to add more seasoning. I also mash a few of the beans on the side of the pot after the second hour and stir a bit. This is a little trick to make the beans creamy.
  5. Remove from heat and serve over rice. 

Hint: Soak your beans on the countertop overnight. Cover with enough water (about 4 inches) to make sure there is enough water to allow the beans to soak completely covered. If you have a gas stove, never soak the beans on the stove. That little bit of heat from the pilot light will heat the beans just enough and potentially sour them. Avoid this, so you don’t have to toss the beans!

Hint: I do not salt the beans until they’ve cooked at least 1 hour. If you use a particularly salty meat you can almost avoid the salt altogether.