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Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice

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Easy, delicious (and healthy) recipe for a warm winter classic.MORE+LESS-


ounces dried red kidney beans


ounces andouille, turkey or meatless sausage, thinly sliced


red bell pepper, chopped


green bell pepper, chopped


tablespoon Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix

Hot sauce for garnishing (optional)

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  • 1

    Mix together beans, sausage, celery, bell peppers, red onion, garlic, taco seasoning, salt and pepper and 6 cups water in a 5-quart crockpot. Cover and cook on high heat for 6 hours, or until beans are fork-tender.

  • 3

    Top cooked rice with red bean mixture. Garnish with hot sauce if desired and serve warm.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • In my college (and even early adult) years, when my bank account was less than stellar, I was guilty of eating a steady rotation of instant oatmeal, macaroni and cheese from a box…and a lot of beans and rice.

    Though it had a teensy bit of carb overload, my diet was more boring than a lecture on 17th century Baroque art (nothing against historical art lovers out there, of course!).

    Thankfully my weekly rotation of meals has matured quite a bit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy having my good old staples every now and then, made with a little extra oomph. Take this recipe for Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice, for example.

    Beans and rice it may be, but boring and bland it is not. And the best part is I can get it ready in the morning, head to the office and when I return, my home is filled with the smell of a delicious, healthy and ready-to-eat dinner. That’s the magic of a slow cooker, I tell you.

    There are several ingredients that take this dish beyond my basic college version:

    First, the sausage. I like to use turkey sausage or meatless sausage for my recipe, but any type of sausage link will do. The smoky, hearty flavor of the sausage permeates through the bean mixture while cooking to take the whole dish up a notch.

    Second, the taco seasoning. I know what you’re thinking: How does taco seasoning fit into a red beans and rice recipe? Let me tell you, whatever magic they put into Old El Paso taco seasoning makes this dish taste that much more delicious, without adding too much sodium or calories.

    And third, the fresh, chopped vegetables. The green and red bell peppers and sweet red onion contribute a much-needed crunchy texture to the mix.

    So when you’re in need of an easy, healthy, flavorful and budget-friendly meal to replace your rotation of boring staples (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), this is the recipe to try.

    Stephanie (aka Girl Versus Dough) joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!

I have two wonderful Louisiana girls in my life, my sister-in-law Stacy and my dear friend Faith Ford, and both are extraordinarily good cooks who make red beans and rice that has a similar effect on me. Seconds after the spoon goes in my mouth and the red beans and rice settle on my tongue, I have an almost involuntary reaction. My eyes shut, my brain tells my entire body that something incredible is happening, and I moan, “Oh my God, this is good.” The truth is, this is another one of those easy slow-cooker recipes—more assembly than cooking—that not only saves time but uses that time ever so generously in enabling the ham and the andouille sausage and the spices and the beans and the rice to all mingle and absorb the different flavors, producing that OMG effect. This is like gumbo, but easier. Typically, I will serve this to Tom and myself on Sundays as we watch football. Quite often, we will enjoy this as a meal in itself.

1. Combine the ham shank, red beans, andouille, celery, onion, bell pepper, chili powder, salt, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, paprika, and brown sugar in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the chicken stock, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH until the beans are tender, 5 to 7 hours. Remove the ham shank shred the meat, and return the meat to the slow cooker. Discard the bone. Serve the red bean mixture with the rice, and top the servings with the scallions.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Slow cooker red beans and rice is so full of Cajun flavor and so easy to prepare! We make this recipe at least once a month. The whole family loves this stuff.

Eight ingredients, chopped, dumped and cooked for hours. This is perfect to start in the morning before work or a busy day and just forget it until dinner.

How easy is that? Who doesn’t need an easy slow cooker recipe every now and then?

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Rinse beans thoroughly and put into crockpot.

Chop the sausage, onion, celery and bell pepper. Place the red beans, all the vegetables, sausage, bay leaves, creole seasoning, and 7 cups of water or chicken stock in the slow cooker, give it a stir.

Cook for 7 hours on high or until the beans are tender. If it’s not thick enough remove the lid for an hour.

I prefer the taste and texture of andouille sausage but you could use smoked sausage if you like.

Try serving this with our No Knead Dutch Oven Bread.

Make sure you have a good crock pot to make this slow cooker red beans recipe.

If you are in the market for something new, I really love my Ninja cooker. The nice thing about this is you can brown the meat in the same slow cooker which is so convenient.

It is so handy to just have the one pan to clean. It has become of my favorite kitchen appliances.

I also really like this crockpot as well. I use this all the time and it’s great.

My favorite feature is that you can lock the lid down. This is awesome for when you need to take the crockpot somewhere.

I often use the slow cooker to take dishes to potluck events and this feature is amazing! There are several others on sale here.

Another favorite is this programmable crock pot for when I am am not at home all day. I love coming home to a nice meal ready and waiting!

I also like to use crock pot liners to make clean up a breeze. These are worth every penny and save a ton of time.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Though it's a tradition in the Deep South, we don't have red beans and rice every single Monday of every week at my house, but, I admit that when we don't, things do seem to feel a little out of sorts for me. It's just a routine that has been part of the culture down here for all of my life really. Even as a career woman working outside of the house, red beans and rice were the special of the day, every Monday, at local restaurants we frequented for lunch.

When I make them at home, I've pretty much made my homemade red beans and rice the same way since I've been cooking them - low and slow on the top of the stove. For many of us who do work outside of the home, that's just not possible to pull off on a Monday though, so we either have to plan ahead and prepare them on Sunday night, which many of us do, or else we have to rely on our modern appliances to give us a helping hand.

Most of you know that I've never been a big fan of the crockpot for much other than pulled pork or roasts, feeling it pretty much boiled everything else to death, but with the prompts of our family of readers here, I've been trying to learn to love my slow cooker these past couple of years. Of course, you don't have to limit your consumption of red beans and rice to a Monday either. With a slow cooker, you can have them any day of the week. Here's how to make the slow cooker version of my homemade red beans and rice.

Now first, a warning. Don't you just love when you have to issue a warning with a recipe?

Eating raw kidney beans can be dangerous, so don't do that. Seems that they have some pesky compound that needs to be cooked out of them, so make sure that any kidney bean you consume is very well cooked and not even slightly undercooked. Although the accuracy of sources across the internet is debatable, for the safety of those who do not wish to take risks, who have small children or who are pregnant, always preboil the beans just to be on the safe side. Put them in a stockpot, bring to a rolling boil, boil for 10 minutes, drain, rinse and then transfer to the slow cooker.

I still like to saute all of the ingredients, rather than to just dump everything in the slow cooker raw. To me, that process takes very little prep time while making a strong contribution to the flavor, so it's worth the effort.

In a separate skillet, cook 3 slices of chopped bacon until the fat is rendered. To that, add 2 cups of chopped onion, 1 cup of chopped bell pepper, and 1/2 cup of chopped celery and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, black pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon of dried basil and 1 bay leaf into the vegetable mixture stir together and transfer to the slow cooker.

I purposely do not use any additional salt with my beans until the end of the cooking process, mostly because I find that there is plenty of sodium present in the added meats already, and also in my experience, sometimes it does seem to affect the cooking time on beans.

I added 7 cups of hot water and I also like to use warmed water so that the slow cooker doesn't have to take that time for heating and can get right to work!

Saute the sausage in that same skillet with a bit of olive oil or vegetable oil, until nicely browned, then transfer it to the slow cooker pot.

You can add a ham bone, a couple of ham hocks, or just some additional chopped ham to the beans for extra flavor. If you're lucky enough to have a ham bone, slide that right into your beans now.

This was an especially meaty bone, so with the addition of the smoked sausage, I didn't add any extra ham. If your bone is sparse or if you are using ham hocks, add in some chopped, cooked ham, toward the end of the cooking process.

Cover and let her go on high for 5 to 7 hours or so. My beans were nice and tender right at about 5 hours on high. When the beans are cooked through, remove 1 cup of them, but drain the liquid back into the slow cooker.

Mash the beans to form a paste and stir that back into the pot. Add a tablespoon or three of butter into the beans if you like, for a little extra richness too. Totally optional.

Taste, add salt and cayenne pepper, if desired. Serve over hot, cooked rice and garnish with sliced green onion, if desired. Pass Cajun seasoning and hot sauce at the table.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

  • 1 pound of dried, Camellia brand red kidney beans
  • 3 slices of bacon , chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic , minced
  • Freshly cracked black pepper , to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 pound of andouille or spicy smoked sausage , cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks
  • 7 cups of hot water
  • Kosher salt to taste, if needed
  • Cayenne pepper , to taste, optional
  • Hot, cooked rice
  • Sliced green onion , for garnish, optional
  • Cajun seasoning and hot sauce , for the table

Rinse and sort beans and use a quick boil method before adding them to the slow cooker. Put them in a pot, bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, drain and transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker.

In a separate skillet, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. To that, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté until the veggies are tender. Add the garlic, black pepper, basil and bay leaf into the vegetable mixture, stir together and transfer to the slow cooker. Add the oil to the skillet and saute the sausage until browned. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the ham bone. If using ham hocks, use a knife to cut slashes into the fat before adding to the slow cooker.

Add 7 cups of heated water, cover and cook for 5 to 7 hours on high, or until beans are tender and cooked through completely. Remove 1 cup of the beans, draining the liquid back into the slow cooker. Mash beans to form a paste and stir back into the beans. Taste, add salt as needed, and cayenne pepper, to taste, if desired. Scoop over hot, cooked rice, and serve with fresh French bread. Garnish with sliced green onion, if desired, and pass Cajun seasoning and hot sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: Do not consume raw or undercooked kidney beans. Because there are concerns with potentially undercooking kidney beans when made in a slow cooker, I recommend using the boil method of pre-soaking to rid the beans of any toxins. I also recommend cooking them on high instead of low. Taste and add salt only once beans are fully cooked, and then only if it needs it. For extra richness, add up to 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter and stir in at the end. If you pre-soak your beans, you'll need to increase the water so that they cover the beans by about an inch or so.

Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice

It’s not often that I actually use a slow cooker. But, these days, it makes my life so much easier, especially for dishes like this. You kinda just put everything in the slow cooker and walk away. I’ll admit, I left the beans in a little too long. That just means they cooked down and the flavor intensified even that much more. Good stuff. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Slow Cooker Rice & Beans
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of minced onion
1/2 cup of minced bell pepper
1/2 cup of minced celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cans of red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
8-10 cups of vegetable broth
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
1 good pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
cooked white rice, to garnish
scallions, to garnish

Here’s what I did…and you’re going to think this is crazy. I dumped everything into the slow cooker, except the rice and scallions. Then, I turned it on high and walked away for 6-8 hours. When I came back to the beans, they were cooked perfectly. I added a good pinch of salt and pepper and served them over white rice and chopped scallions. That’s it!

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

This slow cooker red beans and rice recipe brings you creamy, New Orleans style beans the easy way!

I grew up eating two different kinds of red beans and rice. My mom made her own slow cooker version with canned large red kidney beans and tomatoes, which had whole beans and a thin broth. At Southern restaurants and the good ol’ Mississippi State cafeteria (loved that place), I had the thick, creamy version with mostly mashed beans.

Both versions were delicious, but I only knew how to make my mom’s kind until I tried Emeril’s recipe for New Orleans Red Beans and Rice. That recipe is spot on for the cafeteria-style dish I remember, but I wondered if I could make creamy red beans in the slow cooker.

Originally, I wrote this as a no-soak recipe meaning I rinsed and sorted the dry beans and put them right into the slow cooker without soaking or pre-cooking them at all. A reader pointed out to me that uncooked red beans contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin, which can cause severe GI upset. It turns out that undercooked red beans are somehow even higher in this toxin than the dried beans. Yikes! (You can read more about this here.)

Truth be told, I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times without soaking the beans, and as far as I know no one has ever gotten sick from it. The problem is, if those beans don’t get cooked for at least 10 minutes at 212 degrees F or hotter, there can be enough of the toxin left to cause illness.

I for sure don’t want any of you (or me!) to get sick from my recipe, so here’s what we’re going to do:

  • Soak the dried beans overnight. The next morning, put them in a pot on the stove, and cover them with a couple inches of water. Bring the pot to a boil, and boil them for 10-30 minutes. Carefully drain them, and then put them in the slow cooker. You could do the boiling while you dice up your other ingredients, so it hardly adds much work or time.
  • OR, You can use drained, canned red beans. I’d say about 6 cans. You can put those right in the slow cooker and make the recipe as written. You’ll only need to cook it 6-8 hours, and you’ll want to cut back on the added salt since the beans might be salty on their own. Just salt to taste at the end.
  • OR, You can follow this recipe except cook it on the stove. I’ve done it that way before, but it takes a few hours and more monitoring since you can’t really leave a pot on the stove unattended all day. I vote for one of the previous two options.

Who knew these harmless looking beans could make us sick??

The good news about soaking and pre-boiling the beans is that the recipe can be ready faster. With the no-soak method (besides the potential poisoning), sometimes it would take 10-12 hours for the beans to be completely tender. Soaking them ahead of time or using canned beans will definitely speed up the process. You really want soft, mashable beans for this version of crockpot red beans and rice so you can get that wonderfully creamy texture.

Once the beans are soft, you can get busy with your potato masher, mashing about half or more. Yes, you will mash some of the sausage while you’re at it, but that’s OK. Let it cook another hour or two, and you will have creamy, wonderful red beans to ladle over your rice!

I hope your whole family enjoys this slow cooker red beans and rice recipe as much as mine does!

Lighter Red Beans & Rice (Crock Pot Recipe)

Lighter Red Beans & Rice is a flavor-packed crock pot recipe that tastes decadent, yet is lighter than traditional red beans and rice recipes.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Have you ever taken a trip to a place you knew little or nothing about? Just gotten the urge to go, so you booked a ticket and went with only your bag and a vague idea as to what you were going to do when you got there?

A couple years ago Ben and I did just that when we hopped aboard a plane and headed south to spend a week in the Big Easy – New Orleans.

At the time neither of us knew a great deal about the city, except what we’d seen on the news during coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and our experience in the south was limited to sunny SoCal, Epcot Center, and watching Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood on repeat in college.

With a why not attitude though, and no expectations, we packed up, headed out, and ended up having the time of our lives!

From whooping it up on Bourbon Street with huge ass beers, to learning more about the history of the south on several plantation tours, and exploring nearly every inch of the French Quarter, Ben and I found the city, surrounding areas, and people to be simply enchanting.

CrockPot White Chicken Chili

I think it it officially beat San Francisco as my favorite city in the US as I was sitting at the oldest bar in America, Lafitte’s in the French Quarter, sipping an ice cold Abita beer, and watching horse drawn carriages clop by, thinking – this is the life.

One of the things we enjoyed most about our trip was of course, the food. There’s no shortage of restaurants in NOLA, more packed into a smaller area than a lot of cities I’ve been to, and if there was a line at the door, you knew it was worth waiting for. Especially if it was a Mother’s Po’ Boy smothered in “debris”.

Or a mouthwatering side of red beans & rice. One week wasn’t nearly enough time to get our fill of this famous Southern side dish. Fluffy white rice engulfed in a savory thick sauce packed with creamy beans, and salty andouille sausage. I mean…

Today New Orleans is celebrating Fat Tuesday, during Mardi Gras, and although we can’t be there to join in on the fun, at least we can eat like we’re in the Big Easy with homemade Crock Pot Red Beans & Rice.

Fat Tuesday is traditionally celebrated by eating indulgent, over-the-top foods (hence FAT Tuesday) before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. I took the name a little less literally though, and made a lightened up version for dinner.

No bacon grease or extra fat here! Just beans, veggies, seasoning and, ok, some decadent andouille sausage. Totally worth it. Each huge serving of the recipe is packed with protein and fiber, and clocks in at just 250 calories (without the rice.) As if it couldn’t get any better, the crock pot did 90% of the work for me!

Start the recipe by chopping up what’s called the “Holy Trinity” in Southern Cajun & Creole cooking – bell peppers, celery and onions in roughly equal quantities.

Psst – my trick for not making a mess when cutting bell peppers is to cut each “cheek” off, leaving the stem and seeds neatly intact.

Chop the bell pepper and follow suit with the onions and celery, then toss everybody into the pool, aka a 4-quart crock pot.

Next add in a full pound of dried red kidney beans.

Then add in the salty awsomeness that is andouille sausage.

Andouille sausage is a smoked pork sausage used heavily in Cajun cooking. It is delicious, and I nearly doubled the amount the original recipe called for.

Finally, add minced garlic,

Creole seasoning (I halved this recipe and still had a ton leftover,)

and lots of water.

Give the whole thing a stir then cook for 7.5 hours on high, cracking the lid open for the last half hour so the sauce can thicken up. YOUR HOUSE WILL SMELL AMAZING.

Cook some fluffy white rice to sit underneath, and soak up all that succulent sauce. Top with green onions for color and crunch, and have at it my friends!

Reviews ( 50 )

I've made crock-pot red beans and rice many times using this as a guide. There is no question that the recipe, as followed, will yield very bland, and not very tasty red beans. I have manipulated the recipe many times over and still have not found a fix, but I do some things that make it a heck of a lot better:

1) Double the recipe--unless you're a small family of light eaters who don't want any leftovers.

When I say double, I mean approximately. For instance, double the dried beans to 2 cups, maybe even 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups. Instead of doubling the water, I use about 9 - 9 1/2 cups of liquid. This includes a 32 oz. container of chicken stock and about 5 - 5 1/2 cups water. You need the additional water because when it's done cooking, you will need to separate the beans from the other ingredients (peppers, celery and sausage) in order to mash some of the beans into a paste. (It helps to remove the liquid, too, in order to see exactly how much you've mashed. Use a potato masher or pastry blender tool. This is MANDATORY or your dish will have the consistency of broth. You don't want that. It must be thicker. You will probably need to mash 1/2 - 3/4 of the beans. That is why I add the extra 1/4-1/2 cup of dried beans. so that you can have the thicker consistency and still have a fair amount of whole beans. You want it thick but not extra thick, because when it cools and is refrigerated, it thickens even more.

2) Don't use the ground red pepper (cayenne pepper) at all. Especially, don't double it--that is way too much. I cook for kids, also, so the cayenne powder is just not tolerable to them. Instead, I use Frank's Red Hot Sauce, which is made from cayenne peppers. It has a milder heat than Tabasco and is just more flavorful. I don't measure, I just shake it in until I think it's enough. For starters, if you're unsure, I would give about 8-10 good shakes into the pot. You can always taste it when it's done and add more then, or even just to individual plates.

3) Don't use the thyme. It adds an odd flavor to the dish, which really stands out. If you like thyme, I would suggest using half the amount recommended.

4) Double the paprika, the black pepper, the bay leaves and the garlic. Even though using the chicken stock, which adds a fair amount of sodium, I would suggest still adding the full teaspoon of salt. You may even need more. This dish is bland if you strictly adhere to the recipe.

5) I use about 2 1/4- 2 1/2 cups of each of the onions and peppers. Mix it up and try different onions. For the peppers, I will usually use a green bell pepper and either a red, yellow or orange pepper. I like the color it provides to the dish. I use about 1 1/2- 2 cups of sliced celery.

6) I usually add cilantro (about a half a bunch freshly chopped) to provide more complex flavor. I love cilantro some don't. It's worth a try.

7) For sausage, the best (as far as flavor goes) store-bought sausage I have used is Johnsonville Andouille sausage. It also adds a little spice to the dish. If not that, then I suggest beef or pork smoked sausage. The low-fat turkey sausages have no flavor once cooked. Whatever sausage you use, I use two 13 oz. or 14 oz. packages.

8) The last couple times I have made it, I have used my standard spices that I use when making Jambalaya and other dishes. I just pour them in my hand one at a time and mash them together finely over the pot. I would guess that it is about 2 Tablespoons each of oregano, basil and parsley, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of onion powder. It makes it better.

If you still find the dish lacking, I would suggest using a smoked pork hock, smoked turkey leg, salt pork or smoked neck bones or bacon. These add a lot of flavor to dishes like soups and stews. Read how to prepare them first before adding to the pot, if necessary (for instance, you don't add raw bacon, you need to brown/cook it first).

Most important: no thyme, no cayenne powder. Use Frank's Red Hot Sauce and mashing the beans is absolutely necessary.

  • 1 cup dry red kidney beans
  • 1 smoked pork hock
  • 12 ounces andouille sausage or cooked kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 8 3/4 to 9-ounce package cooked long grain or brown rice
  • ½ cup chopped red or yellow sweet pepper

Rinse beans. In a large saucepan, combine beans and 6 cups water. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.

In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker (see Tip), combine beans, pork hock, andouille, 1 1/2 cups water, the broth, onion, celery, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

Cover cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Remove pork hock. When cool enough to handle, cut meat off bone cut meat into bite-size pieces. Discard bone. Stir meat, rice, and sweet pepper into bean mixture in slow cooker. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Cover cook for 30 minutes more.

Tip: For Easy Cleanup: Line your slow cooker with a disposable slow cooker liner. Add ingredients as directed in recipe. Once your dish is finished cooking, spoon the food out of your slow cooker and simply dispose of the liner. Do not lift or transport the disposable liner with food inside.

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