Chef John's Red Beans and Rice


Any time someone asks the question, 'What exactly is soul food?' the answer should always be 'a comforting bowl of red beans and rice.' Just sit them down, give them a spoon, and when they finish, ask them if they understand. They will.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins
8 servings


  • 1 pound dry red kidney beans

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 12 ounces andouille sausage, diced

  • 1 cup finely diced onion

  • ¾ cup chopped celery

  • ¾ cup poblano peppers

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 quarts chicken broth, or more as needed

  • 1 smoked ham hock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • hot sauce to taste

  • 4 cups cooked white rice

  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion, or to taste


  1. Place beans in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain and rinse.

  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir sausage in hot oil until oils slightly release from sausage and edges brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir onion, celery, and poblano pepper into sausage; cook and stir until vegetables soften and start to turn translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir garlic into sausage mixture; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Stir red beans, chicken broth, ham hock, bay leaves, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce into the sausage mixture; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and continue simmering until beans are soft, meat is tender, and desired consistency is reached, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Season with salt.

  4. Spoon rice into bowls, ladle red beans mixture over rice, and top with green onion.

    close up view of Red Beans and Rice garnished with green beans in a red bowl
    Christina Dygert Lackey

Cook's Note:

You can substitute green bell peppers for the poblano pepper, if desired. You can use water in place of chicken broth, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

542 Calories
21g Fat
63g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 542
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 46mg 15%
Sodium 1384mg 60%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 15mg 77%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 1052mg 22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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