Red Beans and Rice...Cajun Comfort Food!

Red beans and rice is not a dish people in Kentucky grow up eating, unless they have parents from the deep south (Louisiana/Mississippi region).   We do eat a lot of beans in Kentucky, but mostly pintos or white beans, like navy or great northern.   

 For me, my introduction to red beans came early, because my father has family in Mississippi and we visited there on family vacations sometimes.   I remember my Aunt Tootsie (yes, I did say  saying she was going to have to "fix us red beans and rice before we went home" and me thinking how that sounded odd, but interesting. 

 As a child, when we visited anyplace, I always worried about the food and what we would be served.  From past experience, it could go well or  make for a long trip if  the hosts were bad cooks or served weird things. My aunt had been raised in Kentucky and Tennessee, but still spent most of her adult life in Mississippi, so her cooking.. a mixture of the two... was really good. 

 When the red beans and rice were finally served,  I was skeptical, but they smelled so good.  We had already had the rice experience as far as having rice in place of potatoes, even with roast beef and gravy which was odd, but good. I am not sure most people this near the Mason Dixon line could get used to gravy over rice though...too many Scotch-Irish   

 I gave the beans a try and to my delight, they were something I really liked.  If your family doesn't like red beans, substitute pinto beans and use this same's different, but so good!

 I never thought  about it growing up, but we never had them at home, once back in Kentucky.  My mother finally admitted to me, not long ago, that she really doesn't like red beans.  Guess that explains it! 

 I love all Cajun food and I get weird cravings for it.  Yesterday, I had to have red beans and rice.  Sometimes, Zatarain's is the best I can do, but this time I wanted something more home cooked than that.  I make red beans in the slow cooker, because they are actually just as good done this way and easy as can be. 

Here is what you will need:

Dried red beans, ham hock, green pepper, onion, celery, garlic, smoked sausage, Tony Chachere's seasoning, pepper, and salt.


1 lb dried red kidney beans
1 ham hock (use 2 if you like a lot of ham)
1 pkg smoked sausage of your choice
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1 Tbs bacon grease
1/2 Tbs. Tony Chachere's seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
10 cups water (after a couple of hours add a little more if needed, the beans will swell and absorb a lot of liquid)
dash of Tabasco sauce (optional)

Wash and rinse the beans and place in crock pot with the ham hock which has been rinsed off also.  Diced celery, green pepper, and onion (the cajun Trinity) and pour over all.  Slice smoked sausage and place on top.   Add garic, pepper, and Tony Chachere's Seasoning.  Add 10 cups of water and set on low to cook over night (8-10 hours).  Remove the ham hock to cool and then pick the lean meat off of it and add it back to the pot.  Taste for seasoning before adding the salt, because the meats and cajun seasoning are salty and you might not need additional salt. 

Cook some white rice and I like to put a scoop right in the middle of the bowl and ladle the beans over.  It's so good!


  1. Red beans and rice was made on Mondays b/c that was typically washing day.

  2. We sure love our red beans and rice down here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast!!

  3. Just a minute while I wipe the drool from my chin...this is the BEST website by far. I love everything posted.

  4. I love red beans & rice, I live in Seattle WA all my life.

  5. What can you sub for tony chachete's seasoning? Cannot find it anywhere up here. Tks:)

    1. Go online an order from web. You can also ask your grocer if he would order some. Mine is good about that if he can get it.

  6. If you can't find Tony Chachere's, you can use any type of Cajun seasoning. I am not sure where you are located, but hopefully they have some brand in your grocery store. If you can't find any at all use 1/4 tsp. cayenne or red pepper, 1/4 tsp. celery salt, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.

  7. Being married to a Cajun, they eat Red Beans and Rice very often, and Rice & Gravy every meal. I'm from Texas so I have to put my Country spin on a few dishes, can't take that Cajun Seasoning on every item I eat like they do in Lafayette, LA! Excellent Recipe the Cajun/Creole would be proud to serve this up anytime!!

  8. Being married to a Cajun from Lafayette LA Red Beans & Rice is an everyday meal, and they eat Rice & Gravy everyday no matter what......I am from Texas,so I have to put some Southern Country cooking in the mix, as Cajun/Creole gets boring for me! Your recipe is awesome and any Cajun would be proud to eat this dish!!

  9. Thank you so much for that! Anytime I cook food and put it on here that is not native to my area, I know some will pick it apart. It's so nice for someone who knows the real deal to give it a compliment. I think I might have been Cajun in a past

  10. Born and raised in CA but have always loved red beans and rice. Like you I usually go for the Zatahrains but I'm definitely cooking this. It would be perfect on a rainy day but unfortunately as you know it never rains in So. California.

  11. This sounds so good! My dad was from Beaumont Texas and my mom from Arkanss. My grandparents on my Dad's side of the family were Cajun and loved red beans and rice. My favorite meal is red beans and rice, corn bread, round steak seared on both sides once browned,covered in cold water to make the gravy clear and cooked low and slow and cucumber and onions in vinegar/water. I now will try your recipe for red beans in the slow cooker. My mouth is watering. :)

  12. That sounds so good, Jo Ann. I love Cajun food and I think I really should have been born in Louisiana or at least in southern Mississippi or Must be some of my French heritage or something.

  13. Janette, I envy your southern California weather. My goal is to live where I can wear my flip flops all year long and no coats. Zatarain's isn't bad in a pinch. I think they are the best for out of the box.

  14. I am from Louisiana and I make mine almost exactly like that. I do have to have sweet corn bread also with the rice. and I did grow up with gravy and rice with almost every meal. my son puts Tony's on everything

  15. Hello, I am new to cooking and was wondering if you mean to use canned beans and rinse them or use uncooked rinsed beans? Thanks!

    1. No, these are dried red beans in a bag. You wash them before you use them. They are not cooked.

    2. You can use canned beans, rinsed. you just don't have to cook them quite as long.

  16. I use another Louisiana produced seasoning by the name Slap Yo' Mama. I have also used Punch Yo' Daddy seasoning, but it was too hot for my taste buds. These products actually exist. This is not a joke. I purchase it at the local Wal Mart.



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