Instant-Pot New Orleans red beans and Rice
Instant Pot New Orleans Red Beans and Rice is loaded with creamy beans, vegetables, spices, and a flavorful combination of meats. This classic Louisiana staple is easy to make and bursting with incredible flavors. Say hello to your new favorite comfort food!
As a New Orleans native, red beans and rice were a huge part of my diet growing up. In fact, 8-year-old me might have mistaken it for one of the 5 major food groups. I know that many kids get tired of eating the same dishes over and over, but those kids probably weren’t from New Orleans.
One of the best food cities in the world, New Orleans is widely known for its insanely delicious Creole cuisine. From gumbo, jambalaya to beignets, and po-boys, one thing is certain: The Creoles know how to do comfort food. Red beans and rice was one of my all-time favorite meals as a kid, and it still is to this day.
I still remember walking in circles around the house to distract myself from the mouthwatering smells wafting from the pot. Red beans and rice was the kind of dish that took the entire day to cook, so you smelled it long before you could taste it. With the invention of the Instant Pot, meals like this yield the same amazing flavors in a fraction of the time. Now, instead of waiting hours for it to cook, you can whip it up in just an hour and a half.
If you like food that is both incredibly delicious and beyond easy to make, then it’s safe to say you’re going to love this Instant Pot New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe. Serve it up alongside a scoop of rice and some crusty bread to soak up some of the sauce for the ultimate comfort food meal.
To make this delicious instant pot red beans, you will need the following key ingredients:
You can use Camellia red beans or dark kidney red beans, depending on your preference.
For this recipe, you will need a combination of onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. The holy trinity of Cajun-Creole cooking.
Herbs and spices
I don’t use Cajun seasoning in my beans. You’re going to need bay leaves, dried thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper to bring this dish to life.
Cumin is not a common ingredient in red beans and rice. I find the spice compliments the smoky flavor of the smoked meats.
Sausage, Bacon & Smoked Meat
The types of meat used in red beans and rice vary from recipe to recipe, but I like to use bacon, smoked turkey necks, and smoked beef sausage. This combination adds a ton of incredible flavor to the dish.
This ingredient packs a major umami punch that adds rich, savory flavor and enhances the flavors of the rest of our ingredients.
How do you make red beans and rice from scratch?
You can make Red Beans and Rice in the instant pot in just 4 easy steps:
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and bacon, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir constantly until the bacon is brown and crispy, then remove it and set aside.
- Add onions, bell peppers, and celery to the skillet, then cook for 2 minutes. Stir, then add the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To an instant pot, add the cooked vegetable mixture along with red beans, turkey necks, sausage, worcestershire sauce, bacon, and water. Cover the lid, press ‘pressure cook’ on high, and set the timer for 90 minutes.
- After the timer goes off, quick release the pressure and remove the lid. Smash some of the red beans against the side of the pot, and stir in the seasonings. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, then serve with cooked rice.
Instant Pot New Orleans Red beans cooking Tips:
Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make my instant pot red beans and rice recipe:
- Make sure to use dried red beans in this recipe, not canned red beans.
- To make this dish extra thick and creamy, do as the New Orleanians do and smash some of the red beans against the side of the instant pot after cooking them.
- Make sure you wait until the end to season the red beans. Seasoning at the end allows the herbs and spices to coat the red beans better and prevents them from getting tough during the cooking process.
- For a pop of color, garnish with fresh parsley or green onions just before serving the dish.
- If you’re a lover of all things spicy like me, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to the red beans before serving them.
- To make this dish vegan, leave out the meat and swap out the Worcestershire sauce for a vegan alternative. For added flavor, you can use vegetable broth instead of water.
- If you can’t find smoked turkey necks, you can use smoked turkey legs, wings, or ham hock instead.
- We do not always cook with andouille sausage in New Orleans. It’s a personal choice. Your red beans and rice will still taste great if you do not use andouille sausage.
- Unlike our Caribbean family, in New Orleans, we do not cook our beans and rice (rice and peas) in the same pot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about making instant pot red beans and rice:
Why are Monday red beans and rice days?
Monday’s became the dedicated day for red beans and rice because in the 1800’s Monday’s were laundry days. Washing clothes in the past was a labor of love, sometimes taking the whole day. Red beans and rice don’t require much attention to prepare. They can cook low and slow the entire day.
Is red beans and rice Cajun or Creole?
The Creoles are the reason why the world knows about red beans and rice. You will find red beans and rice in both Cajun and Creole households.
How long to pressure cook dry beans in an instant pot?
Traditionally you soak red beans in water overnight. Soaking red beans or any beans allows you to remove the acidic nature of beans which causes gas or bloating.
However, the option is solely yours for this recipe because we’re using an instant pot (pressure cooker). You do not need to soak the beans overnight.
Put the dry red beans into the pressure cooker with enough water to cover them, bring them back up to pressure, and then cook for 90 minutes.
What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry about it. You can cook this dish in an 8-quart pot over the stove for two hours OR in a crockpot on low for 6 hours. You’ll still get the same delicious flavors, regardless of the type of pot you cook it in.
instant Pot Natural Release vs Quick Release
There are two ways to release the pressure from your instant pot. Natural release and quick release. Natural release means that you’ll let the instant pot depressurize on its own without any help from you. With a quick release, you can immediately depressurize your instant pot by using the pressure valve or by manually turning the venting knob.
The main difference between quick and natural release is how much steam/hot water is released during each method. With the natural release, the instant pot has time to absorb some of that steam/water and replenish some of its liquid contents.
Can I make Red Beans and Rice Vegan?
You can make red beans and rice vegan by omitting the beef bacon and turkey necks. Use a vegan sausage as a substitute for the smoked sausage and use a vegan Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire contains anchovies.
Is red beans and rice a vegetarian dish?
Contrary to what the name might lead you to believe, red beans and rice are not vegetarian dishes. You can certainly make it vegetarian by leaving out the meat it typically calls for, but I prefer this dish with meat because it adds a ton of rich and savory flavors.
Are red beans and kidney beans the same thing?
No. Red beans and kidney beans are two different beans, but they are often used interchangeably because of how similar they are. You can use either type of bean for this red beans and rice recipe, both will work fine.
How do I make red beans and rice thicker?
This is the technique that separates New Orleans red beans and rice from any other rice dish. By smashing the beans against the wall of the pot to make the beans creamy and thicker. This creamy texture is a crucial technique to making New Orleans red beans. You only need to smash a few of them to achieve this incredible texture.
Why use Smoked Turkey Necks?
For some people, ham hock is a necessary part of this dish. For others, the fat content in ham hocks makes them undesirable for health reasons. I use smoked turkey necks in my red beans instead of ham hock for a healthier version. Ham hock adds a great flavor but isn’t the best for health since they’re so fatty. Using smoked turkey necks still imparts the smoky flavor ham hock add but also will shred as they cook in the instant pot giving us another meat option in this delicious pot of red beans and rice.
Can you make ahead?
Absolutely! Red beans is one of those dishes that taste better the next day.
Freezer: Instant-Pot Red Beans and Rice: It’s a New Orleans tradition to make a big batch and freeze half of it. After red beans cool, transfer to an airtight container. Place in freezer for 6 months.
Fridge: Instant-Pot Red Beans and Rice: After red beans cool, transfer to an airtight container. Place in fridge for 7 days. (If they last that long.)
Reheating: Instant-Pot Red Beans and Rice: Turn on heat to medium, in a small or medium sauce pan, add red beans, cook until mixture starts to boil. About 10 minutes or less.
Common One-to-One Substitution Options:
Smoked Turkey Legs, Wings or Ham = Smoked Turkey Necks
Turkey Bacon, Bacon = Beef Bacon
Andouille Sausage, Turkey Smoked Sausage, Polish Kielbasa Sausage = Beef Smoked Sausage
8-quart Pressure Cooker, 8-quart Pot = 8 quart Instant Pot
what do you Eat with red beans and rice?
- Lemongrass Hoisin Sauce Chicken Wings
- BBQ Chicken
- Meyer Lemon Sweet Tea
- Moist Southern Cornbread
- Buttermilk Doughnuts
More New Orleans Recipes:
So there you have it, the best red beans and rice recipe I know. I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy recipe for instant pot red beans and rice. If you have any questions about cooking or ingredients, don’t hesitate to ask me below. Happy cooking!
Insta-Pot Red Beans & Rice
- Chef knife
- Cutting board
- Large skillet
- Dry measuring spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 5 strips bacon chopped medium
- 1 large onion chopped medium
- 1 bell pepper chopped medium
- 3 stalks celery chopped medium
- 8 garlic cloves chopped fine
- 2 lbs. Camelia red beans or dark kidney red beans rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 6 smoked turkey necks
- 2 lbs. smoked beef sausage sliced medium
- 4-5 1/2 cups water
- ¼ cup worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon cayenne
- To taste hot sauce
- 3 cups rice cooked
- Turn on the heat to medium in a large skillet add the oil and bacon, cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the bacon gets brown and crispy. Remove the bacon, add the onions, bell peppers, and celery, cook for 2 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme.
- Add the red beans, turkey necks, sausage, vegetable mixture, worcestershire, bacon and water to the instant pot. Cover and lock lid, press pressure cook and set timer for 1 hour 30 minutes. After the timer goes off remove lid; smash some of the red beans against the side of the pot. Stir in the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve beans with a scoop of cooked rice.