Delicious Southern red beans and rice with turkey recipe

In the deep south of the United States, there exists a dish that is a true classic. It’s gotta be one of the greatest food pairings in the world – southern-style red beans and rice! I’m excited to share with you my recipe for this timeless dish with a twist; it’s made with smoked turkey instead of traditional pork dishes like ham hock or pickled pork. The key ingredient here is the turkey’s bold smoky flavor, which complements the spiciness of cayenne and cajun seasoning found in this recipe. Trust me, this subtle twist on a southern classic will have you coming back for seconds and then some more! So grab your apron, some white rice, and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Red Beans and Rice With Turkey
Southern Red Beans and Rice With Turkey

My dear reader, there are a few things in this world that we can all agree on. One such thing is the love of good food. This is something that transcends all boundaries – of culture, language, and geography – and brings us together in a mutual appreciation. That being said, I implore you to allow yourself to indulge in one of the most decadent dishes the South has to offer: Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey.

There are many reasons why you will love this recipe. First and foremost, it is a taste of tradition. For centuries, folks in Louisiana have made this Southern classic using ingredients that are local to their area – like southern-style smoked turkey, Andouille sausage or pickled pork -, put them together with some kidney beans or red beans with rice and cajun seasonings. It is a flavor profile that has stood the test of time and has been enjoyed by countless families for generations.

Aside from the delicious taste and rich cultural history, this recipe is also incredibly versatile. You can make it as vegan or non-vegan as you like, by swapping out meat options or omitting it altogether. You can also customize the spiciness level so that it’s just right for you, whether you prefer mild or hot foods.

Finally, let us remember that Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey is not only an indulgent treat but also a comfort food, one that brings warmth to your belly and comfort to your soul. It conjures up memories of home-cooked meals on a Sunday afternoon shared with family gathered around the dinner table.

In conclusion my friend, there are few dishes better than Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey when it comes to comfort food steeped in tradition, versatility, and simple deliciousness. So I hope you give this recipe a try; your stomach – and your tastebuds – will thank you for it!

Ingredient List

 A bowl of comfort food for your soul.
A bowl of comfort food for your soul.

Here are the ingredients needed to create this southern-style red beans and rice with turkey recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound dark red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 pound smoked turkey sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 small green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 cups boiling water or chicken stock (or a combination of both)
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice, rinsed well
  • Fresh or frozen okra (optional)

For a smokier flavor, you can use smoked pork or Andouille sausage instead of the turkey sausage. You can also add different types of beans such as red beans or kidney beans, depending on your preference. Additionally, for those who follow a vegan diet you can replace the meat by using smoked turkey wings and vegetable stock too!

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect balance of smokey and spicy flavors.
The perfect balance of smokey and spicy flavors.

Now, it’s time to get our hands dirty and dive into the cooking process! Follow these easy steps to make an excellent Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey dish that will leave your taste buds craving more.


First off, be sure to have all your ingredients ready to go. Review the list from section (3) and make sure you have everything you need for a smooth cooking experience. Now let’s begin.

Step 1: Prep the Smoked Turkey

Begin by removing the skin and any excess fat from the smoked turkey. Coarsely chop the meat and set it aside for later. The tender, smoky flavors from the turkey will infuse beautifully into the dish when cooked with other ingredients.

Step 2: Sauté

Place a heavy pot on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté 1 medium onion, chopped until translucent, and then add 3-4 green onions, sliced. Toss in 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook until fragrant.

Step 3: Add Vegetables

Next, stir in 1 cup of frozen okra and sauté until lightly browned, then add in the chopped smoked turkey from earlier.

Step 4: Mix and Blend Spices

Incorporate 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and some cajun seasoning (use as desired) into the mix. Mix well to blend spices throughout.

Step 5: Introduce Beans to Pot

Now that we have our vegetables mixed in with the smoked turkey, it’s time to bring in the beans! Rinse one can each of dark red kidney beans and red beans under cold running water until water runs clear, then add them to our pot.

Step 6: Bring All Ingredients Together

Pour just enough water to cover the entire mixture and bring it to a boil before reducing heat to low. Add 1 turkey neck, chopped, as this will infuse a lot of flavor into the dish. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring about once every 10.

Step 7: Finish with Added Cornstarch

In a separate small bowl, create a slurry by mixing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water. Once mixture is complete, add it to our pot slowly while continually stirring to prevent clumping. The cornstarch will help thicken the sauce and give it a heartier consistency.

Step 8: Serve and Enjoy

We’re almost done! Remove the turkey neck from our cooking pot, then scoop beans and sauce into warm bowls on top of white rice or brown rice, made as desired. Garnish each bowl with some fresh green onions slices or maybe some fresh parsley.

Step 9: Bon Appétit!


Substitutions and Variations

 Let the aroma of this classic south-dish fill your kitchen.
Let the aroma of this classic south-dish fill your kitchen.

As a chef, I know that sometimes we may not have all the ingredients for a specific recipe, or maybe we want to try something new. Hence, here are some substitutions and variations to help you customize this Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey recipe.

Firstly, if you are looking for a vegetarian option, you can replace the smoked turkey with smoked tofu or tempeh. You can also add some smoked paprika and liquid smoke to give it that smoky flavor.

Next, if you cannot find dark red kidney beans or red beans, no need to worry. You can substitute them with small red beans or Louisiana red beans as they have a similar texture and flavor profile.

Furthermore, in terms of proteins, feel free to experiment with different types of sausages like Andouille sausage, smoked pork, beef sausage or even pickled pork. In fact, this dish is traditionally made with ham hock as well. If you cannot find turkey necks or wings, these can be easily substituted with chicken stock.

For those who like their food spicier, increase the amount of cayenne pepper while cooking. Additionally, you can sprinkle some Cajun seasoning over the rice before serving for an extra kick.

Lastly, if you prefer brown rice over white rice or want to make the recipe vegan-friendly, switch out the white rice for brown rice and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Another alternative is to cook this recipe in a slow cooker for those who prefer hands-free cooking.

Remember these substitutions and variations may change the flavor profile of the dish but that’s ok. Cooking should be fun and adventurous. So go ahead and customize this Southern classic to your liking!

Serving and Pairing

 A hearty meal that's great for family dinners or meal prep.
A hearty meal that’s great for family dinners or meal prep.

As a proud Southern chef, I take great pleasure in creating dishes that are not only flavorful but also satisfying. That’s why I always recommend serving my Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey Recipe as a standalone entrée that’s sure to win over your family and friends.

I like to serve this dish hot with a generous helping of tender turkey and rice. The creamy red beans are well-balanced by the slightly smoky tastes from the turkey, and the flavors are complemented by the savory notes of freshly cooked white rice. The distinctively spicy flavors will hit your palate with its unique blend of cayenne, smoked sausage and Cajun seasoning.

However, if you’re looking to pair it with something else, consider serving it with some boiled corn or fresh seasonal vegetables like collard greens or kale. You can top off this hearty meal with some fresh green onions just before serving. Alternatively, you may choose to cut down on the spice level by topping it off with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Furthermore, for true indulgence consider serving it up New Orleans’ styled sandwich i.e., Po’ boy with some pickled pork.

Overall, this meal is quite filling on its own; hence, you won’t need much else except for perhaps some hot-sauce for the lovers of spicy food among your diners! So, gather your friends and family around the dinner table for a Southern classic that’s sure to please all taste buds!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Every spoonful brings a taste of the Bayou to your home.
Every spoonful brings a taste of the Bayou to your home.

As a Southern-style chef, I understand the importance of meal prep and leftovers. This recipe for Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey is an excellent candidate for both. You can easily make it ahead of time and store it for later use.

To make this dish ahead of time, follow the recipe instructions until you’ve cooked the red beans, turkey sausage, and seasonings in the Instant Pot. Cook your rice separately and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until needed. Now, let your red bean mixture cool down to room temperature before transferring it into a large container or several smaller containers if you plan on freezing them. Ensure that you leave enough space at the top of each container so that they can expand as they freeze.

When you’re ready to reheat the dish, defrost the frozen containers overnight in the refrigerator or thaw them in a microwave if you’re short on time. Transfer them into a pot on medium heat, add half cup of water, stir well and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally and heat for about ten minutes until they are warmed through.

Remember to store the cooked rice and red bean mixture separated since they reheat differently. Gently reheat the rice without adding any extra liquid as this can alter its texture; using a fork fluff up rice while stirring it so that it heats uniformly.

As always, be sure to store leftovers appropriately to maximize their freshness. The dish will last up to five days in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer. Once reheated, do not refreeze leftover portions.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to make this Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey recipe ahead of time for meal prep or storage purposes. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll always have a delicious homecooked meal ready when needed that tastes just as good as when it was freshly made.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A satisfying and filling meal that sticks to your ribs.
A satisfying and filling meal that sticks to your ribs.

When it comes to making southern-style cuisine, there are some tips and tricks that can make all the difference in creating a meal that is both delicious and authentic. As someone who has been cooking red beans and rice for years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make this dish perfectly every time. Here are my top tips for achieving the perfect results with this Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey recipe.

1. Use Quality Ingredients

The key to any great meal is starting with quality ingredients. When making red beans and rice, be sure to use high-quality smoked turkey, dark red kidney beans, and fresh vegetables. This will ensure that your meal is flavorful and satisfying.

2. Soak Your Beans Overnight

While this step is not necessary, soaking your beans overnight can help to reduce cooking time and improve the texture of your beans. Simply cover your beans with water and let them sit overnight. Drain the water in the morning and proceed with the recipe.

3. Cook Your Rice Separately

Cooking your rice separately from the red beans is important for achieving perfect results. This allows you to control the cooking time and ensures that your rice is perfectly cooked without being overcooked or mushy.

4. Don’t Overcook Your Vegetables

To keep your vegetables from turning mushy, be sure not to overcook them while sautéing – especially if you’re using frozen okra. A few minutes in the skillet should be enough to cook them without losing their texture.

5. Add Cajun Seasoning Gradually

Cajun seasoning is an essential ingredient in this recipe – but add it gradually rather than all at once as its intensity can vary greatly depending on brand and freshness.

6. Adjust Salt Levels Carefully

Red beans and turkey sausage already have salt in them, so start with less salt than you think you’ll need in the recipe – you can always add more later if necessary. Taste as you go.

By following these tips, your Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey recipe will come out perfectly every time – just like the classics served in Louisiana and New Orleans!


As we near the end of this recipe article, I know that there may still be some questions or concerns about making Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this section, I’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions to ensure that you have all the information you need to make this southern classic perfectly every time. So let’s get started!

What meat goes best with red beans and rice?

When making red beans and rice, Andouille sausage is typically used, which is a French smoked pork sausage that’s also widely enjoyed in Louisiana. However, if you don’t have Andouille sausage at your disposal, don’t worry! You can substitute it with any smoked pork or beef sausage you can get your hands on.

What is traditionally served with red beans and rice?

When it comes to red beans and rice, the possibilities are endless. This recipe can be enjoyed as a main dish or a side dish that pairs well with a wide range of mouth-watering foods. From savory collard greens to fluffy cornbread and succulent barbecued meats, you can mix and match to create a perfect meal.

What is Popeyes red beans and rice made of?

For a hearty, southern-style dish that will warm your soul, try making my red beans and sauce recipe. The sauce is made with a combination of water, pork fat that has been seasoned with a blend of natural smoke flavors, salt, sugar, brown sugar, and sodium nitrite. The star of the show, the red kidney beans, are simmered in this flavorful sauce along with a red bean seasoning mix containing dried onions, garlic, and a blend of classic spices like paprika and parsley. Trust me, this dish is a crowd-pleaser and will make you feel right at home.

How do I thicken my red beans and rice?

One of the challenges of cooking a sauce is getting the right consistency. If you find your sauce to be too thin, don’t worry! There is an easy solution to this. You can create a slurry that can be added to the sauce to thicken it up. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of chicken stock or water to make the slurry. Wait until near the end of the cooking time to add this slurry to the sauce.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, this recipe for Southern Red Beans and Rice with Turkey is a true taste of Louisiana cuisine, with its rich flavors and hearty ingredients. With the perfect balance of spices, vegetables, and tender turkey meat, this dish is sure to please any southern food lover. Whether you are cooking for yourself or entertaining guests, this recipe is great for making a big batch and storing leftovers for later.

So next time you’re in the mood for some soul food or want to impress your friends with your cooking skills, give this recipe a try. Trust me, they won’t be disappointed. Serve it up with some hot sauce or cornbread on the side and thank me later!

Southern Red Beans and Rice With Turkey

Southern Red Beans and Rice With Turkey Recipe

This is based on the Southern Red Beans & Rice Recipe mixed with my family's recipe. This recipe has never had exact measurements, everything is to your preferred taste.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 426.3 kcal


  • 1 lb spicy turkey sausage, decased
  • 1 (8 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen okra, cut (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups boiling water


  • Decase sausages & place is skillet with enough oil or butter to prevent from sticking, brown.
  • Once browned add 1/2 cup water allow to simmer, once simmering add red beans (do not drain) and add additional 1/4 cup water. Add salt, Old Bay & cayenne, simmer for 15 minutes (add frozen okra after 5 minutes).
  • Mix 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to 1/4 cup water, mix till smooth. (this prevents you from having lumpy gravy for any recipe).
  • Add cornstarch mixture to simmering pan of beans & meat; stir well. Reduce heat to low. (add more water if gravy is to thick).
  • In small sauce pan; bring 2 cups water to boil, add 1 cup rice and reduce heat to low. Cover pan & cook until rice is fluffy, about 10 minutes.
  • Place rice in bowl or on plate & cover with red beans & meat.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 452gCalories: 426.3kcalCarbohydrates: 56.9gProtein: 25.1gFat: 10.5gSaturated Fat: 4.4gCholesterol: 60.2mgSodium: 1352mgFiber: 6.5gSugar: 3.8g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Beans, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Meat, Poultry, Rice, Stove Top, White Rice
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