Classic Southern Red Beans & Rice Recipe

Hey foodies, are you ready to dive into the heart and soul of Southern cuisine? Today, I’m bringing you the recipe for the classic southern comfort food, Red Beans & Rice, cooked to perfection in your pressure cooker. This dish is the epitome of comfort and flavor, bursting with every bite. The recipe may seem deceptively simple, but trust me when I say it’s packed with bold and premium flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you salivating for more.

Red Beans & Rice has been a timeless staple in Louisiana’s Creole cuisine for hundreds of years. Imagine walking down the streets of New Orleans, music filling the air, and the sweet aroma of slow-cooked beans, and perfectly seasoned rice fills your senses. Just the thought of it transports me back to those charming streets where people from all walks of life gathered around a pot of red beans on a Monday night.

Traditionally, southern-style Red Beans & Rice takes several hours to prepare slowly. But thanks to our modern-day cooking technology, we can now cook this mouth-watering dish within an hour using your Instant Pot pressure cooker. By following the instructions I’m about to share with you, you’ll have a steaming plate full of ultimate comfort food on your table in no time.

So fire up your cooking game because once you try this recipe for yourself, it will become a regular feature on your weekday dinner menu. And trust me; you’ll be hailed as a culinary genius among family and friends when they taste the array of home-cooked flavors bursting from every spoonful of this dish. Get ready to transport yourself to New Orleans’ heartland as we get started on this journey together!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Red Beans & Rice for the Pressure Cooker
Southern Red Beans & Rice for the Pressure Cooker

Let me tell y’all, you won’t find any other soulful recipe that has the same flavor and heartiness like my Southern Red Beans & Rice Pressure Cooker recipe! Trust me, this dish comes right from my hometown of New Orleans, a city as vibrant and enticing as this meal.

First and foremost, this recipe is perfect for those who crave a punchy and smoky taste. The combination of liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce brings out the best flavors in dried red kidney beans, blending them classic Cajun spices like bay leaves, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, and fresh ground pepper. You won’t regret trying out this power-packed blend of flavors!

But wait, it gets better! This dish also has every ingredient to keep you nutritious and satisfied throughout the day. It’s packed with robust vegetables including garlic, celery, bell pepper, onions and olive oil that are sautéed well with meat sausage or smoked ham hock. I guarantee your family will savor every bite.

This recipe was made easy for all instant pot or pressure cooker users out there looking for something quick to whip up. Since cooking rice on the stove can be a pain at times, you can have perfectly cooked rice all the time using the instant pot method. Plus, by soaking red kidney beans beforehand or using canned beans instead of dried beans which require time to be soaked in water overnight can cut down on your prep work!

So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this essential Southern comfort food that’s sure to satisfy everyone’s cravings. Whether you’re having a family dinner or hosting a gathering with friends over baked beans for vegan versions or with chunks of spicy Andouille sausage – this dish will impress everyone with its New Orleans-style of cooking!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to taste the heart and soul of the South with every bite of this red beans and rice dish!
Get ready to taste the heart and soul of the South with every bite of this red beans and rice dish!

Let’s talk about the ingredients you’ll need to whip up this flavorful pot of Southern Red Beans & Rice. Make sure to have the following on hand before starting:

  • 1 pound dried red kidney beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or more, if desired)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the rice recipe, you’ll need:

  • 4 cups water or broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • Salt (optional)

Make sure you have everything listed above for your instant pot red beans and rice, so we can get started!

The Recipe How-To

 One pot, one hour, one incredible tasting meal.
One pot, one hour, one incredible tasting meal.

Are you ready to dive into the recipe? Grab your pressure cooker and let’s start cooking!

Step 1: Soak the Beans

Before we begin, it’s important to soak the dried red kidney beans. Add 6 cups of water to a pot, along with the beans, and let it sit for at least 8 hours, or overnight. This will cut down on the cooking time and make them easier to digest.

Step 2: Sauté Vegetables

Turn on your pressure cooker’s sauté function and add olive oil. Once hot, add in chopped onions, celery, and bell pepper, then stir in the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant and tender.

Step 3: Add Remaining Ingredients

Add in the soaked beans (rinsed and drained), along with water, some liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, a couple of bay leaves, some dried thyme, fresh ground pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper and some kosher salt. Stir well.

Step 4: Pressure Cook

Secure the lid on your pressure cooker, set it to high pressure manual mode for 25 minutes. Once it finishes cooking, let it release pressure naturally for about 15 minutes. Then, do a quick release if there’s any remaining pressure.

Step 5: Serve

Remove bay leaves from the pot, then serve over rice of your choice. Garnish with sliced green onions or chopped parsley if you wish.

You can also add sausage or ham to this recipe for an extra burst of flavor!

Follow these steps for an easy and delicious southern-style Red Beans & Rice that’s perfect for family dinners or potluck gatherings!

Substitutions and Variations

 From the moment you take your first bite, you'll be transported to a traditional Southern kitchen.
From the moment you take your first bite, you’ll be transported to a traditional Southern kitchen.

So, you want to put your own spin on this southern red beans and rice recipe? I love that go-getter attitude! Here are some substitution ideas and variations you can try:

– Vegan: Are you a vegan? No problem! This recipe can be easily adapted for you by using vegetable broth instead of meat broth, and by omitting the sausage. Instead, try adding a meatless alternative or some tofu for added protein.

– Pressure Cooker: If you don’t have an Instant Pot or power pressure cooker XL, feel free to use a regular pressure cooker. Simply cook on high pressure for 25 minutes (or until beans are tender) and allow natural release.

– Slow Cooker: Don’t feel like using a pressure cooker? Try using a slow cooker instead. Soak the beans overnight, follow the same steps to sauté the veggies, and then transfer everything into a slow cooker with 6 cups of water. Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours.

– Meat Options: Looking for other meats besides sausage? Try using ham hock or diced ham instead. Andouille sausage is also another great option if you’re looking to add more heat.

– Brown Rice: Want to make this dish a bit healthier? Swap traditional white rice for brown rice. Just note that cooking time of brown rice is longer than white rice so adjust accordingly.

– Use Canned Beans: Don’t have dried beans but still want to make this dish? Feel free to use canned kidney beans – just omit the soaking step and reduce cooking time in the pressure cooker to only 3 minutes under high pressure.

I hope these ideas help kickstart your imagination and create a unique twist on this classic southern dish!

Serving and Pairing

 The rich and savory aroma of these red beans and rice will make your mouth water.
The rich and savory aroma of these red beans and rice will make your mouth water.

Alright my fellow foodies, let’s talk about serving and pairing this delectable southern-style red beans and rice recipe! This dish is a true crowd-pleaser and perfect for hosting your next dinner party on the porch or family gathering.

First off, let me tell you that it goes great with a cold beer or whiskey. I know it may sound strange, but trust me, it can bring out the rich flavors of the recipe. For those looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, try pairing it with iced tea or lemonade. It’ll truly complement the taste of the beans and rice.

Now, let’s dive into how to serve this dish! After cooking, add some freshly chopped parsley over the top for a pop of color and added flavor. You can also sprinkle some paprika over it to give it an extra smoky kick. Serve it hot with cooked brown rice on the side for a complete meal.

But wait, there’s more! If you want to take this dish to the next level, you can try serving it with some cornbread or toast brushed with butter. Oh my goodness, y’all…this combination is heavenly! Don’t forget to have some hot sauce on hand for those who like a bit of heat in their meals.

This recipe also pairs well with collard greens or sautéed kale. Not only do these sides add color to your plate, but they also provide an added dose of vitamins and minerals to your diet.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can even try plating the beans and rice on individual plates and garnishing them with green onions or sliced red bell pepper.

So there you have it folks – a complete guide on how best to serve and pair this southern red beans and rice recipe. I hope these tips add a little something special to your next mealtime gathering!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The perfect balance of spices and flavors created in this dish will leave you wanting more.
The perfect balance of spices and flavors created in this dish will leave you wanting more.

As a busy chef, I know the importance of make-ahead meals. And this Southern Red Beans & Rice for the Pressure Cooker recipe is no different! After cooking, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.

When reheating the dish, I recommend letting it thaw overnight (if reheating from frozen) and then reheating it in a pot on low heat with some additional liquid. You can add water or vegetable broth to bring the beans back to their original consistency. Alternatively, you can use a microwave-safe bowl and reheat on medium power, stirring every 30 seconds until heated through.

Keep in mind that the longer it sits in the fridge, the thicker it’ll get. Not to worry, just add some more water or broth and give it a stir before heating. If you’d like to make this dish ahead of time, I suggest making it up to two days before serving and storing it in the refrigerator.

This meal is ideal for meal-prepping or making ahead of time for your next party or family gathering. This flavorful one-pot meal will thank you.

Tips for Perfect Results

 This pressure cooker recipe will become your go-to for weeknight meals, potlucks, and family gatherings.
This pressure cooker recipe will become your go-to for weeknight meals, potlucks, and family gatherings.

As a chef specializing in southern-style cuisine, I’ve mastered the art of cooking Southern Red Beans and Rice for the Pressure Cooker. Along the way, I’ve learned some helpful tips and tricks that can help elevate your dish to new heights.

First and foremost, using dried red kidney beans is key to getting the perfect texture for your red beans and rice. Soaking these beans overnight with a dash of salt will ensure that they cook evenly and break down into a delectable consistency in the pressure cooker.

Adding 1-2 bay leaves, dried thyme, fresh ground pepper, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and onions add flavorful layers to your dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices you may have on hand to create a unique flavor profile.

To avoid any burning or topping up of water while cooking red beans, it is essential to expose only 2/3rd of the beans during pressure cooking in a pressure cooker. Adding one or two tablespoons of olive oil before sautéing onions will keep them from sticking to the bottom of your pot.

If you’re looking to make this recipe vegan or vegetarian-friendly, swap out the meat for some hearty veggies like mushrooms or seitan. Conversely, if you want to take things up a notch, adding some quality sausage, Andouille sausage or ham hock will give your dish that extra oomph unique to New Orleans-style cuisine.

Once you’ve finished cooking, I recommend letting your dish cool slightly before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together perfectly and make sure that each spoonful is as delicious as possible. Serve over brown rice for added fiber and nutrition benefits.

Lastly, if you’re prepping your ingredients in advance, be sure that the ingredients have all come to room temperature so that when you start cooking using pressure cooking it is evenly cooked without affecting its taste.

By following these simple tips, you’re sure to impress your dinner guests with a hearty and flavorful Southern Red Beans and Rice for the Pressure Cooker.


Now that you’ve got the essentials on making this delicious Southern Red Beans & Rice dish, it’s important to address some of the frequently asked questions related to the recipe. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with these queries like “Can I make this recipe vegan?” or “How long can I store the ingredients?” among others. So let’s shift gears and dive deep into this FAQ section to expand your knowledge and make sure you’re equipped with everything you need to prepare an amazing meal for yourself and your loved ones.

Is it safe to cook red kidney beans in a pressure cooker?

When preparing kidney beans, it is important to note that the traditional stovetop cooking method may pose a certain level of risk if not done carefully. An effective way to eliminate this potential hazard is by using a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. These kitchen appliances can effectively raise the cooking temperature and ensure that the beans are cooked thoroughly, resulting in a peace of mind for the cook.

Do you have to soak beans before cooking in pressure cooker?

When using an Instant Pot, there’s no need to soak your beans beforehand. Cooking them without soaking in a pressure cooker results in even cooking and a shorter cook time. Additionally, unsoaked beans tend to be less likely to split apart during the cooking process.

What happens if you don t soak beans before pressure cooking?

For those who can’t wait to devour some delicious beans and don’t want to bother with soaking them in advance, it’s definitely possible to cook them straight from dry. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this method requires more time and patience for the beans to fully cook.

How long does it take for beans to soften on pressure cooker?

To properly cook the beans, fill the pot with hot water until it covers the beans by about 1 1/2 inches. Remember not to overfill the pot, it should be no more than half full. Let the beans cook for a period of 22 to 30 minutes, hinging on the type of bean. The beans should be soft, but not so tender that they fall apart.

Bottom Line

And there you have it, my friends! A delicious and hearty Southern Red Beans & Rice recipe that is easily made and full of flavor. Whether you’re using an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker, this recipe is sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

I hope that you find this recipe enjoyable to make and even more enjoyable to eat. There’s nothing quite like the taste of a Louisiana-style meal to get your taste buds dancing. And the best part? This recipe can be customized in so many different ways to suit your own unique tastes.

So why not give it a try today? Whether you’re cooking for vegans, meat-lovers or anything in between, this recipe can be adapted to meet your needs. With its rich flavors, easy preparation method and adaptability, Southern Red Beans & Rice is the perfect addition to any home-cooked meal.

So go ahead and try it out – I promise that you won’t be disappointed!

Southern Red Beans & Rice for the Pressure Cooker

Southern Red Beans & Rice for the Pressure Cooker Recipe

This is an adaptation of a New Orleans style recipe. I've made it vegetarian & adapted it for the pressure cooker. If you're lucky enough to own a pressure cooker it's a great, fast way to cook any dried beans without soaking in less than an hour. In this preparation I intentionally mash the beans because I enjoy a thicker gravy consistency to my red beans. As a warning, I'm a southern girl so I enjoy food with a little kick. If you don't like spicy food, definitely cut the cayenne in this recipe in half.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 259.4 kcal


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 lb dried red kidney beans, sorted
  • 7 cups water


  • In your pressure cooker without the lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, bell pepper, celery, & garlic for about 5 minutes,.
  • Add all the other ingredients, then attach pressure cooker lid & seal with rubber sealing ring and rocker weight installed. Heat on high until the rocker begins to oscillate, then adjust heat down until the rocker weight oscillates to a slow rhythm (between 2 & 3 on my electric stove). Cook 45 minutes. Remove pot from heat & allow pressure to release.
  • After all pressure has been released, carefully remove the lid. Remove the bay leaves with a slotted spoon. Use a potato masher to partially mash the beans. Stir over medium low heat for five minutes to allow the liquid to thicken, adding additional water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  • Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with green onion & hot sauce if you'd like.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 328gCalories: 259.4kcalCarbohydrates: 40.1gProtein: 13.5gFat: 5.8gSaturated Fat: 0.8gSodium: 622.7mgFiber: 9.7gSugar: 3.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, Cajun, From Scratch, One-Dish Meal, Onions, Peppers, Pressure Cooker, Savory, Spicy, Stew, Stove Top, Vegetable, Weeknight
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