New Orleans-Style Red Beans & Rice is an iconic dish that is full of flavor and easy to make. Especially if you have an electric pressure cooker! You can significantly decrease the time it takes for the beans to cook and the flavors to infuse perfectly. While there are many recipes for Red Beans & Rice, I wanted to try to recreate a dish I had recently in Nashville, TN from Voodoo Gumbo. Hands down, it was the best tasting Red Beans & Rice I've ever had! It was a little smoky with a depth of flavor that was incredible. I'm happy to say that, while a bit different from Voodoo Gumbo, I was able to create a recipe that surpassed my expectations!
In fact, Jeff, my husband, likes it better than the dish we had in Nashville. My version is mildly spicy with a backend heat that lingers, but certainly isn't too hot. The flavors and textures are spot on and I couldn't be happier with the recipe. I know you will love it!
What I love the most about using the Ninja Foodi is how easy it is to make delicious one-pot meals. This recipe for Ninja Foodi Red Beans & Rice is only one example of many!
Here are a few of the most popular one-pot meals. Enjoy!
- One-Pot Sausage Peppers & Pasta ~ Pressure Cooker Recipe
- Lemon Garlic Pasta with Vegetables ~ Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker Recipe
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
- Cajun Jambalaya in the Ninja Foodi
- Easy Gumbo Recipe in the Ninja Foodi / Pressure Cooker
- Cheesy Ground Beef & Rice Casserole ~ Pressure Cooker Recipe
- EASY Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Quick & Easy Pot Roast in the Ninja Foodi
Frequently Asked Questions
This is probably the most asked questions and it truly is up to you and your preferences. I don't soak the beans when pressure cooking and it is perfectly safe due to the high heat and long cooking time. This is such an important topic of discussion that I have included an entire section in this article to explain the safety of pressure cooking beans. This recipe does not call for soaking the beans prior to cooking, but I will go over the differences in timing, in case you decide to soak them.
Not this time. You may be able to 1½ the recipe if you have an 8qt pressure cooker or bigger, but in the 6.5 qt that I used it isn't feasible to do. The red beans and rice will reach up to the 14-cup mark after cooking and that is about as high as you want to go when pressure cooking beans in any pressure cooker less than 8 qts. If your pressure cooker is smaller than 6 qts, you will want to cut the recipe in half or at least reduce the ingredients by 25%.
You can cut the recipe in half by decreasing all the ingredients by 50% and keeping the timing the same.
Yes, I do and they reheat fine. The most important thing is to refrigerate the leftovers overnight, and then put them into your airtight containers for freezing. I freeze the white rice separately from the red beans & sausage.
Ingredients & Substitutions
So, what red beans do you use for red beans and rice? For some, this may be a simple answer, but for me, I wasn't positive. There are the red kidney beans and the small red beans, so which is it?
To find out, I polled people who follow me on Facebook. By overwhelming majority, the red kidney bean. I also called the restuarant where I had the delicious red beans and rice which inspired this recipe and they said kidney beans as well.
I was also urged by many people to use a certain brand of red kidney bean, the Camellia kidney bean.
Now, I am not usually a brand buyer for most things. With beans, I usually buy what is on sale or the grocery store brand. However, I must say that these were the best dry kidney beans I've ever tasted! They were buttery and the texture was just perfect! If you can find them, I highly recommend using them in this recipe. If not, no worries, any dry kidney bean will do just fine.
You can also use a different type of beans. If you don't like kidney beans, try the small red beans or use a navy bean or pinto beans. It technically won't be red beans and rice, but who cares -- use whatever bean you love! With exception of the small red bean or something like a lentil, the timing will be the same for almost any other type of bean. The small red beans seem to take longer to cook, so you might want to increase your PC time by another 15-20 minutes. Lentils or split peas (I don't recommend using split peas) take less time, so you would want to decrease your total cook time to about 15 minutes.
If you wanted to use canned beans, you can do that but the recipe would need to be modified as follows.
I would follow the recipe for sautéing the vegetables as written. Deglaze with 1 cup of water or chicken broth. Add in the ham hock and the pork chop (if using) and pressure cook for about 20 minutes to infuse the flavors and extract that smokiness from the ham hock. Then drain and add the canned red beans and use sear/sauté to simmer until heated through. Cook the rice separately or, after the 20-minute PC time, add the rice on top in a pan like I did and PC again for 2 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.
I used a smoked ham hock for smoky flavor, andouille sausage for texture and flavor, and a pork chop for meatiness.
My husband loves these red beans and rice because they are extra meaty with the shredded pork, but you can skip the pork chop, if you like, and it won't affect the flavor of the dish.
The smoked ham hock is also optional, but I feel like it is important for flavor. While you could use a leftover ham bone, it wouldn't be the same. So, if you can't find a smoked ham hock, I would just skip it.
The andouille sausage is what gives a ton of flavor to the dish, so I would use it if you can. If you aren't a fan of andouille and want to use another smoked sausage you certainly can. The flavor will be slightly different.
Vegetarian Option: You can absolutely skip the meat and make this vegetarian/vegan.
Using vegan sausage is another option for adding in the textures and flavors.
I would increase all of the seasonings by 50%, so instead of 2 teaspoons of oregano, use 3 teaspoons (which is 1 Tablespoon) and do that for all of the spices. This is to compensate for the spices in the sausage that flavor the recipe. You can decide if you want to increase the salt, but the ham hock does add some saltiness. You can always start out with 2 teaspoons of sea salt or kosher salt and salt to taste at the end.
You will also want to use vegetable broth for some added flavor since the flavor from the ham and sausage won't be present.
Unless you have an allergy to one of the ingredients, I wouldn't skip any of them. This base of green bell peppers, onion, and celery is key to building the flavor base. Something magical happens! I know this because I tested the recipe and forgot the celery and it wasn't the same.
I used equal amounts of the onion, green pepper, and celery, but you certainly don't have to be exact in these measurements. If you want to add more green pepper or more onion, it's perfectly fine. You can also double or even triple the vegetables if you want more of them in the dish.
I used a basic seasoning blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano for the base seasonings.
The seasoning blend I used is more like a creole seasoning with the addition of oregano, thyme, cayenne and sage. You can certainly use your favorite cajun seasoning if you prefer. I would start with 1 Tablespoon and season to taste after cooking.
I worked quite a bit on this blend of seasonings to get just a hint of spiciness without being too spicy and the correct balance of flavors. I think it's perfect as-is and I highly recommend making it with the same spices as I did. However, if you absolutely don't like one of the spices or don't have one of them, you can omit them. I will say the the bay leaves are very important in the recipe. I made it once without them and the flavor was flat.
I also used about 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic when testing the recipe, but for some reason forgot to add it when I filmed the video. The results of the video recipe were so delicious that I have removed the minced garlic from the recipe, but feel free to add it back in if you want extra garlicky flavor.
If you like your red beans and rice spicy, feel free to increase the cayenne pepper. I made it once with ½ teaspoon of cayenne and it was delicious, but a little spicy for me, so I decreased it to ¼ teaspoon. I think, for most people anyway, this is a good starting point. You can also add in your favorite hot sauce if you like or use it to spice things up when you serve it.
If you don't like any spice, feel free to omit the cayenne pepper.
I used parboiled long grain rice in this recipe, which Isn't the same as instant rice and it isn't precooked. Parboiled rice refers to the process where it is first boiled/steamed in the husk and then dried before it is bagged for sale in our grocery stores.
Parboiled rice does not have to be rinsed and it is slightly sticky in this recipe which helps it hold on to that delicious sauce. I think you will love it! However, if you don't have parboiled rice, you can use any long grain white rice and it should be just fine.
You also don't have to cook the rice on top of the beans like I did. You can make your rice separately and follow your favorite rice recipe for cooking it.
If you wanted to use brown rice instead, that is fine. The cook time is going to be longer so if you want to cook the brown rice on top of the red beans, you will want to PC for 20 minutes with a 5-minute natural release, then release the remaining pressure. Add the brown rice and water (1:1.5 ratio) in a pan covered and set it on top of the red bean mixture. PC for 15 minutes with a 10-minute natural pressure release, and then release any remaining pressure.
Remove the pan with the rice and fluff with a fork. Cover until you are ready to serve.
Safety When Pressure Cooking Unsoaked Dry Kidney Beans
I think this topic deserves its own section because there is so much misinformation and fear around cooking beans, especially kidney beans, from dry without soaking them first. Before I get into this, let me first say that if you feel more comfortable soaking your beans overnight, by all means, soak them. Just make sure to discard the soaking water and use fresh water for cooking. I have not tested this recipe with soaking the beans, but I would suggest decreasing the cooking time to about 15-20 minutes at most.
Kidney beans are part of the nightshade family and there are people who are sensitive to foods belonging to this genus. I am in no way trying to discount this sensitivity and, like I said before, if you need to soak the beans to remove the lectin, by all means, please do that. However, cooking beans properly destroys the toxins and they are perfectly safe to eat. In fact, boiling the beans for just 10 minutes is enough to inactivate the toxins and pressure cooking cooks at temperatures higher than boiling.
Once the toxin is destroyed it won't cause any gastrointestinal trouble for most people. This means that cooking the kidney beans and consuming the liquid they are cooked in will have no adverse effects for most people and it is perfectly safe.
Other Methods for Cooking Red Beans & Rice
You can absolutely slow cook the red beans and andouille sausage, but you will need to soak the beans first or, at the very least, boil them for 15-20 minutes and discard the liquid. This is done to deactivate the toxins and it is important, because the temperature in a slow cooker does not usually get hot enough to boil the beans and inactivate the toxins.
You can also soak and then boil them in fresh water until they begin to soften. This will reduce the total slow cooking time.
I recommend using a skillet on the stove to sauté the holy trinity if your slow cooker does not have the ability to sauté. This is an important step in the development of flavor.
I also recommend searing the sausage and the pork chop if you are using them. I would do this in the same frying pan as the holy trinity is cooking in. If your pan isn't large enough, sauté the holy trinity and place it in your slow cooker and then, using the same pan, sear the sausage and pork chop if using.
Once the holy trinity and he meat is sautéed, add all of the rest of the ingredients, except the water, to the slow cooker pot. If the beans are fully cooked already (boiled or if you are using canned beans), you will only need about ½ cup of water to help create the sauce. Remember the pork and the andouille will also give off some juices, so it's best to start off with less liquid and add more, if needed.
If you are using soaked beans that were not boiled, you will want to use between 6-8 cups of water. If the beans were boiled until tender, then I would add between ½-1 cup of liquid to start and add more, if the beans need it.
Stir and slow cook on high for 2-4 hours. The timing really depends on if the beans are canned, soaked, or already boiled. Soaked, but not boiled beans will take about 4 hours on high and 6 hours on low to soften and be cooked through.
Canned beans and already-boiled beans are fully cooked, so the slow cook time is more about tenderizing the pork chop and allowing the flavors to meld together. 2 hours on high should be fine and 3-4 hours on low.
Red beans and rice are traditionally made stovetop and simmer for hours and hours. While I prefer to speed things up by using the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot, cooking this recipe stove top is another great option.
There are a few things to keep in mind when cooking stove top versus using an electric pressure cooker and the main one is evaporation. When pressure cooking, there is little to no evaporation of the liquid, but when you simmer on the stove you will have significantly more evaporation.
Since I use the Ninja Foodi as a sauté pot in the beginning of the recipe, you would do everything exactly the same as in the recipe.
As far as the kidney beans go, you can pre-soak them if you want or simply boil them for 10 minutes. Personally, I would sauté the holy trinity and sear the sausage and pork, add in the spices, beans and 8-10 cups of water and bring to a boil for about 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to simmer for 2-4 hours or until the beans are soft. You can always add more water if needed during the cooking process.
However, if you are worried about the lectin, you can soak them overnight and reduce the liquid by 75% when you go to make the red beans and rice. You can also boil them in water until they are soft and add them to the pot with 75% water. You can always add more water. So, start off with less and add more so you don't end up with too soupy of a pot of red beans.
If you want to use the canned kidney beans, I would deglaze with 2 cups water and simmer until the pork is falling apart and all the flavors have melded together
Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi Red Beans & Rice
There isn't a whole lot of prep to this recipe except for cutting up the vegetables and the meat. You want your onions, green peppers, and celery to be about the same size. I diced them into about ½" size, but smaller or bigger is fine, just so they are about the same size.
The Andouille sausage is usually already smoked and in a casing. I don't remove the casing, there isn't any reason to and it helps hold the sausage together during the pressure cooking process. I like to cut the sausage into large slices on the bias, but you can cut it any way you like. The smaller it is cut, the softer it will get during pressure cooking.
So much of the flavor is in the Andouille sausage, make sure to get one that you love. I used Zatarain's because that is all they have where I live and it worked fine, but if you have a speciality meat shop where they make and smoke their own Andouille, grab some of that!
If you decide to use the pork chop, I suggest using a little salt on the meat itself. It does improve the flavor in the end dish. Then, just cut it up into large chunks.
I would also go ahead and rinse and sort your kidney beans if you are using dry beans and measure out the spices. This will make everything go pretty quickly.
That's it, the prep is done.
Heat the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi or the Instant Pot on high sear/sauté, when hot add the oil and let it heat up. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add in the diced green peppers, onions, and celery and stir. I like to go ahead and add in all of the seasonings right now except the bay leaves and smoked paprika.
Sauté the vegetables and seasonings for a good 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to brown up some, but not burn. If your heat seems too high, knock it down a notch or two. If you think your vegetables are burning, remove the pot from the Foodi or Instant Pot to reduce the temperature quicker.
Add in the Andouille Sausage, smoked pork hock, bay leaves, and cut up pork. Sauté for another 5 minutes or until the pork starts to brown.
While the pot is hot, pour in about 1 cup of the water and scrape the bottom of the pot. This is so any bits of food (fond) that is on the bottom will be incorporated into the dish. It is also important before pressure cooking to avoid the "burn" or "water" notice.
Add in the bay leaves. I also add in the smoked paprika now, but only 1 Tablespoon and I reserve the remaining ½-1 Tablespoon for after cooking. Paprika tends to lose its flavor as it cooks, so I find adding some to taste at the end really bumps up the smoky flavor.
Add in the beans, remaining water, and stir.
Cooking without Rice on Top
Add the beans and stir. Add in the remaining 5 cups of water and stir. Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes with a 10 minute natural release, then release the remaining pressure.
Break up the pork chop, if needed.
Stir to combine and add the final touches, if desired.
Cooking with Rice on Top
Put the pressure lid on and pressure cook on high for 25 minutes with a 5-minute natural release. When the time is up for the natural release, manually release the remaining pressure.
Carefully remove the lid and DO NOT STIR the pot. This is very important because we want to be able to go back under pressure.
Place the rice in an 8" or 9" pan with at least 2" sides. Add in the water and stir so the rice is in the water. Cover with foil or another type of (affiliate link)silicone cover.
You can make a sling to make it easier to remove from the pot with foil like I did or just set the pan right on top of the red bean mixture. If you are making half a batch, you might be able to use the rack in the high position, but make sure your pan fits!
Put the pressure lid on and make sure the valve is to the seal position. Pressure cook on high for 2 minutes and allow the pot to natural release its pressure for 10 minutes. Manually release the remaining pressure and carefully remove the lid.
Remove the pan with the rice and remove the silicone cover. Fluff with a fork and cover until ready to stir.
I recommend letting the beans sit in the pot another 5-10 minutes before stirring because I've noticed sometimes there have been pockets of trapped steam, and the last thing you want is the hot juices spraying up towards you.
Stir the beans and add in ½ -1 Tablespoon of smoked paprika, if desired. Cut and squeeze the juice from one lemon, if desired. Taste for seasonings and add salt if needed. Add more cayenne if you want it spicer.
Serve in a bowl with some of the rice. Enjoy!
Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot Red Beans & Rice Recipe
Red Beans & Sausage
- 2 Tablespoons oil canola or avocado
- 1 medium green pepper about 1 cup diced
- 1 medium onion (yellow or sweet) about 1 cup diced
- 2 stalks celery about 1 cup diced
- 14 ounces Andouille Sausage
- 1 smoked pork hock
- 1 2" pork chop lightly salted about 8 ounces
- 1 pound dry red kidney beans about 2 ¾ cups
- 6 cups water
- 1-2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano for garnish
- 2-3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 lemon
- 1½ cups parboiled long grain white rice
- 1¾ cups water
- Dice the onion, green pepper, and celery into about ½" dice. Measure out the seasonings. Cut the sausage into 1" chunks or slice on the bias. Rinse and sort your beans, removing any discolored beans or any stones/debris.
- Turn the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot on high sear/sauté and add about 2 Tablespoons of oil and let that heat up. Add in the holy trinity of onion, green pepper, and celery along with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground sage, dried thyme leaves, oregano, cayenne, and 1 Tablespoon of the smoked paprika.
- Stir to combine and sauté on high for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown and soften. If your vegetables are getting too brown, too quickly, turn the heat down.
- Add in the sliced Andouille sausage, pork chop, and ham hock. Lightly brown the sausage.
Deglaze & Pressure Cook
- Add about 1 cup of water to the inner pot and scrape the bottom to remove any bits of stuck on food (fond). Add in the beans and bay leaves, stir.
- Add in the remaining water and stir. Put the pressure lid on and make sure the valve is to the sealed position. Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. When the time is up, allow the pot to natural release the pressure for 5 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure (35 minutes with a 10 minute natural release if you aren't cooking the rice in the same pot).
- Open the lid and if you are adding the rice next, DO NOT STIR. If you aren't cooking the rice in the same pot, stir and skip to finishing touches.
- Combine 1 ½ cups rice and 1 ¾ cups water in an 8" or 9" pan with at least 2" sides. Cover with foil or a silicone cover. Make a sling with foil if desired to help with lifting the pan after cooking.
- Set the pan directly on top of the red bean mixture. Put the pressure lid on and pressure cook for 2 minutes with a 10 minute natural release Manually release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the pan of rice from the pot. Remove the cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover until you are ready to serve it.
- Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. This is where I add ½-1 Tablespoon of smoked paprika for extra smokiness.
- Break up the pork so it's slightly shredded.
- Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the red beans and sausage mixture, stir to combine.
- Garnish with freshly chopped oregano if desired. Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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