My first trip to New Orleans was in the mid 1990’s. I was just out of college and about $1 north of broke. The flight was terrible, the weather was terrible, the cheap hotel was worse than terrible but the food was amazing. I came home with an appreciation for hotels that didn’t have cigarette burns in the sheets and a lasting love of Cajun cooking.
I’ll share the recipe I have developed based on the one I brought back all of those years ago, but I have adapted it to work in the instant pot so you have beans in one hour instead of taking a day and a half. They taste just as good. I now make this without meat (usually), but I’ll put the original meat ingredients in the notes of the recipe card if you want to make it exactly like they do in New Orleans. It tastes great either way. The printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.
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Like any good Cajun recipe, this one starts with the holy trinity – Onion, Celery and peppers. Traditionally you will see green bell pepper used, and occasionally it is a red bell pepper. I like yo use a combination of red and yellow just to add some color. The flavor doesn’t really change between the various colors of bell pepper so use what you like. My instant pot has a saute function so I can saute the veggies right in the pot, if yours doesn’t have that option you will need to saute them in a pan on the stove first. If you are choosing to add meat, this is when you brown the andouille or smoked sausage as well.
I rinse the dry beans and sort out any “clinkers” – any broken or off looking beans. They go straight into the pot with no pre-soak along with the veggies, broth/water and seasonings. The seasonings are pretty simple, but the Old Bay makes a difference, a little trick I picked up in New Orleans. Cook for 35 minutes on high pressure and then let the pot depressurize for another 25 minutes.
I make the rice while the beans are cooking. Plain white rice in a rice cooker works great, but in a pinch you can even use instant rice. When the beans are done I use the potato masher to gently mash some of the beans. This thickens up the “gravy” and helps it stick to the rice. If you are serving a crowd I like to mix the rice right in with the beans and stir it all up. If you are serving a smaller crowd you can serve them separately and let people help themselves. Don’t forget the hot sauce!
Naw’lins Style Red Beans & Rice in the Instant Pot
Traditional New Orleans style red beans and rice made in the instant pot. Great as a side dish or even as a meal. Directions for vegan or traditional preparation included in the recipe.
- 2 Cups dry red beans, rinsed and sorted (remove the broken or shriveled beans)
- 6 Cups of vegetable broth or Chicken broth
- 3 Cups white rice (amount of water needed varies by cooking method. In a rice cooker you need about 1 1/2 cups water for each cup of rice)
- 1 Large onion, chopped into medium pieces
- 1 Bell pepper (color of your choice), seeds and stem removed chopped into medium pieces
- 3 stalks of celery with leaves removed chopped into medium pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground red (cayenne) pepper – adjust to your taste
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 2 bay leaves, dried
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1) Heat olive oil on medium heat and saute onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until soft and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir often.
- 2) Add the sauteed vegetables to the instant pot along with the beans, broth, salt, pepper, old bay, oregano and bay leaves. Seal and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. After cooking allow the pot to come back to normal pressure slowly for an additional 25 minutes.
- 3) While the beans are cooking prepare the rice. I use a rice cooker, but you can follow the stove top directions on your rice or even use instant rice.
- 4) Open the pot carefully and remove the bay leaves. Use a potato masher or large spoon to gently mash some of the beans until you see the liquid start to thicken.
- 5) Serve the beans over individual portions of rice or combine everything together for family style serving.
For traditional “with meat” recipe you will need 1 pound of andouille or smoked sausage and 1 or two small smoked ham hocks or jowls. Slice the sausage into small pieces and brown first, then add the vegetables to the pan and saute with the sausage per the directions above. Add the ham hocks to the pot and cook with the beans, but remove before serving.
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