New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Recipe (With Ham Hocks & Sausages)

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Avatar Author's default profile picture Team Published: September 23, 2020 Modified: August 4, 2021
New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Recipe (With Ham Hocks & Sausages)

Craving for a hearty meal you can prepare for the whole family? Then, this creamy New Orleans red beans and rice recipe is the way to go. It is packed with flavor, with red beans, ham hocks, and sausages slow cooked with cajun seasoning and holy trinity (Louisiana’s version of mirepoix: onions, green bell pepper, and celery) to give it that original New Orleans taste.

If you’re craving for a seafood dish with flavors similar to this one, try our Cajun style juicy jambalaya that’s also filling and easy to make.

Tips for Making New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

This Cajun dish is traditionally made on Mondays with leftover red beans, pork, vegetables, and spices. It eventually became a Southern comfort food. The good news is, you can easily make it at home with this trouble-free recipe. Meanwhile, here are some useful tips in serving authentic red beans and rice for Sunday supper:

  • You can use pork shank (which is much meatier) if you can’t get a hold of ham hocks. The flavor will not differ much. You can also fully omit them, and use chicken broth in place of the water.
  • If you can’t get kielbasa, you may use andouille sausage. Other types of smoked sausage (pork or beef) will also work fine. Keep in mind, however, that the flavors from the sausage you use might alter the overall taste of the dish. But the best thing about the New Orleans red beans and rice is it’s versatile, so feel free to experiment with your protein.
  • Use three cans of beans and easily turn this into a quick red beans and rice recipe. Just reduce the amount of water that the recipe calls for by half.
  • Cook this in a crockpot for an even easier version (you don’t even have to pre-soak your beans!). Just throw in all the ingredients and slow cook it on high for 6 to 8 hours. Just remember to add a few more cups of water.

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice Recipe (With Ham Hocks & Sausages) Video

How To Make New Orleans Red Beans and Rice (With Ham Hocks & Sausages)

5 from 1 vote

We’re giving this classic Cajun dish a twist by using ham hocks and kielbasa for a rich and savory flavor. This authentic red beans and rice recipe will surely warm up your dinnertime.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
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  • 1 lb red kidney beans, canned, drained
  • 1 lb ham hocks, partially cooked, preferably smoked
  • 8 cups water, (2 quarts)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • cups celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp tabasco sauce
  • 1 lb Kielbasa sausages, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • salt, to taste

To Serve:

  • 1 cup rice, steamed, per serving


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the kielbasa sausages in batches for about 3 to 4 minutes, then set aside.

  2. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, place the ham hocks, water, celery, onions, bell peppers, bay leaves, the seasonings, and tabasco. Cover the pan and boil over high heat.

  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour until the meat becomes tender.

  4. Then, remove the ham hocks and set them aside.

  5. Stir in the beans and kielbasa. Continue simmering for 30 to 45 minutes until the beans start to break up. Mash the beans until the broth thickens.

  6. Remove the meat from the ham hock and stir the meat back into the saucepan. Continue to stir for 10 minutes more or until the meat is warmed through. Season to taste with salt. Adjust accordingly.

  7. Serve over rice and enjoy!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are red beans and kidney beans the same?

Because of their similar appearance, most people think that they’re the same. However, when you compare red beans vs kidney beans, the former have a more beany flavor and are usually smaller. Kidney beans have a dark crimson color, while red beans are more pink. They’re both a great ingredient, but kidney beans tend to absorb the flavors around them.

How do I thicken red beans and rice?

The mashed red beans is the primary thickener for any red beans and rice recipe. But if you find your dish too watery or you want them a tad thicker, you can always add a slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water). Gradually add the slurry while mixing, until you reach your desired consistency.

What to serve with red beans and rice?

This cajun red beans and rice recipe is already perfect on its own, but you can always take your dinner to the next level by pairing it with something else. For delicious light sides, you can go with crispy but tangy fried green tomatoes or a simple pear green salad. To complete your cajun meal, you can make this cornbread recipe for a more Southern classic pairing.



This New Orleans red beans and rice dish may take some time to prepare, but the result will be worth the wait. It’s hearty, delicious, and perfect for the whole family.

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