Instant Pot Red beans and rice is a flavorful dish that you can make without having to wait all day, thanks to the magic of the pressure cooker. And you do not have to presoak the beans.
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My slow cooker red beans and rice is a reader favorite! And it is one of our favorites in my family too.
But sometimes you just can’t wait all day to make dinner. Amiright?!
So picture this: I am standing in my kitchen at 5:00pm, staring at a bag of dry beans, thinking about how I wish we could have red beans and rice for dinner. But red beans and rice is known for cooking low, slow and LONG.
That is why I decided to adapt that recipe to the pressure cooker! And it is a GEM of a recipe, y’all! I was able to have it on the table in a little over an hour and a half, by 6:45pm.😎👊🏻
Side note: The Instant Pot is my favorite (electric, hands off) pressure cooker of all time.
I had to try it a few times before I got it just right. The biggest obstacle was that the meat texture got all weird when I cooked everything all at once.
So my solution: I cook everything but the meat, and then throw the meat in for the last 15 minutes of cook time (+ more time for natural pressure release).
What Kind of Beans to Use for Red Beans and Rice
Ideally, the small red beans used traditionally are best. These are easily found in Louisiana and other parts of the southeastern USA.
My stores either do not carry them, or they are always out of stock when I go to buy them. 🤷🏼♀️ So I used red kidneys. I see you purists clutching your pearls in horror right now. 🤣Don’t worry, I still love you. 😘And you can totally use your red beans, if you are lucky enough to find them!
For the record: even the famous Camellia beans company (who makes the small red beans) uses the red kidney’s for the recipe on their site. My guess is because the “small red beans” many of us all love are a regional product, not found in all parts of the country. So I think I am in good company using these as a next best substitute. 😉
How to Thicken the Bean Mixture
The liquids will thicken as it stands, and for next day leftovers (out of the fridge).
If you want to thicken them right away, you can either use a potato masher and mash a few, then use the sauté setting to reduce/ thicken the liquid a bit more. OR you can use a blender to slightly puree some (not all) of the bean mixture.
We don’t usually do this extra step because we like it just fine as it is (consistency seen in video). If you want to go thick or go home, the above trick will get you there. 👌🏻
On a related note, If you want to thin out leftovers, add a splash of stock or water.
Can I add ham hocks?
Yes! If you have any ham hocks or bones that will fit in your Instant Pot, I say add them, at the beginning during the first cooking cycle.👌🏻
Side note: I always freeze my ham hocks if I don’t plan to use them right away. And if I have one, I always add it to my red beans and rice. Note: you may need to use less salt if you use ham, since ham is already fairly salty.
If you don’t have ham hocks, no worries! We have made this tons of times without it, and it is still very good!
Traditional versus Instant Pot red beans and rice
I wondered if the flavor of this Instant Pot red beans and rice would still be as good doing it that was in my original recipe. And you know what? It totally was!
It made me want to do cartwheels in my kitchen! And then I remembered that I am forty-one years old, and cartwheels might throw my back out…LOL!🤣
I’ll settle for some virtual high fives from you, internet friends!🙌🏻 I hope y’all enjoy this Instant Pot red beans and rice.
How to add even more flavor
The base recipe below is how we make it most of the time. But! There are a couple things you can do to add even more flavor to your Instant Pot red beans and rice.
- Use vegetable or chicken stock in place of the water.
- Add a bit of bullion. There are the cube kinds, but I love Better Than Bullion. Their vegetable base would be great in this. Heads up, though, it is very, very salty on its own. I would wait and add any additional salt at the end, after you taste it.
- Add cajun seasoning – we never do this. Why? Because a well-flavored andouille sausage, plus the veggies, hot sauce and thyme provide plenty of flavor for us.👌🏻 But! You can add a cajun blend, such as Tony Chachery’s (or your favorite cajun blend), or add your own combination of cajun spices if you wish. Again, I would recommend holding off until the end.
- Add ham hocks (see ham hock section above)
- Butter! I was so surprised when I saw this was a thing, but lots of people apparently add a whole stick of butter to their bean mixture.😳 We never do this, but I have seen so many people swear by it that I thought I’d mention it here.
Tools Used to Make Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
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- Instant Pot
- Cutting Board
- Measuring Cup
- Measuring spoons
- An extra inner pot and this lid would be handy if you want to also make your rice in your Instant Pot. But it is not necessary. I have both and love the convenience!
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice Recipe
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Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound dry red kidney beans
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp white pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp hot sauce (I used Texas Pete.)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2 leaves bay
- 7 cups water
- 1 pound chicken andouille sausage cut into thin slices
- 10 cups cooked rice
- Add all ingredients, except for sausage and rice to the Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on, lock it, and set to manual high pressure for 28 minutes.
- At the end of the 28 minutes, use the quick release method (release the valve).
- When the Instant Pot is fully depressurized the pin will fall, and you can remove the lid.
- Run the lid under cold water, and set aside. This will help the Instant Pot to re-seal.
- Add the chicken andouille sausage, place the lid on and lock it.
- Use the manual setting at 15 minutes high pressure, and allow the Instant Pot to release naturally this time (no using the pressure release valve, just let it sit until the pin drops). Mine took about 26 minutes to naturally release, FYI.
- You can let the beans mixture sit with the lid of for a few minutes to thicken the liquid.
- Serve the bean mixture over a cup of cooked rice.
If you want to thicken the bean mixture, use a potato masher or fork and mash a few. Then use the sauté setting to reduce/ thicken the liquid a bit more. OR you can use a blender to slightly puree some (not all) of the bean mixture.
You can totally use the more traditional small red beans for this recipe. These are easily found in Louisiana and other parts of the southeastern USA. My store did not carry them, so I used red kidneys. For the haters: even the famous Camilia's beans company (who makes the small red beans) uses the red kidney's for the recipe on their site. So I think I am in good company using these as a next best substitute. 😉
This recipe freezes well (bean mixture alone). We often freeze half of this. When we take it out to reheat, we just make a fresh batch of rice.
Nutrition information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.
The nutritional information includes 1 cup of cooked Jasmine rice.
You can use any type of andouille sausage for this recipe (but it will change nutritional values).
This recipe was written specifically for un-soaked beans. If you soak the beans ahead of time, you will need to reduce the liquids and the cook time.
The "quickness" of this recipe is relative to old fashioned red-beans and rice made on the stovetop. It will take approximately an hour and a half to make (includes time to come to pressure). Also, to speed things up I make my rice in a rice cooker, on the stovetop, or in my second Instant Pot to speed things up.
The liquids will thicken as it stands, and for next day leftovers (out of the fridge). If you want to thin out leftovers, add a splash of chicken/ vegetable stock or water.
Note: This recipe originally appeared on A Pinch of Healthy October 22, 2016.
See ALL of my Instant Pot recipes here.