This easy red beans and rice recipe is cooked completely in the instant pot with NO overnight soaking required! This dish is loaded with flavor from smoked pork and classic cajun spices.
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This recipe was passed down to me by my grandma. It is one of my family's favorite comfort foods while it's great anytime, it is particularly tasty in the colder months.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Avocado Oil or another mild flavored oil suitable for high heat
- Yellow Onion
- Dry Red Beans
- Smoked Ham Hock - You can swap the ham hocks for other smoked and cured meat such as salt pork, slab bacon, or even smoked turkey legs if you do not eat pork.
- Bay Leaves - don't skip these!
- Celery or replace with salt and celery seed.
- Creole or Cajun Seasoning I use Tony Chachere's! You can also make your own cajun seasoning with this recipe!
- Smoked Sausage - classic or andouille will work great!
- White Rice
- Optional: Green Bell Pepper. Typically red beans and rice is made using the 'holy trinity' which consists of onion, celery, and bell pepper. For whatever reason my grandma never used the bell pepper in red beans and rice. If you would like to use it just add 1 diced bell pepper along with the onions, celery, and garlic.
See the recipe card for quantities.
My grandma always made her red beans and rice in a classic stove-top pressure cooker, but I prefer to use an instant pot. I recently upgraded from an original instant pot to the instant pot pro plus and I have ZERO regrets. One of my favorite features is that you can set the steam release method at the beginning of the cooking time. Check the current price.
In addition to an electric pressure cooker, you will also need measuring cups and spoons, a colander, and a cooking spoon.
Before you get started ...
Before you start cooking, be sure to clean and dice the celery and onion and mince your garlic.
How to make red beans and rice in the instant pot
Cooking dry beans in the instant pot is so easy that you may never cook them another way!
There are slight variations between different Instant Pot models. I have included instructions for the most common model, but if you are unsure how to operate your Instant Pot, then you can find your owner's manual here!
Use the saute feature on your instant pot to heat the oil in the bottom of your instant pot liner on high heat. Add the diced onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until the onions begin to turn translucent (about 5 minutes) then turn off the instant pot.
Rinse the dry beans under running water in a colander. Remove any debris or shriveled beans. Add the beans, ham hock, water, bay leaves, celery salt, salt, and creole seasoning to the instant pot with the onion, celery, and garlic.
Place the lid on the instant pot, and if your model has a sealing valve, be sure to set it to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
Tip: Once you add the sausage to the instant pot, it's time to prepare your rice!
Once the pressure has fully released, remove the lid from the instant pot and stir in the sliced smoked sausage. Set the instant pot to saute on low heat for 30 minutes. Simmer, stirring frequently until the timer is up and the liquid has thickened.
Discard the bone and skin from the ham hock, returning any meat back to the beans. Serve the beans over white rice. Top with fresh chopped parsley and hot sauce if desired.
Here are some of my favorite ways to change up this recipe:
- Spicy - This recipe is very mild. If you prefer some heat, here are some ways to up the heat: 1) Add diced jalapenos during step one. 2) add ground cayenne pepper to taste in step two. 3) Add hot sauce during step two and/or when serving.
- Vegan - To make vegan red beans and rice, omit the ham hock and smoked sausage (you can use a vegan sausage alternative if desired) Swap the water with vegetable broth and add 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika during step two.
- Slow Cooker - To make this recipe in a slow cooker, Soak the dry beans overnight following the package instructions. Then boil them for 10-30 minutes before draining them and adding them to the slow cooker along with all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the rice. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours. Then serve the beans over rice.
- Low Carb - Black soybeans are a great low-carb bean option (see them used in my low-carb refried beans!) They are only widely available canned. Swap the dry beans for 4-5 cans of black soybeans. Rinse the beans thoroughly before adding them to the pot. You can still pressure cook them if desired, but it's not necessary. Just be sure to simmer them for at least an hour so they can soak up as much flavor as possible.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Red beans and rice is one of those recipes that is somehow even better leftover. You can store the leftovers in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or freeze them for up to 6 months.
It freezes beautifully (bonus points if you get that reference!) so I almost always stash some for later. Just be sure to seal it tightly in a freezer-safe container. I also find it best to store the rice and beans separately.
Allow the red beans and rice to thaw at least partially before reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Admittedly, until I was researching this recipe, I never knew that beans could be toxic. It turns out that kidney beans contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin can cause gastroenteritis, or a pretty nasty stomach virus.
Luckily this toxin is destroyed when the beans are boiled for at least 10 minutes, but generally, 30 minutes is recommended. Luckily cooking the beans in your instant pot, using the time and method that I have listed removes the risk of getting sick. For more information be sure to check out this article.
It's also worth mentioning that this only applies to kidney beans and not true red beans (read below for the differences) but since they are often used interchangeably it's worth taking the extra precaution.
Nope. One of the best things about using a pressure cooker for dry beans is that you can skip the soaking step. However, some people feel that soaking beans makes them easier to digest. If you have a sensitive stomach or beans tend to make you very gassy it may be worth it for you to soak them.
While red beans and kidney beans are similar, they are not identical. Red beans are usually smaller than kidney beans and kidney beans have slightly thicker skin. If you are unable to find red beans in your area, you can substitute small kidney beans or even black beans.
- If you prefer a thicker broth, remove about 1 cup of the cooked beans and puree them. Stir them back into the pot before serving.
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- Instant pot
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Heat the oil in the bottom of your instant pot liner by using the saute feature on high heat. Add the diced onion, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are beginning to turn translucent (about 5 minutes) then turn off the instant pot.1 Yellow Onion, 2 stalks Celery, 1 tablespoon Garlic, 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
- Rinse the beans and remove any debris or shriveled beans. Add the beans, ham hock, water, bay leaves, celery salt, salt, and creole seasoning to the instant pot with the onion, celery, and garlic.1 lb Dry Red Beans, 1 Ham Hock, 6 cup Water, 2-3 Bay Leaves, 1 teaspoon Celery Salt, 1 teaspoon Salt, 2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
- Cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. When the cooking time is up allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Once the pressure has fully released, remove the lid from the instant pot and stir in the sliced smoked sausage. Set the instant pot to saute on low heat for 30 minutes. Simmer, stirring frequently until the timer is up and the liquid has thickened.1 lb Smoked Sausage
- Discard the bone and skin from the ham hock, returning any meat back to the beans. Serve the beans over a bed of rice, and enjoy!6 cups Cooked White Rice
Be sure to read the entire post for tips, tricks, and help troubleshooting.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.