Easy Instant Pot red beans and rice will have you eating a hot bowl of this beloved Creole comfort food in no time.
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About a year ago, my husband requested – totally out of the blue – that he would like red beans and rice for dinner one night. “Heavy on the sausage,” he said.
Being raised by Northerners, this was NOT something I ever ate growing up. And I hate to admit I often turned my nose up at this dish simply based on its looks alone. It is basically a big reddish-brown pile of beans, after all.
However, my first attempt using my slow cooker was met with such rave reviews (even the kids went back for seconds), I figured maybe I needed to give red beans and rice its proper place at our dinner table. It’s cheap, it’s filling and now that I have figured out how to make it in my Instant Pot, it’s pretty quick. This recipe now makes an appearance in our home at least once a month.
The Origin of Red Beans and Rice
Red beans and rice got its origins from my neighbor to the east, Louisiana. Traditionally it was served on Monday as a way to use up leftover food from Sunday dinner. Mondays were also wash day, which left little time at the end of the day to prepare a family meal. The ladies of home would slowly simmer a pot of beans as they went about their cleaning. It’s slow cooking before slow cookers were invented.
Are Red Beans and Kidney Beans the Same Thing?
No, red beans and red kidney beans are actually two different types of beans. Red beans are smaller, rounder and a deeper red color than red kidney beans. However, they both have a similar texture and flavor, so they can be used interchangeably.
What type of sausage should you use?
Traditional recipes use leftover ham or a ham bone. You may also see some recipes that call for andouille sausage. Andouille is a spicy Creole smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. Here in the South, it’s pretty easy to find Andouille in the refrigerated section next to other types of sausage. If you live in an area where Andouille is not easy to come by, substitute with regular smoked sausage instead.
Tools you’ll need to make Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- Obviously, you’ll need an Instant Pot. I own an Instant Pot LUX60V3 V3 6 Qt pressure cooker.
- 2.5 -3-inch metal trivet.
- Oven safe bowl. This can be pretty much any glass, metal or ceramic bowl that fits inside your Instant Pot, but allows enough room for steam to circulate around the sides. I find this 4-cup round Pyrex dish works perfectly.
Do I need to presoak my beans?
Yes … and no. Whenever I develop a method for an Instant Pot recipe, I try to eliminate as many extra steps and extra pots and pans as possible. I want to cook everything together in one pot. I didn’t want to have to remember to leave extra time to soak beans. That’s when I discovered a way to quickly “soak” beans using the Instant Pot.
First, dump your beans into the Instant Pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by 1-inch. This comes out to roughly 4.5-5 cups of water. For one pound of beans, add two teaspoons of salt. The beans absorb the salt while they’re cooking, which adds flavor. The salt also tenderizes the skins.
Replace the lid and seal. Set the Instant Pot to manual, then set the time to 0 minutes. Yes, you read that right … 0 minutes. Just trust me.
Let the pressure from the beans release naturally. This should take about 15 minutes.
How to Make Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
Once your beans are presoaked, you don’t need to drain them. Just start adding the rest of your ingredients to the pot. Add one pound of sliced Andouille or smoked sausage, five cloves of minced garlic, three stalks of diced celery, one medium diced onion, one diced green bell pepper, two teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (we prefer Tony Chachere’s), one teaspoon hot sauce, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, 2 bay leaves, and one cup of chicken stock. Give everything a good stir.
Cooking Rice Using the PIP Method
Red beans and rice is traditionally served over white rice. Guess what … we’re gonna cook the rice in the Instant Pot with the red beans and sausage, using something called the pot-in-pot, or PIP method. We’re placing another bowl inside the Instant Pot to allow the rice to cook simultaneously, but separately.
This is where the 3-inch trivet comes in. It’s high enough to keep the second bowl out of the food cooking below. But first, we’ll need to create something that will allow us to easily and safely lift the trivet out of the pot once it’s done cooking. I do this by folding a length of aluminum foil into a 4.5-inch strip. Fold the aluminum foil strip under the trivet, leaving the sides sticking up. Place the trivet into the pot, over the red beans mixture. Set the oven safe bowl on top of the trivet.
Add your rice to the oven-safe bowl. Instant Pot recommends a water/rice ratio of 1:1. However, I find that when cooking rice using PIP, you actually need a little less. I use ¾ cup of water per one cup of rice. Season the rice with some salt to your taste.
Another benefit of PIP method is that the food cooking on top can withstand a longer cooking time because it’s not in direct contact with the heat. Don’t worry … even though we’re cooking the rice longer than the recommended time, it will still come out nice and fluffy.
Fold the sides of the foil sling down over the oven safe bowl so we can fit the lid on top. Replace the lid and seal the pot. Set the pot to manual pressure, then set the timer for 30 minutes. Afterwards, let the pressure release naturally, about 15-20 minutes. Once the pressure has released and you’ve removed the lid, carefully lift the oven safe bowl and the trivet out of the pot and set aside. Remove the bowl of rice from the trivet and fluff the rice with a fork.
Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve the red beans over the hot cooked rice. Garnish with chopped green onions or diced parsley if desired. Sprinkle with more hot sauce for additional heat.
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Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- 1 pound uncooked dry red beans or red kidney beans
- 1 pound Andouille or smoked sausage sliced into ¼ inch medallions
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 1 medium white onion peeled and diced
- 1 green bell pepper cored and diced
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1-2 cups uncooked white rice
- Pour the beans into the Instant Pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by 1-inch, roughly 4.5-5 cups of water.
- Add two teaspoons of salt. Replace the lid and seal. Set the Instant Pot to manual, then set the time to 0 minutes.
- Let the pressure from the beans release naturally. This should take about 15 minutes. You do not need to drain the beans.
- Add the sliced Andouille or smoked sausage, minced garlic, diced celery, diced onion, diced green bell pepper, Cajun seasoning hot sauce (optional), dried thyme, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir everything until combined.
- To cook the rice, place a 3-inch trivet into the pot, over the red beans mixture. Set an oven safe bowl on top of the trivet.
- Add rice to the oven-safe bowl. Add ¾ cup of water or chicken stock per one cup of rice. Season the rice with salt to taste.
- Replace the lid and seal the pot. Set the pot to manual pressure, then set the timer for 30 minutes. Afterwards, let the pressure release naturally, about 15-20 minutes. Once the pressure has released and you’ve removed the lid, carefully lift the oven safe bowl and the trivet out of the pot and set aside. Remove the bowl of rice from the trivet and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve the red beans over the hot cooked rice. Garnish with chopped green onions or diced parsley if desired. Sprinkle with more hot sauce for additional heat.