Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice delivers a classic Cajun recipe with ease. Made with dried beans, andouille sausage, and Cajun seasoning, and served with fluffy white rice, this easy no-soak recipe for red beans and rice delivers a hearty meal you will want to make again and again!
I have a sincere appreciation for Creole food. Not only did I taste and experience the distinctive flavors found in Creole cuisine through my travels to New Orleans, but realized that the classic Cajun flavors New Orleans cuisine is known for, are mimicked throughout southern cooking in general.
From my Homemade Cajun Seasoning to Cajun Chicken Pasta to Blackened Fish, to this recipe for Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice, these flavors have inspired my cooking for years. A little spicy, smoky, and earthy, creole cooking is extremely nuanced, making these dishes irresistible.
Now, let me be upfront with you. The recipe title Red Beans and Rice is a bit misleading. To replicate the authentic flavor and texture of this classic dish, the red beans and rice are cooked separately, not together like in my recipe for Instant Pot Rice and Beans. But trust me, the extra effort is well worth it!
Reasons to Love Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- Budget-Friendly Recipe. Made with simple ingredients, Red Beans and Rice is a hearty, filling meal made with minimal expense. You can even omit the sausage to save additional money!
- No Need to Soak The Beans! Just as my recipe for Instant Pot Dried Beans proves, one of the many advantages of using an eelectric pressure cooker is that you can cook dried beans without first having to soak them overnight.
- Allergy-Friendly. Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice is naturally gluten-free, egg-free, and nut-free. It can also easily be made dairy-free.
- Freezer-Friendly. This recipe for Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice makes 10-12 generous servings, typically more. And rather than enjoying leftovers for days, it can be frozen to enjoyed another time.
Notes On Ingredients
- Andouille Sausage: Cajun red beans and rice are traditionally made with andouille sausage, but feel free to use smoked sausage as well. I have even used chicken andouille sausage with success.
- Onions + Bell Peppers + Celery: Also known as the Holy Trinity, this base of yellow onions, green bell peppers, and celery is a staple building block in Creole cooking.
- Oil + Butter: I recommend using both butter and olive oil to saute the sausage and veggies together. The oil helps prevent the butter from burning and the butter adds additional richness to the dish.
- Dried Red Beans: Dried red kidney beans are the classic choice. Camilla New Orleans Red Beans are best if you can find them. Don't worry if you can't!
- Water + Stock: To ensure the best flavor, it is best to use a combination of low-sodium chicken stock along with water. The stock will add flavor to the dish, but the addition of water will prevent the dish from being overly salty, which can interfere with the dried beans fully softening when pressure-cooked.
- Seasonings: Cajun seasoning is a must in this recipe, but to round out the flavor, this dish also needs to be seasoned with dried bay leaves, minced garlic, and dried thyme leaves (not ground thyme.) Wait to add additional salt until after pressure cooking, as excess salt can interfere with the beans' softening.
- White Rice: White rice is not pictured in the ingredients for Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice, because the rice CANNOT be cooked along with the beans. I recommend preparing Instant Pot Rice before pressure cooking the red beans and rice and reheating before serving or preparing white rice on the stove while the red beans pressure cook.
- Ham: Adding a ham bone is how authentic New Orleans Red Beans and Rice are typically made. It was classically made on Monday using the bones from the weekend's meal. Feel free to add in a ham hock/bone along with the liquid when cooking the beans. Remove the hock after pressure cooking and only add in salt to taste.
- Beans: Do not substitute canned beans or another variation of dried beans, as that will change the cooking time.
- Dairy-Free Red Beans and Rice: Use additional olive oil in place of the butter.
- Vegetarian Red Beans & Rice: To make this a vegetarian instant pot recipe, omit the sausage and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken stock.
- Adjusting Quantity. This recipe for Red Beans and Rice can be doubled if using an 8 or 10-quart Instant Pot and MUST be cut in half if using a 3-quart Instant Pot. You can also opt to cut the recipe in half if preparing this recipe in a 6 or 8-quart pressure cooker. The cooking time will remain the same.
How to Make Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post or follow along as I make this dish in the video below.
- Saute Sausage. Using the saute function, cook the sliced andouille sausage until it is browned on each side and fully cooked. Remove it from the inner pot and set aside to add back to the dish later in the cooking process.
- Saute the Vegetables. This Red Beans and Rice recipe is no exception to the unspoken rule that all Creole dishes must start by sauteeing up the holy trinity, which is onion, bell pepper, and celery. I like to add butter to the sausage drippings to saute the vegetables to further enhance the richness of this simple dish.
- Deglaze Inner Pot. Deglazing the pan is the process of adding a liquid, in this case water, to a hot pan, to loosen and dissolve browned or caramelized bits. This helps to flavor a dish and when pressure cooking is a crucial step to preventing a burn notice from occurring.
- Layer Ingredients and Pressure Cook. Once the inner pot has been deglazed, add in the rinsed beans, stock, seasonings, and sausage (if desired) and pressure cook as the recipe directs.
The choice of when to add the seared sausage to the red beans is up to you. Adding it to the beans BEFORE pressure seems to add additional flavor to the dish. Adding AFTER pressure cooking makes it easier to mash and thicken the dish and prevents the sausage from being overcooked. I enjoy it both ways.
- Prepare Rice. While the red beans are cooking, use that time to prepare rice, unless you have some already prepared. I am lucky enough to have several pressure cookers for recipe testing, so I use my recipe for Instant Pot Jasmine Rice to make rice while the red beans cook in a separate pot. If you don't have a second pressure cooker, prepare the rice on the stove using the package directions OR prepare it earlier in the day using your instant pot and reheat for serving.
- Thicken. After the red beans have pressure cooked, allow the pressure to naturally release. This will help the beans to fully soften and keep their texture. To give the stew its classic texture, remove some of the red beans from the inner pot and place them in a bowl. Mash them with a potato masher and then stir them back into the inner pot. Allow the beans to cook and thicken, using the saute function for 5-10 minutes until thickened as desired.
- Season and Serve. Stir in the salt to taste and then dish up this classic Creole dish alongside steamed rice. If desired, top with hot sauce for an additional kick.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
For best results, be sure to store red beans separately from the steamed rice.
- Refrigerate: Allow the red bean stew to cool slightly, then transfer to an airtight container. Store the cooked rice in a separate container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Freeze: Allow the red beans to cool completely. Transfer the red beans to a freezer-safe container, allowing room for 1 inch of expansion. If you have prepared cooked rice, transfer that to a separate freezer-safe container. Freeze both for up to 2 months.
- Reheat: If needed, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat the red beans and rice separately in heat-safe bowls in the microwave.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes with Sausage
- Instant Pot Shrimp Boil
- Instant Pot Sausage and Peppers
- Instant Pot Smoked Sausage and Potatoes
- Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup
- Instant Pot Lasagna Soup
- Instant Pot Brats
If you tried this recipe for Instant Pot Cajun Red Beans and Rice, I would love for you to leave a review and comment below.
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans preferably New Orleans Camelia brand
- 1 pound andouille or smoked sausage sliced ½-inch thick
- 1-½ tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or additional olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 4 ribs celery finely diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves do not use ground thyme
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- cooked white rice for serving
- Place the beans in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well. Sort to remove withered beans or rocks, and set them aside.
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute setting on medium heat. (If needed hit the adjust button to change the heat level from low, normal, or high). Add in 1 tablespoon of oil and let heat briefly. Once the oil is heated, add the sliced sausage and let brown on each side. Once browned, remove the sausage to a plate.
- If the inner pot is dry, add the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. If there are drippings, omit the additional olive oil. Add the butter to the inner pot and let melt. Once the butter has melted add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds just to lightly toast. Turn off the saute function by hitting cancel on the inner pot.
- Add the water and deglaze the inner pot by scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Add the chicken stock, cajun seasoning, dried thyme, bay leaves, and seared sausage*(see note about sausage), to the inner pot and stir to incorporate. Add the rinsed and sorted red beans to the inner pot.
- Place the lid on the inner pot and secure the lid, being sure the venting knob is sealed. Set the cooking time to 50 minutes on HIGH pressure by hitting the manual or pressure cook button and use the +/- buttons to adjust the cooking time.
- For Rice: While the red beans are cooking inside the Instant Pot prepare 3 cups of dried rice on the stovetop according to the package instructions or using a separate pressure cooker, using my recipe for Instant Pot White Rice.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 20 minutes.
- Optional Thickening Step: After pressure has been released, open the instant pot. Hit cancel to turn off the keep warm function, then saute, to thicken. While the beans are heating, remove the bay leave and stir in ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Remove about 1 cup of the mixture into a large bowl and using a potato masher, gently mash some of the beans potato masher until smooth, and then stir back into the pot.
- Allow the mixture to simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until desired thickness is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. At this time, stir in the sausage if you opted to not cook the sauteed sausage with the beans.
- Serve with white rice and top with parsley and hot sauce if desired.