This slow cooker red beans and rice recipe brings you creamy, New Orleans style beans the easy way!
I grew up eating two different kinds of red beans and rice. My mom made her own slow cooker version with canned large red kidney beans and tomatoes, which had whole beans and a thin broth. At Southern restaurants and the good ol’ Mississippi State cafeteria (loved that place), I had the thick, creamy version with mostly mashed beans.
Both versions were delicious, but I only knew how to make my mom’s kind until I tried Emeril’s recipe for New Orleans Red Beans and Rice. That recipe is spot on for the cafeteria-style dish I remember, but I wondered if I could make creamy red beans in the slow cooker.
Originally, I wrote this as a no-soak recipe meaning I rinsed and sorted the dry beans and put them right into the slow cooker without soaking or pre-cooking them at all. A reader pointed out to me that uncooked red beans contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin, which can cause severe GI upset. It turns out that undercooked red beans are somehow even higher in this toxin than the dried beans. Yikes! (You can read more about this here.)
Truth be told, I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times without soaking the beans, and as far as I know no one has ever gotten sick from it. The problem is, if those beans don’t get cooked for at least 10 minutes at 212 degrees F or hotter, there can be enough of the toxin left to cause illness.
I for sure don’t want any of you (or me!) to get sick from my recipe, so here’s what we’re going to do:
- Soak the dried beans overnight. The next morning, put them in a pot on the stove, and cover them with a couple inches of water. Bring the pot to a boil, and boil them for 10-30 minutes. Carefully drain them, and then put them in the slow cooker. You could do the boiling while you dice up your other ingredients, so it hardly adds much work or time.
- OR, You can use drained, canned red beans. I’d say about 6 cans. You can put those right in the slow cooker and make the recipe as written. You’ll only need to cook it 6-8 hours, and you’ll want to cut back on the added salt since the beans might be salty on their own. Just salt to taste at the end.
- OR, You can follow this recipe except cook it on the stove. I’ve done it that way before, but it takes a few hours and more monitoring since you can’t really leave a pot on the stove unattended all day. I vote for one of the previous two options.
The good news about soaking and pre-boiling the beans is that the recipe can be ready faster. With the no-soak method (besides the potential poisoning), sometimes it would take 10-12 hours for the beans to be completely tender. Soaking them ahead of time or using canned beans will definitely speed up the process. You really want soft, mashable beans for this version of crockpot red beans and rice so you can get that wonderfully creamy texture.
Once the beans are soft, you can get busy with your potato masher, mashing about half or more. Yes, you will mash some of the sausage while you’re at it, but that’s OK. Let it cook another hour or two, and you will have creamy, wonderful red beans to ladle over your rice!
I hope your whole family enjoys this slow cooker red beans and rice recipe as much as mine does!
This is the slow cooker I use for all my recipes (affiliate link):
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