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Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

Bring the flavors of New Orleans right into your kitchen with this easy pressure cooker recipe. 

Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice is a delicious one-pot pantry meal that’s easy on your budget. Make it tonight and enjoy leftovers for lunch!

As a teenager, my grandmother taught me how to cook dry beans. It was an all-day process, which is why I was excited to make Instant Pot beans and rice.

While I prefer to soak the beans beforehand, it’s not a requirement. Either way, this dish goes from start to finish in under an hour!

Onions, celery, garlic, and Creole spices add a wonderful depth of flavor, and you can use your favorite kind of smoked sausage like kielbasa or andouille.

For more time-saving Southern meals, try my white chicken chili or black-eyed peas. Both are much faster than stove-top cooking and just as delicious!

red beans and rice garnished with parsley in a white bowl with a fork on a wooden table

Why you’re going to love it!

  • Simple ingredients. You may already have everything on hand!
  • Enough for the whole family. It makes about 8 servings.
  • Great for meal prep. Divide into containers for easy lunches.

Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice: behind the recipe

My first taste of this dish was at The Bayou Bay, a small local restaurant in Knoxville opened by a chef from New Orleans.

As the story goes, Monday was laundry day for women in the bayou so they cooked a meal that required little attention. A pot of red beans seasoned with a ham bone from Sunday’s dinner would simmer all day in a blend of Creole spices.

Now, the same delicious flavor can be achieved in a fraction of the time with pressure cooker red beans and rice.

ingredients for red beans and rice recipe

Key ingredients and substitutions

  • Sausage — I used turkey kielbasa, but smoked andouille would also be delicious. Chopped ham or bacon is another popular choice, or leave the meat out altogether for a vegetarian option.
  • Rice — Jasmine is usually what I have on hand, but any white or brown long-grain variety will do.
  • Aromatics — I prefer to use a sweet onion for Instant Pot beans and rice. I also used minced garlic for convenience, but you can use two fresh cloves instead.
  • Creole seasoning — If you don’t have this spice in your pantry, you can make your own blend using oregano, basil, thyme, onion powder, and paprika.

Special equipment needed

  • Instant Pot — I held out on getting one for a long time before I finally landed on an Instant Pot. It’s so easy to use, and gives you delicious results! This recipe will work in any kind of electric pressure cooker, so feel free to use your preferred brand.
  • Saucepan — The rice will need to be cooked separately on the stove.

How to make pressure cooker red beans and rice

STEP 1 | Soak the beans

  • Place the dry beans in a colander and rinse under cool water.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and cover with water, about 2 inches over the top. Soak overnight and discard the liquid before starting the recipe.
  • If you’re short on time, you can make Instant Pot beans and rice without soaking first. Find no-soak or even fast-soak instructions in the recipe card below.

STEP 2 | Saute the meat and vegetables

  • When you’re ready to get started, set the pressure cooker to SAUTE and cook the sliced kielbasa in a little bit of oil.
  • Transfer to a plate once browned, then cook the onion and celery until softened.
  • Stir in the garlic and spices, then add everything (except for the rice!) to the pot.

STEP 3 | Cook until tender

  • Seal the lid and steam vent. Set for 15 minutes on HIGH and do a 10 minute natural pressure release (NPR) when done.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the rice on the stove according to the package directions.
  • Release any remaining pressure after the NPR, then mash about a cup of the beans in a bowl before stirring them back into the pot.

tips

  • If the beans are still pretty firm and hard to mash, put them back in and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • It will take about 20 minutes for the appliance to pressurize, so be patient and factor in that extra time when planning for your meal.

red beans and rice garnished with green onions

Serving suggestions

This dish is a full meal all on its own, so you only need to spoon the sausage mixture over the cooked rice and serve.

If you feel like you need some more veggies on your plate, pair Instant Pot red beans and rice with a simple salad, grilled okra, or some fried green tomatoes.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the benefit of soaking dry beans?

Doing so breaks down some of the complex sugars that give people trouble, making them easier to digest. When soaked, they also cook more evenly without splitting and require less time overall.

Can I make Instant Pot red beans and rice spicier?

You sure can! Use a spicy sausage or add a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce. If you will be serving this to people with different palates, prepare it as directed and place the hot sauce on the table instead.

Is pressure cooker red beans and rice healthy for you?

While this depends entirely on your dietary needs, it is packed with plenty of protein and is a great source of iron, fiber, and potassium.

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Reheat on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through.

You can also freeze the sausage mixture for up to 2 months. Allow it to cool completely before storing in a freezer-safe container and leave room at the top for it to expand.

Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and serve with a fresh batch of rice.

red beans and rice in a white bowl with a fork on a wooden table

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Yield: 8 servings

Pressure Cooker Red Beans and Rice

red beans and rice in a white bowl with a fork on a wooden table

Bring the flavors of New Orleans right into your kitchen with this easy pressure cooker recipe! Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice is a delicious one-pot pantry meal that’s easy on your budget. Make it tonight and enjoy leftovers for lunch!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry red beans
  • 1 pound kielbasa (turkey)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the red beans in a colander under cool running water. Drain and place in a large bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Soak the beans overnight, then drain and discard the liquid. (To skip this step, see the notes.)
  2. Cut the kielbasa into 1/4-inch slices. Set the electric pressure cooker to SAUTÉ. When hot, add the olive oil and kielbasa. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the kielbasa to a plate. Add the onions, celery, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook on SAUTÉ function for 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and golden.
  4. Stir in the minced garlic, Cajun seasoning, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves and cook another minute until fragrant.
  5. Add to the red beans, chicken broth, and water to the pressure cooker and stir.
  6. Lock the electric pressure cooker lid in place and set the steam vent to SEALING. Select HIGH pressure and cook for 15 minutes. The electric pressure cooker will take about 20 minutes to reach pressure.
  7. While the beans are cooking, prepare the rice per package directions.
  8. When the pressure cooker time is up, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then carefully open the steam vent to release any remaining pressure.
  9. Remove the bay leaves. Scoop out about a cup of the beans into a small bowl and mash them with a fork or potato masher. (If the beans are not tender, lock the lid and cook another 10 minutes.)
  10. Stir the mashed beans back into the pot until creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve ladled over hot cooked rice and garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.

Notes

You may substitute andouille sausage for the kielbasa.

Make Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice

Omit the kielbasa and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

No-Soak Method

Add the dry red beans to the pressure cooker as directed above and increase the cooking time at HIGH pressure to 35 minutes.

Fast-Soak Method

  1. Place one pound of red beans in the pressure cooker with enough water to cover one inch above the beans.
  2. Lock the electric pressure cooker lid in place and set the steam vent to SEALING.
  3. Select HIGH pressure and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. When the pressure cooker time is up, allow the pressure to naturally release, about 45 minutes.
  5. Drain the beans and they are ready to use in your recipe.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 1416mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 14g

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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