Monday, October 8, 2012

Skillet Red Beans and Rice

A quick skillet version of red beans and rice, made with canned kidney beans, the Trinity of vegetables and cooked with instant rice.

Skillet Red Beans and Rice

It's Monday and in this part of the Deep South, red beans and rice are a traditional Monday meal, so yes, this is yet another way to consume those favorite Monday red beans!

Now, I'll be the first to say that these are not traditional. The best red beans and rice are gonna come from a soaked dried bean that is slow stewed for a couple of hours on top of the stove. Hands down, that is my preferred method, even above the shortcut red beans and the slow cooker red beans, both of which are actually delicious too. But, even working from home now, I get stretched for time too.

Like many of you, I have been a super busy wife and mom, constantly on the go and purely exhausted a lot of the time. For more than 30 years of my life, I worked outside of the home, out in the corporate world, and the last job came with plenty of stress and a long, 60-mile round trip daily commute. So, yes, I can relate to the craziness that comes with getting a homemade supper on the table for your family. This skillet method was definitely one way I managed, because I could fix dinner in a hurry.

Instant rice isn't a product that I usually keep stocked in the pantry these days - but I did back then. It really is a great time saver for dishes like this, but... what is it exactly? It's really just rice that has already been precooked and then dehydrated. Since cooking it requires only that you re-hydrate it, it cooks much quicker, in at least half as much time as regular white rice. Like any other convenience product, it costs a little more, but with rice being so central to our diets down here, it's certainly a handy helper in the kitchen - especially for those busy weeknight mealtimes - and it performs beautifully for dishes just like this.

The main difference between these and my recipe for shortcut red beans and rice, is that those are made to mimic the long stewing ones to be served over hot rice, while these are more like the packaged type, where the rice and beans are cooked together - like a red bean jambalaya. You could also cook the beans without the rice though, and either stir in, or serve over, hot cooked rice. When I have leftover rice to use up, I have done the stir-in method.

Of course, these skillet red beans are not quite the same as long stewed beans served over rice, but it's hardy, filling, delicious, and, more importantly - quick and easy. Here's how to make my skillet red beans and rice.

I start off this recipe like I do with all of my red beans and rice, with prepping The Trinity of vegetables, onion, bell pepper and celery, so common to many of our Deep South dishes. I use green bell pepper the most, but had a garden red pepper that I needed to use up, so I used a combination of red and green this time.

In a tablespoon of butter or oil, saute the meats until lightly browned, about 3 or 4 minutes, just enough to develop a fond. I'm using a combination of bacon and chopped smoked sausage here. For more fire, use a good Cajun andouille, for less, use a basic smoked sausage or kielbasa.

Add the Trinity to that and cook about 4 or 5 more minutes, until the veggies are tender.

My camera had a few errors, so looks like it didn't like the next shots, but next you add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, another 2 minutes, then the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, pepper and bay leaf. There is salt in the meats and the canned beans, so I wait to add any salt later. Bring to a boil.

Add the drained and rinsed canned kidney beans. If you want a creamier result than that shown at the top, add in one additional can of beans, but mash them. Add them in here with the other two cans. Add the rice and stir everything together.

Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes.

Here's what it looks like after it's cooked. Most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and fluff with a fork, or give them a stir if you made the creamy version. Here's where you need to taste and adjust the salt and other seasonings as needed to taste.

Serve immediately. This recipe is a great, basic rice and beans dinner and versatile enough that I've successfully varied the meats, canned beans and seasonings to come up with other meals too. Use your imagination and make some swaps for variety.

I have made this before using a can of mashed beans and leftover cooked rice. When the beans were done, I stirred in enough of the warmed cooked rice until it was at the consistency I wanted. Just experiment until you find the version you like the best!

For more of my favorite bean recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

Skillet Red Beans and Rice

Skillet Red Beans and Rice

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
Author: Deep South Dish
A quick skillet version of red beans and rice, made with canned kidney beans, the Trinity of vegetables and cooked with instant rice.


  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1/2 pound andouille or other smoked sausage, chopped
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper, or use a combination
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 or 3 (15.5 ounce) cans of light or dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups instant rice


  1. Heat the oil in a large lidded skillet (about 4.5 quart/11 inch) over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and bacon until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. 
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, another 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the beans and rice, stir together well, reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered for 10 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  5. Fluff with a fork, taste and adjust seasonings as needed; serve immediately.


Taste first before adding any salt. I recommend using a spicy andouille, Cajun style sausage or Alabama Conecuh, however, go light on the Cajun seasoning until you taste the dish. You may also substitute any regular, mild smoked sausage and adjust seasonings up, to taste. Leftovers make a great filling for burritos. This recipe is a great, basic rice and beans dinner and versatile enough that I've successfully varied the meats, canned beans and seasonings to come up with other meals too. Use your imagination and make some swaps for variety.

Creamy Variation: Add in one can of cream style kidney beans (like Blue Runner brand) with the other beans and rice or mash a third can of regular drained and rinsed beans (for a total of three cans).

Beans, Gulf Coast Favorites, Kidney Beans, Main Dish Skillet Meals, Quick Meals, Red Beans and Rice, Skillet, Southern Classics, Southern Favorites
Main Dish
American, Southern, Deep South
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Posted by on October 8, 2012
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