Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice and Creole Seasoning | Make Ahead Mondays

I’m going to go ahead and say right now that I have absolutely zero idea how authentically “Cajun” today’s recipe is, having never actually been to the great state of Louisana. All I know is that it is very possibly one of the tastiest things to come out of my kitchen in recent weeks.

There are few things more satisfying than a big bowl of cooked rice topped with saucy, spicy, tender red beans and smoky sausage rounds then crowned with green onions and sour cream. Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, as the saying goes, you can weather it better with a bowl of this under your belt. It is one of the few comfort foods that does hot or cold weather conditions equally well.

On a wild hare, I decided to throw my usual red beans and rice ingredients into my slow-cooker and see what happened. I figured that the worst case scenario would be a flavourful mush and the best case scenario would be the world’s easiest and wickedly economical dinner. I turned my best beloved slow-cooker to high, let ‘er rip, and walked away for six hours.

The next six hours were spent trying fervently not to eat everything in the pantry because it smelled so ever loving good in this house that I thought I might die. I repeatedly broke the cardinal rule of slow-cooking and crockpot-ery by lifting the lid and testing and re-testing beans to see if they were (oh please oh please oh please) done yet. After those agonizing six hours were up, I was rewarded with the easiest -and easily the best- red beans and rice I had ever made.

The facts that it didn’t heat up my kitchen and that the hardest part of the whole procedure was keeping myself from eating it before it was done were just gravy. My word, friends, it was so good.

So good, in fact, that I made a double batch again later that week and plan on making it for company when we receive a houseful of family for my brother’s wedding next month. It’ll be just thing; set it up and let it cook while running around for rehearsals, making the wedding cake, and trying to get five boys who’d rather not see the inside of a shower ready for their uncle’s wedding. Pray for me folks. It’s the getting the boys ready that’s giving me palpitations.

There is one grave danger attendant to making this recipe. It smells so good while cooking that there is a very real possibility that you will gnaw off your own leg of that of someone nearby.

I have just a couple of other thoughts to share about this recipe.The Creole Seasoning is wonderful to have on hand for recipes that call for it, to be sure, but we like to use it on other things, too. For instance, we love it on popcorn or homemade tortilla chips.

I like to make it really spicy and then mellow it out in my own bowl with a big dollop of sour cream. I think a fistful of grated Cheddar would do something similar if you’re so inclined. To do this, I tend to use the higher amount of cayenne pepper I specify in the recipe.

On the other hand, you could just keep the spice to a minimum in the first place. If you’d like to keep it on the milder side, cut back on or omit the additional cayenne pepper (above and beyond the small amount that is already in the Creole Seasoning) from the recipe.

I know andouille is the sausage darling of Cajun/Creole cooking, but it can be hard to find in these parts, so I most often make mine with smoked sausage. I absolutely love it this way, so do not feel like your ability to make this spicy, smoky classic hinges on the availability of andouille.

Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice and Creole Seasoning | Make Ahead Mondays
Whip up a batch of this handy Creole seasoning to add a little oomph to your every day dishes or reserve it for the most wonderfully tantalizing and simple red beans and rice you've ever had. The slow-cooker does the work so you can stay out of the kitchen on hot days. Be forewarned: this smells so good while it's cooking that you may feel ravenous by the time dinner rolls around. Creole Seasoning adapted from Emeril Lagasse's recipe.
For the Creole Seasoning:
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1½ tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
For the Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice:
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 cups small red chili beans (about 1½ pounds), rinsed and picked over
  • 1 pound smoked sausage or andouille, sliced into ¼ to ½-inch rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium cooking onion (yellow or white), peeled, trimmed of root and blossom ends, and diced
  • 1 rib celery, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅛-1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (according to heat preference)
  • For Serving: Hot cooked rice and green onions
Optional: Sour Cream
To Make the Creole Seasoning:
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a small mixing bowl bowl and toss together with a fork or a whisk. Store, tightly covered, in a jar or other airtight container in a cool, dry place. This is good for about a year after mixing.
To Make the Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice:
  1. Add the water, beans, sausage, red bell pepper, celery, Creole seasoning, thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf to the bowl of a slow-cooker. Add the lid and turn the heat to "HIGH'. Let it cook for 6 hours, stirring once or twice. After 6 hours, use a spoon to fish out a bean to test. If it is tender, turn off the heat. If it is still underdone, replace the lid and cook for another hour or until the beans are tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  2. Gently stir the contents of the slow-cooker before ladling over bowls of hot, cooked rice. Garnish with chopped green onions and -if desired- sour cream.
  3. Store leftover beans tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze in individual portions for longer storage: up to 6 months.


  1. Mary says

    Do you think this would turn out as well if I did LOW for longer? Working full time doesn’t really allow me to use the HIGH function on my slow cooker, I’m gone too long.

  2. Katie says

    Thank you so much for posting crockpot recipes. My house has no air conditioning and it is in the high 90’s here in Virginia. The oven or even the stove both cause my kitchen to go from simmering to scorching in no time! Next week this is on the menu.

    • says

      Oh Katie, I feel your pain. Western New York has been positively sweltering (flirted with 100 last week!) and I don’t have central air, either. Slow-cookers to the rescue!

  3. Megan B says

    As a Cajun and New Orleans native, I give your recipe a thumbs up. While we’d never put sour cream in our beans because they tend to be creamier due to different spices and cooking method, this looks like a good recipe. Especially since you’ve never been to Louisiana! I don’t know if they sell red kidney beans (or if you’re very lucky Camellia brand beans) where you are, but those are traditional. As well as a bit of hot sauce (Crystal if you want to be truly New Orleans-style). Good job!

    • says

      YES. I’ll take that stamp of approval! I have to admit that I knew about kidney beans, but I’m partial to the little red ones, so I took a liberty. :-) And oooh tigger, I went ahead with the hot sauce on my leftovers. It was good!

  4. says

    Oh my, this does sound so good! Your description of stopping yourself from scouring the pantry for food while waiting for the beans to be done sounds just like something I would do.

  5. Connie says

    Do your little red beans have a name? They are precious. I used kidney last time but those little ones look so delicious. Can’t wait to make this for the weekend.

  6. Peggy says

    I cannot wait to try this. I have yet to find a recipe that tastes like my uncle’s (which he will not share while he is alive!) This sounds closer to what his tastes like.

  7. Lori Hurley says

    Well THIS New Orleans girl is going to give you a BIG Thumbs UP!!! :)

    I love it when people outside of New Orleans get a little taste of our Heavenly cuisine. I no longer live in New Orleans, but I make sure all of my kids know what good food really is. Red Beans and Rice… GOOD FOOD!

    Have you tried Jambalaya? You can find oven recipes, which are super easy and require no babysitting, and you can find stove top recipes, which need a bit of stirring here and there. You can find a tomato based one or a chicken stock based one… I use both in the same pot. I make Jambalaya when I have a bit of chicken left over from something else. I pair it with smoked sausage… and you magically have a whole new meal for little cost! My five kiddos love it and my Hubby loves that it’s a super low cost meal.

  8. Amy says

    YUM! This was AWESOME! I did add a teeny tiny bit of Lea and Perrins Whatsishere sauce (from the Frugal Gourmet’s recipe) and a few dashes of Franks Hot Sauce, and I was so nervous about not soaking the beans, but it was divine. And even better after I reheated it. I love slow cooker recipes that do NOT require you to brown meat or do lots of extra stuff in a different pan, so this was particularly nice.

  9. Ginger says

    Living in Louisiana, red beans and rice is a staple food at our house. Hot or cold outside, its good! Even better if you throw in some tasso with the sausage, and its even better served with cornbread and a tall glass of sweet tea.

    Awesome recipe!

  10. says

    Question for ya…I have all the ingredients but the beans are in a can and not the dried kind. Would those work too or do I really need the dry kind?

    Thanks! Can’t wait to try this.

    • says

      I’m sorry for the slow-response, Brenda, but I didn’t see this ’til today! Eep! I’m gonna say you need the dry kind for this recipe. The amounts of liquid in the recipe are absorbed into the dry beans as they plump.

  11. Amy says

    I’ve made these several times now (just planning to make them this weekend again), and other than not adding sour cream and ADDING some Frank’s Hot Sauce or Tabasco (okay, and a few splashes of Lea and Perrins Worchestershire sauce, which I am totally addicted to), I have made it as the recipe states every time and it is AWESOME! My ‘old’ recipe for red beans was from the Frugal Gourmet, but being able to do it in a crockpot makes this one superior! And it’s even better reheated the next day. Or the next week, in my case, as I live alone and it makes enough to feed a small army! Going to try cutting it in half this time…too much of a good thing is still too much, I guess.

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