The Best Rice and Beans, Ever!

Beans and rice. Just the mention of this dish can invoke memories of a simple yet delicious plate, full of flavor, culture, and memories.

The Best Rice and Beans on white plate on wooden table with a few raw bean scattered around the plate

For many, beans and rice is a connection to family, to grandparents, and to a simpler time. For others, it is a memory of a trip to a foreign land, full of mystery, romance, and amazing food.

For such a simple dish, there are thousands of ways to prepare it using a variety of ingredients. You also have unlimited options of canned, dried, or fresh beans. Here is my take on how to prepare the perfect plate. Note that I  use a pressure cooker to speed up the beans. 

The Best Rice and Beans |
The Best Rice and Beans
Votes: 4
Rating: 4
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A Gulf Coast tradition.
The Best Rice and Beans |
The Best Rice and Beans
Votes: 4
Rating: 4
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
A Gulf Coast tradition.
  • 1 pound dried beans kidney or pinto are best
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • vegetable oil
  • chicken bouillon cube (I like cubito maggi chicken flavor)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • cilantro
  • 3 cups long grain parboiled white rice
  • meat, cheese, or egg optionsal
  1. The night before you want to make the meal, soak the beans. Give them a quick once over, removing any debris or stones, rinse them once or twice, and then leave them to soak in a good amount of water overnight. The next day, you'll notice the beans have increased in size considerably. Rinse them a few times, and then it's time to cook them. The easiest and quickest way to do this is in a pressure cooker. You can also cook them in a regular pot, it will just take much much longer.
  2. Place beans and fresh water in your pressure cooker. In a medium sized frying pan, saute diced onion, green pepper, tomato, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add chicken bouillon cube and a teaspoon each of paprika and cumin.
  3. When the vegetables are nice and soft, puree them in a mini food processor and and add the mixture to the beans and water. Close the lid to the pressure cooker, and cook according to your pressure cooker’s directions. I cook mine for about 40 minutes and let the pressure release on it own.
  4. Once cooked, if they are a little too watery, just pour off the extra cooking liquid. Add a generous amount of chopped fresh cilantro. I really like the flavor the cilantro adds, so I use about three or four tablespoons, you can adjust as you see fit. Give the beans a taste, add salt and pepper to taste if you need it.
  5. Now the beans are done, so its time to make the rice. It is best to do so while the beans are cooking. In a large heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add three cups of rice and a tablespoon of salt.
  6. Saute the rice just for a few minutes, you don't want to brown it. Add four cups of water and mix well. When the mixture starts to bubble, cover and reduce the heat to medium/medium low. Let cook for twenty minutes. The only truly important key to cooking really good rice is to use oil and salt, and don't, I repeat, don't remove the lid at all during the cooking process.
  7. Time to eat! You can eat the beans and rice by themselves as a meal, or add a fried egg, piece of meat, chicken, or a slice of good cheese. The best part of this meal is that it’s cheap, simple, delicious, and really lends itself to so many variations. Enjoy!
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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

38 thoughts on “The Best Rice and Beans, Ever!”

  1. This looks great. I’m bookmarking it to try it during the week. I love beans so much, my mouth is watering just looking at this picture.

  2. You cannot beat a simple dish that is done very well. While this is not a common dish in the country where I live, I do enjoy it. Thanks for the recipe Lynne.

  3. Its my favorite dish despite my qualms with beans…i tend to bloat afterwards…beans do contain acid right?…you mentioned soaking them in water overnight, well that’s what mom would do too but in this case, she’d say its to save me the hyper-acidity and gassy feeling {embarrassing situations} and for a fact it worked…she said it {soaking} had something to do with extracting the acid contained within the beans…how true the theory is, i don’t know..maybe its an ol’ wives tale but am proof it works ;).

    • Diane, beans tend to do a number on me as well but I haven’t found anything at all that works for me. I’ve read that you should even try changing the soaking water a few times to discard the gases that have dissipated from the beans but that was no help. I’ve even tried adding baking soda to the soaking water because I saw that trick, too. Maybe another reader can add their tips to try and de-gas my beans! 😉

      • In my situation adding baking soda to remedy that will just offset everything in my digestive tract…i just had to give up beans all together, then again just looking at the presentations within this site, i find myself rethinking and actually craving the beans altogether…just like you’ve said, i guess we’ll have to wait for someone to come up with a great tip/remedy on how to de-gas the legumes.

      • Yes indeed, soaking and then changing the water is the answer! I soak them and then wash them before cooking. I do like the sound of this recipe very much. Tasty, nutritious and comforting. Definitely one for an autumn evening.

  4. I definitely know what I am making this week! I’ve been using an old crock pot recipe for my beans and rice for years, but I am going to give your recipe a try. It sounds perfect. I’ve never heard of putting an egg on top, but I’m going to add that as well. Now my belly is growling!

    I call red beans and rice my poverty lunch. It’s just so cheap and easy to make such a large quantity. Since no one else in my house really cares for it, I just eat it for lunches for a while.

    I’ve just recently discovered this blog, but I am so happy I did. Thanks for the new red beans and rice recipe!

  5. Beans and rice is such a staple dish. I continue to make it to this day. I have never used cumin and paprika in my version, but I am going to try it next time I make it. I bet the smokiness of the cumin and the kick of the paprika add whole new layer of flavor. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  6. I think I can have this at breakfast and add a fried egg, perfect! It’s an easy and simple recipe yet delectable. At a low cost, I guess that I could share this with my family even everyday. I have taken down notes of the essential key in cooking good rice. Thanks Lynne for this article!

    • I’m not sure about you but… Whenever I eat beans, I become too “gassy” (lol, *farts*). But even so, I still eat and love beans. Not for breakfast though XD (I’ll end up farting the whole day XD)

      *Sorry for the awkward comment, lol*

  7. I really enjoy eating rice and beans. I’m definitely going to try this recipe. I like eating them with tacos or enchiladas…or stuffing them inside burritos. I’m the only one in my house who likes to eat them so whenever I cook a batch I end up with a lot leftover. This is okay with me because I eat the leftovers with just about everything. Or sometimes I make a huge batch of chicken fried rice. Thanks!

  8. I am so shocked that beans can be dirty, I have never heard of a mention about it. People usually start by explaining the soaking part. 🙂 Anyway, I love beans and rice, I remember a “corner” grocery store in New Orleans named Natal, Chef Menteur Highway, that had a little restaurant. Their red beans and rice was amazing, along with everything else they served. lol I tried the recipe on yesterday and I am super satisfied. Yum!

  9. Beans and rice is one of my favorite dishes. It’s so easy and it’s a dish that most people really enjoy. This looks like it would be a really easy dish. I don’t really use paprika, cumin, or cilantro but I will try them with this. Always looking for different things to try out.

  10. This recipe is a little different than the one I use, and since I’m always on the lookout for different ways to cook things, I’ll try this. My recipe calls for onion, garlic, celery seed and cumin. I also add a ham hock and some andouille sausage. I haven’t tried using the pressure cooker for beans. I make mine in an enameled cast iron dutch oven.

  11. I know many don’t think it’s healthy, but I always use animal fat when I cook pinto beans. I like lentils with olive oil, but pinto beans really need that meaty flavor.

  12. This is very similar to how I make my rice and beans but I use rosadas ( small pink beans) and small diced pieces of calabasa ( pumpkin) and I do not use chicken broth anymore instead I now add a small amount of tomato sauce. I also prefer medium grain rice. Rice and beans is definitely an economical dish that fills up everyone’s tummy. I once had a call from my son’s grandmother accusing me of not feeding her grandson because every time he stopped by her house, which was around the block form our house, he would answer “No, not yet” when asked if he had eaten. The reason he answered no was because no matter what he ate prior to supper, he felt he had not yet eaten until he had rice and beans, which at that time we had everyday with supper, be it rice and beans made traditionally or rice and gondulez ( pigeon peas) .

  13. Great recipe. I find Mexican rice and beans are really great in tortillas or tacos. Very similar to how I do it, although I look to add a bit more heat with chilli sauces such as Tabasco, habanero or Cayenne. Like I say for many of these recipes will be trying this one this week!

  14. Beans and Rick is my favorite, I libe red beans and rice, black beans and rice. I must have beans and rice at least once every other week.

    Great receipe. I have the rice cooker great tool to have in the kitchen.

  15. I’ve always thought rice and beans seemed a bit bland and boring but this recipe looks delicious! I’m eating frugally right now and this looks like something else I can add to my “poverty meal” repertoire.

  16. It is interesting that you saute your rice first and then add water. I am accustomed to just boiling my rice. I will have to try it to see the difference. Something else you do different is the saute and puree of the veggies that go into the beans. I simply love beans and rice, and this gives me a new take on it. I do already know to soak the beans first, but it is great you include this point because it is crucial. I have never used fresh cilantro in my beans though. Cilantro is so strong, I will have to try it in just a small amount of beans first.

  17. I’m TOTALLY saving this for when I become broke again. Everyone around me’s eating rice and beans, and I was SO SICK of it, this recipe actually makes me wanna try it again.

  18. Rice & beans: One of the most under utilized, nutritious, & cheap dishes of all time. So many variations it can ridiculously camouflage itself for every meal from any region. Love it. Thanks for this great recipe.

  19. I’m always looking for good rice and bean recipes. I like the idea of this one, but have tried to cut out chicken bouillon cubes since the brand I used to buy has MSG. I’m curious if there are other brands of bouillon cubes that are MSG free? It might be worth looking into, because I do like the flavor, and could see trying this recipe!

  20. I have never had rice and beans being from the UK, but I guess that it is similar in taste to some of the Indian dals I make?

    I am just wondering about the quantities. 3 cups of rice and 1lb of beans seems to be an awful lot for 4 people though. I am also guessing the water situation is variable with the beans, an add it as you go kind of approach if you don’t have a pressure cooker when using a pan? I have never really cooked the beans with the intention of running out of water in the pan as the are cooked and certainly never tried it will a whole load of pureed vegetables in the water with them? Does it make a huge difference to the taste of the beans?

  21. Wow! I never knew that beans and rice could be made so deliciously. I don’t have a pressure cooker, but I’m pretty sure I can adapt the recipe accordingly.

    It’s great to come across really healthy dishes – rice and beans together are an excellent source of nutrition, and something we should try to incorporate into our diet more often.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Since I don’t have a pressure cooker, I’ve never used one to cook beans, but making them in a pan really does take quite a bit of time, so this may be the impetus I need to finally buy a pressure cooker. I’ve never used oil to make rice, nor have I sauteed it first, but I can see how that would add a lot of flavor, so I’m definitely going to try it next time I make rice, and I am looking forward to trying this recipe, it sounds delicious.

  23. Yummy, this is a favorite dish to mix up. I would of not thought to use a bouillon cube for this. Plenty of other seasonings in this one. It would be good to try it both ways with or without to see the difference. I’d probably use a safflower or sunflower oil. Coconut oil might be interesting because it’s sweet. I like to add this kind of thing to my wraps and keep it around to add to other dishes.

  24. This is a classic dish no matter where you live. Sometimes even the simplest of things cam prove to be tasty. I wish I had a pressure cooker so I could cook the beans faster. That just might make cooking other things faster as well. This recipe is also good for beginner cooks since it’s not top complicated.

  25. Got to love simple, tasty, affordable dishes. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on really delicious hearty meals. Every pantry should have beans and rice in it, but many don’t keep these staples on hand.

  26. I usually eat beans as is. I never really liked how it mixes with rice or bread. Although I guess that’s because I use plain rice. Trying this recipe wouldn’t hurt 😀 I need a change of perspective, after all 🙂

  27. This recipe brought a smile on my face. I have very fond memories of this dish, my grandmother used to cook it for me when I was a little girl and it was a simple yet delicious meal. I’ve tried to reproduce it but no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to get a decent result. Your recipe sounds great, I’ve already saved it and I will try it out as soon as possibile, thank you for the tips, I think I’ll follow your lead and I’ll use a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process.

  28. Oooh, my hubby loves this for a side dish. I’ll have to try this one out for him.

    I’ve been looking for stuff to do with my pressure cooker too, so this is perfect. I never thought about making beans in it. Great idea! I think I’ll try them with ham as well, with a side of cornbread.

  29. Ooh, that looks so good. My father is Columbian, and rice and beans is one of the first meals I learned to cook with him. He’d cook parboiled rice with red canned beans, add onions, garlic, ketchup, hot sauce and a spice called Triguisar, and mix it all. It’s so amazing and simple, I recommend it to everyone interested in more variants! This reminds me i haven’t cooked that in a while, and I have a sudden craving…

  30. I make a this lot – my version is a little simpler than yours. What I love about the dish is that it comforting and hearty eaten hot in the winter and very fulfilling cold with a salad in the summer.

  31. This is the staple food where I am at now in central america and is called Gallo Pinto. In the poorer areas, it is probably 50% of a persons calories throughout the week. But even as a non-native, it is a great food to take advantage of because beans are so cheap and plentiful year-round and more importantly, they are one of the healthiest foods, especially for those trying to get protein while limiting red meat consumption.

    For me, I generally go light on the rice, and instead make my gallo pinto about 75% beans. I also dice a few strips of beacon and add it when cooking the beans. Even a tiny amount of bacon gives a really strong meaty flavor. Once finished with the beans, we usually saute some onions and green peppers which are diced to add a little more flavor.

  32. Rice and beans is definitely a great dish to use either as a base for other dishes, or to eat on its own as an inexpensive and healthy meal. I have never tried making it with this many ingredients, but I’m curious to incorporate these ideas into my next batch!

  33. This has been on my list of things-to-try for ages and I finally got round to it tonight. Oh my goodness! Lush, delicious comfort food. I can already think if lots of slight variations in flavoring. What a revelation, thank you so much.

  34. That just looks amazing, just flat out amazing. I know that it is my bias towards rice and beans in general coming out, but still. I am a pretty simple man, but even the simplest, like a rice and beans, has to be done very well in my opinion. I love this recipe and cannot wait to try it.

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