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Popeye's Red Beans and Rice

I have been trying to make red beans and rice for years. I have been trying to find a recipe that tastes like Popeye's but I have not had ay luck. There are many "copy Cat" recipes out there but nothing that compares. Does anyone have a recipe that will compare to Popeye's?

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  1. I always thought mine was similar.

    I take 1 lb of smoked sausage (Since I can't get andouille). Cut it into pieces and saute with some cajun seasoning. Remove when browned. Add 1 c diced onion, 1/2 c each diced bell pepper and celery. When softened I add some more cajun seaoning and garlic. Fry for 20 seconds or so. Add the sausage, a ham hock (ours are 4 - 5 lbs), beans (1 lb soaked overnight) and enough boxed chicken broth to cover. Simmer about 3 hours or until hock starts to fall apart. Remove hock, let cool. Remove the meat from the hock, shred and return to pot. While the hock is cooling, stir the beans and make sure you smash some against the side of the pot until the desired thickness is reached.
    Serve over rice.


    10 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      That sounds so good. I will have to soak some beans tonight so that I can make it tomorrow. Thanks so much. I will let you know hw it turns out.

      1. re: Davwud

        This is pretty much my go-to recipe. I try to get a mild andouille or, if I have to, use kielbasa. I like to use a smoked hock, but if using the kielbasa, it isn't really necessary. Smashing some of the cooked beans really adds to the creaminess.

        1. re: Davwud

          hey davwud!

          you have a five pound hamhock for one pound of beans? plus sausage? i'll bet that is delicious.

          but that is one honkin' hamhock!

          1. re: alkapal

            I'll have to dig out some pictures. They're enormous.

            I may have to double check, it may be 1 kg of beans. I just know bag size.


            1. re: Davwud

              yes, i looked for some photos on your blog, but didn't find any.

              1. re: alkapal

                There's nothing to give you perspective but these are some I purchase often. They're in the 4lb range.


                  1. re: alkapal

                    I believe the correct term is "Oh baby!!"


                    1. re: Davwud

                      aww, don't get all technical on me, bro'!

          2. re: Davwud

            I know your post is old, but you can buy some AWESOME (true Cajun too) sausage online. Go to Conecuh.com. I promise you once you go there, you'll never be able to taste a simple andouille sausage again. I kid you not.

            I moved the area that it is made (no, I'm not vested in it, in any way, just a fan) back in '07 and had never tried it until some girls at work were talking about it. Since then, I cannot eat another sausage. It's sold locally here, but their online packages are good deals.

            We made a ham of theirs one year for Christmas. Unlike the sausage, that thing was gosh-darned expensive but I tell you what: it was the best freaking ham I ever had in my life! ;)

          3. Could you perhaps give us some idea of what makes Popeye's version so wonderful or what seems to be missing in the copycats you've tried? It's been a long time since I've had it there, but it must not have made a lasting impression. The biggest difference between recipes that I've made seems to be in the quality/heat of the andouille sausage used.

            20 Replies
            1. re: grampart

              I do not think that Popeye's has meat in their red beans and rice. Atleast I have never seen meat in it. The texture is so creamy, and it just melts in your mouth. I have to say that I always add a package of Cajun Sparkle when I eat there. ( this is a spicy packet they give you to add more flavor) I love full flavors and spicy food. The copycats just seem to leave something out...I am not sure what it is.

              1. re: ksmburns

                You can leave out the sausage, but (imho) the ham hocks are a must!

                1. re: ksmburns

                  I've never seen meat and the website doesn't indicate it. What I do taste is liquid smoke and dried out rice, not a fan but haven't had any in a few years.

                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    I'm not one who totally dismisses the use of Liquid Smoke, but in rb&r? Never! That's why the smoked ham hocks are used! Perhaps, a vegan recipe? But, really, I don't know from vegans.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      I do not think that there is liquid smoke in it, I dont taste that.

                      1. re: ksmburns

                        I'm going to do a science project and order beans and rice and one piece of chicken, which I'm not wild about either. We have a local place that is light years better in both chicken and beans and rice and they use andouille, unlike the sausage less Popeye's.

                      2. re: James Cristinian

                        I agree that there's a liquid smoke flavor--which I regard as a decent ingredient rather than as something "artificial."

                      3. re: ksmburns

                        The real thing has no meat, you are confusing with Sucisse aux haricots. A very different traditional NOLA dish.

                        1. re: law_doc89

                          Really? There are regional differences, though; red beans are a Southern staple, not just a NOLA thing. My people come from Arkansas, Tennessee, and So. Carolina, and we do a hock, actually more than one in a pot, and sometimes neck bones, though I haven't had neck bones in years. It wasn't till I was an adult that I ever saw sausage in the pot. My relatives would do hot links, but they would do them separately.

                          See what you've done? You've made me crave red beans, with neck bones--and today is the day of my re-commitment to being meatless! The agony! :-)

                        2. re: ksmburns

                          Popeye's does a fine job hiding their ingredients. The site below gives an ingredient list that my best guess, probably reflects a frozen-food version they produce/(d). Pork fat is definitely on the list.


                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                            You remind me that I forgot to mention that the late Buster Holmes, who ws locally famous for his RB&R, used to finish his batch with margarine.Amazing how much margarine found its way into New Orleans food back then.(BBQ shrimp being the best example)

                            1. re: hazelhurst

                              but not with the real greats I always preferred Chez Helene to Dooky Leslie Austin cooked a rehearsal dinner for my wedding, He is missed,

                            2. re: DuchessNukem

                              My bet is that they use a ton of salt as well.

                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                I count 11 possible salt items in that ingredients list.

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  I was under no illusions that the original was a low fat low sodium food. What do you think makes it good? Not an everyday staple.

                                  1. re: Allthegoodnameswere

                                    I was just answering PattiCakes' question - no judgement!

                          2. re: grampart

                            I have heard that Popeye's uses a healthy dose of chicken fat in the beans. I have not had this confirmed, nor have I tried it myself.

                            1. re: grampart

                              I for sure thought there was some kind of pork product, but perhaps it is liquid smoke. I admittedly love their red beans and rice when the converted rice has actually been cooked properly.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                Cured pork fat is a listed ingredient.

                            2. I've been using Prudhomme's recipe with great success, but the texture of the beans was never quite creamy enough to emulate Popeyes. That is until I tried using Camelia Brand Red Beans. The combination of the richness of the pork hocks and mashing the beans with a potato masher seems to come very close to the Popeye's creamy texture. I also use a modified quick simmer technique where I put the rinsed beans in cold water, bring to a simmer, simmer for an hour, then let sit overnight in the hot water. This seems to kill off any of the latent yeasts that contribute to flatulence. When I'm ready to cook, I rinse the beans thoroughly and do them in the crock pot. I know some folks insist this washes away the vitamins and minerals, but I read in Rick Bayless's book that the loss of vitamin content is negligible and for me, it's worth the exponential reduction in gas. Fortunately I have a good source for coarse ground andouille; most smoked sausage and kielbasa is far too hotdog-like. The texture just doesn't work for me. I saute the sausage and add the other ingredients, then dump those in the crock as well.

                              The QC on the Camelia is impressive. Not a single cracked, split, or discolored bean. Other brands, I find at least a dozen, if not more. Can't recommend these beans highly enough.



                              9 Replies
                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                They both sound so good. I will have to try the Camelia beans. And I did not know that if you soaked and rinsed the beans that it would help with flatulance. ( this sounds great since I have a house full of boys)
                                Thank you both so much!

                                1. re: ksmburns

                                  Please try Camellia beans. You won't be disappointed and MAY be amazed at the difference.

                                  We were, when I joke-gifted my Wisconsin wife with twenty pounds from the website.

                                  Her beans are BEST with Camellia!

                                2. re: monkeyrotica

                                  monkeyrotica, where do you get your andouille?
                                  and the camellia beans, if you find them locally?

                                  i see camellia has a variety of beans, so i may have to go hog-wild and get a sampler. http://www.camelliabrand.com/product-...

                                  how do they compare with rancho gordo beans, anyone?

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    I actually buy mine when I am in Texas. There is nothing available here in Kansas.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I get my andouille from Canales Meats in Eastern Market. I think Union Meats there also carries it. Their boudin isn't bad either.

                                      I was unable to locate Camelia beans locally, so I just ordered them through the website.

                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                        thanks. i was wondering in the back of my head whether you got andouille from the butcher at "let's meat on the avenue." he's got good sausages.

                                    2. re: monkeyrotica

                                      Camellia beans are essential. mashing them against the side of the pot helps with "creaminess." Some cooks add a can or two of Blue Runner beans (and ONLY Blue Runner beans). I add a second blast of onion and garlic about an hour before serving just to have something identifiable. The late Richard Collin, whose authority on such things is suspect, claimed to rate RB&R according to "bean definition" when complete. this was , and is, nonsense.

                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                        Yes. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE use Camellia brand beans. They are what Creole and Cajun folks use. I am a born and raised South Louisianian and the only times we didn't use Camellia brand beans or peas was when we had them fresh from the garden. Try their Lady Cream Peas and Field Peas (a food cited on the Ark of Taste years ago). They don't disappoint. As an adult stuck in California, I lug 10 lbs of beans/peas back with me after every trip home to see my family.

                                        1. Oh my, why would you want to duplicate this? I suggest you get hold of an old copy of Mary Moore Bremer"s cook book. She preserved recipes from the original way these dishes were made. You will be amazed to make and eat the real thing.

                                          It used to be known as "red beans a la nouvelle orleans" and it was all about cooing the beans which are added to rice at the end. The secret is a beef roux at the start, made with bacon fat, of course, and remembering the tea cup on the bottom of the bean pot.

                                          I cannot find a link, but the book is a classic, and there are many used copies available, cheap, ALL the modern big names in NOLA know and respect MMB.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                            I will look for the cookbook. Thanks

                                            1. re: ksmburns

                                              I found and ordered the cookbook by Mary Moore Bremer. I received it today in the mail, I am so excited to try alot of the recipes in there. I made some last week from one of the recipes on that was posted on here, and it was wonderful. Thank you everyone for your help, now I just need to get the Camelia Beans!

                                              1. re: ksmburns

                                                Amazon has if all else fails. I bought 6 bags not realizing I was buying 12# lol. Fortunately they store well; but single bags are available.

                                                1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                  Always excited to learn about southern cookbooks to add to my collection.

                                                  If I am to believe Alibris.com, I have just ordered a 1949 edition of Ms. Bremer's book, for $10.

                                                  Anything bound with plastic combs is first-rate in my library!

                                          2. A genuine replication question -- do you think that Popeye's "half cooks" their Rb&R for transport and the stores finish the process?
                                            Or, fix it completely and Then transport?
                                            If either, both time and temperature would add to the depth of the dish.

                                            1. I thought I had posted this last night. It is from memory what the Mary Moore Bremer recipe is:

                                              RED BEANS A LA NOUVELLE ORLEANS
                                              Soak over night two cups of red beans of the current season.
                                              Put one tablespoon of fat into frying pan with salt pork. Brown and add one sliced onion and a carrot, if you like. Mix into this one tablespoon of flour and add a cup of beef stock. Put all
                                              into pot with the beans, which have been drained, and pour on enough warm water to cover.

                                              The 'old way was to put a thick teacup on the bottom of pot,
                                              which was a good way to keep the beans from burning in the center, over flame. Let beans simmer for two and a half hours, adding water if necessary. Now put in half teaspoon of salt, pepper, a dash of parsley, thyme and sage, and let cook for half an hour.

                                              Before serving, remove carrot and onion, and lay on beans. Serve with rice.

                                              5 Replies
                                                1. re: grampart

                                                  The New Orleans Times Picayune Cookbook (circa 1901) has a similar recipe, although it calls for leaving the carrot in and adding a pound of ham or "salt meat." I'm inclined to think this is pickled pork rather than fatback.

                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                    Don't you love the idea of "Veal saute" or "Daube a la Mode?" Why not those at Popeyes?

                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                      Salt meat is cured pork shoulder that is packed under salt for 3 to 6 months. Imparts more flavor than the salt pork (cured and salted pork bellies) available in the stores nowadays. Once very common in the New Orleans area but not anymore I have been told. Pickled pork is the cured pork butt. The cured picnic ham was severed from the butt and smoked. I don't know what Popeye's uses in their Red Beans having never eaten there. County ham comes close to the flavor of salt meat. When I can find it on sale, I buy a ham and have it cut into 3/4" slices that I use in my red or white beans.

                                                      1. re: mudcat

                                                        Savoie makes a pickled pork. VERY salty. Will have to give the country ham a try.


                                                2. Is there any way I can find a copy of Bremer's recipes online?

                                                  I would happily buy her cookbook to contribute to the revenues, but I live in Mexico and shipping is problematical..

                                                  TIA for any advice.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: ksmburns

                                                    I have the recipe that you sent to me. It is almost exactly like the one in my "Cajun Cuisine" cookbook, except Bremer's recipe adds in parsley, thyme, sage and black pepper, so I imagine it will produce more complex and nuanced flavors.

                                                    Can you enlighten me about salt pork? How is it different from other preserved pork so I know what to look for in the store.

                                                    Once again, thanks so much and I look forward to preparing this recipe.

                                                      1. re: grampart


                                                        Now, I have to see if I can get a Mexican butcher to understand what I need/

                                                  2. I am so glad that some of you are tracking down Bremer. She preserved a whole tradition of black cooking in NOLA.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                                      I love the cookbook! I am so glad you all mentioned it to me. I was so excited when I got it this morning. If anyone would like a recipe out of it, I would be happy to email them, or post them on here.

                                                    2. If anyone can help me salvage my red beans and rice, I'd be much obliged.

                                                      I made mine on the stovetop with leftover Honeybaked Ham from Easter (no ham hocks or sausage around), two cups of dry red beans that I soaked for close to 24 hours the day before, lots of diced onion, diced green pepper, low-sodium chicken broth, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, some liquid smoke, and a few shots of Crystal hot sauce.

                                                      However, I simmered it for several hours last night, and when I finally took it off the stovetop so I could go to bed last night, the beans were still hard. I hoped a night in the fridge would soften them up, but it didn't help. So I added some water and put them back on the stovetop tonight, continuing to simmer. But I'm worried the beans will never soften and the whole pot will be a disappointing and disgusting waste of food.

                                                      So at this late stage in the cooking process, is there anything I can do?

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                        Do you know if the beans were old? Sometimes if they are to old they will not soften. Also did you add salt to the beans while you were cooking them? Salt added to the water will also not allow the beans to soften.

                                                        1. re: ksmburns

                                                          They were very old, and there was probably plenty of salt from the ham... and the (admittedly low-sodium) chicken broth... oh yes, and the salt too.

                                                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                            Any amount of sodium is enough to toughen even the freshest beans. I would either skip the broth and add salt to taste when the beans are done OR pre-cook the dry beans in barely simmering water for an hour then leaving them in the hot water overnight. Drain the liquid and cook in the stock. I do almost all my bean dishes in the crock pot now. Beans seem to benefit from low moist long heat, particularly Mexican bean dishes.

                                                        2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                                          The beans were probably too old.

                                                          Salt does not cause beans to be tougher or harder.


                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            Interesting article. If salt actually makes beans tender, I have to wonder how the wives tale started.

                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                              Came from the same evil person who said you couldn't wash mushrooms. ;-)

                                                        3. I've tried numerous "copy cat" recipes for Popeyes red beans and rice. All have fallen a bit short of the mark. On a whim, I tried an off brand called Vigo. It tasted very much like the Popeyes version. So close, I wouldn't be surprised to learn its exactly what they serve. At any rate, it's very good.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                            1. re: ksmburns

                                                              On the top shelf of a tiny little grocery store in the stix ;-) Seems to be an imported product (importer was in Fla. didn't say where it originated). Price was slightly higher than the other offerings (Zararians etc.)

                                                              Same brand also offered a "Cuban style" black beans and rice. May have to give that a shot too.

                                                              I pitched the package already or I would post a pic. Ill grab some more and post a pic when I can (hope the mods don't frown on it). Fwiw, the package looked like it belonged in an ethnic or specialty grocery store.

                                                              1. re: Allthegoodnameswere

                                                                Probably the one in photo below. I recall using their mixes years ago; probably in upstate NY. Whole line of mixes, all fairly high-sodium.

                                                                1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                  That brand is pretty readily available at all the grocery stores in my area. Usually stocked by all the other rice and rice pilaf type products. It does tend to be on the salty side.

                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                    I like the Vigo brand of beans and rice mix for a quick weeknight side dish. It can be found all over in the Mpls./St. Paul market. I always add raw onion, a splash of red wine vinegar and El Yucateco (red) to top off the black beans and rice. Just onion and hot sauce for the red bean version. Not bad, not bad at all...

                                                                    1. re: justalex

                                                                      You are like the buzzing of flies to VIGO!

                                                                  2. re: Allthegoodnameswere

                                                                    i've used the vigo's yellow rice mix. i like it fine, but prefer mahatma's yellow rice mix.

                                                                  3. re: ksmburns

                                                                    Ksmburns and Allthegoodnameswere,

                                                                    Vigo Brand is produced in Tampa, Florida. It's a really old brand here (began in 1947) and is not considered an "off" brand at all. I go out of my way to buy Vigo whenever I can. My motivation is just to support a local business, but I do find the quality of the brand to be high or I wouldn't buy it, despite the hometown association. Vigo also markets Alessi, which its website indicates is for the company's purely Italian products. The founder of the firm was Antonino Alessi.

                                                                2. Had the Prb&r just the other day. I must say, I like it too. There is something about the rice too. It isn't fluffy but almost undercooked. Anybody else know what I mean?

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: twodales

                                                                    I think that's whatever they do or dont do to the converted rice. I inhaled a large side the other day and it was fabulous. It would be nice to recreate at home, but for now I'm willing to drive down the street.

                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      I gotta travel about 35 miles for a fix. If it was just down the street, I'd simply pony up.

                                                                      1. re: Allthegoodnameswere

                                                                        Unfortunately, I have to drive 2 1/2 hours to get to Popeye's. I am sure that they do not carry the VIGO brand anywhere around here. I guess people in Kansas do not appreciate the taste.

                                                                          1. re: ksmburns

                                                                            Just out of curiosity, what grocery stores do you have there? I'm in Washington state and we have Safeway, Albertson's, QFC, Fred Meyer and Top Foods. Our Target stores don't have full grocery stores, but most of the Walmarts do and I think I've seen the Vigo products there.

                                                                            1. re: gmm

                                                                              In my area we have a Hometown Grocery store that is not affiliated with any of the larger stores. They purchase from a distributor, but the selection they can choose from is limited.

                                                                    2. I have tried to make them many times myself and am always close but no cigar. I know mashing the beans is a key element but was always stuck on how they get that pork taste with any meat. Anyway the following is a recipe that while I have not tried (yet) I believe may be a winner:


                                                                      Best of luck!

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Juanaeat

                                                                        If this will be your first time using smoked ham hocks, I think you are about to experience that "pork taste".

                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                          I love smoked ham hocks, it's the best part about both red beans and rice and collard greens.

                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                            You are right. I was going to suggest ham hocks. I pull little bits of the meat off and throw it in the beans too.

                                                                          1. I use
                                                                            2 pcs of raw bacon
                                                                            1 onion
                                                                            2 bell peppers, different colors
                                                                            2 table spoons of garlic, from blender
                                                                            1 Tbsp of red pepper
                                                                            2 Tbsp of black pepper
                                                                            1 Tbsp of onion salt
                                                                            1 Tbsp of garlic slat
                                                                            1 Tbsp of paprika
                                                                            blend all

                                                                            Water soak beans for 4 hours
                                                                            Drain rinse and drain again

                                                                            combine all in slow cooker and leave on high all night or for 8 hours untill beans are soft

                                                                            scoop out some beans and blend which makes a great bean dip by the way

                                                                            add the bean paste back in
                                                                            stir and cook for a few more minutes

                                                                            slaming Popeyes recipe

                                                                            my uncle just retired from Popeyes, even he didn't know the recipe, but my recipe is almost perfect.

                                                                            oh secret ingredient I use is red kidney beans and small red beans.

                                                                            1. Actually, this is a question for everyone. I mean this kindly when I say I don't understand because I truly don't, but I see a number of recipe suggestions that call for chicken broth. Why? If the flavor is supposed to be pork, shouldn't you use pork broth? Also, isn't it very unlikely that any broth was ever used traditionally since the hocks and ham bones (etc.) would have provided broth as it cooked?

                                                                              I'm just trying to understand this.

                                                                              I live literally in the swamps of Cajun-ville and none of the locals, that I'm aware of anyway, use chicken broth at all in this dish. Not even in jambalaya (which is almost always called for online). I know the locals well since I am a home health nurse - not to be confused with sitters - and I can't tell you how many food discussions I've had with them.

                                                                              I asked a patient of mine who was known for her cooking (she's in her mid-80s, so very experienced) about the chicken broth phenomena and she was just as baffled by it as I was, and still am. "Ah ain't never hearduh sucha thing. Chicken broth? Heh!" She shook her head laughing.

                                                                              Anyway, I was curious if anyone knew? Is it faddish or something?

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: magnoliasouth

                                                                                The only dumb question is the unasked question. Of course you are correct about the creation of broth as the food cooks. Chicken broth is the universal donor in cooking as most people use canned. Nothing wrong with it as such, and it is a convenient short cut.Many traditional dishes pre-date conveniences we take for granted, and it is purely a matter of taste. I often choose the complicated route for some dishes because I enjoy cooking and have fun with some of the complexity. When in a different mood, I enjoy knowing the short cuts. No right answer, only preferences.

                                                                                My old argument with many here is that cooking is about techniques and taste, not recipes.