How to Make the Best Rice and Beans
There’s something inherently comforting about rice and beans. Maybe it’s because most cuisines the world over have their own version. Or, maybe it’s because rice and beans are what we rely on to be there for us when we need something quick. Like a loyal friend waiting in the ranks on our dark pantry shelves for that evening when dinner burns or plans get canceled. Easy, versatile, healthy and (assuming you’re using white rice) ready in under half an hour.
This is your basic rice and beans recipe. You can adjust the seasonings, use different beans and add-ins to this recipe to your heart’s content. Just keep in mind this is a white rice recipe. We’ve included some of our favorite add-ins for you at the bottom!
- 2 T vegetable or olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 3/4 C water or broth
- 1 C white rice
- 1 (15.5 oz) can beans, or about 1 1/2 C cooked beans with about 1/3 C of cooking liquid
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a heavy pinch of salt and sautée until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Then add the stock, water, beans (with the can or cooking liquid) and a little more salt to taste.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Our Fave Flavors, Garnishes and Add-ins
Fresh Spinach: Toss a few handfuls in once you take it off the heat – put the cover back on and let it sit until the spinach wilts. Great for spinach that’s about to go bad.
Toasted Coconut: This goes especially well with black beans for a Caribbean flair. Simply toss with the rice before serving.
Lime and cilantro: You can add a little lime zest with onion, and a squirt of lime and some chopped cilantro just before serving.
Cajun Seasoning: This is more of a “lazy” red beans and rice – throw in a Cajun blend with the onion. Red beans would be the obvious go-to, but really any will be delicious.
Bacon: Chop up some bacon, sautée until crispy and use the rendered fat instead of oil. Add the crispy bacon pieces as a garnish at the end. Nobody ever cried about bacon bits with their beans!
Taco Seasoning topped with Cheese: Add the seasoning with the onion, and serve warm with shredded cheddar. A dollop of sour cream and snipped chives wouldn’t hurt our feelings either!
Let Everything Sit on Medium-High so the Bottom Gets Crispy: This technique comes from Peurto Rico’s Arroz con Gandules (or rice with pigeon peas). Simply leave the pot on medium-high for about 5-ish minutes near the end of cooking so the bottom layer gets crispy but not burned. The delicious crunchy bits are called pegado – and my family fights over who gets it!
Top with Shredded Rotisserie Chicken: Add a little protein by getting your regular pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shredding it right on top!
Gather around the table
Food & service that will remind you just how important gathering around your own table really is.
Free Conversation Ideas
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive free conversation ideas, cooking tips, and other great resources to enjoy at the table.