Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

By Alexandra Caspero on October 14, 2021
An easy recipe made with pantry staples that's perfect for chilly winter days.
Serves 4-6

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice! This vegan red beans and rice recipe is so satisfying and perfect for chilly winter days. 

Don’t you love meals that are easy (👋 crockpot) and comforting (👋 rice and beans.)

Consider this your new I don’t feel like cooking but I want something stick to my ribs cozy yet not covered in butter, cream or cheese. This vegan red beans and rice recipe is like a rice casserole for the adult crowd, smoky beans and creamy rice that takes all of five minutes to throw together.

RB&R (red beans & rice) was one of those meals that we had all the time growing up, and with good reason. Dried beans and rice are dirt cheap and simple for a family a 5. Her version was naturally plant-based, and I’ve adapted it to fit the slow cooker.

Bowl or red beans and rice

How to Make Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Making her recipe in the slow-cooker was even easier that I thought it would be. Throw in all of the ingredients except for the rice and cook for 4 hours. From there, add in the rice and cook an additional hour if using white rice and 2 hours if using brown rice. 

Vegan Red Beans and Rice Ingredients

To make this simple slow cooker dinner, you’ll need:

  • Kidney beans or red kidney beans
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Onion
  • Celery stalks
  • Bay leaf
  • Garlic cloves
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cajun seasoning 
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable broth
  • Dried thyme, but can swap in oregano if needed
  • Rice, preferably long grain white rice for faster cooking time

bowl of beans with rice

Step by Step Instructions

This slow cooker vegan red beans and rice recipe is so simple, it’s only two steps. First, drain and rinse the canned beans then place them in a slow cooker along with the onion, green pepper, celery, thyme, garlic, vegetable broth, bay leaf, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Cook on low heat for 4-5 hours. 

The beans should be tender and very flavorful by this point. remove the lid, stir and add in the uncooked rice and simmer for another hour or so until rice is cooked and absorbed all of the broth flavor. 

You’ll need to have enough broth (2 cups) remaining in the crockpot to cook the rice this way. If you decide to make the rice on the stove instead, reduce the broth by 1/2 for cooking.

Remove the lid, fork the rice and season to taste, adding more salt or fresh black pepper as desired. Serve into bowls then garnish with fresh chopped parsley and hot sauce, if desired.

Vegan Red Beans and Rice in a Slow Cooker

Can I add in vegan sausage?

Several commenters below have added in sausage to the recipe and enjoyed it. My favorite plant-based brands are Field Roast and Beyond Sausage. The photos here have seared Field Roast sausage added on top. 

Is this recipe gluten-free?  

As written this recipe is gluten-free but if you add in vegan sausage, then you need to make sure your sausage is gluten-free if needed. Many plant-based sausages are seitan based and made with wheat. 

Can this recipe be made in the Instant Pot? 

This recipe is better suited for the slow cooker than a pressure cooker. However, if you want to make it on the stove top then you will sauté the onion, pepper and celery in olive oil until tender, then add in the spices and garlic and cook another minute. Add in the drained and rinsed beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

While the beans are cooking, make the rice according to package directions then serve with the beans.

Slow Cooker Vegan Red Beans and Rice

Can I make this on the stove top?

Yes, you can make these red beans on the stove. To do so, sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and spices in a few tablespoons of olive oil until very soft. Add in the canned red beans, bay leaf, two cups vegetable broth and simmer until thickened. 

Serve with cooked rice and additional hot sauce, as desired. 

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice! This vegan and gluten free meal is so satisfying- perfect for chilly days! | www.delishknowledge.com

Health Benefits of Beans

Can I put on my dietitian hat for a moment and geek out on the amazingness of beans? Plant-based eating patterns that include beans, like kidney beans, reduces cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk, low-grade inflammation and may and may play a role in immune-related disease risk management. In general, diets that consistently contain more plant foods, like beans, and lesser amounts of animal foods are associated with less risk and incidence of type-2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and mortality risk.

Why are beans specifically so amazing? They contain fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol levels, and improves microbial diversity and overall gut health. Intake of beans and legumes are associated with anti-obesity effects: high bean consumption decreases body weight and weight circumference. 

They are a cheap, yet nutrient-dense food loaded with protein, polyphenols/phytochemicals, iron and zinc. One of the keys in the Blue Zones diet, places where people routinely live longer than average, is consuming at least one serving of beans and legumes a day. 

Pretty incredible stats for such a humble food. I try to eat beans at least 1-2x a day and simple meals like this slow cooker red bean and rice recipe makes it easy to do so.  

Vegan Red Beans and Rice with Vegan Sausage

More Slow Cooker Vegan Recipes

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala
Butter Chickpeas with Tofu
Coconut Curry
Vegetable Chowder
Enchilada Soup
Sweet and Spicy Meatballs 
Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili 

More Bean Recipes

Vegan Bean Dip (with homemade tortilla chips)
10 Minute Black Bean Tacos
Vegan Black Bean Soup
Black Bean Quinoa Sliders
Black Bean Tamale Pie
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

bowl of slow cooker red beans and rice with vegan sausage

If you try this vegan red beans and rice recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

Print
Red Beans and Rice in the Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x
  • Category: slowcooker, crockpot, vegan, glutenfree,
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: dinner, entree, main
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice! This vegan red beans and rice recipe is so satisfying and perfect for chilly winter days.  Consider this your new I don’t feel like cooking but I want something that’s stick to my ribs cozy yet not covered in butter, cream or cheese. It’s like a rice casserole for the adult crowd, smoky beans and creamy rice that takes all of five minutes to throw together.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x
  • Category: slowcooker, crockpot, vegan, glutenfree,
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: dinner, entree, main
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x
  • Category: slowcooker, crockpot, vegan, glutenfree,
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: dinner, entree, main
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. cans red or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup each: finely chopped onion, chopped green pepper, chopped celery
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup rice
  • hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. First, place the red beans, onion, green pepper, celery, thyme, garlic, vegetable broth, bay leaf, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
  2. Then, if serving as a one-pot meal, stir in the rice, pinch of salt and pepper, and increase the slow cooker heat to high and cook for 1-2 hours depending on the rice you use (see notes.) Serve with extra hot sauce, as desired.
  3. Or, if serving separately from rice, make the rice as directed on the stovetop or in a rice maker. Next, divide the beans into four bowls and top with a scoop of cooked rice. Finally, serve with extra hot sauce, as desired.

Notes

Depending on the type of rice you use, it should cook in 1-2 hours on high. I used a sprouted blonde rice and it cooked in 40 minutes. Brown rice should take roughly 2 hours. If you decide that you don’t want to add the rice into the slow cooker, reduce the liquid to 1 cup and cook rice on it’s own.

did you make this?

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Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice! This vegan and gluten free meal is so satisfying- perfect for chilly days! | www.delishknowledge.com

This recipe was first published in 2015 and updated in 2021. 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Regina Connor
      October 29, 2021 AT 2:34 pm

      I added 2 types of sausage in the last 30 minutes and it made an awesome 1 pot meal.

    2. Sharon
      February 15, 2021 AT 4:56 am

      Can this be frozen and reheated?

      1. Alex
        February 15, 2021 AT 9:02 am

        Hi Sharon– I’m not sure? I haven’t tried it with this one. Usually rice based dishes are OK but beans can change texture once frozen and reheated. Should be fine, just may need to add in a little vegetable broth alongside it.

    3. Dominique
      January 3, 2020 AT 6:22 am

      Hi , when you say reduce the liquid to 1 cup. Is that instead of the 2 1/3 cup of vegetable broth , I reduce that to 1 cup Vegetable broth instead if wanting to make rice separately?

      1. Alex
        January 5, 2020 AT 7:06 pm

        Hi Dominique, yes, reduce the vegetable broth from 2 1/3 cups to 1 1/2 cups.

    4. Joseph Boomhowee
      June 24, 2019 AT 1:14 am

      I tried making this but after four hours on high in the slow Cooker, the rice has not cooked. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong.

      1. Alex
        June 24, 2019 AT 9:14 am

        Hi Joseph. Hm, I don’t either. Is there enough liquid in the post? Is it getting tender at all? How old is the rice?

    5. Nilda
      May 3, 2019 AT 3:41 am

      I have a question is it 4 cups and 2/3 vegetable broth or 2/3 4 times a little confused

      1. Alex
        May 5, 2019 AT 11:20 am

        Hi Nilda, it’s 2 1/3 cups vegetable broth

    6. Lynda
      January 17, 2019 AT 11:48 pm

      If I wanted to double the recipe would I need to make any adjustments?

      1. Alex
        January 21, 2019 AT 7:33 pm

        Hi Lynda,

        I don’t think so- should be no problem to double the recipe.

    7. Abigail
      January 1, 2019 AT 5:33 pm

      This was delicious! I also added a sprinkling of nutritional yeast which was very yummy 🙂 great comforting dish—thank you!

    8. Jeleane German-Beverley
      September 3, 2018 AT 3:22 pm

      So in total with brownrice should i cook for 7 hours?

      1. Alex
        September 4, 2018 AT 9:01 am

        Yes, though I would check on the rice after 60-90 minutes.

    9. Jen
      August 19, 2018 AT 7:39 am

      If the rice cooks in 2 hours, why does the recipe say to leave in the crockpot for 5. Doesn’t it start to get mushy?

      1. Alex
        August 19, 2018 AT 12:29 pm

        Hi Jen, I recommend cooking the beans and vegetables first, then adding the rice. It will become mushy if you add everything together and then cook at once.

    10. Kristina Lynn
      July 23, 2018 AT 2:34 am

      Since switching to a more plant based diet, I’ve been looking for comforting vegan dishes that will keep me and my other half satisfied and on track. (This was my first attempt at making red beans and rice and eating it.) So glad that I found this recipe! Loved the prep work of it and the ease of using the slow cooker on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I used long grain white rice and ended up adding a bit more vegetable broth and doubled the amount of cayenne pepper to give the dish an extra kick! Thank you so much for this recipe! This definitely is going to be a weekly staple in my house.

      1. Alex
        July 24, 2018 AT 7:45 am

        Thanks Kristina! So glad you liked it, thanks for the kind comment!