Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Shari Mason
Red beans and rice is a classic Creole dish in New Orleans, Louisiana. This hearty and flavorful dish is typically made with red kidney beans, vegetables, and sausage and served over a bed of fluffy white rice.
However, sometimes the texture of the beans and sauce can be too thin or watery, leading to a less satisfying dish.
We will look at several methods on how to thicken red beans and rice to achieve your desired consistency.
5 Ways To Thicken Red Beans & Rice
1. Mash Some Of The Beans
One way to thicken red beans and rice is to mash some beans in the pot. This technique helps release their natural starches and thicken the sauce.
Use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to mash some of the cooked beans. You can also remove a cup or two of the cooked beans and mash them separately before adding them back to the pot.
This method is easy and doesn’t require additional ingredients, making it a simple and convenient way to thicken your red beans and rice.
However, be careful not to mash all the beans , as you still want some whole beans in the dish for texture.
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2. Add A Roux
Adding a roux is another effective way to thicken red beans and rice. A roux is a mixture of flour and fat-thickening sauces and stews.
To make a roux for red beans and rice, melt butter or oil in a skillet, add an equal amount of flour, and cook until the mixture is golden brown.
Then, stir the roux  into the red beans and rice until fully incorporated. The roux adds a rich, nutty flavor and helps thicken the sauce.
Be sure to cook the roux thoroughly to avoid a raw flour taste in the final dish.
3. Use Cornstarch Or Arrowroot
Using cornstarch or arrowroot is another option to thicken red beans and rice. To use this method, mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot with a small amount of cold water to form a smooth paste.
“I’ll eat anything. I love food in general. I love traditional Mexican, carne asada. Just meat, beans, rice, and some good salsa.”– Becky G, American Singer
Then, add the mixture to the red beans and rice and stir until it thickens. Slowly add the cornstarch or arrowroot paste to avoid clumps forming in the sauce.
This method is effective and does not alter the dish’s flavor. It also works quickly and is an excellent option in a rush.
4. Simmer Uncovered
Simmering uncovered is another way to thicken red beans and rice. This method involves removing the lid from the pot and simmering the red beans and rice uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
By simmering uncovered, the excess liquid evaporates, and the sauce thickens. This technique is simple and doesn’t require additional ingredients, making it an easy and convenient way to thicken your red beans and rice.
However, be sure to keep an eye on the pot and occasionally stir to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
5. Add A Can Of Refried Beans
Adding a can of refried beans is another method to thicken red beans and rice. Refried beans are cooked and mashed beans, typically pinto beans, that are cooked with onions, spices, and lard.
Add a can of refried beans to your red beans and rice, stir them into the dish, and cook until the mixture is thick and creamy.
The refried beans add a rich, creamy texture and enhance the dish’s flavor. This method is easy and doesn’t require additional steps, making it a quick and convenient way to thicken your red beans and rice.
However, be mindful of the sodium content of the refried beans and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
How long does it take for red beans to thicken?
The time it takes for red beans to thicken depends on the method used and the desired thickness. Generally, it can take 10-30 minutes to thicken red beans.
Why are your red beans and rice runny?
Your red beans and rice may be runny if undercooked, if too much liquid was added, or if the wrong bean type was used.
There are several effective methods for thickening red beans and rice, including mashing some of the beans, adding a roux, using cornstarch or arrowroot, simmering uncovered, or adding a can of refried beans.
These techniques can help you achieve the desired texture and consistency of the dish. Following the recipe’s instructions carefully and adjusting the seasoning accordingly when using these methods is essential.
By thickening your red beans and rice properly, you can elevate the flavor and texture of the dish, making it a delicious and satisfying meal.
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