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Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe (The must-try version!)

Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe (The must-try version!)

Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe is hands down a powerhouse of flavors and texture. 

Learning how to make Popeye’s red beans and recipe took some trial and error. We’ll save you from this and share our copycat recipe with you here.

If you’ve read our article about making Popeye’s cajun fries, you know that I’m a new convert to Popeye’s. Now that I’ve tried their food, though, I am uber hooked!

This red beans and rice recipe is a perfect side dish. You can pair it with anything. It’s an excellent side for this Ritz cracker chicken recipe that we like to make. You could pair it with a chicken sandwich or even with some pork chops, too. 

The point is: don’t think that you can only pair the Popeye’s rice and beans recipe with Cajun food. It goes with pretty much everything! 

While this is just our copycat version of Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe, we think it’s quite spot-on in flavor. The liquid smoke is what sent it over the edge towards perfection for us. 

Feel free to tweak the recipe until it tastes perfect to your liking. Also, use this recipe as a foundation to create your version of red beans and rice. 

We often start with a copycat recipe and then wind up finding our unique recipe as time goes on. 

Sadly, Popeye’s doesn’t share their recipes with us, so this is our version of their perfect side dish. 

What kind of beans should you use?

Well, Popeye’s says it themselves in their recipe description. This is a recipe made with red beans and rice. So, when making the copycat of Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe, be sure only to use red beans. This is a “foundational” ingredient. 

Does Popeye’s red beans and rice include meat?

No, the Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe doesn’t include meat. 

Many people add ham hock to the recipe, but that isn’t an accurate representation of the original recipe. This is a meat-free recipe.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t add meat. Suppose you’d like to make red beans and rice as a meal, consider cooking it with a ham hock. That bit of ham will make it even more hearty and delicious!

Keep in mind that adding meat is a dramatic deviation from Popeye’s recipe, but that isn’t necessarily bad. 

How to store Popeye’s red beans and rice?

This copycat of Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. The key is to put the leftovers away as quickly as possible. Place the leftover beans and rice in an airtight container and place it in the back of your fridge. I believe that they’re best if eaten within three days.

Can you freeze the rice and beans?

Yes, you can freeze rice and beans. It’s quite easy to freeze these leftovers. The trick is to allow them to cool before freezing them. 

Place the rice and beans in a freezer bag and squeeze all of the air out of it. Then place the bagged beans and rice in the freezer. 

Popeye's red beans and rice recipe

Popeye's red beans and rice recipe

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This is how we make the Copycat Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe. It is easy because we used cans of red beans.


  • 2 16 oz cans red beans
  • ¼ c water
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1 t onion powder
  • ½ T liquid smoke
  • ¼ t ground cumin
  • ¼ t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • ¼ t red pepper flakes
  • 2 c cooked white rice


  1. Cook the rice and set it aside. 
  2. Add the cans of beans, including the juice, and the water to a saucepan. 
  3. Heat the beans on a simmer for 20 minutes or until they start to thicken up a bit. The beans are ready when the liquid is reduced by half. 
  4. Stir in all of the seasonings. 
  5. Use a potato masher and slightly mash the beans. Don’t over mash them. You want to break them up a bit. 
  6. Serve the beans over the rice.
  7. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 132Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 136mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g

Did you make this recipe?

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The bottom line

I grew up eating rice and beans here in Texas. It’s a staple meal here. So making Popeye’s red beans and rice recipe copycat version only made sense. Red beans and rice may not sound all that exciting, but if you give it a try, you’ll find yourself immersed and craving it. While red beans and rice is often served as a side dish, it makes a fantastic meal in itself as well!

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