Red beans and rice is a staple dish for many. Hailing from New Orleans, it has its origins in Louisiana Creole cuisine but has become popular to eat all over the United States, and even the world. While you can quite easily make red beans and rice from scratch yourself, sometimes it’s nice to have a packaged version to cut down on time and effort. It’s a great food to stock your pantry with for times when you might not have many fresh ingredients on hand. Not only is it convenient, it’s highly nutritious, too, containing plenty of iron, protein, B vitamins, and starch for energy.
We reviewed dozens of types of packaged red beans and rice to identify the best of the best, considering a range of factors, such as flavor, speed of cooking, ingredient quality, and average reviews. You can buy any of our top five products on Amazon.
Seeds of Change Organic Red Beans & Brown Rice stood out to us as the clear best overall. We love the use of organic ingredients, wholegrain brown rice, and its great flavor.
The 5 Top-Rated Red Beans and Rice
|Best Red Beans and Rice Overall||Seeds of Change Organic Red Beans & Brown Rice||4.8|
|Best Dry Red Beans and Rice Mix||Vigo Red Beans & Rice Mix||4.9|
|Best Budget Red Beans and Rice||Zatarain’s Reduced Sodium Red Beans & Rice Mix||4.1|
|Best Red Beans and Rice with Quinoa||TruRoots Organic Quick Cook Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Red Bean Blend||4.4|
|Best Red Beans and Rice Spice Mix||River Road Red Beans and Rice Seasoning||4.0|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Red Beans and Rice Overall: Seeds of Change Organic Red Beans & Brown Rice
Quick to make, tasty, and healthy, Seeds of Change Organic Red Beans & Brown Rice ticks all the right boxes. This is a microwaveable red beans and rice, so you simply make a tear in the package to vent steam and microwave it for 90 seconds, meaning you can have this simple meal or side ready in a couple of minutes. If you don’t have a microwave, you can also cook it in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of water until heated through. This might not be quite as quick and convenient as microwaving, but it still takes very little time and effort.
Whereas most red beans and rice is made using white rice, this one uses brown. While there’s nothing wrong with with white rice in general, brown rice is a wholegrain, and contains more fiber than white rice, and slightly more of a range of minerals, such as folate and magnesium. It’s also less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar, which is particularly beneficial for people with diabetes. In addition to red beans, this also contains corn and red bell pepper, adding a bit more variety and extra nutrients to your meal.
You’ll receive 12 pouches of 8.5 ounces for $36. Each pouch serves one as a full meal or the main component of a meal (with salad or extra veggies, for instance) or two to three people as a side.
Seeds of Change Organic Red Beans & Brown Rice Key Features:
- Certified USDA organic
- Vegan and gluten free
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Best Red Beans and Rice Dry Mix: Vigo Red Beans & Rice Mix
Made using an authentic New Orleans recipe, Vigo Red Beans & Rice Mix has the type of flavor you’d be hard-pressed to find outside of Louisiana. This is a dry mix, rather than a microwaveable pouch, which means it takes a little longer to prepare, but it’s still very simple. All you need to do is bring a few cups of water to the boil, add the contents of one package, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. The results are extremely similar to making red beans and rice from scratch, so that little bit of extra time and effort is worth it.
Each package contains 8 ounces, but it makes much more when cooked, so you get 4 decent servings from one package. This listing contains 3 lots of 8 ounce packages, or 12 servings in total, and costs $18, which is great value for money. If you’re looking for a red beans and rice dry mix, this is the way to go.
Vigo Red Beans & Rice Mix Key Features:
- Cooks in 25 minutes or less
- Can be eaten as a side or a main
- Vegetarian recipe
Best Budget Red Beans and Rice: Zatarain’s Reduced Sodium Red Beans & Rice Mix
For a quick meal with authentic flavor, try Zatarain’s Reduced Sodium Red Beans & Rice Mix. While it might not be the cheapest option overall on this list, it does work out at less per ounce, offering excellent value for money. It costs just under $20 for 6 packs of 8 ounces, or $0.41 per ounce. Each pack contains 4.5 servings, so that’s 27 servings in total when you add together all 6 packs. Of course, you don’t need to use then all at once and each package will also keep once opened, though it’s best to transfer the mix to a tightly-sealed container, such as a jar or Tupperware-style container.
This product manages to give you an authentic New Orleans red beans and rice flavor with a low sodium content, which is perfect for anyone who must watch their salt intake. As well as rice and bean, this mix contains red and green bell peppers, and a whole load of delicious spices to give you the flavor your deserve. It takes about 30 minutes to cook on the stove and is vegetarian if you eat it as is.
Zatarain’s Reduced Sodium Red Beans & Rice Mix Key Features:
- 25% less sodium than the regular version from the same brand
- No artificial flavors
- Zatarain’s has been making New Orleans style food since 1889
Best Red Beans and Rice With Quinoa: TruRoots Organic Quick Cook Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Red Bean Blend
TruRoots Organic Quick Cook Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Red Bean Blend is a more balanced take on classic red rice and beans. Rice contains some excellent nutrients, but if you find yourself eating rice day after day, you need some balance. By adding quinoa, this red rice and beans mix gives you extra protein and fiber, plus some vitamins and minerals not contained in rice. Of course, if you’re looking for a classic Louisiana red beans and rice, this probably isn’t for you. In fact, it uses a different blend of spices to give it a Spanish-inspired flavor. It isn’t traditional, but it’s still tasty.
This product comes in microwaveable pouches and is ready to eat in just 60 seconds, so it’s great as a quick lunch or simple side dish. You can also cook it in a skillet if microwaving isn’t an option. You’ll receive 8 packs of 8.5 ounces for around $18, which is fairly pricey but worthwhile considering its high quality organic ingredients.
TruRoots Organic Quick Cook Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Red Bean Blend Key Features:
- Certified non-GMO and USDA organic
- Vegan and gluten free
- Each serving contains 7g protein and 8g fiber
Best Red Beans and Rice Spice Mix: River Road Red Beans and Rice Seasoning
We understand why people want to keep red beans and rice mix on hand for when they can’t get to the grocery store or want an easy dinner, but it really isn’t much harder to keep River Road Red Beans and Rice Seasoning along with a bag of rice and some canned or dried red beans. It’s best used with dried red beans for the most authentic flavor, but canned red beans will still taste great and can be simmered with rice and this seasoning for less than half an hour, meaning your dinner will be ready in no time with not much more effort than using a red beans and rice dry mix. What we love about using the seasoning with your own beans and rice is that you can mix it up when you want, experimenting with different rices and types of beans.
This spice mix contains onions, garlic, celery, and creole spices, giving you a classic Louisiana rice and bean flavor that beats most packaged rice and beans on the market. You’ll receive 2 bags of an ounce each for $10. Each can season a pound of dried red beans or more if you’re using canned beans.
River Road Red Beans and Rice Seasoning Key Features:
- Spice mix is free from salt, so you can add to taste
- No artificial additives
- A simple way to make red beans and rice just like homemade
Red beans and rice is an ideal pantry staple to stock up on. The blend of protein and carbohydrates means you can eat it as a full meal in a pinch, and it has more nutritional value than you might realize. If you’re looking for simple ways to maintain a balanced diet, you might like to read our guide to the best juicers.