Red Beans and Rice With Smoked Turkey Recipe

Swap poultry for pork in this Louisiana favorite.

A plate of rice with red beans and smoked turkey.

Serious Eats / Max Falkowitz

Why This Recipe Works

  • Salting beans while soaking keeps them intact and better seasoned.
  • Smoked turkey adds meaty depth that complements chicken or turkey stock.

So, you made a smoked turkey. And it was pretty damn moist and aromatic, woodsy, meaty, and smoky-sweet. But now you've got leftovers that need some jazzing up.

Sliced smoked turkey on a platter.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

We feel you; we made a sizable dent in our Greenberg Smoked Turkey—a great ready-made option—but there's only so much straight turkey you can eat in a week. So we came up with options for you! In addition to this red beans and rice dish, we have a veg-packed collard greens recipe and barbecue sandwiches.

In Louisiana, red beans and rice are traditionally cooked on Mondays to use up bits and pieces from Sunday's roast. And it's simple stuff: Cook beans with meat and aromatics, ladle over rice, eat. That meat may be leftover pork bones, smoked or pickled pork, andouille sausage, ham, or tasso (highly seasoned cured pork shoulder). Call us ignorant Yankees if you like, but we think smoked turkey works pretty well, too, and cooking it into beans is the best way to get the most from your bird.

Sweat the Louisiana trinity of onions, green bell peppers, and celery in some oil, then add soaked kidney beans, chicken or turkey stock, some bay leaves, fresh thyme, and cayenne pepper. Then stir in some chopped-up turkey and slap the lid on your pot. In a few hours, you'll have a smoky pot of beans to keep you fed for days. Don't have a smoked turkey carcass on hand? A smoked drumstick from the supermarket works just as well.

Greenberg turkey was provided as a review sample.

November 2014

Recipe Details

Red Beans and Rice With Smoked Turkey Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 11 hrs
Serves 6 to 8 servings

Swap poultry for pork in this Louisiana favorite.


For the Beans:

  • 1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted

  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 4 quarts water

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or turkey stock

  • 1 pound pulled or chopped smoked turkey, or 1 smoked turkey leg

  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Rice:

  • 5 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 1/2 cups long grain rice


  1. For the Beans: In a large pot or container, combine beans, salt, and water and stir until salt dissolves. Cover and let soak for 8 to 12 hours. Drain soaked beans.

  2. Heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and translucent but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer.

  3. Add thyme, bay leaves, cayenne, stock, smoked turkey, and beans. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a bare simmer. Cook until beans are very soft but not falling apart, 2 to 3 hours. If using smoked turkey leg, remove it now to let cool slightly, then remove skin and pull meat into fine pieces. Remove Dutch oven lid and increase heat to high. Cook beans at a hard simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is reduced to your liking. Add pulled drumstick meat back to pot if using. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. For the Rice: In the last half hour of bean-cooking, bring water and butter to a boil over high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in rice, reduce to a bare simmer, and cover. Cook until rice is tender and liquid is fully absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve beans ladled over a pile of rice.

Special Equipment

5-quart Dutch oven with a tight, heavy lid

Read More

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
337 Calories
13g Fat
37g Carbs
18g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 337
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 1437mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 25mg 126%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 784mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)