Copycat Popeye's Red Beans & Rice

Popeye's Red Beans & Rice is one of my favorite take-out side dishes and making it at home is SO SIMPLE!!!! Creamy red beans with a slightly smoky flavor topped with fluffy white rice - the perfect side!
I don't have a Popeye's anywhere near me and I was missing their Red Beans and Rice - it was my favorite side so I decided to just make it for myself and I was shocked with how easy - I can't wait to share my SECRET ingredient with you! 

Does Popeye's Red Beans and Rice Have Meat in it? 

Well that's where the secret ingredient comes in! It doesn't have meat - but it does have - wait for it - bacon grease! Bhahahahaha! I have a jar on my counter for the bacon grease after I make air fryer bacon - so it was just right there waiting to be used! It adds so much flavor!!!

Does Red Beans and Rice use Kidney Beans? 

Nope!!! Red beans and Rice is made with RED BEANS! Red beans are smaller, more of an oblong shape and are pinkish red. They're not as hard and are smoother. They're super cheap too - this recipe uses two cans of them. 

How to make Red Beans and Rice Like Popeye's? 

It's so easy! First - start your rice! You can use any white rice - I used Uncle Ben's Converted White Rice - it takes a while to cook - but it ends up being the same amount of time you need for the beans!

Next up - the easiest part! Dump two cans of red beans in a sauce pan and start heating them up. As they're heating - grab your potato masher and start mashing. You don't want to mash them all! You still need some bean pieces. 

Then you'll add the rest of your ingredients - including the bacon fat - and thicken it up. As you cook it - uncovered - it'll reduce and thicken up. 

Once it's thick - your rice should be done and you're ready to serve! the bacon fat and liquid smoke are definitely the keys to success here - so don't skip either ingredient! 

This recipe is one I'm going to be making all the time!!! I couldn't believe how easy it was and delicious. I had the leftovers for lunch a couple of days! This makes four servings - and it reheats perfectly in the microwave. It's so good! 

What to serve with Red Beans & Rice? 

Really - you just need some meat - right?! These Garlic Brown Sugar Pork Chops are a perfect complement to the red beans & rice. I personally made a beautiful ribeye in my air fryer and it's equally as easy! Since RBR is a southern dish - you could make Mary Mac's Chicken Fried Chicken to go with it - so good and there's gravy! 

Copycat Popeye

Copycat Popeye's Red Beans & Rice

Yield: 4
Prep time: Cook time: 20 MTotal time: 20 M
Popeye's Red Beans & Rice is one of my favorite take-out side dishes and making it at home is SO SIMPLE!!!! Creamy red beans with a slightly smoky flavor topped with fluffy white rice - the perfect side!


  • 2 cans (16-ounce) small red beans
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 2 cups white rice, cooked and drained


How to cook Copycat Popeye's Red Beans & Rice

  1. Start the rice. I’m using Uncle Bens Converted White Rice. Boil 1.5 cups water, 1/2 cup rice, 1 Tbsp butter. Once boiling, turn heat to low for 20 minutes. 
  2. Pour 2 cans of beans (juice and all) into a large saucepan. Add water, onion powder, garlic salt, hot sauce, salt, liquid smoke and bacon fat.
  3. Use a potato masher partially mash the beans and ingredients together. Don’t mash them all - you still want some chunks of bean.
  4. Cook slowly over medium heat until thick and water is evaporated - about 15 minutes. Stir frequently so beans don’t stick.
  5. When rice is done, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes to fluff up and absorb remaining water.
  6. Once the beans and rice are done cooking, remove them both from the heat.
  7. To stay authentic to Popeyes, serve the rice over the bean mixture

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1 comment

  1. Good to know that works too! I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.