Slow Cooker Coconut Red Beans and Rice Recipe

It's the 24th of May, and it is STILL COLD OUTSIDE.

dude. this is getting old.

I'm trying my hardest to not complain, and to instead pretend it's tropical outside. It looks like in order to have a somewhat-tropical environment this holiday weekend, I'm going to have to crank up the thermostat and inflate some plastic palm trees.

or I could just eat some leftover coconut red beans and rice.

The Ingredients.

serves 8

1 cup dried small red beans (soaked overnight, then boiled for 10 minutes)
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk (full fat is best. if you prefer to not use full-fat, add a drop or two of coconut extract to intensify the flavor)
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long grain basmati white rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 limes, cut in wedges (optional)

The Directions.

Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Sort beans, and soak overnight in a bunch of water. In the morning, drain the water and dump the beans into a large pot of fresh water. Boil rapidly on the stovetop for at least 10 minutes before draining and putting into your crockpot.

Red beans MUST be boiled on the stove before added to the slow cooker to kill a possible toxin that occurs naturally. Want more info? click here.

Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour in the whole can of coconut milk (the creamy stuff, too), and chicken broth. Stir in raw rice and kosher salt. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until beans are bite tender. Before eating, squeeze on a bit of lime juice for a fun tropical twist.

The Verdict.

These are some killer beans. I loved how everything cooked together in one pot, and how coconuty the rice tasted. My grandma took home a big Tupperware and reported back that they froze and reheated quite well (she nuked to reheat).

I used chicken broth because I like the flavor it provides, but if you'd prefer to keep your meal purely vegetarian, you should use veggie broth. I don't think water would provide enough impact.

more stuff with beans:
dried bean tutorial
cowboy beans
traditional chili
white bean and apple chili
beans and weenies
black bean soup
calico bean soup
bbq beef and bean sandwiches
smoky refried bean soup

and more in the archives!

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at May 24, 2010

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What they say about this article

  1. This looks awesome! I will try this for sure, I've never done it in the crockpot.

    It's BEEN so cold but today is 94 and humid with a heat index of 98. The kids are outside in the sprinkler and loving it! It doesn' get into the 90's in May in Minnesota too often!

  2. It snowed here in Utah today... I know what you mean about the coldness. I made matzoh ball soup yesterday.

  3. Definitely going to try this!

    Couple questions....

    1) Could I just use regular long grain white rice?

    2) Could I use canned beans instead of dried?

  4. yum! I've got your "End of Summer" soup waiting for me in my crockpot at home right now!

  5. I just bought the ingredients to make something very similar to this, but your version is so easy and uses the slow cooker! I will be making your version instead. Yay!

  6. Yum looks great i love coconut milk! I am tired of the cold too. We had rain and snow today:(

  7. I have a Nicauragan friend that makes this coconut beans and rice dish. They call it "Gayo Pinto." I don't know if that the way to spell rooster. It means spotted rooster.

  8. I wonder if coconut milk help keep food safe. In her country they did not always have refrigeration, so she said they used a lot of coconut milk. The beans were always kept on a low warm, for bacteria purposes I guess. She said you always dipped with a clean spoon also. They use coconut milk in their teakcakes too.

  9. It's been in the 90s here and HOT and HUMID for a while now. I am in the South though lol. ;) Recipe looks great, I can't wait to try it. Thanks.

  10. dude. Steph you're killing me-lol:)


  11. This looks so yummy! I just used the slow cooker I received as a gift from my sister years ago for the first time the other day. Came out excellent!

    Love getting your newsletter and should search your site for new recipies!!!

  12. This looks good! Can't wait to make it! Questions:
    1. Can I use canned beans instead and if so do you still have to boil them
    2. Can I use brown basmati rice instead for more nutrition?

  13. Hi Amy and Jen,

    you can change the type of rice, but cooking time will be different. Regular white rice will cook faster, and brown rice will take a bit longer. I'd suggest making it on a day that you're home to monitor rice texture.

    If you'd prefer to use canned beans, I'd use 2 cans of rinsed kidney beans. You'll need to cut back on the chicken broth. To cook 1 1/2 cups of rice, it's usually 3 cups of liquid. Put the entire can of coconut milk into a measuring cup, and then fill with broth until it hits 3 cups.

    good luck!
    xoxo steph

  14. Sounds tasty! It's definitely not cold here in Chicago! We had to buy a second air conditioner this weekend because it's gotten so hot so quick. It doesn't feel like crockpot weather to me, but this recipe might tempt me into pulling it out.

  15. I'm about to throw this into my crockpot right now! Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the fun, summery recipe to get us in the mood... (as it's raining here in WA.)

  16. When I read this yesterday, I went to my cupboards to see if I had everything needed for this--I did, and I even had limes in the refrigerator. I followed the recipe precisely, and while some of the rice was a little sticky, the flavor was wonderful, and the lime juice sets it off beautifully. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Red beans and rice is one of my favorite dishes -- the idea of adding coconut milk to it is intriguing! I must try it!

  18. Anonymous5/26/2010

    I have been busily translating your recipes (well just a few) from American, into English for personal use of course.

    I have a problem though, and it is this -

    What on earth is kosher salt? You use it in all your recipes, and it is something I have never seen in this country. I don't shop at the kosher greengrocer though, but as you seem to eat bacon and pork, I don't think it can be for religious reasons !

    So - enquiring English minds want to know, and are waiting with baited breath.

    Great blog, with ideas I'd never have tried in my slow cooker.

  19. Mmm, these look delicious. Coconut milk makes everything better :)

  20. Hi chemobrain!
    Kosher salt is a larger grain of salt. It's similar in size to sea salt, but smaller than rock salt. I like it because it doesn't taste iodized or as "salty" as table salt. If you can't find it, feel free to use table salt, but cut the salt quantity in half when cooking, then season to taste at the table.

    xoxo steph

  21. Thank you.

    I'm always careful with the seasoning because it is easy to add at the end, and I've yet to discover how to take away.

  22. I'm chemobrain by the way, sorry!

  23. im making it this morning......using canned beans and adjusting the liquid as you suggested.

    can I cook on high? what would the time be?

  24. Hi Debra,

    Since you aren't using raw beans, I'd suggest checking it on high after 2 hours, just in case. I don't know how fast the rice will soak in the liquid.

    good luck, and please let me know how it works, and what the liquid measurement turned out to be! :-)

    xoxo steph

  25. I just LOVE your blog! I also have a question, I'm getting ready to order your book -- one for myself and one for my sister -- and was wondering if it's filled with pictures like your blog. Either way, I can't wait to get it! :)

  26. Hi Linda,

    thank you for your kind words and support!

    no, I decided to not include photos in the book to keep the purchase price down. The book contains 338 of the best recipes I made during the 2008 Year of Slow Cooking resolution.

    xoxo steph

  27. stephanie,

    i used 2 cans of beans and brown basmati rice. I used a little over a cup of chicken broth and full can of coconut milk. After cooking 4.5hrs on LOW, it was almost burning around the edges when i got home. Added another cup of broth. The rice tastes done! I thought this would be cooking till 6. I checked all my setttings to make sure and it was set on low for sure. Oh well.....havent tasted it yet, but im sure its good. Glad I came home to check it!

  28. just finished dinner.....froze a little more than 1/2 (It made alot)

    it was pretty amazing! Dont get why it cooked so fast, but will definetly make again!

  29. If this dish made both you and your grandmother happy, it has to be good! I have all the ingredients ... well, except the beans. LOL Adding to my grocery list now!

    Thanks, Steph!

  30. I made this today with brown basmati (which is all I had) and lite coconut milk (also, all I had) and it is fabulous. I repeatedly tried it straight from the crock, repeatedly burning my tongue, and didn't care. SO GOOD!! So long, Zatarans!

  31. oh no! i don't know what i did wrong. i followed directions and started it at about 930 am and it's now 3 and there's still liquid bubbling at the top, a little, but the rice is almost completely mush. also it's burning and stuck to the sides about halfway down. it smells so good but im afraid we can't eat it like this, it's mush. haven't tasted yet. what did i do???? waah!

  32. Anonymous5/31/2010

    I made this today and am so disappointed, it sounded so good and I have been looking forward to it all week while searching for small red beans. :( It's a mushy (rice broke down), onion-y mess (and I LOVE onions), and the beans are not quite done. It's going in the trash, we're having eggs for dinner. The onions are just too overpowering, it tastes awful. How can I be the only one???

  33. This sounds so good! Rice n lentils is one of my standards, & my son-in law does more rice n beans. The addition of coconut milk is lovely - I have been making kefir with mine (cultures in 24 hours, so I go through about a tin a day!!)
    It will be nice to make this & share with my dau/her hubby & girls.

  34. I also had mush and i think the thing is that the setting "warm" on my crock was TOO warm because there was burned stuff stuck to the sides about halfway down. it's odd because i have an actual crock pot brand crock. i am not sure if it's 4 qt tho....a sizing chart with photos would be cool to have on here LOL i have the stainless one that is like a cylinder.

    i was determined to make this type of dish so i just made it with a can of red kidney beans on the stove. it came out great! if i somehow fix my crock one i would try it again!

  35. I was at whole foods today and I noticed a woman grilling the one of the employees about the GF products. I asked her if she was new to gluten free and she said yes.

    I gave her your blog address today and told her to stop on by for tons of yummy gf recipes.

  36. I think this is my first crock meal that we weren't crazy about. I felt like it needed something. We didn't do the squeeze of lime, maybe that was it. I put a bit of shredded cheese on my 6yr old's and he gobbled it down proclaiming it amazing.

    I'm starting to think my crock pot is a bit on the hot side. This was done in 5 hours. It seems to cook fast and has a noticable hot spot on the left. Looks like Mama needs a new crock for xmas this year!

  37. I was really looking forward to this dish. Didn't work so well for me and I cook a great deal. Rice is mushy and pasty and beans are not done (after 8 hours on low and par-boiling for 15 minutes). However! I do love the rice made with coconut milk and will try that again.

  38. I made this as directed, only substituting brown basmati rice for the white. Nobody liked it. We ate it, but didn't enjoy it.

    Rice was mushy, beans were fine, taste was sort of bland. Lime helped, but not enough to want to make this again.

  39. The taste was good but the white basmati rice got gummy long before the beans cooked?

  40. We used brown basmati rice and canned beans, and had it on for 8 hours (we both work). With lime juice, it was fantastic! (without the juice, it was ok but rather tasteless) It was also good the next day as a burrito filler, and this recipe gives me ideas about other ways to do my burritos... also rice pudding (I'm always a bit wary of putting milk on all day, but coconut milk for ages is fine...) Yes, the rice was gummy and slightly burnt on the edges, but I don't mind sticky rice :-) (next time I'll only do it for 6 hours, though)

  41. I had the same problem with all the liquid being absorbed, rice breaking down and turning into a gooey/starchy mess. might work for burrito filling, but i had not planned for dinner to be done at 1:30pm (started on low at ~8:45am, 1 can red beans, white basmati, only about 1/4 onion since hubby's not crazy about onion, 3 cups H2O plus another cup when at noon it had already absorbed everything). i had hoped to come home from the pool to have this ready! doh!

  42. Dinner fail. Like others, my rice was a gooey mess. My kids love beans so I picked out the beans for them and I ate salad. The rest went in the trash.

    I think I'm just going to eliminate rice from my CrockPot repertoire. Luckily I don't have to cook in it every day for a year. :)

  43. I am so glad to see that other people had trouble with this recipe, it makes me feel better about how mine turned out. It was also mushy rice, not quite done beans and a little overdone around the edges. I was really looking forward to this meal but it was a let down. I appreciat you posting the recipe though!

  44. Mine failed as well. :-( Rice was mushy and it all sort of became a mushy mess. Bummer! I was looking forward to this recipe!

  45. So far so good. I have a couple of more hours til this is done and i hope that there is enough liquid not to make it mushy or to let it burn. I made a couple of changes. I added garam masala, raisins, a few pumpkin seeds, and a teeny bit of curry powder. So far it is tasty. Even my 2 1/2 year old and one of my 21 month old twins was willing to try it and not spit it out. Hopefully the final version is as good as it tastes now!

  46. Anonymous3/18/2011

    Okay, really liked this, but made some changes. First, used light coconut milk and used ground cayenne pepper instead of flakes. Use cayenne to taste -- I probably put in about 2 tsp, which gave it nice heat but not too spicy. It compliments the sweetness of the coconut milk nicely. Also, used brown rice and cooked on low about 5-6 hours maximum. Any longer and it will be way overdone. Definitely use dried beans. I used light kidney beans instead of red beans. I typically put hot sauce on top along with lime and serve it as is or along side grilled jerk chicken or pork.


  47. I made this and wrote about it
    here. I wish I had trusted my instincts and not kept the food in the crockpot for the suggested time of 10 hours. The food was fully cooked in 3 hours and leaving it in the slow cooker for 7 more hours turned it into a gelatinous mass of glop. Luckily my daughter thought it was super tasty! Next time I will cook it for only 3 hours.

  48. I took the advice of others and only cooked this about 3 hours, but it was still bad. The taste was bland, the rice mushy, and the beans barely cooked enough. Sorry to be so negative, but I suggest just staying away from this recipe. I even threw out the leftovers.

  49. Based on the comments, I initially used only 1 cup of broth. After about 90 minutes, I added a second cup. I let it cook for about two more hours (keeping a close eye on it). The beans were perhaps a *wee* bit underdone (let's call them al dente), but the rice was perfect.

    It came out tasty, but in the future, I think I'll use it as a side dish. There wasn't really enough there for it to satisfy me as a complete meal.

  50. I was so excited to try this recipe. It sounded so delicous. I put it all in the crockpot yesterday morning and 8 hours later on our dinner plates it was mushy and the flavor was not interesting. I probably used a different kind of rice. We threw out all the leftovers (which I almost never do.)