Copycat Popeye’s Chicken Red Beans and Rice Recipe

OK I have an admission, I am addicted to Popeye’s Chicken Red beans and rice. You can hold the chicken and the biscuts even, I just need the glorious smoky, savory red beans and rice. For years now I have worked and refined, and worked some more on exacting the flavors and texture and finally I have come up with an almost perfect replica. Without further ado, I give you:

2 cans of light red kidney beans.
1 capfull (~1tsp) Liquid smoke.
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper.
~1/2tsp garlic salt. (probably a bit more)
3-4tbsp real unsalted butter.
(I also throw in a 1/4-1/2tsp of powdered red hot pepper and a dash of garlic powder for good measure.)

Put all ingredients in a pot on medium heat until it begins to boil. Smash most of the beans with spoon as they soften to help thicken everything up and continue to cook and stir often, especially once it really begins to come together or it will scorch. I’d say about 8-10 minutes before smashing some beans, and another 20-30 cooking and stirring until they reach the right consistency which is a touch soupy but thick.

For the rice:

2 cups white rice
1 tblsp butter
1tsp garlic salt

Cook the rice as normal with the addition of the butter and garlic salt. I use a rice cooker and just toss it all in at the beginning.

(if you have time – and open arteries – render some smoked hamhocks in the oven at ~200deg and use about a 1/4c of the fat instead of the liquid smoke and butter… well maybe still a little butter too.)

Everything is inexpensive and accessible, I have tried “gourmet-ing” it up and using real garlic and high-quality spices and salt/pepper and honestly it doesn’t need it. Just stick to the basics and it will happen. By using the liquid smoke and butter you get all of the flavor and a small reduction in heart problems. It still probably isn’t health food but it is delicious!


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66 Responses to Copycat Popeye’s Chicken Red Beans and Rice Recipe

  1. Paula Perry says:

    Try using pinto beans instead of kidney beans….most excellent!!!

  2. Jay says:

    this recipe looks really good, looks like it works. what do u think of a dash of cumin for the smokey flavor??

    • Peanut says:

      Being from South Louisiana I will say not cumin but smoked andouille sausage is what is used in pinto beans with a little liquid smoke.I also use smoked bacon and instant rice is what they are using.

  3. teasphere says:

    Hi Jay! This post gets a ton of hits but very few comments, and I’d love to hear how others liked it or any tweaks/changes made… Jeebus knows I tried hundreds of variations to nail it down myself.

    To answer your question, yes, I have tried cumin and it is good but I don’t think it is in theirs. Honestly theirs is just huge on the smoky/fat combo from the smoked ham hocks. Anything you can do to get that flavor without all the fat is a bonus.

    I’ve gone heavier on garlic powder a few times and that is really good, just not a copy of theirs. After all my trial and error this recipe seems to be the best balance between fat and smoke with the least compromise… go full bore if you have the spare arteries, it’s really good. :)

    • lynnmoor says:

      Have you tried using pork fat/lard/fat rendered from smoked hocks instead of the butter? Lard makes such a huge difference in many southern recipes and often gets substituted out. But it adds it’s own unique flavor that can’t be matched by other fats. I don’t want to give it a try if you’ve already ruled it out!

  4. Elena and C.D. says:

    We’ve never made red beans and rice before. Found your recipe online and made it tonight. It was wonderful! Even the kids ate some! Thanks so much…it was awesome!

  5. teasphere says:

    Awesome Elena! So glad! Feel free to alter it to match you and your families tastes (sometimes I like it spicier) and I’m happy you liked it.

  6. sss says:

    where can i find liquid smoke capsule?

  7. teasphere says:

    Hey sss: not a capsule, a “cap full.” Liquid Smoke comes in a little bottle and the cap for the bottle is approx a teaspoon. Hope that helps!

  8. Zillah says:

    This was perfect, I fixed it for a dinner and everyone love it. I did not have liquid smoke but the next time I will. Nothing was left over! Thanks for sharing.

    • teasphere says:

      Zillah, I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed it! It’s always a big hit when I make it too, and after so many poor beans were sacrificed in trial and error, it’s nice to know they didn’t die in vain :)

  9. You’ve done it once more! Amazing article!

  10. Chuck says:

    If you really want it to taste like Popeye’s, then you need the right beans. Try Blue Runner New Orleans Cream-Style Red Beans, available in some grocery stores and definitely online. Almost perfect right out of the can – including the same perfect creamy texture as Popeye’s, which is the part no one can duplicate quite right at home

  11. Mary says:

    Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice. Mystery solved! I found it in Walmart packaged as Mahatma (Brand name) Red Beans and Rice.

    It tastes identical to Popeye’s. Takes just 20 minutes from start to finish. Makes four 1 cup servings and costs UNDER $1.50!


  12. Stacey says:

    This was a very good recipe. I used two cans of Bush’s light red beans and they came out very good. I think Popeyes is a little bit saltier than your version, but I think my husband will like it. He’s Creole and his parents (both) make the best red beans and rice.

  13. shibattou says:

    Since I retired and left California, I have not found a Popeye’s available (in the middle of the Arizona desert) and have tried copies of their red beans and rice on several occasions. All fell short. Tried your version today. THANK YOU! So close to the original it was had to tell the difference. I ate the whole thing in one sitting. You really hit it.

  14. I’ve found pinto beans to be the best, and here’s another hint, if you get too much liquid, try adding refried beans, the mashing is already done for you…this helps to make your R.B.& R. creamier.

  15. mario judson says:

    Thanks you so much for posting your recipe. It turned out perfectly. The liquid smoke was pure genius. I’ve tried and failed the red beans and rice thing several times. I was amazed at how well this worked out. The texture and creaminess were excellent. To me, it’s even better than Popeye’s! Delicious!
    Thanks again

    • teasphere says:

      I apologize for the slow reply, but I am so glad you and so many enjoyed it! it was a ton of trial and error and I still play with the recipe trying to achieve perfection. If I ever greatly improve on it, I’ll post the update for sure! Thanks again!

  16. cookinchick66 says:

    My wallet AND my tummy say THANK YOU for this recipe!! I’ve been spending gas driving to my local Popeye’s and paying $3.99 for the large order of RB&R, but your recipe is even better, if you ask me!! The liquid smoke gives it just the right flavor. I used garlic powder and healthy dose of kosher salt instead of garlic sale, and it was phenomenal!! TY for posting this!!

    • teasphere says:

      You’re very welcome! I know, until only a year or so ago I had no Popeye’s even within driving distance so I would go insane. Even now it is over an hours drive and it is an expensive addiction. I still work and tweak this recipe, I hope to nail down version 2.0 and post it as soon as I can.

      It is incredibly cheap to make and to adjust to your own tastes. So glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Manda says:

    Made this recipe last night and loved it!!! Thanks so much!!! I’m a big fan of Popeye’s Red Beans & Rice but don’t have Popeye’s around here. This is so good though I won’t miss it! And I didn’t even have the liquid smoke to add and it was still great! Will be trying it out soon with the smoke. Mmmm….looking forward to eating my leftovers….

  18. greysRDbest says:

    This may be an OK recipe….but red beans and rice means REAL red beans and smoked pork in some form (hocks preferably).

  19. MNMIKE says:

    I love Popeyes Red Beans and Rice. Years ago I tried and tried to replicate the taste and was never sucessful, so I gave up. I am glad I found this recipe. It sounds like a winner. After doing some research as a result of Chuck’s comment above, I decided to order the Blue Runner Cream-Style Spicy Red Beans (Pack of 6, 27 ounce cans from Amazon was just over $13!) I will also be getting some smoked ham hocks and will let you know how it turns out. Thanks.

  20. AnnaB says:

    I make this all the time, but the thing that does it for me is a little creole seasoning. Perfect.

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  24. Kletus MC says:

    Wow!! Been looking for recipe that was remotely close to Popeye’s RB&R. This one is it (I think even better). I did add some onions, bit of cumin, and some Tony’s. Thanks for the recipe.

    • teasphere says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful! It can be altered and changed in a number of ways to suit your taste, I was shooting for as close to the original as possible but I have made a bunch of variations. The Tony’s is a good idea and I may have to try that, I have used the sparkle packets from Popeyes before in it even.

  25. Walt says:

    How much water to the Red Beans and Rice when cooking?

    • teasphere says:

      No water at all, just the beans and the liquid from the cans.

      • walt says:

        Thank you, I will make yours and let you know what I think.

        I’ve tried CopyKat’s recipe and it was good on it;s own, but no Popeye’s.

        Let me ask you this I found the list of ingredients that Popeye’s uses but I noticed it has some spices that are not being used?

        Red Beans and Rice

    • teasphere says:

      I can’t reply to your last question, so I’ll put it here. The only thing actually “missing” would be the onion. You can use onion powder or dried onion flakes or even the real thing diced up very small. I’ve tried with and without onion and the overall difference is pretty minor. The garlic, fat, and smoke are more prominent anyhow. By all means experiment, I have made tons of batches, the one I posted just seemed to be the closest and everyone’s favorite.

      • Walt says:

        Not so much the Onion but the ingredients list: SPICES INCLUDING PAPRIKA AND PARSLEY.

        Those are flavorful spices, aren’t they? Would they be noticed if missing?

    • teasphere says:

      Popeyes is a fast food joint so they aren’t using fresh ingredients, dried parsley has essentially no taste so it isn’t a big deal. Paprika is pretty mild you can add it if you’d like with no problems. I find the canned beans have enough sugars without any additional. The whole thing really is about fat, spicy heat, and a hit of garlic and the natural flavor of the beans. Feel free to experiment though.

      • Walt says:

        Do you think there would be a benefit in using “Blue Runner Cream-Style Spicy Red Beans”. Or will any red beans do?

        Also someone suggested in using the spice mix called “Pinto Bean seasoning” that Fiesta spices makes. Or would this just be an other alternative?

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  28. Judypooh says:

    I just made these and they are spot on! I made them from dried beans and I did add some paprika and parsley, but everything else was the same. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  29. […] in Chicago. I tried to duplicate it by following the recipe given by Todd Wilbur, author of Top Secret Recipes. While it’s not exactly the same as Popeye’s, it’s very close and delicious. […]

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  31. OliveDrab says:

    Today, March 16, 2012, I put it to the test.

    I”LL BE DAMNED!!! I didn’t believe it, but it’s true! This is awfully close!

    Wow, teasphere! Quite a palette you got there

    • teasphere says:

      Thanks! It was a labor of love for sure, and I try to use my palate for good outside of tea ;) I’m glad you enjoyed it! I will be posting some other recipes I’ve figured out over time as well since this is so popular.

  32. Reblogged this on Joe Graff's Recipe Blog and commented:
    George made this and said it was awesome. I’ll have to try it myself.

  33. OliveDrab says:

    I think your Copycat Popeyes RB&R recipe is gaining more notoriety, my friend.

    I added a little trinity to your recipe, with half a green pepper chopped, half a medium onion chopped, and sauteed in the butter… then a dasha salt and peppa over my shoulder and a few Creole proverbs.

    Didn’t want to offend some of those cajun purists. Thanks.

  34. OliveDrab says:

    My best buddy, Joseph A Graff blew my cover. LOL! George is aka OliveDrab, by the way.

    • teasphere says:

      haha, no worries! I’m glad so many people have enjoyed it, and it can definitely be altered to suit anyone’s taste. My goal was to reproduce Popeye’s version as close as possible and I don’t think theirs has that level of TLC (or authenticity) involved but I did swipe a few packets of their magic sprinkle seasoning and added it to my beans and it was excellent!

      I’m an Italian guy that mainly cooks Asian food, so I don’t make any claims to Creole roots :)

  35. OliveDrab says:

    Well you’ve got two more Italians and a Peruvian interested. By the way, I forgot to mention, I used Goya SMALL Red beans (Habichuelas Coloradas Pequenas). Thanks again!

  36. OliveDrab says:

    Joe Graff is EYE-TALIAN AS IT GETS! Also lived in Thailand and is BIG on their food!

    My wife is Vietnamese. So you can guess what I eat. Sometime’s need a burger in between pho and summer rolls.

    • teasphere says:

      I’m not sure if you have seen it but a good while back I posted my similar recipe born out of infatuation with a restaurant version of a classic Thai dish, Pad See Ew:

      I’d LOVE any critiques or alternative recipes for this. Thai food completely captivates me in every way. I have spent over 8 years trying to match a yellow curry/Gang Karee dish from a local place called “Thai Place.” I have still never come close to theirs. Bun Bo Hue is another absolute favorite of mine.

  37. […] recipe and changed it. Below is George’s version. The original can be found right here. Thanks to Dominic @ for getting the whole thing […]

  38. Lanie says:

    I’ve always loved Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice, but haven’t had it for a few years (there are none in my state), so I can’t comment if it tastes like theirs or not. But this recipe was delish!! I only had cans of small red beans, but their texture was perfect! Had to add some chicken broth so I could simmer it longer without it drying out. Also used regular salt and garlic powder with a 3 to 1 ratio. Threw in some crumbled bacon and a dash of tabasco for fun. I think the butter is one of the keys here. Thanks for the recipe!

    • teasphere says:

      You are very welcome! I love to hear variations and happy bellies :) My recipe would actually be considered “healthy” compared to the real deal which is way heavy on the fats, and that is definitely key. Through trial and error, and a few arteries I hope I never need, I kept scaling back the butter to the point where it had the flavor and consistency but not way over. I like extra heat in mine too, I usually use red pepper flakes but Tabasco would work as well… and you can never go wrong with bacon!

  39. Jean says:

    I have never been to a popeye’s, but I was looking for a lunch idea, I only added a little creole seasoning instead of the red pepper and tossed in some leftover chicken breast, it was delicious…I will be making this for a family dish soon! Thanks!

  40. Ciara Fan says:

    I just made this recipe with real red beans and it was absolutely delicious. I made 2 pots just experimenting and in one pot, I was against the butter to try and cut the fat but I notcied something was missing out of that pot so I melted some butter in the microwave, added it in and stirred. I let it sit for about 10-15 mins and then tried it and yes, this recipe is SPOT ON!!!

    A few other things I did was sauteed some of that pre cooked bacon along with onions, green bell peppers and a tiny bit of celery and I blended the cooked portions to a pulp and put it in only one pot. I really liked the pot with the added veggies but the other pot is just as good. Your recipe is awesome but for that down home creole taste along with a popeyes kick you can add the sauteed veggies. Either way you will not be disappointed and you will have that popeyes taste. Thank you very much:)!!

  41. Wendy L. Howell says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It is wonderful! I read all the reviews-and incorporated some of their suggestions and wa-la! Perfecto! I used a roasted ham hock, Light red kidney beans, refried beans, Tony’s spice and I only had about a cup of white rice, so I made up a box of Zattarain’s dirty rice-(put hamburger in it), was really good! Will definitely quit looking for a recipe for Popeye’s-becuz this is the one!

  42. Karen Michele Handy says:

    I’m from New Orleans and you have the best knockoff recipe! To use dry red beans try soaking them in very hot water with the lid on, the longer the soak, the quicker and creamier it’ll come out!
    The key also is the liquid smoke since Popeye’s red beans are meatless!
    1lb pk red kidneys
    I onion chopped fine
    3 cloves garlic chopped fine
    1 sm green bell pepper
    (I use celery salt to season)
    and use the same amount of liquid smoke

    Again great job, I’m impressed! B-)

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  44. Love this recipe. I could eat Popeye’s RB&R every day, but it is expensive. I followed this recipe exactly and took the dish to a Mardi Gras themed party. I made both brown and white rice and the guests loved it. It tasted just like Popeye’s. Thanks so much!

  45. Made this several times. It’s always fabulous! Of course I feed a bunch so I use 8 cans of beans and just up the add-ins. Serve it with some smoked sausage and yummalicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe. To the hatahs,,,,,it isn’t titled authentic red beans and rice its a copycat recipe frankly done simply and well,,,,and it works!

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