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Louis Armstrong’s Creole Red Beans And Rice Recipe

Detail of the “Beanmobile” being decorated by the Red Beans Krewe for their Lundi Gras parade.

Raised On Red Beans.

Louis Armstrong loved to eat almost as much as he loved to play. Born in New Orleans, it’s no surprise that his favorite dish was red beans and rice. So important was the iconic meal that he asked his future wife Lucille to prepare it for him before he would propose. Later in life, he would sign his letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours”.

Louis Armstrong’s Recipe for Creole Red Beans And Rice


By – Louis and Lucille Armstrong

  • (Use 2 qt. pot with cover)
  • 1 lb. Kidney Beans
  • 1/2 lb. Salt Pork (Strip of lean, strip of fat)
  • (Slab Bacon may be used if preferred)
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce (if desired)
  • 6 small Ham Hocks or one smoked Pork Butt
  • 2 onions diced
  • 1/4 green (bell) pepper
  • 5 tiny or 2 medium dried peppers
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • Salt to taste


Wash beans thoroughly, then soak overnight in cold water. Be sure to cover beans. To cook, pour water off beans, add fresh water to cover. Add salt pork or bacon, let come to a boil over full flame in covered pot. Turn flame down to slightly higher than low and let cook one and one-half hours. Add diced onions, bell pepper, garlic, dried peppers and salt. Cook three hours. Add tomato sauce, cook one and one-half hours more, adding water whenever necessary. Beans and meat should always be just covered with water (juice), never dry. This serves 6 or more persons…

To prepare with Ham Hocks or Pork Butts….. Wash meat, add water to cover and let come to a boil in covered pot over medium flame. Cook one and one-half hours. Then add beans (pour water off), add rest of ingredients to meat. Cook four and one-half hours. Add water when necessary.


For non pork eaters, chicken fat may be used instead of salt pork. Corned beef or beef tongue may be used instead of ham hocks or butts.


  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • One pot with cover

Wash rice thoroughly, have water and salt come to a boil. Add rice to boiling water. Cook until rice swells and water is almost evaporated. Cover and turn flame down low. Cook until rice is grainy. To insure grainy rice, always use one and one-half cups water to one cup of rice…