Charleston Red Rice Recipe (2024)



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For people who can't eat bacon...consider smoking tomatoes next summer on the grill and preserving them. I do this with onions, garlic, and peppers as well. Adds great smoky flavor to dishes that rely on bacon to get that note (I also love bacon, but like to have alternatives from time to time).


A vegetarian version: vegetable oil, a teaspoon of fresh lime juice, a pinch of dry thyme or rosemary, and sea salt, perhaps a little sugar, to suggest the aromatic ham/bacon fat-and-salt flavor. Smoked paprika, chopped onion, garlic, and oregano for the "Cajun spice" flavor without having to run out and buy yet another mixed spice. Red hot pepper, fresh, flaked, sauce, or powered, to taste. Good with plain sides: beans (black-eye, kidney, pinto) and greens, raw or cooked.


a follow-up:This time, used a large enameled iron pot (vintage Dansk Kobenstyle) on the stovetop, then covered it and put it in the oven.Results were amazing, with about 45 minutes of oven time. A beautiful, rich crust formed on the bottom and up the sides. The flavor is fantastic (used andouille sausages again), rice cooked perfectly. WIll do it this way from here on out.


Try butter and smoked paprika.


I once worked at a boujie vegetarian restaurant, we smoked portabella mushrooms for a bacon substitute. People practically walked out angrily claiming we had used bacon. You could freeze them and use for flavoring dishes.


Why not just transfer the skillet into the oven?


I used brown rice and needed an extra half cup of water and longer cooking time

Patricia Carrillo

Grew up in the 1950s eating this low country dish. This recipe is right on target and collards make the perfect side. Out of necessity, my mother simmered the rice on the stovetop as it was a year round favorite and in the long Southern summer before air-conditioning it was too hot to use the oven. And one little picky detail...I was raised in Savannah, Georgia, where this dish is called Savannah red rice. :) Whatever the name, it is delicious.


Try fire roasted canned tomatoes instead of bacon.


I plan to make this with tempeh bacon, which is so good and doesn’t have a gross “fake meat” texture, and vegetable broth. I try to eat mainly plant-based and this recipe seems easily veganized. I can’t wait to try it!


What can you use as a substitute for bacon if you don’t eat pork? I feel like turkey bacon would just be a disappointment.


For my second time making this I used a pressure cooker on the rice setting as I didn’t want to turn on the oven. Added andouille, garlic, jalapeño, cut up chicken and increased the stock to 3c, as well as increasing hot sauce to 3T. The texture was different than when baked, but equally yummy.


I could see nestling seared pork chops (in place of bacon) in the rice before baking

Steve Patrick

I just had Turkey bacon this past weekend. Why do you feel like it would just be a disappointment? It was pretty darned good. Really, bacon is just the flavor and fat. You get the same things with turkey bacon. I have made eggplant bacon for BLTs that were fantastic. Smoke and maple and something salty like soy sauce. Perfect.


Duck fat is a splendid bacon replacement. Or beef leaf lard.

Elizabeth Orr

My mother's ancient S.C. version is way better, done in 1 huge pot. NO "Cajun" seasoning, as this is an African > Gullah dish. Worcestershire sauce + stewed toms, less bacon- and it's cooked raw, not crumbled- less rice; they didn't have garlic in Africa, for heaven's sake [ but I do love it]. Best w fish and cole slaw.


It calls for tomato purée (not paste)….so I used polpa, but the tomato flavor is a bit light and I’m wondering if I should have used paste (14 oz seems like a lot tho). What did other people use?


This did not work out for me, but was delicious with andouille sausage. I used my staub dutch oven and it was way too wet and mushy. I did add 1/2 c of stock because it looked dry but maybe this added too much liquid


As a native Charlestonian I can tell you this is spot on. I made the recipe exactly as written and the results transported me back to my childhood when my grandmother cooked red rice on Sunday.Thank you!!!


I grew up in the Lowcountry eating red rice almost every Sunday, and this is a good recipe to follow. I do add a whole small can of tomato paste to increase the richness and tomato flavor.


Tasty and spicy. As there are two of us, I added only 1-1/4 cup of rice, another celery stalk and still added a little more stock at 30 minutes. Served with andouille sausage. Will have enough for three more meals!


Used red bell peppers and a bit more sugar--brown sugar. Everyone loves it!

C. Dunn

needs way more liquid. Otherwise crunchy.

William Robertson

Possibly the biggest surprise hit of the year so far. Everyone loved it and the leftovers were delicious on their own for lunch. In fact, with some additional protein thrown in, this would be a great midweek supper dish.

Bill S.

I had to keep adding liquid and keep cooking - and still some of the rice grains were hard. I am contemplating using converted rice next time - to give the rice a little head start. Has any one tried this? Or perhaps could offer some advice? Thanks

Laurel in OR

Great dish for a crowd. Two of us liked it while one heat-shy diner thought it a bit spicy although I cut the hot sauce to .5 Tbsp and used only a whisper of cayenne. Used one pot, a Lodge cast iron Dutch oven for one pan convenience. After stovetop simmer, it was done in 30 in my convection oven. Definitely repeatable when I have a larger number to serve.

Cynthia Paschen

I made this and used three links of Andouille sausage, and diced tomatoes. It was lovely, next time I will make sure my vegetable stock hasn't been sitting in the fridge for too long. Rookie mistake. Will make it again with a fresh box of veg stock, or better yet, homemade stock from my freezer. Thanks for the recipe.

Name Pam

Used an electric skillet cooked bacon etc no transferring to oven just cooked with rice at 350. Worked great. The simpler, faster less dishes is the way to go for me. Delicious. Btw Carolina rice not available here just used long grain.

Patricia Riley

I followed the recipe exactly as printed and I love this recipe. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, from 1970-1973. This recipe reminded me of Senegal's national dish - "cheb-o-jen" (minus the fish which is cooked alongside this meal and placed in the middle of the rice). This is a favorite dish of the Wolof. The Carolina gold rice had that nutty flavor that I loved so much when I lived in Senegal and the seasoning was perfect.


Made this exactly as written but added a little pork sausage with the bacon. I cooked it all in a deep iron skillet. No transferring to another baking dish. It made a lovely crust and was very good. I'll be making this again

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Charleston Red Rice Recipe (2024)


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