He was born in 1806 on his father’s plantation, located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 1830, he entered the Central School of Betting where he studied the various methods of evaporation. Returning to New Orleans, he used his gains to make the work of the slaves who made cane sugar less restrictive, the latter having to handle boiling cane sugar from one vat to another without protection, in order to obtain brown sugar. He later developed a sugar refining process, consisting of the crystallization of sugar by steam (reduced time, cost and risk of accidents for staff) His sugar refining process was honored by the National Historic Chemical Landmarks in 2002. Two years later, Rillieux was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.