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Cajun Dirty Rice

This Cajun Dirty Rice, also known as rice dressing, is the best homemade from-scratch recipe. The dish features classic Louisiana Creole and Cajun Holy Trinity ingredients and only the best spices for optimal flavor.

Cajun dirty rice in a black bowl

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No need to pull up on Pappadeaux or Zatarain’s! Make your own rice at home. This recipe will take you back to the Nola.

Why it’s Called Dirty Rice

Dirty rice is a traditional Southern Louisiana Creole or Cajun dish. It’s made with white rice that turns brown “dirty” in color because it’s cooked with browned meat. It’s always prepared with spices and the Holy trinity ingredients.

What Type of Meat to Use

Most traditional dirty rice is made using chicken livers or giblets. Feel free to use them if you wish! My family loves to use ground beef and andouille sausage. You can use whatever you wish including ground pork, ground chicken, or ground turkey.

Smoked andouille sausage has so much flavor and is used throughout a lot of Cajun and Louisiana-based cuisine.

raw ground beef and andouille sausage in glass bowls

Is it Spicy?

In general, Cajun rubs are known for being a seasoning with bold flavor. The spice with the most heat in this recipe is cayenne. Add more or less of it to suit your taste. I have often found some Cajun seasoning and dishes to be spicy hot, while others are mild.

Spices and Herbs

Feel free to use a store-bought Cajun seasoning if that’s your wish. I like to use my Homemade New Orleans Cajun Rub recipe.

You will need the following for the recipe

If you’re someone who cooks a lot you likely have all of the spices you will need in your pantry, but maybe not white pepper. White pepper is commonly used in French and Cajun cuisine and actually comes from the same plant as black pepper, but the difference between them comes down to how they’re picked and processed.

Both white and black pepper comes from the berries of the pepper plant. White pepper comes from the berries that are picked at full ripeness. The berries are then soaked in water to ferment and the outer layer is removed leaving only the inner seed. Removing the skin removes some of the flavor making it milder than black pepper.

broth, flour, spices, and garlic in separate bowls

What Type of Rice to Use

I recommend long-grain rice (jasmine or basmati) because long-grain is produces firm grains that stay fluffy after it’s cooked. The rice is slim and long and nearly four to five times longer than it is wide. You can read more about long-grain rice here.

Long-grain rice is much different than something like Minute Rice which is already cooked and processed.

uncooked white rice in a pot
cooked white rice in a wooden spoon

Holy Trinity Ingredients

The Holy Trinity vegetables include onions, bell peppers, and celery. You will always find this combination of vegetables in dishes like gumbo, Shrimp Étouffée, dirty rice, and jambalaya.

chopped celery, green peppers, and onions in separate bowls

How to Make Cajun Dirty Rice

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Add ground beef to a skillet or pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Break down the beef and add in the sausage pieces and season the meat with the Cajun spices and tarragon.
  3. Cook the meat for 4-5 minutes or until the meat has browned.
  4. Add in garlic, green peppers, onions and celery. Stir and cook until the onions and garlic are fragrant.
  5. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the meat is fully coated with flour.
  6. Pour in broth.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bay leaf. Simmer.
  8. Fold in the cooked rice.
collage photo of 4 photos with ground beef, sausage, and vegetables in a skillet
Cajun dirty rice in a cast iron skillet

The Difference Between Dirty Rice and Jambalaya

Jambalaya is typically made with sausage, chicken, and seafood. Dirty rice is usually made with chicken liver, giblets, and/or ground meat. Jambalaya reminds me somewhat of Spanish paella.

ground beef, sausage, and Holy trinity vegetables in a cast iron skillet

What to Pair with the Rice

When prepped for dinner, we eat this as the main dish! During the holidays is used as a side dish among a huge spread of food. The dish will pair wonderfully with Southern Homemade Cornbread and Air Fryer Garlic Bread.

How to Store Leftovers

The dish will last for 3-4 days tightly covered and sealed in the fridge.

How to Reheat

Reheat the dish on the stove or in the air fryer or oven on 350 degrees until warm.

Cajun dirty rice in a cast iron skillet
Cajun dirty rice in a cast iron skillet

Freezer Tips

You can freeze the rice for up to 6 months. I find the best results in under 3 months.

More Cajun Recipes

Instant Pot Gumbo
Slow Cooker Gumbo
Cajun Shrimp and Grits
Cajun Chicken Wings
Shrimp Étouffée Recipe
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Southern Chicken Spaghetti

Cajun dirty rice in a cast iron skillet

Pair this with Steakhouse Creamed Spinach.

Cajun dirty rice in a black bowl
Print Pin
5 from 9 votes

Cajun Dirty Rice

This Cajun Dirty Rice, also known as rice dressing, is the best homemade from-scratch recipe. The dish features classic Louisiana Creole and Cajun Holy Trinity ingredients and only the best spices for optimal flavor.
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Cajun, Southern
Keyword Cajun dirty rice, dirty rice recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 407kcal

Ingredients

Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups extra long-grain white rice Rinsed.
  • 1 3/4 cups water

Stovetop Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups extra long-grain white rice Rinsed.
  • 2 1/4 cups water

Dirty Rice

  • 6 oz andouille sausage Sliced into small pieces. You can substitute ground sausage, pork, turkey sausage, etc.
  • 1 pound ground beef Substitute if preferred.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon Optional. See notes.
  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2-3 garlic cloves Minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups broth Chicken, vegetable, etc.
  • 1 bay leaf

Spices You can use any Cajun rub if you don't prefer homemade.

Instructions

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Rice

  • Add all of the ingredients to the Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
  • Seal and cook for 3 minutes on Manual Pressure Cooking.
  • When the pot indicates it has finished, allow steam to release naturally for 10 minutes. Press the steam release and remove the lid.

Stovetop Rice

  • Add the water to a pot and bring it to a boil. Add the rice. Stir and return to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the rice is soft and fluffy.

Dirty Rice

  • Add the ground beef to a skillet or pot on medium-high heat. I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet.
  • Break down the beef with a meat chopper. Add in the sausage pieces and season the meat with the Cajun spices and tarragon.
  • Cook the meat for 4-5 minutes or until the meat has browned. Drain any excess fat from the meat if necessary.
  • Add in the garlic, green peppers, onions and celery. Stir and cook until the onions and garlic are fragrant.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the meat is fully coated with flour.
  • Pour in the broth and add the broth to the skillet or pot. Use a wooden or silicone spoon and deglaze the bottom of the pot to scoop up any brown bits on the pot. These bits are loaded with flavor.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the bay leaf. Cover the pan and simmer the dish for 7-10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and remove the bay leaf. Fold in the cooked rice. You want to fold the rice in as opposed to stirring it. This may result in mushy rice. Folding means use a spoon to lift the two mixtures together, turn them over so they combine.
  • Cool before serving.

Notes

  • Most traditional dirty rice is made using chicken livers or giblets. Feel free to use them if you wish!
  • You can substitute any meat you wish in the recipe: ground sausage, ground pork, ground turkey, ground chicken, etc.
  • I love the andouille chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s. It’s lower in fat and calories.
  • Tarragon is similar in taste to fresh basil, dill, or oregano in terms of substitution. It’s an optional ingredient, but one we always include in our dirty rice.
  • Broth is used so the rice isn’t dry and has flavor. The flour is used to thicken and keep the rice from being watery due to the broth.
  • If your dish is too watery, use more flour. If your dish is too dry, use more broth.
  • The type of rice you use will influence the texture of the dish. Long grain rice that isn’t processed and pre cooked (Minute Rice) works best.
  • Omit the cayenne pepper if you don’t want spicy.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 15g
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Recipe Rating




Nek C

Wednesday 16th of November 2022

A ton of options on making this rice, but the recipe is perfect as is. It’s a simple, flavorful recipe. Pretty hard to mess it up.

staysnatched

Wednesday 16th of November 2022

I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

K. Phillips

Sunday 30th of October 2022

Delicious! The seasonings are spot on! It's easy enough to make on a week night but I paired it with roasted chicken (using Stay Snatched spatchcock method) and had a proper Southern Sunday supper.

staysnatched

Monday 31st of October 2022

So glad to hear it!

Ashley

Friday 28th of October 2022

This dirty rice recipe is so good! I knew it was going to be fire when I went to remove the bay leaf! Brandi never disappoints!

staysnatched

Saturday 29th of October 2022

Im so glad you tried it!

Stephanie

Thursday 20th of October 2022

This recipe was AMAZING. I doubled the recipe and thank goodness… everyone inhaled this dish and I have plenty to share with a neighbor who recently lost his wife. The recipe directions were very clear and easy to follow. I will be making this again. I made it with a side of beer bread but the main dish stole the show!

staysnatched

Thursday 20th of October 2022

I’m glad everyone loved it!

Erica

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

I knew as soon as I saw this recipe that it was going to be on our table this week! It did not disappoint! Warm and satisfying, comfort food at its finest. I made some cheddar baked biscuits to go along with it and our family loved it! Definitely will be on repeat at our house!

staysnatched

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

Wonderful! I'm glad you enjoyed it.