Dirty Rice

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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Dirty Rice is a classic Cajun rice dish loaded with flavor from Cajun seasonings, ground meat and the holy trinity of onions, celery and bell peppers! Bonus: you only need one pot!

Looking for more one-pot recipes? Check out my Bacon Corn Chowder, Pulled Pork and Crockpot Pot Roast!

What is Dirty Rice?

This louisiana stable, Dirty Rice, is a rice pilaf style dish. It is traditionally made with finely diced chicken livers, ground sausage, cajun seasonings, and the Cajun holy trinity: onion, green bell pepper and celery. If you aren’t a liver lover, no worries, you can also use a combination of ground beef and pork like I do. 

Dirty Rice is a cajun dish that has been made for ages and is loaded with tons of flavor. It’s an easy, one-pot recipe and is ready from start to finish in just 30 minutes. Dirty Rice may not be the prettiest of dishes, but this warm and comforting (not to mention filling!) dish can be served as a tasty side dish or in a big bowl for dinner! 

Why do they call it Dirty Rice?

Dirty Rice gets the name for two reasons:

  1. First, the brown appearance of the white rice after cooking. It looks, well, dirty! 
  2. Secondly, this dish is traditionally made with minced chicken livers or gizzards. (Don’t worry, the livers are optional!)

Ingredients for dirty rice.

What is the Holy Trinity?

In Cajun cooking, the Holy Trinity refers to a mixture of three ingredients: onion, green bell pepper and celery. It is the base of all important Cajun dishes from gumbo to étouffée. 

In this Dirty Rice recipe, we use the Holy Trinity, along with garlic, thyme and Cajun seasoning to add lots of flavor. 

I don’t like liver! What type of meat can I use?

No worries, my family are not liver fans either, so I use a mixture of ground beef and and ground pork. My family is from Louisiana and this is how we have always made it.

However, if you do like chicken livers, this is a great way to use them. Dice them finely and add them along with the ground beef and pork in the recipe below! 

Ground meat in pot with vegetables.

How to make dirty rice in 3 easy steps!

Dirty Rice is an easy recipe to make in just 30 minutes and it only takes one pot! You gotta love that! 

  1. Brown meat, drain excess grease. Add vegetables and sauté until tender. 
  2. Add in seasonings, rice and chicken broth and bring to a boil. 
  3. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until rice is cooked. Serve!

Rice added to pot of dirty rice.

Cajun Seasoning

Cajun seasoning is an important addition to this recipe, as it is the main spice used. I personally prefer to use Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning (affiliate link) as it’s my families personal favorite. Another great option is Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. 

If you do not have either option on hand, you can try using seasoning salt or even Old Bay seasoning. If you use one of these substitutions, I would recommend tasting the final dish and possibly adding some additional cayenne pepper to bump up the heat.

How to store leftover Dirty Rice

Dirty rice will last for 5 to 6 days in the refrigerator. Make sure to store it in an airtight container.

You can also freeze leftover Dirty Rice for an easy lunch of dinner. For maximum flavor and quality, freeze for no longer than 3 months and ensure you have a freezer friendly container. 

To reheat, microwave in 60 second intervals, stirring often. Or heat on the stove top in a skillet, stirring often, until warmed through.

Up close image of dirty rice in pot.

Tips to make the best Dirty Rice

  • Don’t skimp on the meat! This dish is made to be heavy on the rice and loaded with bites of ground meat. You can use a combination of meats, just make sure you use enough! I recommend 1 pound of meat to each 1.5 cups of white rice.
  • Stir your rice occasionally as it simmers. If you don’t, it can stick to the bottom and burn. 
  • Use a tight fitting lid on top of the pot as the rice simmers. If you don’t, the liquid will evaporate and the rice will not cook through. You will need to add additional chicken broth if this happens. 

Dirty Rice in a white bowl.

I hope you enjoy this Dirty Rice recipe as much as my family does! It’s an extra flavorful dinner that is easy enough to make on a weeknight. As long as you are a fast vegetable chopper, you only need 30 minutes to make this one-pot recipe from start to finish.

Please leave a review or comment below letting me know how this recipe turns out for you!

Dirty Rice in pot
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Dirty Rice

Dirty rice is a classic Cajun rice dish loaded with flavor from Cajun seasonings, ground meat and the holy trinity of onions, celery and bell peppers!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups long grain white rice
  • 24 oz beef broth
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt, to taste
  • green onion, sliced, optional garnish


  • In a large heavy bottomed pot (like a dutch oven), over medium-high heat, cook ground meat until no longer pink. Drain grease.
  • Add in onion, green bell pepper and celery. Cook, stiring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in garlic and Cajun seasoning, cook for 30 seconds. Add rice, chicken broth, and thyme sprigs.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cover pot with tight fitting lid and simmer until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.
  • Taste and add salt or additonal Cajun seasoning, to taste. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Enjoy!


Chicken Livers: Dirty rice is traditionally made with chicken liver. You can add 1/2 cup finely diced chicken livers if you like chicken livers!


Serving: 1, Calories: 592kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 730mg, Potassium: 712mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 772IU, Vitamin C: 36mg, Calcium: 79mg, Iron: 3mg



This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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2 Responses
    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      This question is answered extensively in the post above, but the quick answer is the meat (either ground beef or if more traditional, livers).


I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.