This Cajun Dirty Rice recipe is my spin on traditional Cajun rice dish. Serve it as a kicked-up side dish any day of the week with hot sauce on the side.
Easy Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe
What is dirty rice? Cajun rice or dirty rice is a traditional Cajun seasoned rice pilaf and a beloved Louisiana classic. Traditional dirty rice uses chopped chicken livers which gives it a distinctive flavor and a dark color dubbing it dirty rice. It typically starts with a trinity of diced bell pepper, celery and onion but as with any recipe, variations always depend on the cooks preference. I developed this version to suit my family's taste and it's a regular rotation on our menu now.
How to Make the Best Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe
Dirty rice is hearty enough to serve as a main dish, if you're so inclined but most often it's served as a side dish.
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Cajun Dirty Rice: Long grain rice, breakfast sausage, chicken livers, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun or Creole seasoning, bay leaves, chopped parsley, salt and black pepper, chicken stock plus hot sauce for serving.
- Kitchen tools you'll need: A large skillet, measuring cups and spoon, sharp knife and cutting board, large spoon for stirring.
- What kind of sausage do you use for dirty rice? This recipe utilizes breakfast sausage. I like Jimmy Dean brand but you can certainly use your favorite brand with excellent results. You can also use andouille sausage for even more kick.
- Are chicken livers part of dirty rice recipes? Absolutely, it's traditionally part of most dirty rice recipes. Four ounces of chopped chicken livers are added to the skillet to be cooked along with the sausage. You could omit them if you're not a fan, no other adaptations needed, just proceed with the recipe as written.
- What rice is the best to make dirty rice? I recommend using a long grain rice such as Uncle Ben's or a private label brand that you enjoy. It tends to absorb the flavors well and hold up to the cooking process.
- Can I adapt this recipe using cauliflower rice? I'm certain you could, yes. See how to make Cauliflower Rice here.
- What entrées can I serve with Cajun Dirty Rice? I love serving Cajun Dirty Rice with chicken, pork or steak. It goes well with either Sticky Maple Barbecue Chicken or Grilled Sweet and Spicy Chicken Kabobs. It also goes well with Breaded Chicken Tenders or Pork Tenderloin rubbed with a sweet bourbon seasoning.
- You could also serve this rice with Crispy Chicken Sandwiches, Buttermilk Fried Chicken or even a bowl of Pinto Beans.
More Southern Style Rice Dishes to Add to the Menu
Rice is an inexpensive ingredient that can be used in a myriad of ways to amp up a recipe. It's also helpful for adding bulk and stretching the amount of servings. Other popular Southern rice recipes you may also enjoy from the MSSK recipe index:
- Creole Andouille Rice Brunch Bake can be served at any meal.
- Teriyaki Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms and Peas is a spectacular side dish option for chicken, steak, pork or seafood.
- Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf is a fantastic side dish for holiday turkey or chicken year-round.
- Italian Rice Pilaf is a riff on dirty rice with Italian flavors.
- I show you how to make rice in the oven with this Oven Baked Rice recipe.
- One Skillet Beef Meatballs and Rice with Peas from The Food Charlatan
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Cajun Dirty Rice
Servings: 8 servings
- 1 lb bulk breakfast sausage [*see cook's note]
- 4 oz chicken livers, chopped
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 small green bell pepper diced
- 1 small red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium sweet onion diced
- 1 rib celery diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- salt & black pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cups long grain rice [such as Uncle Ben's Converted Rice]
- 5 cups low sodium chicken stock or water
- 2 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning adjust to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro
- In a large stovetop skillet or saucepan, over medium-high heat, sauté the sausage until no pink remains. Drain excess fat reserving 3 tablespoon in the pan. (If using chicken livers, cook along with sausage.)
- Deglaze the pan with Worcestershire sauce scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the diced veggies and garlic. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes until the veggies begin to soften and brown.
- Add the rice. Stir the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes until it begins to brown.
- Add the chicken stock, creole seasoning and bay leaves. Lower the temperature and simmer over medium-low heat covered for 25 minutes.
- Cook until the rice is fully tender and the broth has been absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Keep covered and warm until serving.
Chicken livers are a traditional ingredient in dirty rice recipes. If you're not a fan, they can be omitted then proceed with the recipe as written.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 492mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!
Love this recipe! I added liquid smoke instead of W.
Is there a reason to use 5 cups of broth to 1.5 c rice instead of the typical 2:1 water to rice ratio (which would make this 3 cups broth to 1.5 c rice)? I’m planning to make this tonight and I don’t expect a reply before then, but think I’ll start with the normal ratio and go from there if I need it. But I am genuinely curious if there’s a reason. Thank you!
Yes, there is a reason. The ratio you're referring to is when cooking rice alone. There are many other components to this recipe apart from rice.
Great recipe and delicious
This was sooo delicious. My picky eaters loved it!!!
Thanks so much!
This was amazing will definitely make this again this is a must try
Thanks so much!
Made this with turkey sausage and it was delicious!
We have made this several time and love the flavor but the rice turns out sticky. Any tips to avoid this?
Use a good long grain brand of rice. All rice isn't equal so, that's key.
I tried this last week, soo delicious! One recommendation to add the veggies at the end, when there was about 10 min left otherwise they become too soft.
Glad you enjoyed!
Dirty Rice was always a favorite in Culinary School.. Any time we made it we had to take a plate out to the receptionist or suffer her wrath. :-).
How funny, I share her love of dirty rice.
I tried this dish on Monday and my family loved it, the flavor is amazing! The only substitution I made was, I used beef broth instead of chicken. Going in my dinner rotation, thanks!
Wonderful, thank you for taking the time to let me know.
Hi Anita, that sounds delightful! Great question, sometimes dishes that use cream soups need the baking process to develop the flavor. Sounds like a great experiment. ☺
Pam Abshire G.
We actually have a quick & easy recipe that calls for cream soup that is baked in the oven.
Anita M Butler
This gives me an idea. We have a family favorite we call Chinese Casserole. It is raw rice, ground turkey, onion, carrots, brown sugar and cream of mushroom, soy sauce, & water that is baked for an hour at 350. I'm wondering if using your skillet method might work just ask well and be quicker.
You don't have to use chicken livers at all. If you'd like to lighten up the dish use ground turkey or chicken sausage instead. You could also use ground beef.
I was going to post that you can use ground meat. I'm Cajun and this recipe is the closest I've seen that is spot on to our dirty rice!
I consider that high praise Colleen, thanks so much!
What can be substituted for the sausage and chicken liver?
That's cool Linda, let me know when you get a chance to make it. 🙂
Wow, I've never had dirty rice. And I do like chicken livers! Will give this a try, thanks Melissa:)