Dirty rice is a southern comfort food staple and it’s easy to see why!

Tender meat is browned and sauteed with onions, peppers, and celery then finished off with fluffy rice and flavorful cajun seasoning to give you a complete meal!

Dirty Rice in a bowl

What is Dirty Rice

I love all kinds of Cajun food from cajun chicken and shrimp to gumbo; I just can’t get enough of it! This Dirty Rice is just one more favorite among my collection!

Regardless of where you’re from, rice (especially in a rice casserole)  is truly such a comforting dish! Dirty rice is New Orleans staple and a simple dish combining beef, sausage and minced chicken liver along with peppers and onions.  It’s all seasoned with our favorite Cajun Seasoning and rice cooked to tender perfection.

Some dirty rice recipes use different things like carrots, potatoes, or mushrooms but I really prefer this dish to just be prepared simply with traditional ingredients. If you’d like, you can add whatever veggies you have handy to this recipe!

Dirty Rice in a pot with green onions

How to Make Dirty Rice

Dirty rice, filthy rice – whatever you want to call it –  is actually made with white rice, but it gets its dirty color from the spices and meat added to the dish! This dirty rice recipe uses a deliciously spiced homemade cajun seasoning. I find that homemade has so much flavor (and much less salt) but store bought will work too!

In this version of dirty rice, I use a combination of lean ground beef, sausage and minced chicken livers. If you’ve never had chicken liver before, this is the perfect time to try it.They’re minced quite small and combined with so many amazing flavors.  While they don’t stand out, they definitely add some richness to the dish (plus they’re a traditional ingredient). If you really can’t/won’t eat chicken livers, you can leave them out but it’s worth trying!

Dirty Rice in a bowl with green onion

While it’s traditional to use a smoked sausage (or ground pork) with the chicken livers, I love the flavor that ground sausage adds.  Feel free to use sliced smoked sausage if you prefer!

To make easy work of mincing the chicken livers, freeze them for about 20-30 minutes before chopping! This makes the task a breeze.

Dirty Rice in a pot with a spoon

I start by browning all of the meat together until no pink remains.  Once browned drain the fat and soften the veggies.  Finally I add raw rice and broth and allow the flavors to cook right into the rice. If you want to substitute white rice for any other type, just make sure you adjust the simmering time accordingly so it gets the chance to cook properly!

The beautiful thing about dirty rice is that it’s a one pot meal, which means less dishes on a busy weeknight!

While dirty rice is a perfect complete meal on it’s own, we sometimes serve it as a side.  If we’re eating it as a main dish, a side of greens or another freshly steamed veggie and some cornbread makes for the perfect meal!

Dirty Rice in a bowl with green onion
5 from 73 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Dirty Rice

Tender seasoned rice mixed with lean beef, pork sausage and chicken livers for the perfect easy one pan meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces bulk sausage
  • ½ cup chicken liver minced, optional
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups white rice uncooked
  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth I use low sodium
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • green onion for garnish


  • Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan.
  • Add beef, sausage and chicken liver (if using). Cook until no pink remains.
  • Add onion, garlic, green pepper, celery and Cajun seasoning. Stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add rice, broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered about 20-23 minutes or until rice is cooked.
  • Garnish with green onions and serve.



Freeze your chicken livers for about 20-30 minutes to allow for easy mincing.
5 from 73 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 435 | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 425mg | Potassium: 525mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1245IU | Vitamin C: 28.8mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2.8mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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Dirty Rice in a bowl with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. The rice was still soupy after 25 minutes of cooking, so maybe next time I would use 1/4 – 1/2 cup less broth. When I first tasted I thought ‘meh’, but I had used chorizo for my sausage and the rice was too spicy for my company, so I carried on with the eating. Later on, I realized I had eaten the whole pot over the course of the day, and I enjoyed every bite. Great recipe Holly!5 stars

  2. Love all of the Spend with Pennies site!!! This dirty rice is always perfect. I sometimes use hot Italian sausage in the recipe. Very forgiving! Thank you so very much for your delightful recipes!!!5 stars

  3. this recipe is really good. skipped the liver and added a little extra beef and sausage. used the Cajun seasoning recipe as well. five stars!!5 stars