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 65 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


  • 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 65 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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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. I grew up with Dirty Rice being a holiday staple. I’ve only known/enjoyed it with chicken gizzards/liver (although I am NOT a fan of either outside of this recipe, I can’t imagine not having them included). I’ve never tried substituting beef/sausage. However, when taking a weekly shortcut, I do purchase a certain box brand and add hot breakfast sausage to it and it makes for tasty quick fix. I will definitely give it a try! Thanks!

  2. I’ve never had dirty rice before but I’m loving the ingredients in this recipe! I can’t have rice but I’m excited to try it with cauliflower rice! 5 stars

  3. Ooooh, this dirty rice recipe looks DELICIOUS! So hearty and perfect for a dinner side dish. Just thinking of all of the foods I could pair it with!5 stars

  4. I have tried to like any kind of liver in all sorts of recipes, but have yet to find anything that I think is good to the point where I need to eat it again.

    I think THIS recipe might be one where I could eat it. It looks like it blends in with other tasty stuff and I might have to give this one a whirl!5 stars

  5. I had no idea dirty rice was so easy to make! I don’t think I’ve ever had chicken livers, and have no clue if my grocery store even carries it…but I’ll have have to take a look and see if I can find it. Because I’m on a mission to make this5 stars

  6. Dirty Rice is totally new to me, but I’m sure we’ll all love it. Perfect for a family weekday dinner!5 stars

  7. This was truely delicious! 
    I made it for my kids last night and they ate every bit.
    I had ground lamb in the deep freeze so I used that instead of beef. 
    Thank you for the recipe 5 stars

  8. Looks amazing! Not sure about adding the chicken liver, but I’ll give it a try if I can find some. Thanks for this recipe.5 stars

  9. I have never heard of dirty rice before! It looks great and sounds so flavorful, especially with the Cajun seasoning.

  10. We’ve been in the south for 4 years now and I’ve never made Dirty rice! Your dish sounds amazing. Assuming you mean a sweet sausage that’s not in a casing? Love the flavors of this tasty dish! Happy cooking!5 stars

    1. While it’s traditional to use a smoked sausage, I love the flavor that ground sausage adds. Yes, this would be without casing.

  11. This dirty rice is making me hungry! Your recipe reminded me of a co-worker from New Orleans who would bring in dirty rice every now and then and fill the office with such enticing aromas!5 stars

  12. I am always looking for new rice recipes to try. This dirty rice recipe looks amazing. I’ve never had it with chicken livers so I will give your recipe a try. I can tell it has so much flavor. 5 stars

  13. Love the sound of this, it sounds so homely and tasty. Very different to the European centric food i grew up with.5 stars

  14. the ingredient are quite similar to the fried rice I often make.
    I think I’m gonna give it a try for a different taste :P

  15. Yum! I’ve never heard of dirty rice before but looks like a spicy cajun version of fried rice and I love it!5 stars

  16. This looks like the perfect meal to make ahead and then use for leftovers in a busy week. Looks very tasty.5 stars