Classic Cajun Dirty Rice

Classic Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
338 Calories
18g Fat
12g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 338
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 362mg 121%
Sodium 832mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 22mg 111%
Calcium 40mg 3%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 415mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Dirty rice is a classic Cajun dish that is typically made with chicken livers and/or gizzards and ground meat. The variety of meats and spices give the rice its signature "dirty" look, hence the name. It's a flavorful dish that needs little accompaniment. And while you may have seen this particular kind of meal in a box, there's nothing like making dirty rice from scratch.

This dirty rice recipe is made with ground pork or ground sausage, but feel free to substitute ground chicken, turkey, or ground beef. Long-grain white rice is traditional and is used in this version here, but if you prefer to use brown rice or wild rice, keep in mind that the cooking time will increase greatly.

Serve the dirty rice (sometimes simply called Cajun rice) with extra hot sauce for spice lovers, and perhaps a fresh green salad, collard greens, or mustard coleslaw on the side.

1:53

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"Deep, flavorful dirty rice. A great accompaniment to seafood gumbo." —Renae Wilson

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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or beef broth)

  • 3/4 pound chicken gizzards

  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings (or oil)

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 1/2 pound ground pork (or pork sausage)

  • 1/2 cup chopped onions

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (or a combination of red and green)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or a dash of Tabasco sauce)

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

  • 1/2 pound chicken livers, minced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Cajun dirty rice

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the chicken broth to a boil.

    Bring chicken broth to boil in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the chicken gizzards to the broth and reduce the heat to low; simmer for 30 minutes.

    Add chicken gizzards to the broth in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Remove the gizzards with a slotted spoon and grind or chop them very finely. Reserve the broth.

    Ground gizzards in a bowl and broth in a measuring cup

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the bacon drippings or oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter to a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium heat. Once the oil and butter mixture is hot, add the ground pork and ground or chopped gizzards.

    Adding pork and gizzards to a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Cook, stirring frequently until browned.

    Cooking the meat in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Lower the heat. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Stir and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

    Add vegetables to the meat cooking in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Add the rice and reserved broth and then quickly bring to a boil. Heat the oven to 250 F.

    Rice, broth, meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

    Simmering the mixture in the Dutch oven until rice is tender

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and sauté the minced chicken livers for 3 minutes.

    Sauté chicken livers in a pan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  11. Toss the minced chicken livers with the rice, taste for seasoning, and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed.

    Toss minced chicken livers with the rice mixture in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  12. Cover the pan and place it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

    Covered Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  13. Fluff with a fork. Serve and enjoy.

    Fluff the Cajun dirty rice with a fork

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the ground pork with ground sausage, ground beef, or ground turkey or chicken thighs.
  • Omit the gizzards and increase the ground pork or sausage to 1 pound and the chicken livers to 3/4 to 1 pound. 
  • Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley to the finished dish.

How to Store and Freeze Classic Cajun Dirty Rice

Dirty rice will keep in the fridge for three to four days. Whereas regular plain rice tends to freeze fairly well, cooked rice dishes such as dirty rice tend to become mushy when reheated after being frozen.