Classic Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe

Cajun dirty rice recipe

The Spruce / Nita West

  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 75 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
559 Calories
27g Fat
34g Carbs
42g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 559
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 135mg 45%
Sodium 1349mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Protein 42g
Calcium 92mg 7%
*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 (sometimes simply called Cajun rice) 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; try serving a fresh green salad or mustard coleslaw on the side.

This version is made with ground pork or ground sausage, but feel free to substitute ground chicken, turkey, or ground beef for the pork. Long-grained white rice is traditional and is used in this recipe. If you use brown rice or wild rice, the cook time will increase greatly. Serve with extra hot sauce for spice lovers.

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 onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper (chopped, or a combination of red and green)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 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 / Nita West
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the chicken or beef broth to a boil.

    Bring chicken broth to boil
    The Spruce / Nita West
  3. Add the chicken gizzards to the broth and reduce heat to low; simmer the gizzards for 30 minutes.

    Add chicken gizzards to the broth
    The Spruce / Nita West
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon and grind them or chop them very finely. Reserve the broth.

    Ground gizzards in a bowl
    The Spruce / Nita West
  5. Add the drippings or oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter to a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole over medium heat. When 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 / Nita West
  6. Cook, stirring frequently until browned.

    Cooking the meat in a Dutch oven
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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—about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Adding the vegetables
    The Spruce / Nita West
  8. Add the rice and reserved broth and then quickly bring to a boil. Preheat the oven to 250 F.

    Adding the rice and reserved broth
    The Spruce / Nita West
  9. Stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

    Simmering until rice is tender
    The Spruce / Nita West
  10. Sauté minced chicken livers in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter for 3 minutes.

    Sauté chicken livers
    The Spruce / Nita West
  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
    The Spruce / Nita West
  12. Cover the pan or casserole and place it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

    Covering the Cajun dirty rice before placing it in the oven
    The Spruce / Nita West
  13. Fluff with a fork.

    Fluffing the Cajun dirty rice with a fork
    The Spruce / Nita West
  14. Serve and enjoy.

    Serve the Cajun dirty rice
    The Spruce / Nita West

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the ground pork with ground sausage, ground beef, or ground turkey 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.