Look no further for a super delicious but still Easy Cajun Dirty Rice! For this recipe, you only need to sauté ground beef and sausage with the holy trinity, then add in rice, broth, and spicy seasonings. For Mardi Gras or your next Louisiana-style celebration, skip the store-bought Zatarain’s package and opt for this authentic homemade version instead.

Two bowls with Cajun rice simmered on the stove top.

Cajun Dirty Rice Recipe

For those that know me, or know the site, you’re probably aware that I’m not just a little… but a LOTTA bit Cajun.

From the groove in my soul when a tune comes on, to the flavor my taste buds demand. (Like with this Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp and Grits, and Red Beans and Rice!)

Growing up in Southeast Texas, with extended family still living just outside of New Orleans, will do that to you.

And there is nothing more well-known in Cajun cooking than a big bowl of dirty rice.

While most classic recipes are made with chicken livers (eek!), this one is made more simply with a combination of ground beef and sausage.

When Mardi Gras rolls around, who needs Zatarain’s when you can make your own easy dinner?! Homemade is SO much better, anyway.

But I’ll let you in on a secret… you can enjoy this one-pot meal any time of the year since it’s so quick and easy to make!

Rice, pork, beef, seasonings, onion, pepper, celery, and broth are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

To make this homemade Cajun rice recipe you need these simple ingredients:

  • Oil. Both avocado and olive oil are used. However, you can use all of one or the other if needed.
  • Ground beef. Look for a leaner variety, preferably 85/15 or 90/10. You want a little bit of fat, but too much will leave this rice runny.
  • Ground pork. The best option is a breakfast-type of pork sausage.
  • Holy trinity. A flavorful and authentic mix of diced onion, green pepper, and celery is essential for this recipe. You can use another color bell pepper if needed.
  • Garlic. Fresh minced garlic adds a depth of flavor you don’t want to miss out on.
  • Rice. Long-grain white rice is best. Be sure to thoroughly rinse it to remove excess starch. Do not use brown rice, as the liquid proportions won’t line up.
  • Broth. While beef broth was originally used, you can opt for chicken or vegetable broth if needed.
  • Cajun seasoning. You can either buy a jar at the grocery store or make your own to add Cajun flavor to this dish! Blackened seasoning may also work but will give it a slightly different taste.

How to Make Dirty Rice

The basic steps for making this authentic, easy dirty rice recipe are simple to follow:

Prep the Veggies

The secret to the rich flavor of any authentic Cajun dish is the holy trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery.

Use a sharp knife and a cutting board to dice each of the vegetables into very small pieces.

Green bell pepper, celery, and onion are diced.

Cook the Meat

Add 1 tablespoon of oil along with the beef and pork to a large Dutch oven or large skillet with a lid. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes over medium or medium-high heat.

While it’s heating, use a potato or meat masher to break it apart into small crumbles.

Once the ground meat is cooked through and no longer pink, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pot. Drain it on a paper towel-lined plate.

If there are less than about 2 tablespoons of grease left in the bottom of the pot, add extra oil to the pot.

Sauté the Veggies

Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to the Dutch oven or pot you cooked the meat in. Sauté the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent.

Toss in the minced garlic and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. You will smell the garlic at this point.

Add the Rice

Pour the uncooked rice into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse it under cool, running water for a couple of minutes. You want the water to run clear. This step removes the excess starch so the rice will not be clumpy.

Add the rice to the pot as well as the broth, seasoning, salt, chopped parsley, and browned meat. Give the mixture a good stir.

Turn the heat to high until the liquid is boiling. Then, reduce the heat to low and tightly cover the pot or Dutch oven.

Simmer the rice for 22 to 24 minutes. When the time is up, remove the lid. Let the rice sit for another 10 minutes before you stir.

To serve, top with fresh chopped green onions or finely chopped fresh parsley.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can dice the vegetables up to 2-3 days before making this dish.
  • How to store: Leftover dirty rice can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • How to freeze: Dirty rice can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3-4 months. For easy serving, you can freeze individual portions, as well.
  • How to reheat: It is recommended to reheat this dirty rice in a skillet on the stove top over medium-low heat until warmed through, but reheating in the microwave will suffice as well.

Why is dirty rice dirty?

Traditionally, dirty rice is associated with Creole or Cajun cuisine from Louisiana. It gets the dirty name because of its brown color from the meat and seasonings used. This wonderfully spicy yet earthy dish is enjoyed by many throughout the country, not just in southern Louisiana.

What’s the difference between dirty rice and jambalaya?

While many people get dirty rice and jambalaya mixed up, they are quite different. While both Creole dishes are delicious, dirty rice is made with ground or diced meat while jambalaya usually has seafood added. The other main distinction between the two is that jambalaya normally has tomatoes and dirty rice does not.

How to make the perfect dirty rice?

There are a few tips to ensure you make the absolute best version of dirty, or Cajun, rice. First, be sure to rinse the rice until the water runs clear to remove extra starch. For authentic flavor, use the holy trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery. This dish is so simple to adapt to your own preferences, though.

A spoon fluffs up the rice mixture.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already dairy-free as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-free: Be sure the rice you choose is free of gluten.
  • Vegetarian: Leave out the beef and sausage, or opt for meat-free versions.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Use it all. Be sure to include the holy trinity of peppers, onions, and celery for the best flavor.
  • Keep going. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
  • Break it up. Use a meat masher or wooden spoon to thoroughly crumble the beef and pork.
  • Get the good stuff. Scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent burning and get as much flavor as possible.
  • More or less. You can personalize this recipe by using as much or little Cajun seasoning as you’d like.
An overhead view of a Dutch oven full of dirty rice.

What to Serve with Dirty Rice

While you can easily enjoy dirty rice on its own as the main meal, you can pair it with sides, as well.

Leafy greens, like Collard Greens and Sautéed Spinach, are delicious side dishes.

Or, easy recipes like Air Fryer Asparagus or 10-Minute Air Fryer Broccoli will get dinner on the table in no time.

More Cajun Recipes

You can enjoy these flavorful recipes any time of the year!

Cajun Cornbread Dressing with Sausage will take Thanksgiving up a notch.

Cajun Shrimp and Grits, Instant Pot Jambalaya, and Sausage and Chicken Cajun Jambalaya will get your taste buds going.

For a low-carb option, try this Cauliflower Dirty Rice Recipe.

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5 from 1 vote

Easy Dirty Rice Recipe

Look no further for a super delicious but still Easy Cajun Dirty Rice recipe! You only need to sauté ground beef and sausage with the holy trinity of onion, peppers, and celery, then add in rice, broth, and seasonings and simmer until tender.
Yield 8 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 35 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1-2 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive, divided
  • 1 lb. ground beef 85/15 or 90/10
  • 1 lb. ground pork breakfast
  • 1 small white onion finely diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 ¾ cups long grain white rice thoroughly rinsed
  • 3 ¾ cups beef broth regular sodium
  • 1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley plus more for garnish
  • Green onions finely chopped, optional

Instructions 

  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large Dutch oven over medium heat along with the beef and pork. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Use a potato masher to break the meat apart into smaller crumbles. Remove the meat from the pot using a slotted spoon or spatula and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Reserve the remaining grease in the pot.
  • If there is less than 2 tablespoons of grease left in the pot, then add additional oil until this amount is reached along with the diced onion, bell pepper and celery. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the garlic and continue sauteeing for 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant.
  • Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse it under cool, running water for 1-2 minutes, or until the water runs clear. Let it completely dry.
  • Add the rice to the pot along with the broth, seasoning, salt, chopped parsley, and cooked meats. Stir everything together.
  • Turn the heat to high and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 22-24 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and let the rice sit for 10 minutes before stirring. Serve warm with additional chopped parsley or green onions. Enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 1 vote

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can dice the vegetables up to 2-3 days before making this dish.
  • How to store: This dish can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • How to freeze: Dirty rice can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3-4 months. For easy serving, you can freeze individual portions, as well.
  • How to reheat: It is recommended to reheat this dirty rice in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through, but reheating in the microwave will suffice as well.

Nutrition

Calories: 482kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 523mg, Potassium: 713mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1441IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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