This New Orleans style Dirty Rice recipe is made perfectly with fragrant rice, hearty browned meat, seasoned vegetables and Creole and Cajun spices making it the best you will ever taste! The result is a spicy, well-seasoned rice dish that screams Cajun deliciousness! If you want more rice dishes like this, try this Red Rice, Rice and Peas or Jollof Rice recipe!
SAUSAGE DIRTY RICE RECIPE
Call me crazy but, my past lives must consist of Creole women. Seriously, I can feel it in my bones and maybe, in my stomach too. Cajun cooking is something I grew up eating but I still find myself discovering new recipes and new ways to use Creole spices. Recent trips to Louisiana have only strengthened my love for the flavorful, unique cuisine.
Lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with Southern rice dishes; they’re easy, inexpensive and some of the best food I’ve ever had. My favorite? Dirty Rice. It’s rich, hearty, decadent and so dang tasty!
What do you say we take a trip down South tonight?
WHAT IS DIRTY RICE?
Most Cajun cuisine was born from the need to feed many mouths with very little money. Because of Southern Louisiana’s abundant rice crop, rice dishes such as Jambalaya, Red Rice and Dirty Rice were invented. Rice is hearty, easy to flavor and satisfying, all at a low cost.
Dirty Rice is a staple dish in homes across South Louisiana and beyond. Traditionally, Dirty Rice is made by blending together white rice, finely chopped, browned meat, seasoned vegetables and spices. The result is a spicy, well-seasoned rice dish unlike anything you’ve ever had!
DIRTY RICE VS CAJUN RICE
Whether it’s called Cajun Rice, Rice Dressing or Dirty Rice, they’re all the same. Over the years, the use of the word “dirty” was frowned upon at many popular Cajun and Creole restaurants. So, folks came up with alternate titles that would entice customers.
Though there are various versions of this recipe that have traveled across the South, they all come from the same base recipe.
INGREDIENTS FOR DIRTY RICE
This recipe is one of my faves, and it comes from Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen. This one has so much incredible flavor that it is undeniably delicious. Dirty Rice is a simple food made with even simpler ingredients. This is by no means a visually appealing or complex dish but it sure is outstandingly delicious.
If you’re unfamiliar with this dish, or just curious, let me break a few things down for you!
Any standard long or medium grain white rice will work with this recipe. But, I find that basmati provides a nutty, unique and slightly floral flavor. Its texture is softer than most other varieties which makes for a lighter, fluffier result.
If you’ve never had chicken livers, it can be a little daunting to try. Livers carry a rich flavor similar to that of any other dark cut of chicken. Their uniqueness comes from a pleasant gaminess that is in no way overwhelming. Plus, they’re quite cheap!
Pork sausage has a high concentration of fat making for a smokier dish. The added spices in the sausage layer have an incredible amount of flavor that compliments our added spices.
BELL PEPPERS, ONION, GARLIC
This is the Holy Trinity of cooking! Any dish worth its dollar is loaded with pungent, sweet and spicy peppers, onion and garlic. Just these three ingredients add in more flavor than you might think possible.
Worcestershire sauce is a condiment made from a base of vinegar and flavored with anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic and a few other secret seasonings. The flavor is sweet and smokey with a slight tang. Do I need to say anymore?
TIP: If you are not a fan of chicken livers, you can substitute in chunks of chicken thighs, beef or even mushrooms. Almost any kind of protein or meaty veggie will work. Experiment and see what you like best!
HOW TO MAKE CAJUN DIRTY RICE
My family and I have churned out more dirty rice dinners than you can imagine. It’s a simple, easy to make recipe that everyone from picky toddlers to purest grandparents will enjoy!
Here’s how it’s made:
- Prep the ingredients. I find that this recipe is easiest to make when you’re well-prepared. Before even heating up the pan, go ahead and chop your veggies, measure out the spices, and set out any tools you might need.
- Rinse the rice. I know most of y’all don’t rinse your rice and I’m here to tell you that you absolutely should! Soaking/rinsing helps to remove surface starch from the grains, which can make them gummy as they cook. Adding in this extra step ensures fluffy, tender rice.
- Cook the meat. As you cook the rice, sauté the sausage and chicken livers together until the meat is no longer pink. Use a large spoon or spatula to chop up the sausage as it cooks.
- Sauté your veggies. Once the meat is cooked and set aside, cook your veggies in the same pan. You’ll know they’re done once they’re soft and the onions are pretty much translucent.
- Combine, cook, and serve. Chop up those cooked chicken livers into small dice, then add the meat and rice to the pan. Stir in the rest of your spice, cover, and cook until the flavors are well-blended and the rice has picked up some color.
VEGETARIAN DIRTY RICE
Make this recipe vegetarian (and vegan) friendly by replacing the meat with mushrooms. Simply wash and roughly chop your favorite mushroom variety and saute in olive oil until browned. Browning is where that meaty, earthy flavor will come through. Bon appetit!
WHAT DO I SERVE WITH IT?
Because Dirty Rice is already protein rich, I typically serve it as a main dish. If I’m looking to fill up the meal, I will add a side dish of roasted vegetables or an additional lean protein. A blackened fish, chicken or shrimp compliment the rice perfectly.
Still looking for some inspiration? Here are a few Grandbaby Cakes recipes to get you started:
- BLACKENED FISH
- THE BEST JAMAICAN JERK CHICKEN
- PINEAPPLE HONEY BOURBON GRILLED CATFISH
- SHRIMP ETOUFFEE
GRANDBABY CAKES BEST RICE RECIPES
We’ve all got rice sitting in the pantry, so let’s make use of it! Turn that boring ‘ole rice into something fabulous this week.
Try out some of my FAVORITE rice recipes ever:
Dirty Rice Recipe
- 1 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 8 oz chicken livers trimmed
- 1 lb bulk pork sausage
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno chile
- 1/4 cup worchestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4 green onions white and green parts, chopped
- In a large bowl, cover the rice with 2 to 3 inches of cold water. Stir the rice with your hand and drain. Repeat five or six times, until the water runs clear.
- Transfer the washed rice to a medium heavy bottomed pot. Add enough fresh cold water to cover the rice by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Do not overcook.
- In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the livers and sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, 7 to 8 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the livers and sausage to a small bowl. Add the onion, green and red bell peppers, garlic and jalapeno to the pan, and cook over medium high heat until the vegetables are soft, Stirring occasionally until 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile chop the chicken livers into small dice. Return them to a saute pan, along with the sausage, worcestershire sauce, and the cooked rice. Stir until the rice is fully incorporated. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, black pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne and green onions. Partially cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook until the flavors are well blended, about 15 minutes. S Remove bay leaves, discard and serve immediately.
Robbie Wolfe says
Chyyyyy…! This was sooooo bomb! ♀️♀️. I doubled all but only added 2c rice… jus wanted a ‘meal’ worthy dish… and i did! Thanks so much, im definitely saving this one chica…. Thanx for sharing!
Perfect. Thank you.
Sally Fridge says
“This is the best dirty rice I have ever had.” My husband said this to me. He was born in Mobile and moved to Morgan City, LA when he was 10, I believe, and lived there for several years before he and his family moved to Atlanta. Moved to Pacific NW, which is where I met him, many years ago. We have been married for 45 years. So, he is old Southern guy and I am old northerner, but have lived in TN for the last 30 years so consider myself an adopted Southerner. This is the first time I have made homemade dirty rice-have made boxed and premade varieties in past. I made it over a couple of different days, prepping ingredients first, before putting it together last night. Changes I made-cooked mild sausage with chopped baby bella mushrooms. My husband (call him E), is having some stomach issues and can’t deal with hot sausage right now : ( I did not use veg oil to do this as it has so much fat to start with. After removing meat and ‘rooms from heat, I added an additional tblsp of veg oil to the sausage fat, so reduced total veg oil by 1 tblsp. This was sufficient for the rest of the cooking. I just couldn’t deal with the chicken liver…I thought about it extensively, actually, but then it was decided for me as the store did not have anything smaller than a bucket of livers-something like 5 pounds or something! Nope-not doing that! My husband thought the mushrooms were a fine substitute for the livers…he said he really couldn’t tell the difference and, regardless, it was the best he had ever had! So, that means mushrooms are a great success for this! I cooked them along with the sausage instead of separately-was not quite sure if that was right or not but it worked so guess it was alright. Used fresh minced garlic-PLEASE, everyone, do NOT use pre-minced garlic when cooking-the difference is so obvious! Fresh minced is definitely best! Didn’t use jalapeno for 2 reasons-to reduce the heat some but, really, the real reason was that my jalapeno peppers just…disappeared…into thin air! Maybe the cat ate them! I don’t know what happened to them! Since I didn’t want to wait on getting more, I went without. I also discovered at the last minute, literally, that I was a little short on the Worchestershire-I couldn’t believe it-I have never gone thru so much of that in this past year! I guess staying at home all the time, between Covid and being retired, I have been doing home cooking so much more than for the past many years! That is a good thing but didn’t realize I was so low on it! Time for a bigger bottle or more than one bottle, as the one I had was a pretty good size! There was enough, though, to make the meal, I was probably missing a tsp or two. Next time, I will use the full amount, for sure! It adds wonderful flavor to the meal. And then the thyme…well, I got it fresh, and figured out how to prepare it for use and did that but, by the time I was able to finish the cooking, it had dried out. Not my fault…E decided to take over the kitchen and make gumbo (it was delicious) but what was supposed to just take a “short time” ended up being a 3 or 4 day ordeal. What was supposed to be just a small pot of gumbo ended up being more like about 10 gallons…need I say more about it? Well, we do have a bunch of frozen gumbo now and that is a good thing… So, I ended up using fresh dried thyme which is still pretty good but not the fresh taste I was looking forward to! No other changes and these are not radical changes so I don’t think it changes the essence of your recipe and I still think you can bask in the praise of E’s statement that it is the best dirty rice he has ever had! It should be even better today after sitting and melding flavors for the past 24 hours! Thanks so much for this recipe, Jacelyn, I am looking forward to trying more!
What a wonderful review! I enjoyed reading your experience!
This was a hit! I craved Dirty Rice for a few years. I decided to find a recipe and came across yours! It was so worth it