Easy Dirty Rice

Dirty rice is a Cajun classic usually served as a side dish.  This version is hearty enough to serve as a main course. I like to make this a spicy meal by serving this Cajun classic with Extra Flavorful Jalapeno Poppers, a few Southern Hush Puppies, and a tall glass of Fruity Red Wine Sangria to cool it all down.

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White plate of Cajun Dirty Rice with rice, ground beef, Italian sausage, onions, celery, green pepper, and spices.


Dirty rice is a staple in Louisianna that started as a way for plantation workers, slaves, or the poor to feed their families.

Leftovers from the main house, such as innards – like liver, chicken carcasses, ends of sausages, and vegetables were cooked with rice, which was plentiful, and spices.  

Traditionally, dirty rice gets it’s ‘dirty’ color with the addition of finely minced chicken livers. You don’t taste the chicken livers too much.  I don’t care for the texture of the livers – even when finely minced.

 My recipe uses Italian sausage for that trademark ‘dirty’ color.  It adds a nice spice, flavor, and color to the recipe.  

If you want a more authentic taste, feel free to add a ½ cup of chicken livers that you finely mince and saute with the ground beef.  You can leave out the Italian sausage or go crazy and throw it in as well.

White plate of Cajun Dirty Rice with rice, ground beef, Italian sausage, onions, celery, green pepper, and spices.


First, you start out making rice.  Next, you brown sausage and ground beef in a Dutch oven. 

While the meats drain, you are going to saute the veggies and spices in a bit of bacon fat.  Trust me, it adds a ton of flavor.

Next, you’re going to mix all the components together – the rice, meats, vegetables, and spices.

The final step is to bake the mixture for 20 minutes just to dry it out and marry the flavors.  It’s so delicious.


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  • Author: Eats By The Beach
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 as a main course or 12 as a side dish 1x


Dirty rice is a hearty, meaty, and spicy Cajun classic that can be served as a side dish or a comforting main dish.



2 cups long-grain white rice

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 bay leaves

½ pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed

½ pound lean ground beef

1 tablespoon bacon grease (optional)

1 small sweet onion, minced finely

1 red or green bell pepper, very finely minced

1 stalk celery, very finely minced

½ cup finely minced fresh parsley

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (more to taste)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon dried thyme


Make the rice.  In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the rice, chicken broth, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, uncovered, until you see little steam holes begin to appear in the rice and the rice on the surface looks dry – about 8 minutes.

Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan, and continue to cook an additional 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and let stand to steam, uncovered, for 5 minutes. 

Remove the bay leaves and discard them.  Fluff the rice. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large ovenproof Dutch oven, add the sausage and ground beef, breaking up the meat into small particles.  Cook, continuing to break up the meat until completely browned. 

Using a fine-mesh strainer, drain the meat.

In the same Dutch oven, melt the bacon grease.  Add the onion, bell peppers, and celery. Stir and cook, over medium heat, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are very soft – about 8 minutes.

Stir in the parsley, garlic, Cajun seasoning, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and dried thyme.  Stir to coat the spices completely.  

Add in the drained meat and the rice.  Carefully saute and combine the meat and rice with the vegetables and spices. 

When everything is fully combined, place the Dutch oven in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes just to let the flavors marry and intensify.

Remove from the oven and give it a final stir.  Serve hot.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Cajun

Keywords: Cajun classic, rice dish, spicy food, ground beef recipes, comfort food, side dish

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