Rich, hearty and full of flavor, Louisiana Dirty Rice is one of those delectably versatile side dishes that you just might let steal the show. A true Southern recipe filled with sausage, ground beef, bell pepper, onion, celery & spices, dirty rice is richly savory, completely comforting and can show up on any table from a Tuesday to the holidays!
Like most of our food here in the south, we make our food work for us. And the dishes that can carry the most load are often the most popular. Dirty Rice is one of those comfort food work horses that’s loaded with flavor and can show up almost any time or place. Weeknight dinners, potlucks, family dinners, and most importantly, holidays.
It’s sometimes used as a dressing (or stuffing) for chicken, turkey and quail. It can be stuffed in peppers. Enjoyed on it’s own. At my house, Louisiana Dirty Rice often shows up as the main dish, complete with real deal sides like fried okra, blackeyed peas and yellow cornbread.
What Is Dirty Rice
Dirty Rice, sometimes called ‘rice dressing,’ is a classic savory Louisiana rice dish that starts with browning spicy meats, then layering in rich flavor with onion, bell pepper, celery (the Holy Trinity of Louisiana cooking) and a handful of spices before folding in rice. The rice achieves its “dirty” brown color from simmering in all that goodness and absorbing its deep flavor.
Traditional dirty rice is made with finely diced or ground chicken livers added to spicy pork or ground beef or both. The chicken livers are used to bring a full-bodied richness to the dish and almost act like a binder to hold it all together.
But not all dirty rice has to be made that way to achieve a delicious, rich flavor… or to be authentic. And I’ll be honest. Liver of any sort just isn’t my bag. Not even a little bit. So you will find livers conspicuously missing from this recipe.
Instead, my family uses (and always has) a little bacon grease and flour. This adds a ton of just the right kind of full flavor we all crave from Dirty Rice and acts as a perfect binder at the same time. For a little extra Louisiana flair, oysters can be added to this recipe too!
What You Need To Make Louisiana Dirty Rice
Like most recipes with a rich Louisiana history, almost every family has their own passed down version or “the way they like to do it.” Below are the ingredients and the methods we use to prepare Dirty Rice.
- white rice
- ground beef
- ground sausage
- bell pepper
- chicken broth
- flour, cooking oil
- chili powder, oregano, parsley, thyme, paprika, bay leaves, garlic, salt, pepper, & cayenne
How To Make The Best Dirty Rice
Brown the meat. Heat bacon grease or cooking oil in a dutch oven on the stove top over medium high heat. Add ground beef and ground sausage to the skillet. Mix the meats together as they begin to brown.
Add the flavor. As the meats continue to brown, it’s time to add the Holy Trinity of any true Louisiana dish- diced bell pepper, onion and celery. These 3 complement each other perfectly and together bring just the right amount of flavor to whatever you’re cooking. When the meats are fully browned, stir in all the herbs and spices except for parsley. All of this seasoning is what makes this recipe SO GOOD!.
The Magic “Dirty” Step. This is the step that sets really good dirty rice apart from all other rice dishes. And it starts with flour. Mix flour into the meat, making sure it coats the meat. Add chicken broth and bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any of the browned bits from the pan and allow it all to simmer 5-8 minutes.
Add the Rice. Fold in cooked rice and parsley. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve.
Just look at all that yummy goodness! It’s so savory and spicy. Everything you want in a classic southern dish, and nothing you don’t.
What is the difference between Jambalaya & Dirty Rice
Jambalaya and Dirty Rice are both rice dishes, but they aren’t the same. Jambalaya is typically made with sausage, chicken and/or seafood. Creole-style Jambalya also includes tomatoes, like this Easy Louisiana Sausage Jambalya. Lastly, a jambalaya recipe uses uncooked rice and then cooks it right in the dish, while Dirty Rice calls for already cooked rice to be folded into its meat and vegetable mixture then simmered to absorb flavor.
Other Louisiana Recipes You’ll Love
- Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Easy Louisiana Sausage Jambalaya
- Easy Louisiana Gumbo with Green Chile Rice
- Million Dollar Shrimp & Crab Dip
- Layered Muffuletta Salad
- Mini Natchitoches Meat Pies
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW!
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Louisiana Dirty Rice
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork sausage
- 4-5 C cooked rice, prepared with chicken broth
- 2 C chicken broth
- 3/4 C green bell pepper, diced
- 3/4 C yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 C celery, diced
- 1/4 C flour
- 1 Tbsp bacon grease or cooking oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- In a large skillet, heat bacon grease or cooking oil. Add ground beef and sausage and brown.
- As meat begins to brown, add diced bell pepper, onion and celery.
- When meat is fully browned, stir in herbs and spices except for parsley. Mix well. Add flour. Mix well again, making sure the flour coats the meat.
- Add broth and bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any of the browned bits from the pan. Allow to simmer 5-8 minutes.
- Fold in rice and parsley. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve.
Knowing how to make Dirty Rice can go a long way in your cooking repetoire. It’s a great dish to take to a friend in need, to feed a crowd or even freeze for later. It’s one of those one pot comfort food dishes that keeps on giving so you can too!