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 recipes 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.
RELATED RECIPES: Wild Rice & Sausage Casserole, Italian Stuffed Eggplant with Sausage & Rice
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 (Dirty Rice seasoning- everything you need!)
How To Make The Best Dirty Rice
A large cast iron skillet or dutch oven is what I use to make this recipe from start to finish. But any deep skillet or stock pot will work too.
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.
WANT A CROCK POT VERSION? Easy Crock Pot Dirty Rice
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
- Louisiana Red Beans & Rice
- 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!
Hi Stacey, I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy all of your recipes, your stories and blogs. I am always looking for something to cook different and no matter what I make from your recipes always turns out delicious and honesty I have unsubscribed to all my other emails and just use yours from now on. You make it so easy to follow and it is a lot of fun cooking new things for the family. By no means am I a gourmet cook but I love trying new dishes and everything I make from your site everyone loves and even more I do. Thank you so much for bringing all this information and new recipes for me to enjoy and I know my family does too. Keep them coming. I look forward to making the dirty rice next, of course I know it will be delicious. Thanks again.
Thank you so very much! You’ve left me pretty speechless! It is such an honor to share with you through food and memories. I love that you are cooking all these dishes (that is always my hope, but one never knows!) and that your family is enjoying them. It’s such fun to gather around the table together and enjoy good food! I am humbled by your kind words and appreciate so much that you are a part of our little community. You’re the best! Without you, there wouldn’t be a Southern Discourse!
Martin A Webber
Is this more of a side dish or main course? Looks awesome.
It can be either! It’s fantastic with chicken, turkey, quail, even duck. But it also makes a great main dish to serve with peas, fresh tomatoes, fried okra and the like.
Look forward to making this! Sounds delicious and authentically Louisianan!
Hi, Alexis! I am so excited for to make this dish! It is one of my local family’s favorites, and I know you’re going to love it!
When you use oysters, how do you cook them to go in the dirty rice? I have a few pints to use up and this recipe sounds delicious!
Already shucked, right? On step 4 of the recipe card (when you add the broth), also add the oysters. The oysters are done when the edges just start to curl. You can chop them up with the edge of the spoon you are cooking the rice with to incorporate them better into the dish!
Thanks Stacey! Can’t wait to try it!!
Let me know how it goes!
I made this recipe tonight with a few changes. I made 2 cups of brown rice instead of 4. 1 lbs of ground beef and 1lbs of beef smoked sausage.I used beef base instead of chicken Broth. It was delicious !
Hi, Kimberly! I am so glad you made this recipe! Love your changes; tickled you made it work!
Just tried your dirty rice recipe……the family all loved it! It was so easy and tasty! Thank you and I will be trying more of your dishes in the future.
That’s awesome! You truly just made my day. I am so glad you loved this dish!
After browning meats, do you drain off grease?
Hi, Noreen! I usually use lean meats, so there is not much to drain off. The flour does soak up any grease there is and acts like a binder for the dish. However, you don’t want a greasy dish. So if the meats render a lot of grease you might want to drain off a little before adding the flour.
Can this be made a day before.
It sure can!
We are doing Keto, so I omitted the flour and substituted 2.8 oz. dried cauliflower at the end to absorb the liquid, and it turned out Great!!
Hi, Lee! What an awesome idea! Sounds perfect.
Have you tried to freeze this? It sounds delicious!
I have! I’ve frozen the leftovers before. It freezes nicely!
Hello, do you cook the rice before adding it ??
Hi, Ellen! Yes, the rice is cooked beforehand! See the ingredient list on the recipe card for specifics. I hope you enjoy this recipe!
made this tonight it was an absolute hit.
Hi, Pam! I am so tickled you made and loved my Dirty Rice. I hope you’ll make it again!
This sounds wonderful! How much dry rice do I need to make 4-5 cups cooked rice? Can’t wait to try it…thx
Hi, Linda! Your rice should include cooking instructions on the back of the bag or box. *Usually,* about 1.5 C uncooked rice will yield the right amount. But check the instructions for your particular rice to double check. Can’t wait to hear all about it!
Would I be able to use cornstarch instead of flour? I’m gluten sensitive and not all gluten free flours are made the same so I’d prefer to add cornstarch.
Hi, LEstina! To be honest, I am not sure, but I do think it’s worth a try.
This sounds so yummy! Just curious what kind of ground sausage and rice you suggest using. Thanks!
Hi, Sharon! This is one of our very favorite dishes at my house. I hope you will make it and enjoy it as much as we do. I usually use just a regular ground breakfast sausage. We like things spicy, so I do buy the spicy ground breakfast sausage. And as far as rice, any plain enriched white rice will do- long or short grain doesn’t matter. You can even use a minute rice, or quick cook rice, for convenience!
I stumbled across your amazing website as I was looking for a new recipe for the new years dinner! I loved how it was one of my favorite dishes I learned to make from scratch. The first meal I made for my family and they went BONKERS! My brother-in-law is a culinary chef and he said it was perfect, and my boyfriend is a picky eater and we fought over the leftovers! Lol. Thank you for this incredible recipe and I can’t wait to create more of your creations.
Lorionna V Thomas
Great recipe! I never thought to add flour as a binder. thanks for sharing.
Would by any chance know how much your recipe yields? the serving size is 6 but how much portion is this? an about a cups?
planning a dinner party? thank you
Hi! I hope this recipe is just perfect for what you’re planning! The recipe is yields about 10-12 cups of Dirty Rice. This feeds a group of 6 as a MAIN course with room for seconds and some leftovers. As a SIDE dish, however, I have easily served this to a group of 10 with the same.
So I made this tonight with 6 kids under toe and did not well I don’t know how I did it but I used 4 cups dry rice and 8 cups water. So potentially this could strech very far, in our case I used all the same exact ingredients except doubled the rice and it’s fabulous.
Love it! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
#this is an absolutely well seasoned and prepared entree, well done😛 #delicious #eating
Hi, Duncan! I am so glad you love this recipe! Thank you so much!
I could not STAND dirty rice when I was a kid. That’s because I knew my Mom made it with chicken liver and gizzards. I never could stomach innards of any sort. I found your recipe that excluded the innards and decided to give it a shot. I used hot Italian sausage instead of breakfast sausage, and the results were amazing. Plenty of left overs that I am going to use in stuffed peppers. I will be making this again.
Hi, Byron! I am right there with you! I am so glad you decided to give this recipe a go and enjoyed the dish! It has loads of yummy savory flavor and none of that “other stuff” is even missed. Stuffing peppers is a PERFECT idea for the leftovers. We even add a bit of cheese (I included the recipe below). Thank you so much for loving this family favorite like we do!
Easy to follow recipe! Very delicious! A new family favorite.
I am just tickled your family loves this recipe like mine does! Thank you so much for making this dish.
I am not a fan of thyme, can I substitute another spice? Thanks
Hi, Patsy! Sure! Or you can leave it out all together. Thyme adds to the flavor of the dish, but it doesn’t stand out as an identifiable flavor, so you might even want to try the recipe as is!
Great! For fun I subbed the sausage for a chicken thigh and about 12oz shrimp. It was delicious!!
Hi, Angela! Love it! Sounds yum!!
I made your dirty rice and it was delish. I did make just a few changes as to what I had on hand. I subbed Butterball turkey sausage links and added small amount of Cajun seasoning. It’s a keeper!!
Hi, Donna! Love it that you used what you had on hand! Perfect! Sounds delish.
This recipe was so delicious! I made a couple substitutions – ground turkey (instead of beef and sausage) and riced cauliflower (instead of regular rice). As a born and raised Louisianian, I 1000% approve of this recipe
Hello, fellow Louisianne! I love your substitutions! Sounds delicious!!
Made this yesterday and it was great. Cut the recipe in half because cooking just for me. Still have leftovers for the freezer. Left out the salt. On a low sodium diet and used my own homemade sausage with no salt.
Hi, Sherri! Sounds perfect! I am so glad you made this recipe and loved it. It is truly one on my family’s all-time favorites!
I made this dish for a Mardi Gras themed meal- Roast Chicken , Spicey Collard Greens, Dirty Rice and corn bread. It was sooooo good !!But I could have left out the chicken, the Dirty Rice holds up as a main dish for sure and it was my favorite part of the meal. I used ground hot turkey sausage and brown rice but otherwise all ingredients were the same. It made such a big batch I froze half! Also the kitchen smelled amazing 😋😀
Hi, Brooke! I am so glad you made this recipe for your Mardi Gras meal! It is absolutely one of our favorite dishes to make and serve. You are right, it definitely stand on its own as a main dish and makes a lot! Sounds like y’all had a great meal and a great time. Thank you so much for loving this recipe!
Loved this recipe! So easy to follow, all ingredients on hand, and wow, did it ever smell so good while cooking! Definitely, a keeper!! Going to let use this, for the stuffed bell recipe…IF, I can keep my husband out of the pot! 5 stars from everyone in this house!! Thanks, for a dish!😊💯🤌😘
Oh my! Now, this really made my day! Thank you so much! And, I have the same problem with my dad when I make this Dirty Rice for him. He even eats it for breakfast! I have to hide some leftovers if I’m going to make the stuffed pepper recipe. Haha!
Oh my gosh! This was AMAZING!
Eeek! Brittany, you’ve made my day!!
Very good recipe! I actually had all the ingredients except for the oregano. It was delicious and my husband loved it! Thank you!
Hi, Marcie! Wonderful! I am so glad you and your husband loved it!
I come from Louisiana and love dirty rice, but my kids object to the gizzards, and my husband is allergic to beef. I used pork only with this recipe and I almost cried, it was so good. Tastes like home!
Kate, This absolutely made my day!! I am so glad you enjoyed a little bit of home with my family’s recipe! Thank you so very, very much!
This that good good
Hello, We only use turkey meat here so would ground turkey and turkey breakfast sausage work well here?
Hi, K! I have never made this recipe with turkey only, but I think trying it that way would be a great idea! I am always for augmenting a recipe to fit your life. Let me know how it goes!
Great way to use left rice from my take out Chinese they always give it to us and we never use it. I have made dirty rice before, but never the Louisiana with all the spices wonderful flavor. Because I grow my own herbs I threw in some chives and a little cilantro with the parsley. So yummy
Hi, Lynn! This is an awesome idea! I love that you grow your own herbs and were able to add them!
This was delicious
Hi, Mary! Awesome! I am just tickled you loved this recipe. Thanks!
Thank you for the recipe. It was a easy dish to make on a busy night! The flavor was great. The only thing I might do next time is cut down on the meat. I also used leftover rice and it worked well. This is a definite keeper!
Hi, Mary! I am so glad you made this Dirty Rice recipe with your leftover rice! It’s such a great dish. Thank you!
Except for the minced garlic and the chili powder, can your all purpose creole seasoning be substituted for the herbs and spices in this recipe? If so at what amount?
I added the amounts up and it equals about 2.75 TBS
Hi, Oscar! I see where you’re coming from, and I love this idea… I say let’s try it! I would start out with one tablespoon and taste and then add from there. The creole seasoning does have garlic powder in it, so you may not need to any extra. You might need a little extra oregano though. And don’t forget the bay leaves! Let me know how it goes! I can’t wait to hear.
Amazingly delicious! Thank you for such a great, non liver, recipe! I lived in Lake Charles for many years and this is the best dirty rice I have eaten!
Hi, Laurie! You are SO welcome! This made my day! I am just tickled that you loved it.
I agree- no chicken liver. This is warm delicious comfort food. Added a little red bell pepper for some Christmas color.
Hi, Missy! I love the addition of red bell pepper for Christmas color! Can’t wait to try that. Merry, Merry Christmas!
Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves!!!
This was well loved by everyone in my family!
FYI for those with gluten allergies, I sprinkled the ground beef with the cornstarch just like it was flour (slightly less than the recipe calls for since cornstarch = more than flour) and it turned out perfect. I was nervous because usually all recipes call for cornstarch to be mixed first with cold water. And I’ve never had good luck with GF flours. I had a little beef bouillon in cold water just in case it didn’t work, but all went well! We’ve added this to the meal roster – thank you!
You are so welcome, Vicky! Love the tip about the cornstarch- brilliant! Thank you so much!
Thank you so much, Victoria!
I just have a question on the pre cooked rice. it says use chicken broth, so do I use the broth in place of the water for the rice?
Hi, Linda! Yes, you do! Broth infuses more flavor into the rice than water.
These recipes makes my mouth watery. I had the opportunity to taste some of them and fell in love with the dirty rice and the Jambalaya.
Hi, Franklin! Thank you so much! I am just tickled to hear this. Those are some of my very favorite recipes too!
just finished making a batch using this recipe for the first time. I added a poblano pepper and I used yellow rice. absolutely fabulous. My wife loves it too, and she claimed before tasting it that she didn’t care for dirty rice. she does now. this is a definite addition to our recipe box in the fabulous section. portions of this batch will be lunch for the whole of this week. Thank you!
You are so welcome. And thank you because this absolutely made my day (especially the part about your wife loving dirty rice now)! I am just tickled that it will be a part of your recipe box now.
It’s very easy to make. I made it several times when living in California. I love to try different kinds of food and also tasted Jambalaya. Somehow similar but it had si.e sea food and chicken. What a treat
Thank you so much for this recipe! My son requested dirty rice and I had never tried it before. This was a BIG hit last night for dinner. So flavorful and it’s easy to freeze some for another night. Can’t wait to check out more of your recipes!
Hi, Rebecca! I am thrilled to hear this! I am so glad y’all loved it. Can’t wait to hear about more things you make!