Dirty Rice

Side DishCajunSouthernRice

Classic Louisiana Cajun dirty rice, a rice pilaf made with the holy trinity of onions, celery, and peppers, and ground pork and chicken livers.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Why is it that so much great food comes out of Louisiana?

Case in point, this “dirty” rice. It’s a Cajun classic, and so good that the first time you eat it you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life.

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It’s basically a rice pilaf that is called “dirty” because it’s cooked with minced chicken livers or gizzards, which infuse it with crispy, tasty browned bits.

If you aren’t a liver lover, don’t worry! The rice doesn’t taste like liver, the addition just deepens the overall flavor of the rice, and the bits are so small you can’t really distinguish them.

Dirty Rice Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Use green bell peppers if you want a relatively mild result. If you are looking for something spicier, use jalapeño chili peppers.


  • 1 1/2 cup long-grain rice (Carolina, basmati, jasmine, etc)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup chicken livers
  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper or 1-3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 green onions, chopped


1 Cook the rice: Cook the rice according to the package instructions, but use chicken broth for one third of the cooking liquid. So, for example, if the package says to use 3 cups of water for 1 1/2 cups of rice, use 2 cups of water and 1 cup of chicken broth.

Once the rice has finished cooking, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Turn the rice out onto a sheet pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over it. Mix to combine and let cool.

2 Mash or purée the chicken livers: While the rice is cooking, mash and finely chop the chicken livers, or purée briefly in a blender.

3 Cook the bacon until crispy: In a large pan that can eventually hold the rice plus everything else, put 1 tablespoon of oil plus the bacon in and cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is crispy.

4 Brown the pork and vegetables: Add the ground pork and increase the heat to high. Allow the meat to brown before stirring. As soon as the pork starts to brown, add the final tablespoon of oil and add the celery, jalapeños, and onions.

brown the pork for dirty rice how to make dirty rice

Brown them all over medium-high heat. You may notice the bottom of the pan getting crusty. Keep it from burning by lowering the heat if needed. Add the minced liver and cook for a few minutes more.

5 Deglaze the pan: Add the remaining cup of chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

6 Add seasonings and cooked rice: Add the Cajun seasoning and turn the heat to high. Boil away most of the chicken stock and then add the cooked rice. Toss to combine.

7 Turn off the heat and add the green onions. Toss once more to combine and serve hot.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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33 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Stephanie

    Really good, used up a lot of leftover odds and ends from the fridge. (which always makes me feel like I ate for free, lol) I didn’t have any jalapenos but wanted the heat so I added a tablespoon of green Tabasco and tablespoon of Worcestershire.


  2. Sheldon

    Very delicious.


  3. Jay

    The dirty rice was delicious. Do you have any leftover ideas for this recipe? I thought about adding shimp and parmesan cheese. Your thoughts please?

    Show Replies (2)
  4. Lauren

    Amazing flavor! Very simple.


  5. Natalie

    Do you think I could use turkey liver instead of chicken liver? Trying to get creative with the turkey parts and leftovers haha :)

    I made this once without any liver and loooved it.

    Thank you for your thoughts!


    Show Replies (1)
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