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. 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

  • 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 Tbsp 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 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 green onions, chopped


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

dirty-rice-1.jpg dirty-rice-2.jpg

3 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 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.

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

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

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Wild game dirty rice from Hank of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Showing 4 of 24 Comments / Reviews

  • Sean

    In our family (from Baton Rouge), a dark roux is used. If served with Thanksgiving/Christmas we call it Rice Dressing.

  • Karen

    I made this dish today and it’s sooooo good. It was easy to make and will make it again. Oh by the way I fried chicken and broccoli with this dish.

  • Nicolita

    This was fantastic! I usually alter recipes to fit my tastes, but this was exactly what I was looking for – I knew I wanted to use smoked paprika to mimic the typical bacon flavor used in braised collards. All I did here was double the brown rice & veggie broth to make it more of a rice dish. Great job! I will definitely be exploring the rest of your site :)

  • Jill

    I’m from Louisiana and I love our food! I love when my favorite food blogs post recipes that I’m familiar with and usually it’s a new spin!
    You must take a trip to New Orleans and visit Mother’s soon. They have the best poboys you will ever eat! (it’s on Poydras and Tchoupitoulas).

  • Chad Dore

    What a nice surprise to see this here. Growing up in the Cajun area of Louisiana I’ve eaten this my entire life, and the recipes vary quite a bit. Your recipe is a bit fancier than what I normally see, mainly from the bacon and ground beef is often used instead of ground pork. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Try adding a half pint of raw oysters to this, its a fantastic twist, but more subtle than most people would imagine.
    You will commonly find this on the side of fried chicken, barbecue, potato salad and baked beans. Some of our soul food places pour smothered pork gravy on it.

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Dirty Rice