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Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice is a spicy and flavorful Cajun rice dish made from white rice. You won’t find a more flavorful rice.

Dirty Rice in a bowl.

Why Is It Called Dirty Rice?

It gets its “dirty” color from finely chopped chicken livers and ground beef or pork.  The chicken livers give it such a deep flavor. Even if you think you don’t like chicken livers, you should try adding them. Since they are finely chopped, the overall dish doesn’t have much of a chicken liver flavor.

Dirty Rice is a spicy and meaty rice dish that just may become your favorite rice dish of all time.

Usually this cajun rice is served as a side dish, but with all that meaty goodness added to it, it’s tempting to eat it as a main dish.

Holy Trinity

The flavor of Dirty Rice starts with the Holy Trinity- onion, celery, and bell pepper. Garlic, dried thyme, and a few teaspoons of Cajun seasoning round out the seasonings.

Dirty Rice in a large pot.

If you save your bacon grease when you cook bacon, use a little of it in this rice. It will add even more flavor.

For the Cajun seasoning, I love to use Tony Chachere’s. It’s by far my favorite seasoning and it is perfect for sprinkling on all kinds of foods. I love it on potato salad.  🙂

What If I Don’t Like Liver?

I recommend you try it first with the livers. The liver flavor gets really dispersed and isn’t all that noticeable. If you’re sure you hate liver, leave it out. You can add a little bacon grease and a few pieces of chopped, cooked bacon for extra flavor.

How To Store

Will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and can be reheated in a microwave.

Try These Other Southern Favorites:

Rice in a red bowl.

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Watch the short video below to see how to make Dirty Rice.

Dirty Rice in a bowl.

Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice is a spicy and meaty side dish with ground beef and chicken livers.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 20 minutes
TOTAL: 30 minutes
SERVINGS: 6 servings


  • 1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease or Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped chicken livers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning, I like Tony Chachere’s
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  • Set aside 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and pour remaining chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Add rice, cover and cook 20 minutes.
  • Heat bacon grease in a cast iron Dutch oven. Add ground beef and crumble it with a wooden spoon.
  • Once you have the ground beef crumbled, add onion, celery, and green pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are softened. Add chicken livers and garlic and continue to cook 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, Cajun seasoning, and thyme.
  • Add reserved chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the brown pieces. Let simmer 1 minute.
  • Remove bay leaf from rice and add rice to Dutch oven. Stir it into the ground beef mixture. Keep the heat on while you stir. Once it is combined well, remove from heat.


Calories: 325kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: cajun

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Originally published February 29, 2016.



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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71 thoughts on “Dirty Rice”

  1. I had no idea chicken livers went into dirty rice! This was so delish and my husband loved it. I followed the directions exactly and it turned out perfect. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

  2. i enjoyed this recipe. i made it for the kids on my job. they were hesitant, but they loved it. Thank you. will be doing this at home.

  3. I love this recipe. I substituted cauliflower rice for my portion and used regular rice for my guy. They were both amazeballs. Thank you!!!!

  4. Haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve been wanting to make my own dirty rice at home ever since my favorite fast-food place stopped serving it…. I can’t wait to try it!

  5. Adele Aiken

    I don’t see chicken livers in your recipe -how much chicken livers do you use and when do you add them. Do you first gring them in good processor?

  6. I made this today. It was soooo yummy. I added shrimp and substituted Jimmy Dean Sage sausage for the chicken livers. I will be making this again!

  7. My 5 year old saw this on Top Chef and asked if we could make it. (He has ASD and is obsessed with cooking) I found your recipe and I’m glad I did. It was simple to make with plenty of easy steps for kiddo. I did all the chopping and actual cooking, he did the measuring and mixing. I was a little worried he would be grossed out by the chicken livers but he didn’t say a word. It was just another ingredient to him. Very tasty. We’re eating it as a main dish. I will make this again probably often. Thanks!

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Your comment makes me so happy Dawn! I love hearing about kids taking joy in cooking and trying new foods. And so young! He may be on Top Chef himself some day!

  8. Looks so very good! Am trying my hand at dirty rice for the first time in my 65 yrs of age. My late cajun mother in law made it many times. Guess it’s time I did! Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Wow! Absolutely perfect and delicious! So simple. Just followed the directions and used, for the first time, the Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. Great recipe!

  10. Dirty Rice has been one of my favourites since the 70’s but I havent made it for years.
    So tonight I did and blew the whole family away.
    I dare say it will become a family favourite now.

  11. Branden Jones

    Dear god woman you have cracked the code. This was fantastic. I used ground Jimmy Dean HOT and 1Lb Ground Beef. Added fresh parsley as well. Over the top. Thank you so much!!!

  12. I tried this recipe for my daughter’s birthday dinner, and I prepared it without the livers. All went well.

  13. I didn’t know chicken livers were in dirty rice! I love rice dishes and the spice in here sounds just delicious!

  14. I never knew that the dirty rice phrase came from the chicken livers. I’ve never tried chicken liver, but I’m not afraid because this looks stellar. And that is the same Cajun seasoning I use. I’m totally trying it on potato salad.

  15. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I never knew dirty rice got its name from the chicken liver and ground beef! This looks delicious, Christin! I’ve never tried this before but definitely have to add it to my list!

  16. Ashley | The Recipe Rebel

    I have to admit, I’ve never cooked chicken livers! But this rice looks so packed full of flavor that I definitely want to try!

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