Cajun Dirty Rice

This easy New Orleans dirty rice recipe is the best soul food in the south! Made with Cajun sausage and seasoning, bell peppers, celery, white rice, this spicy rice dish is packed with Cajun flavor!

Dirty rice is plated in a red bowl next to gold spoons and a green napkin.

If you love southern New Orleans inspired recipes, check out my raspberry filled beignets, New Orleans kings cake, or just take a trip with me through New Orleans!

I asked and ya’ll answered! Ya’ll want more southern-themed recipes, so I’m throwin’ you my favorite one! This Cajun dirty rice is spicy, packed with flavor, and loaded with Cajun sausage. Did I mention it’s ready in under an hour?! Total slam dunk.

This dirty rice recipe features the Cajun Holy Trinity, equal parts green bell pepper, onion, and celery… but why stop there? We’re throwing in some garlic, red bell pepper, and tons of seasoning. To say this cajun rice dish is a hit is an understatement.

Okay, let’s take a bite out of New Orleans (or Nawlins, as the locals say), shall we?

What is dirty rice?

The south is known for some of the most flavorful rice dishes in the States. Since Louisiana had abundant rice crops, many families across the south relied on the rice crops to feed their large, growing families. Rice was cheap, and many southern traditions like jambalaya or red beans and rice were created using what they had on hand.

Dirty rice is made with pork sausage, celery, onion, bell peppers, rice, and loads of seasoning. It results in a spicy, super flavorful rice dish that is hearty and delicious.

Why do they call it dirty rice?

Dirty rice gets its name from the appearance of the rice. Since there is so much seasoning in this dish, it turns the color of the rice slightly brown, making it look “dirty.” In more recent years, restaurants have called it Cajun rice to make it more enticing to customers. Cajun rice, dirty rice… it’s all the same (and very, very delicious).

Dirty rice ingredients are displayed individually on a blue baking sheet.

Dirty rice ingredients

  • White rice– Since we are cooking a New Orleans Cajun rice dish, you know we had to use Zatarain’s for it!
  • The Holy Trinity- The Cajun Holy Trinity is equal parts green bell pepper, onion, and celery, which make this dish super flavorful.
  • Worcestershire sauce– A dash of Worcestershire sauce adds the perfect light tangy flavor.
  • Cajun sausageConecuh Cajun sausage packs a whole lot of flava and is my favorite sausage to use for my southern inspired recipes.
  • Seasoning– This Cajun rice dish is perfectly seasoned and is slightly spicy because it features Tony Chachere’s, thyme, oregano, cayenne, paprika, cumin, mustard, and a few more!
Cajun rice is made in one pot and stirred with a silver spoon.

Chef’s tips

Make it original

My dirty rice recipe features Cajun sausage, but the original recipe calls for 1 lb. of ground pork and 8 oz. of diced chicken livers. Organ meat is dense in nutrients and is rich in flavor. Either version of dirty rice is fantastic!

Make it vegetarian

You can easily turn this dirty rice recipe into a vegetarian version but subbing out the sausage with your favorite vegetable. Zucchini, mushrooms, summer squash, or even black-eyed peas would be great in this dish.

Turn up the heat

This Cajun rice dish is spicy and flavorful but you can tone the heat down or kick it up. If you would like to tone the heat down, add only 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. If you like a more spicy Cajun dirty rice, add a whole teaspoon of cayenne. This recipe sits right in the middle and uses 1/2 tsp, feel free to start with 1/4 tsp and work your way up to your liking.

Cajun dirty rice is plated in a red bowl and topped with green onions.

How to make dirty rice from scratch

  1. Brown the sausage. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Melt the butter, then add the sliced sausage. Brown the sausage for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetables. Toss the onion, garlic, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper in the pot. Next, add the Tony Chachere’s, ground mustard, cumin, oregano, paprika, thyme, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and allow it to sautè for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the liquids. Pour the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce into the pot. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Cook the rice. Add the rice to the pot along with the bay leaves. Stir the pot, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and allow it to rest (with the lid on) for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaves. Fluff the rice and serve immediately. If you like it REAL Cajun, top with your favorite hot sauce. Mangia!
Cajun rice is plated in a red bowl and stirred with a gold spoon and topped with green onions.

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Cajun rice is plated in a red bowl and stirred with a gold spoon and topped with green onions.

Cajun Dirty Rice

Sea Salt Savorings
This easy New Orleans dirty rice recipe is the best soul food in the south! Made with Cajun sausage and seasoning, bell peppers, celery, white rice, this spicy rice dish is packed with Cajun flavor!
5 from 32 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Cajun, Southern
Servings 6
Calories 208 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 lb Cajun sausage (or pork sausage)
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Tony Chachere's (or Cajun seasoning)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup Zatarain's rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup green onions chopped

Instructions
 

  • Brown the sausage. Place a large pot over medium high heat. Melt the butter, then add the sliced sausage and brown for 5 minutes.
  • Sautè the vegetables. Add the onion, celery, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper to the pot. Add the Tony Chachere's seasoning, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper, then stir to coat everything evenly. Allow the mixture to sautè for 2 minutes.
  • Add the liquids. Add the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring it to a boil.
  • Cook the rice. Add the rice to the pot, then stir. Place the bay leaves in the pot and make sure they are submerged in the liquid. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a lid on it. Cook the rice for 15 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and allow it to rest (covered) for 10 minutes.
  • Serve. Remove the lid from the pot and discard the bay leaves. Use a large spoon to fluff the rice, then top with the green onions (and hot sauce!). Mangia!

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 6gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 366mgPotassium: 305mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 955IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

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