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Looking for a stress-free weeknight dinner winner? This easy dirty cajun rice recipe with savory sausages, red beans, veggies, and a symphony of savory spices is the ultimate fast and flavorful weeknight hero. Best of all you’ll only need one pot, 7 basic ingredients, and 40 minutes to make it. (Recipe includes meatless vegetarian options.)

“This dish is loaded with all the bold Cajun flavors we enjoy! And double the sausage?? YES. Your recipe was so easy and perfect for company. Thanks!”

– Betty
Overhead photo of a bowl of dirty cajun rice with sausage and bell peppers.

Update: This post was originally published in March 2021. I made updates to include more information about making Louisiana dirty rice cajun style at home. 

Hi, friends! I hope you are ready to treat your tastebuds to a trip down south to “The Big Easy”, because today I’m sharing one of my favorite classic Southern recipes!

About this cajun dirty rice recipe

If you are looking for an ultra-flavorful rice and bean dish that does triple duty – you can serve it as a stand-alone meal, comforting entree and tasty side dish – look no further an this New Orleans style Dirty rice!

Hearty, savory and unapologetically scrumptious, you are going to fall in love with this Cajun bean and rice dish! Featuring delicate white rice, juicy pork sausage, smoky andouille, crisp vegetables, deeply-flavorful Creole seasonings and fresh herbs, this dish is meaty, decadent and off-the-charts delicious! The rice is perfectly tender, moist, ever-so-slightly creamy and bursting with bold flavors and seriously satisfying textures! And, since this recipe features double the pork (ground pork sausage and andouille smoked sausage), there’s double the dirty yum!

Plus, this recipe for dirty rice with andouille sausage is insanely easy to prepare! With just a few simple, easy-to-find ingredients and 30 minutes of active cook time, you can prepare impossibly delicious dirty rice right at home in your very own kitchen! Step aside Zatarain’s!

Why you will love this rice recipe

TL;DR? No worries, get the basics below:

  • Easy to find and affordable ingredients: This cajun dirty rice recipe requires just 8 simple ingredients plus a few pantry staples!
  • One pot recipe: One pot meals are the best – because, you should only be dirtying your rice and beans, not your all dishes!
  • Quick to prepare: With just a few easy steps, you can have the best dirty rice on the table in 30 minutes!
  • Hearty, rich flavor: This nola rice is so hearty and bursting with robust flavors!
  • Double dirty: Double the dirty, double the yum! This dirty rice features not one, but two types of sausages!
  • Easy to customize: Get creative in the kitchen with this flexible cajun dirty rice recipe by omitting ingredients you hate and using the ones you love!
  • Vegetarian option: Feeding a vegetarian? I’ve got you covered with not just one, but two different options for vegetarian dirty rice!
  • Stores great in the refrigerator or the freezer: Leftover cajun rice taste amazing and make the perfect grab-and-go lunch or quick heat-and-eat dinner!

What is dirty Cajun rice?

Dirty rice, also known as Cajun rice, Cajun fried rice, nola rice, or rice dressing, is a traditional and beloved Creole specialty dish. It’s made with long-grain white rice which gets a “dirty” color from being cooked with small pieces of meat, bell peppers, celery and onions, along with Cajun seasonings, such as paprika and cayenne pepper. Traditionally, the fine pieces of meat used to prepare Dirty rice were ground or chopped giblets, such as chicken livers and gizzards. However, this recipe does not contain any giblets, although you can include them if you would like!

Where did it originate?

Dirty rice originates in Southern Louisiana. This traditional Creole dish was initially considered peasant food and it was created as a way for the working class to feed many mouths on a tight budget using inexpensive ingredients. It is the byproduct of the regions abundant rice supply and simple ingredients along with Cajun cooking techniques.

Are dirty rice and Cajun rice the same thing?

Dirty rice and Cajun rice are one in the same. However, many versions of dirty and cajun rice recipes exist, and you will find small variations on the dish depending upon the region and who is cooking it.

Overhead photo of ground sausage, andouille sausage, rice grains, chicken broth, and seasoning neatly arranged on a kitchen counter.

Ingredients for in cajun rice with sausage

This Dirty rice cajun recipe relies on just 8 easy-to-find ingredients, along with a few pantry staples, to create a dish that is hearty and bursting with rich flavor.

  • Oil: You will need a neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable, for browning the sausage.
  • Sausage: A hearty combination of ground pork sausage and andouille smokes sausage make this rice double dirty and deeply flavorful. (See below for substitution ideas.)
  • Vegetables: A trifecta of vegetables – bell peppers, yellow onions and celery (known as the Holy Trinity in the South) – create a base of flavor. Traditionally, Louisiana rice is made with green bell peppers, but I use a combination of both green and red peppers for extra flavor.
  • Spices and seasonings: A mix of fresh garlic, Cajun or Creole seasonings, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, kosher salt and ground black pepper all provide a ton of flavor! I tend to use a homemade Cajun seasoning, and Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning is pretty good. But feel free to use what you love – just make sure it’s a quality brand!
  • Rice: You need 2 cups of long-grain white rice for this recipe. (See below for varieties of long grain rice you can use.)
  • Broth: This recipe uses 4 cups of broth to both cook and flavor the new orleans rice. You can use chicken, beef or even vegetable broth, depending upon what you have on hand. However, I do recommend you use a no-sodium broth so you can control the level of salt.
  • Fresh Herbs: While entirely optional, I highly encourage you to finish your rice with a generous scattering of fresh green onions (scallions) and parsley; however, thyme and oregano work here too. The fresh herbs brighten up the rice and really give this dish that special something.

Recipe variations

  • Sausage substitution: Not a fan of sausage? No worries! Try using your favorite ground meat, such as ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey! However, other cuts of meat, such as chicken thighs, chicken livers, or chicken gizzards work too. Just make sure you cut them into very small pieces first.
  • Rice substitution: I always use regular, run-of-the-mill organic long grain white rice or long grain enriched rice to prepare this dish. However, you can use Basmati or Jasmine rice if you prefer a slightly nutty flavor (please note you may need to increase the cook time!). While you can try using brown long grain rice, you will need to play around with the recipe, increasing the amount of broth and the overall cook time.
  • Vegetarian option: Need to make this dish vegetarian? No problem! You can easily substitute beans for the sausage! (See below for preparing meat-free dirty rice!)

Optional Additions

  • Green Chiles or Jalapeños: Prefer a little heat? Try adding jalapeños along with the vegetables in step 3. Or toss in a can of green chiles when you add the rice and broth in step 4. Or simply garnish the top of your cajun rice and beans with pickled jalapeno rounds.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Love juicy tomatoes? Chop up a few fresh Roma tomatoes and stir them into the dirty rice before serving.
  • Okra: The grassy, sweet flavor of okra works beautifully with cajun food! Trim the okra, discarding the stem and blossom end, and add it along with the vegetables in step 3.
  • Hot Sauce: I like to bring the heat, so a few dashes of Louisiana hot sauce is a must if you are living in this house.
  • Worcestershire: One of my favorite ways to add a bit more flavor to this cajun dish – Worcestershire sauce! The sweet, smokey and slightly tangy flavor works perfectly here.
  • Bacon: Everything tastes better with bacon, right? Roughly chop and fry up some bacon and then use the fat to sauté your sausage (remove the bacon from the pan and add it to the rice before serving). Or simply toss some crumbled bacon (bacon bits are fine) into the Nola sausage rice before serving.
Close-up photo showcasing the hearty texture of dirty rice and beans.

How to make this Cajun rice recipe

This hearty and fragrant Cajun sausage rice is so incredibly easy to prepare! This easy rice recipe only requires one pot, a few simple ingredients and 30 minutes of active cook time!

  1. Brown pork sausage: In a large pan, saute the pork sausage until golden brown. Use a large, slotted spoon to remove the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  2. Brown the andouille: Add the andouille sausage to the pan. Cook until the andouille is browned and slightly charred. Use a large, slotted spoon to remove the andouille sausage to a separate paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  3. Add vegetables + seasonings: Reduce the heat to medium and add the bell peppers, onion and celery. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the rice + broth. Return the pork sausage to the pan. Add the rice, broth and bay leaf. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
  5. Cover and simmer: Cover the pan and simmer for 20-22 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  6. Let steam off heat then add andouille: Remove the pan from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Remove the cover. Remove and discard bay leaf. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the andouille. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve: Garnish with green onions and parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Step-by-step photos: Making this recipe at home

(Scroll down for the detailed measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.)

Step by step photo collage showing how to make the recipe for Cajun Dirty rice at home with written instructions on each step.

FAQs: frequently asked questions

Got questions? I’ve got answers! If you ever run into an issue, have a question, or need any clarification – please feel free to drop them in the comments section. I’m happy to help when I can! 

What makes dirty rice “dirty”?

Dirty rice gets its moniker from the appearance of the finished dish. The finely chopped or ground bits of meats and Cajun seasonings blended with the white rice give the dish the appearance of being “dirty”.

Is this rice spicy?

Traditionally, Cajun dirty rice is not a spicy or hot dish. While the dish is intensely spiced and deeply flavorful, it’s not spiced or flavored in a way provides much heat or any piquant kick.

What type of sausage should I use?

Traditionally, cajun rice uses a combination of andouille spicy sausage and ground pork or chicken. Some authentic recipes will call for chicken livers as well. This recipe calls for spicy andouille and ground pork sausage. However, you can customize this dish and swap out the sausages for ground chicken, turkey, beef, or whatever you personally love.

What kind of rice should I use?

You’ll need long-grain white rice for this recipe. It cooks up perfectly fluffy with separate grains – and none of that mushy texture.

Can I adjust the spiciness of this dish?

Absolutely, I will always encourage you to make my recipes your own! If you’d like to make this dirty rice and beans less spicy, simply start with a smaller amount of cajun seasoning and omit the cayenne pepper. And, if you’d like things fiery, simply add more cayenne pepper.

How to make dirty rice without meat?

You can easily make this dish meat-free and transform this recipe into vegetarian dirty rice! Both kidney beans or fresh mushrooms make delicious and hearty substitutes for the sausage in this rice!

To make vegetarian Cajun rice with beans

  • Use beans. Substitute the pork for 2 cans of light or dark red Kidney beans. Make sure you drain and rinse the beans prior to using in this rice recipe.
  • Prepare the recipe, skipping steps 1 and 2. Prepare the rice, skipping the first two steps of the recipe. Instead, start with step 3, using 1 tablespoon of neutral oil to sauté the vegetables.
  • Add liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce in step 4. To make up for the depth of flavor provided by the sausage, I highly recommend adding liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce to this cajun rice.  Simply add ½ teaspoon of each when you add the broth to the pan in step 4 of the recipe.
  • Stir the beans into the rice in step 6. After you let the cajun rice steam, stir the beans into the mixture. Then, serve the Louisiana dirty rice warm and enjoy!

To make vegan vegetarian cajun rice

  • Use mushrooms. Substitute the pork for your favorite variety or assortment of fresh mushrooms.
  • Prepare the recipe, substituting mushrooms for pork in step 1. Instead of sautéing the pork in step 1 of the recipe, sauté your mushrooms. You can use this easy sautéed mushrooms recipe as guidance! Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside. Skip step 2 and continue with the recipe.
  • Add liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce in step 4. To make up for the depth of flavor the sausage provides, I highly recommend adding liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce! Add ½ teaspoon of each when you add the broth to the pan in step 4.
  • Stir the mushrooms into the rice in step 6. After you let the rice steam, stir the tender mushrooms into the mixture. Serve and enjoy!

What can I do with leftover dirty rice?

I personally love to stuff leftovers into sweet red bell peppers and roast them in the oven for quick and easy weeknight dinner.

But, you can also add an egg to the rice, shape it into patties, and pan fry them in a bit of oil to make cajun rice cakes.

Serving cajun sausage and rice

Customarily, dirty rice is served as a side dish. However, this rice is very hearty and eats like a main meal. Since it’s overflowing with two types of sausages and plenty of fresh vegetables, I usually serve this creole rice dish as an entree.

If you’re looking for a new or exciting way to serve your rice, below are a few unique ideas as well as some authentic serving ideas for cajun rice and beans.

Chef’s serving recommendation: To make this recipe for dirty Cajun rice an entree, I serve it with a side of hushpuppies and rémoulade sauce, coleslaw with jalapenos recipe, or corn on the cob for a meal that’s as delicious as it is easy. Or, I’ll serve it as a side dish to accompany Cajun chicken wings, Po’ Boys, Cajun shrimp, blackened shrimp tacos, or blackened salmon.

10 side dishes to serve with new orleans dirty rice

Looking to make your dirty beans and rice the main event? Try pairing it with these delicious side dishes for a meal everyone is sure to love!

  • Salad: A light green side salad is a great way to balance out this hearty dish!
  • Slaw: Crisp coleslaw is another wonderful way to keep things light!
  • Soup: Classic southern She-Crab soup is thick, creamy and a delicious option if you are looking for a cozy meal!
  • Hush Puppies: Fluffy hush puppies are a must if you are looking to keep this traditional!
  • Fried Green Tomatoes: One of my all-time favorites! If you know, you know!
  • Okra: Whether you grill, sauté or fry it, okra is a signature southern ingredient!
  • Corn on the Cob: If fresh corn is in season, juicy corn on the cob fresh off the grill is way to go!
  • Cajun beans: Slow simmered red beans are always a welcome addition!
  • Spinach or Swiss Chard: Sauté up some greens for a delicious and healthy side option!
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Make sure you season your sweet potato fries generously with Creole seasoning to keep things authentic!

8 main dishes to go alongside

Prefer to serve your rice as a side dish? Try pairing this recipe for cajun dirty rice and beans with one of these delicious entrees to create an epic, Southern feast!

  • Po’ Boy Sandwich: New Orleans style Po’ Boys are a tasty option! Anything from alligator or catfish to chicken and shrimp Po’ Boys pair well with dirty rice!
  • Muffuletta: This New Orleans specialty is stellar and everything you want a sandwich to be!
  • Crab Cakes: Tender lump crab cakes are a fantastic accompaniment to this dish!
  • Crawfish Boil: Boil up some crawfish and corn cobs to serve alongside Cajun rice for seafood feast everyone will love!
  • Blackened Salmon: For a light and nutritious pairing, fire up the grill and (lightly) char up some salmon!
  • Chicken: Looking for a light and healthy option? Season chicken breasts with plenty of Cajun spices and bake or grill them. (See this Cajun Chicken Recipe for inspiration.)
  • Gumbo: Pair dirty rice with Louisiana gumbo stew for a hearty dinner.
  • Ribs: A tender rack of baby back ribs is the perfect option for a meat-loving family!
Overhead photo of cajun dirty rice with beans and sausage in a white bowl.

Storing leftovers 

Leftover dirty rice with sausage can always be put to good use! You can enjoy leftovers plain as a grab-and-go lunch or easy heat-and-eat meal! Or you can totally transform those leftovers into fried rice! Follow the below easy steps when storing to preserve the flavor and texture of leftover rice!

  • Cool it: Always allow your leftovers to cool completely to room temperature before storing. Since rice is moist – which is a breeding ground for bacteria – you want to cool it as quickly as possible. To quickly cool your leftover rice, try spreading it out on a large baking sheet!
  • Store it: Transfer the cool rice to an airtight container or resealable bag and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Use by: When properly stored, dirty rice will keep well for 5 to 6 days.

Freezing directions

This cajun dirty rice recipe freezes exceptionally well! Freezing is the great way to further extend the shelf-life of your dish! Follow the simple steps below when freezing to prevent freezer burn!

  • Cool it: As mentioned above, you should cool your rice to room temperature as quickly as possible!
  • Bag it: Transfer the cool rice to a freezer-safe storage bag. Gently press the bag to remove as much as possible before sealing.
  • Store it: Store your leftover rice flat in the freezer – this way it takes up less space and defrosts more quickly!
  • Use by: Cooked dirty rice will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To use it: Allow your rice to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it using one of the methods below!

Reheating instructions

Leftover Cajun dirty rice is so easy to reheat, making it perfect for quick lunches or easy weeknight dinners! There are two different ways to reheat this rice, depending upon your preference!

  • Stovetop: Transfer the leftovers to a medium saucepan and sprinkle with a bit of broth or water to moisten the rice. Place the pan on the stove and cook over medium heat, carefully stirring constantly, until the rice is warm throughout.
  • Microwave: Transfer an individual portion of leftover rice in a microwave-safe container. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of broth or water evenly over the top of the rice to moisten the grains. Place a lid on the container to prevent splatter, leaving the lid slightly cracked at the side to form a vent. Reheat on medium power, stirring every 30 to 45 seconds, until the rice is warm throughout. (Note: The exact cook time will depend upon the strength of your microwave.)
Angled, close-up photo of red beans and rich with andouille sausage and bell peppers.

So, what are you waiting for? Dirty up your rice with this ridiculously delicious recipe for cajun rice!


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More rice side dishes!

If you love this Cajun dish, try one of these delicious recipes next:

Overhead photo of cajun rice with andouille sausage and ground sausage in a white serving bowl.

Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage

5 from 2 votes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Looking for a stress-free weeknight dinner winner? This easy dirty cajun rice with savory sausages, red beans, veggies, and a symphony of savory spices is the ultimate fast and flavorful weeknight hero. Best of all you'll only need one pot, 7 basic ingredients and 40 minutes to make it.
Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.


  • 1 Dutch Oven OR High-Sided Large Skillet
  • 1 Wooden Kitchen Spoon


  • 2 tsp Neutral Oil (such as canola or vegetable)
  • 1 pound Ground Pork Sausage (or ground beef, chopped chicken livers or gizzards)
  • 12-14 ounces Andouille Smoked Sausage – diced
  • 2 small Bell Peppers – seeded & small dice (about 1 1/2 cups) (I use 1 green & 1 red bell pepper)
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion – small dice (about heaping 2 cups)
  • 2 large Ribs Celery – small dice (about ¾ cups)
  • 3 large Cloves Garlic – peeled & minced
  • 2 ½ tsp Cajun Seasoning (substitute: Creole seasoning)
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • to taste Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Uncooked Long-Grain White Rice (about 13 ounces)
  • 4 Cups Unsalted Broth – Beef or Chicken Broth
  • 1 whole Bay Leaf OPTIONAL
  • Optional Garnishes: Fresh Green Onions & Parsley – chopped


  • Brown pork sausage: In a Dutch oven or high-sided large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork sausage and cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes.
    Use a spatula to flip the pork over and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, undisturbed for an additional 2 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir and break the pork up into large crumbles.
    Cook the crumbled of pork 1 more minute undisturbed.
    Use a large, slotted spoon to remove the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. (Note: You don't want to fully cook the pork through as it will continue to cook further in next steps.)
  • Brown the andouille: Add the andouille sausage to the pan. Cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes.
    Stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the andouille is well caramelized about 2 additional minutes.
    Use a large, slotted spoon to remove the andouille sausage to a separate paper towel-lined plate and set aside. (Note: If you have a lot of fat in the pan, drain off or blot all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan before proceeding with the next step.)
  • Add vegetables + seasonings: Reduce the heat to medium and add the bell peppers, onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 6-8 minutes.
    Add the garlic, Cajun seasoning and cayenne. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Add the rice + broth: Return the pork sausage to the pan. Add the rice, broth and bay leaf (if using). Stir everything together, using the back of your spoon to gently scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Boil, Simmer, Cover and Cook: Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and then immediately reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for 20-22 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender.
  • Let steam off heat then add andouille: Remove the pan from the heat and let sit COVERED for 5 minutes.
    Remove the cover. Remove and discard bay leaf.
    Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the andouille. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Serve: Scatter green onions and parsley over the top of the dirty rice. Serve immediately and enjoy!


  • Recipe Serves: 6-8 people
  • Need to Scale the Recipe? Hover your mouse over the number of servings in the recipe card. You’ll see a sliding scale pop up, you can use that to scale the recipe up or down as needed.
  • Got questions? I’ve got answers! If you ever run into an issue, have a question, or need any clarification – please feel free to drop them in the comments section. I’m happy to help when I can! 
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and the nutrition facts are an estimate based upon 8 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.


Calories: 528kcal    Carbohydrates: 42g    Protein: 23g    Fat: 29g    Saturated Fat: 10g    Trans Fat: 1g    Cholesterol: 77mg    Sodium: 788mg    Potassium: 511mg    Fiber: 1g    Sugar: 2g    Vitamin A: 711IU    Vitamin C: 26mg    Calcium: 39mg    Iron: 2mg

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