Learn how to make the best cajun dirty rice with 8 simple ingredients and one pot in 30 minutes – or less! Featuring two types of sausages, tender-crisp vegetables, deeply flavorful Creole spices and fresh herbs, this New Orleans style rice is bursting with robust flavors. Perfectly satisfying and hearty, this recipe for dirty cajun rice is sure to become a family favorite! (Recipe includes two meatless options for vegetarians.)
Featured comment: Making it right now and the smell is amazing! I used red, yellow, and orange peppers so its super colorful with the meat and green celery. Very pleasing to the eye! Thanks for the recipe!” – Alicia
Read on for simple tips and tricks for making the best one pot dirty rice with sausage right in your very own kitchen. And, don’t miss the comprehensive step-by-step photographs showing you exactly how easy this dish is to make from scratch!
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!
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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
- 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 Cajun dirty 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!
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.
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.
What makes this 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 it 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’s in dirty rice cajun?
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!
Ingredients you need to make this rice at home
- 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 seasoning, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, kosher salt and ground black pepper all provide a ton of flavor! I tend to use a homemade Cajun seasoning or Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning, 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!
- Garnish: 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-something!
Substitutions and variations
Looking to make a few changes or additions to this new orlean’s rice? No problem! This recipe is super flexible and incredibly easy to customize! Get creative in the kitchen – eliminate any ingredients you don’t have on hand or simply don’t like and replace them with ones you love! Below are a few ideas to get you started:
- 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!)
- 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!
- 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.
How to make dirty rice without meat?
You can easily make this dish meat-free meal 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 meatless 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 plant-based vegetarian dirty 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!
How to make dirty Cajun rice from scratch?
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover and simmer: Cover the pan and simmer for 20-22 minutes, or until the rice is 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: Garnish with green onions and parsley. Serve and enjoy!
Step-by-step photos: Making this recipe for cajun dirty rice
(Scroll down for the detailed measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.)
Serving recipe for Cajun dirty rice
Looking for a new or exciting way to serve your rice? Below are a few unique and authentic ideas, plus some of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy this Cajun dirty rice recipe:
Is New Orleans rice a meal?
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 a entree.
What goes with New Orleans dirty rice?
This flavorful New Orleans rice recipe is rich in protein and hearty enough to serve as a stand-alone meal. However, you can also round out the dish by pairing it with a variety of side dishes.
Chef’s serving recommendation: To make this recipe for dirty Cajun rice an entree, I serve it with a side of hushpuppies and remoulade, coleslaw, 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.
However, you can serve dirty rice cajun-style with any of your favorite New Orleans dishes to create a more filling dinner. Below are a few of the best pairing ideas for this Creole rice.
10 side dishes to serve with New Orleans rice recipes
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 serve with dirty rice with sausage
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!
- Cajun Shrimp: Toss raw shrimp with a bit of Cajun seasoning, thread them on a skewer and grill them up for a quick and easy meal!
- 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!
Storing and freezing leftovers
Food safety is important when it comes to storage! Follow the simple tips below for properly storing your leftover dirty rice with beans one-pot meal.
How long will dirty rice recipe cajun last?
Leftover dirty rice 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.
Can I freeze it?
Cajun rice 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!
How to reheat it?
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.)
So, what are you waiting for? Dirty up your rice with this ridiculously delicious recipe for cajun dirty rice!
More rice side dishes!
If you love this Cajun dish, try one of these delicious recipes next:
The best Cajun dirty rice recipe👇
Dirty Cajun Rice Recipe (One Pot!)
- 1 Dutch Oven OR High-Sided Large Skillet
- 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
- Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Cups Uncooked Long-Grain White Rice (about 13 ounces)
- 4 Cups Unsalted Broth – Beef or Chicken Broth
- 1 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: Pork will continue to cook 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: Garnish with green onions and parsley. Serve and enjoy!
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