How to Make Homemade Dirty Rice

Start to Finish: 50 minutes

Servings: 10

Difficulty: Easy

White rice gets its "dirty" color when it's tossed in finely chopped giblets -- usually chicken liver -- and spices, such as cayenne pepper, black pepper and paprika, giving it the spicy aroma of a traditional Cajun dish. This recipe contains pork sausage to add flavor and complement the soft texture of chicken liver. Dirty rice works well as a standalone dish but can lend its flavor to salads and meat dishes.


  • 2 cups white rice 
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 
  • 16 ounces pork sausage, ground 
  • 16 ounces, chicken liver, finely chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped 
  • Kosher salt, to taste 
  • 2 teaspoons paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Wash the rice to remove excess starch. Put the rice in a colander and rinse it under a cold water; stir the rice with your hands.

Put the rice in a pot with the chicken stock. Bring it to a boil, cover the pot and turn the temperature down to a low-to-medium heat. Let it simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until most of the chicken stock has been absorbed.

Pour vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium-high heat.

When the oil is hot, add the sausage and chicken liver into the saucepan; cook the dish for four to five minutes, stirring frequently until the liver and sausage is brown.

Add the garlic, onions, green pepper and celery to the saucepan and combine the mixture with the meat. Sauté for about one minute and reduce the heat to low; cook for an additional five minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add all of the spices and gently stir in the cooked rice until it's well combined. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Cooking Suggestions

  • Substitute liver for gizzard. Both gizzard and liver will give Cajun rice its dirty look. Gizzard has a chewy, tougher texture, while liver is soft. Use both or choose one or the other. 
  • Make Cajun dirty rice in one pot. After browning the meat and cooking the vegetables until they are soft, add the washed rice, spices and chicken broth to the saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and let it simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes. The rice will absorb the broth and you will have one pot of dirty rice. 
  • Substitute the pork sausage. Depending on your taste, cook shrimp, ground beef, chicken or chorizo to replace the pork sausage. If you choose not to add a meat, serve the dish with pork chops or steak.