Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice or Rice Dressing is a dressing made with browned ground beef, pork and/or giblets simmered with a sautéed vegetable mixture.  It is probably the most common side dish served with cajun food.  You cannot cook a turkey without making dirty rice out of the giblets.  The dressing mix is mixed with cooked white rice just before serving.  You can cook the dressing mix and freeze it, so the dirty rice can be made quickly by mixing with freshly cooked white rice.


  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork or breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground chicken gizzards
  • several chicken livers (optional)
  • chicken/turkey necks (if you have them)
  • 1/2 stick margarine or butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup green onion tops, chopped
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can chicken broth, or 

  • boil chicken/turkey giblets (neck, gizzards, and liver) to make broth
  • 2-4 cups uncooked long grain or parboiled white rice
  • cajun seasoning mix (homemade, Chachere's or Zatarain's)

Dressing Mix

  • Use fresh ground beef and ground pork.  If you want the dressing to be a bit richer, you can use fresh pork breakfast sausage.
  • Stock: Boil the chicken/turkey giblets (necks, gizzards and livers) in some of the chopped onion, bell pepper and celery, and cook down to one cup of stock.    If you do not want to make your own stock, use 1 can of chicken broth. 
  • Grind the cooked gizzards and livers.  Never grind fresh livers. Some do not like liver in their dirty rice, so the liver can be omitted. If you do not have giblets and do not want to purchase them separately, then both the livers and gizzards can both be omitted.  In fact, you can make the dressing mix with any one of the meats by themselves.  My wife likes to make her dirty rice with ground beef only.
  • Brown the meat in a lightly greased heavy walled cast iron or aluminum pot.  Pour off the excess grease. 
  • Remove the meat, or in a separate pot, melt the butter and add the chopped onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.  Sauté until wilted.  Add the meat, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and cup/can of broth.
  • Add cajun seasoning mix (homemade, Chachere's or Zatarain's) to taste.
  • Slowly simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Use a low enough heat and stir freqently enough so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • At the very end, add the chopped green onion tops and parsley, and simmer for a few minutes longer. 
  • Use the dressing mix right away, or freeze batches for later use.
Mix Dirty Rice
  • Cook 2-4 cups long grain or parboiled white rice.  
  • I like to use parboiled rice because the rice grains stay more seperate and it does not absorb as much of the liquid, hence the dressing stays more moist.
  • Mix cooked white rice into heated dressing mix just before serving.  Add the rice a bit at a time until you achieve the balance that you like of rice to dressing mix.  I like my dressing rich with a lot of dressing mix relative to the rice, whereas my wife likes more rice in her dressing mix.  Have it your way!
  • Some like to add the fresh chopped green onion to the final dressing, but I like to simmer it into the dressing mix at the very end of the cooking time.
  • If you like, you can mix the dressing mix with bread crumbs, croutons or corn bread to make variations.  It also makes a great stuffing.
©David Wm. Reed