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Old-Fashioned Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice is made with perfectly seasoned rice and meat and is a great Southern side dish to any meal or as a whole meal on it’s own!


I’m a huge lover of Dirty Rice. I never knew why it was called “dirty” though. Then I learned the answer from a cajun neighbor. Because the rice turns a light brown color after adding seasoning and meat, it looks and was considered “dirty.” You can learn a lot about a region just by understanding the food that is made there. The flavors in dirty rice are so unique and it’s hard to describe but it’s a combination of different cultures: a little French and a little African. This particular recipe was given to me by that same neighbor and it was his family’s recipe. I hope you love this Dirty Rice recipe as much as we do!

wooden spoon in pan with Dirty Rice up close.


Do I have to use gizzards in Dirty Rice?

A traditional, authentic recipe for Dirty Rice will use chicken gizzards or chicken livers. Often ground beef isn’t even added because it would’ve been seen as a luxury meat back when this recipe would’ve been initially prepared. The gizzards can obviously be left out if you don’t enjoy those flavors.

What is a chicken gizzard?

It’s a little organ that’s part of a chickens’ digestive tract. It’s actually a very healthy piece of meat that’s often overlooked by cooks.
Enslaved Africans were usually only given parts of meat that the white colonizers deemed “inedible.” So they made great use of these cuts of meat and the African ingenuity and creativity really shined in their cooking. Also, we probably wouldn’t have had rice introduced into America so early on if it weren’t for the enslaved Africans skills with producing this crop.

What other meats can be used?

The meats are optional in this. However, some substitutes can be ground sausage or andouille sausage.

Why do you need to rinse the rice?

The process of rinsing rice removes the starch from the surface of the rice. Just keep rinsing until the water is clear and not cloudy. That extra starch can cause the rice to turn out gummy and we don’t want gummy rice!

Can I double this recipe?

Absolutely, I would suggest using a larger pan or pot.

How do I store leftovers?

Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This recipe freezes well in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.

Is Dirty Rice the same thing as Cajun Rice?

Yes. And from what I could gather about its history, dirty rice was originally made by Acadian immigrants (who eventually became known as “Cajuns”). Acadians are descendants of the French who settled in Canada about 200-300 years ago. Then they made their way to the American South (thanks to a tempting offer from the Spaniards that offered them land to block British expansion along the Mississippi River). It is thought that they pulled together their own country’s flavors and combined them with African flavors and foods. Also, it should be noted, (very generally speaking) Black descendants of enslaved Africans and French immigrants are generally referred to as “Creole” and the descendants of the Acadians (who were Caucasian) are generally referred to as “Cajun”. These are both distinct cultures in their own right even though today we often use them interchangeably.
For authentic cajun recipes, please check out Louisiana Woman Blog.

Photo of finished Dirty Rice in a large skillet.


  • long grain rice
  • beef broth
  • canola oil
  • lean ground beef
  • chicken gizzards (optional)
  • green bell pepper
  • sweet onion, garlic
  • celery seed
  • creole seasoning
  • onion powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • ground black pepper
  • water
  • green onion
Ingredients needed: ong grain rice, beef broth, canola oil, lean ground beef, chicken gizzards, green bell pepper, sweet onion, garlic, celery seed, creole seasoning, onion powder, cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, water and green onion.


Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Then add to a pot along with the beef broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Beef broth being poured over rice in pan.

While the rice is cooking, add the canola oil to a large skillet (12”) and turn on medium heat.

Canola oil in a skillet.

Once heated, add the ground beef, gizzards, bell pepper, onion, garlic and sauté for about 8-10 minutes.

Ground beef, gizzards, bell pepper, onion and garlic added to skillet.

Add the rice, celery seed, creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and water. Stir and heat through.

Rice, celery seed, creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and water added to skillet.

Serve immediately garnished with chopped green onion.

Half of pan with spoon on the side of Dirty Rice Recipe.


Square close up image of spoon in Dirty Rice Recipe

Old-Fashioned Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice is made with perfectly seasoned rice and meat and is a great Southern side dish to any meal or as a whole meal on it's own!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 cups extra long grain rice
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chicken gizzards (optional)
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere's)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • green onion, sliced (optional)


  • Rinse the 2 cups extra long grain rice thoroughly, then add to a pot along with 4 cups beef broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking add 1 Tablespoon canola oil to a large skillet (12”) and turn on medium heat.
  • Once heated, add 1 pound lean ground beef, 1/2 cup chicken gizzards, 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped, 1/2 sweet onion, diced and 2 cloves garlic, minced and saute for about 8-10 minutes (crumbling up the ground beef and gizzards.)
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon creole seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/2 cup water. Stir and heat through.
  • Add the rice to the skillet and combine.
  • Serve immediately garnished with green onion, sliced (optional.)


  1. This recipe can easily be doubled but I suggest making it in a large pot instead of a skillet.
  2. This can be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.
  3. You can omit the gizzards as they aren’t essential but they are authentic.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American


Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 681mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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    1. Hi Jenny! I have actually never made this with livers instead of gizzards but perhaps another reader has and can comment on here for us. 🙂

  1. You failed to mention you need to boil n grind those gizzards. Do not add the whole gizzards. No one does that!!!

    1. You don’t need to do that at all actually. It is a waste of time and dishes. They cook with the ground beef so therefore do not need to be boiled and you grind them up just like you do with the ground beef. You realize I actually make this, right? Also, look at most any other authentic cajun dirty rice recipes, you will see that most do it just like I was taught to do here.