Cajun Dirty Rice

Celebrate Mardi Gras and make your weeknight dinner epic with this Cajun Dirty Rice!

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Celebrate Mardi Gras and make your weeknight dinner epic with this Cajun Dirty Rice!Do you remember the moment when you first met some of your closest friends?  More often than not, good friendships just develop over time…but it’s still fun to think about the first time you met.  Although my wife and I now live in upstate New York, many of my closest guy friends live way down in south Louisiana.  I lived in Louisiana for several years, and looking back it was a really strange sequence of events that led to me living down there.  (Isn’t it always a strange sequence of events?)

One of my best dude friends has always been a huge Duke basketball fan.  Long story short, he reached out to me when I was in college at Duke to ask about coming up to a game.  Tickets to Duke basketball games aren’t exactly easy to come by, but we stayed in touch via email for a number of years.  During my senior year, he invited me down for Mardi Gras…and on a whim I took him up on the offer.  A couple of us piled in the car and made the road trip from Durham, NC to New Orleans, LA.  And we’ve been friends ever since!  (I did manage to get him tickets to a Duke game later that year.)

Celebrate Mardi Gras and make your weeknight dinner epic with this Cajun Dirty Rice!After college, I ended up moving down to Louisiana for a change of scenery.  It was one of the most epic decisions ever.  Along the way, I met loads of awesome friends. We’ve cooked ginormous pots of gumbo together outside of Tiger Stadium.  We’ve caught many beads together down in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  Heck, we’ve even dressed as leprechauns together to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Years later, we still stay in touch.  In fact, several of these guys were in my wedding.  It’s crazy to think back to those early days before I realized that these guys would turn into life-long friends.

Desktop2Seeing as how upstate New York is a long way from south Louisiana, I don’t get to hang out with these guys as often as I’d like.  (We did do a dude’s trip to NYC for a Mets game last summer which was awesome!)  But I’m particularly missing south Louisiana right now given that we’re right in the midst of Mardi Gras season.  If you’ve never been to Mardi Gras, then you definitely need to put it on your bucket list.  (For the record, Mardi Gras isn’t necessarily all about crazy debauchery.  Once you get away from the French Quarter, there’s a whole different side of Mardi Gras.  There’s still a party atmosphere for sure, but it’s a bit more…uh…family friendly.)

Cajun Dirty Rice

I can’t think about south Louisiana and Mardi Gras without thinking about delicious Cajun food.  I was exposed to a whole new foodie culture down there in Louisiana.  From Shrimp Etouffee to Red Beans and Rice, Cajun cuisine is all about tasty comfort food.  I realized recently that I’ve never posted my recipe for Dirty Rice, and that’s definitely a problem!  I clearly needed to fix that.  After a particularly long snow-blowing and snow-shoveling session the other day, I hopped into the kitchen and cooked up a batch of Dirty Rice.  (To be fair, my wife did most of the work this time since I was outside playing in the snow.)

Celebrate Mardi Gras and make your weeknight dinner epic with this Cajun Dirty Rice!Dirty Rice is one of the easiest recipes ever.  Traditionally, Dirty Rice is made with chicken livers and ground pork.  I’m not a huge fan of liver, so I make mine with sliced andouille sausage instead.  Dirty Rice is also commonly made with ground beef.  I just happened to have some andouille sausage in my freezer, so I went that direction this time.  Like any self-respecting Cajun recipe, this Dirty Rice draws a ton of flavor from the holy trinity of Cajun cooking: onions, bell peppers and celery.  Add in the andouille sausage and some fresh scallions, and you’ve got one heck of an awesome dinner.

Did you make this Cajun Dirty Rice at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

Celebrate Mardi Gras and make your weeknight dinner epic with this Cajun Dirty Rice!

Cajun Dirty Rice

Celebrate Mardi Gras and make your weeknight dinner epic with this Cajun Dirty Rice!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 308kcal



  • Using a large saucepan, add the chicken broth and rice. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until broth is fully absorbed (~45 minutes). (Tip: Do not stir rice once you cover the pan and reduce heat.) Once broth has been absorbed, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • After the rice has been cooking for about 10 minutes, place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sliced sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Set sausage aside, but leave the fat in the skillet.
  • Add the onion, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until soft (~10-12 minutes).
  • Add the remaining ingredients (salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, parsley and scallions). Stir and cook over low heat until rice is done.
  • Add the cooked rice and stir. Garnish with additional chopped scallions before serving.


Note: If andouille sausage is not available in your area, simply substitute a spicy style sausage instead.

Celebrate Mardi Gras and make your weeknight dinner epic with this Cajun Dirty Rice!

Looking for some more tasty Cajun recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Now that the weather is turning cooler, dust off the slow cooker and whip up some of these Slow Cooker Cajun Pulled Pork Sandwiches!Slow Cooker Cajun Pulled Pork Sandwiches

These Cajun Black-Eyed Peas are an easy and healthy side dish...and they'll bring you good luck, too!Cajun Black-Eyed Peas

Get tailgating season started off right with this tasty Cajun Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Dipping Sauce!Cajun Grilled Shrimp w/ Spicy Dipping Sauce

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  1. I love me some dirty rice!! this looks fabulous!!! most recently, with our move to Wisconsin, I met my good friend here through her husband. he was the only person we knew moving here to Madison and I got together with his wife for lunch and now she’s my BFF here. she’s a foodie just like me! 🙂 love the photo with the green hair by the way!!! so awesome!

    1. Isn’t it funny how random connections become best friends? It’s also fun to stop and think back about how you met those friends…especially when green hair is involved! 🙂

    1. Oh, you could turn this into a vegetarian dish so easily, Manali. The flavor comes from the “holy trinity” of celery, bell peppers and onions. I’d love to see your twist on dirty rice!

  2. What an amazing story which lead to an adventure- I love reading things like this, gives us more insight into the life of David (I accidentally wrote Pi).

    My main group of friends now are ironically some I didn’t even get along with in high school! How times change! this rice looks delicious though and I’m glad you choose sausage over ground beef. Good choice!

    1. Hmmm…Life of David or Life of Pi? haha! Seriously, though, it’s funny how life changes and you end up becoming friends with people you never expected. And it’s fun to sit back and think about the path that led you to becoming friends. Good times!

      So no ground beef here, but how do you feel about the traditional chicken liver that is often used in dirty rice? I say no. Not a liver fan. Not even in the slightest!

  3. I so love this post, David! While your personality shines through in your posts often – it sure is nice to see you in your element – in all your goofiness! That hair spraying picture is a winning picture indeed! 🙂
    My friends are so scattered – a couple from Elementary school in Sri Lanka, a good bunch from middle and high school in AbuDhabi, a few from college and one of my closest friends I happened to have met in the gym about 12 years ago!

    Btw – A coworker of mine is from Louisiana and brings in gumbo and etoufee and dirty rice often – so I swear I can smell yours through the screen!!! Now – if only I could manage to taste it through the screen too…

    1. Haha…I am definitely in my element when I can be goofy and fun, Shashi! The problem is that it takes a while after meeting new people before you can really be goofy…otherwise you’re just that weird guy! It’s fun to think back about best friends and how we met them.

      Btw–I’m jealous that you have a coworker from Louisiana! I bet she brings in the best stuff…especially at this time of the year with Mardi Gras looming. I had a coworker from New Orleans when I worked down in Atlanta, and we’d talk Cajun food and Saints football all the time. I miss her!!

  4. I’ve been so into different, new grains it’s been a while since I had rice and this looks to be packed with good, spicy stuff. Love the old pictures, especially the green hair one! Gonna check out that app Studio Design, thanks for the heads up!

    1. No problem, Kevin! Yup, rice is a staple in Cajun cooking…and since Mardi Gras is coming up next week, I’ve been craving Cajun food like crazy. Happy Friday, my West Coast friend!!

  5. I am ashamed to say this but the only dirty rice I’ve ever eaten is from Bojangles. LOL! Your recipe looks awesome and I’m sure it tastes 1000x better!!

    1. You know what? They don’t have Bojangles up here in the Northeast, Tamara! But that’s ok…dirty rice is actually an incredibly easy meal to make. And it’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies that you have floating around. Hmm…now I’m craving dirty rice for dinner again tonight!

  6. Hi David! I’m getting really hungry here! I see no reason why Mardi Gras can’t be celebrated through all these wonderful foods any time of the year! My best friend (besides my husband, but he’s only been my best friend for 30 years) and I met 45 years ago through work an we have been through it ALL in those years! She still lives in MI and my other best friend of 30 years (again from MI) now lives in Arkansas – I am in regular contact with both. My husband and I have a really good friend of 30 or so years here – he’s actually how we ended up here in TN. He moved here from MI and invited us down for a visit and we immediately began house hunting! I’m truly fortunate to have these people in my life – as well as new friends like you!!

    1. I am totally with you here, Dorothy! Let’s start a movement to have Mardi Gras once a month!! Wow, it sounds like you’ve got some really awesome friends. I can’t imagine going down to visit TN and immediately starting the house hunt. That’s not exactly a small move! But I’m guessing the winters are a whole heck of a lot nicer down in TN versus MI. 🙂

      1. Hi David! I have very awesome friends – old and new! I was ready to get out of our law office when we came to visit TN and it just seemed like the right thing to do, so we did! I’ve always been a person who if the thought sits right with me I just do it! As for winters, H### yes winters are so much better here – we got all of 2 inches of snow this past winter compared to over 3 feet in our driveway in MI all the time! And yes, let’s agree to host a Mardi Gras party every month – I’m with you my friend! You post recipes and I will post you back! We have a lot in common and do think alike! You remind me of my son, a good, caring individual and that is such an attribute! Your wife is a lucky woman!

        1. I like this arrangement, Dorothy! I get to make Cajun food more often, and you get to have more parties. Sounds like a win-win to me! Thank you for the kind comments about me and your son. He sounds like an awesome guy! Oh, and don’t even get me started on snow. Growing up in the south, I thought it was cool to see snow all the time. Now I’m so over it. There’s nothing worse than standing there in -10° weather starting at a driveway with 2′ of snow on it. Sounds like you could use some more down there…I’ll send you some next winter!

          1. Hi David! If you dare to send me snow next winter, I’ll send you some good ole’ Southern summer – you know what I’m talking about! 🙂

        2. Oh I know Southern summers very well. Maybe we’ll just combine the two and let the Southern heat melt this Northern snow! 🙂

    1. Hey Cami! Good question. It really depends on how you want to serve this Dirty Rice. If you serve it as an entree by itself, then I’d estimate 4-6 servings here. (That’s how we usually serve it.) But if you go with it as a side dish, then I’d estimate more like 8-10 servings. I hope this helps! This Dirty Rice is one of our favorite go-to Cajun dishes. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 🙂

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