5 from 2 votes

Easy Cajun Dirty Rice (Homemade!)

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This savory Cajun dirty rice recipe is made in one-pan so it’s great for weeknight meals. This Cajun recipe takes 30 minutes and is bursting with flavour!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes
£1.70
Makes: 5
mains
Cajun
Freezable

If you’re in the mood for savory, one-pan Cajun dinner ideas, look no further! This delicious dirty rice recipe is just what you’ll want to chow down on. It’s ready in 30 minutes, so it’s great for a quick weeknight meal.

Cooked rice with a reddish sauce, some red peppers, jalapeños and chopped chives mixed with a wooden spoon.

Why you’ll love this recipe

With each bite of this Cajun dirty rice, you can expect a delightfully smoky taste, flavourful mince, and bits of green pepper. Bonus – you’ll be using mostly pantry ingredients, so it’s also budget-friendly.

Fast – This dirty rice recipe only takes about 30 minutes to make, so you can enjoy the dish in no time!

Flavorful – You can expect bold flavours in each bite with ingredients like peppers, onion, fresh garlic (not garlic powder), jalapeños, and Cajun seasoning.

One pot – This Louisiana-inspired Cajun rice recipe is made in one pot for easy cleanup.

Customizable – Don’t worry if you can’t handle heat, as you can easily adjust the amount of spice in this recipe.

Family-friendly – Even full of veggies, this recipe is loved by kids and adults alike.

Satisfy any cravings for comforting meals with rice and try my : Southwest Ground Turkey and Rice Skillet, Spicy Tomato Rice topped with Halloumi and One Pot Chicken & Rice

What is Dirty Rice?

Dirty rice is a southern rice dish, specifically Louisiana Creole dish cuisine, which gets its name from its colour. As the uncooked rice simmers with meat, it turns a brown-grey (aka “dirty”) hue. You may also see this recipe called rice seasoning or rice dressing.

The origination of dirty rice is quite heartbreaking, as it was initially created when enslaved individuals needed to feed their families. They were given small meat scraps, which were added to rice, veg, and seasonings to help create a more filling recipe. These scraps were often the unwanted portions of meat, such as chicken gizzards and livers.

Traditional dirty rice recipes still use these meat bits to flavour the rice. You’ll also see the “Holy Trinity” used in traditional versions of this recipe, which includes a mixture of onions, celery, and green bell pepper.

Modern versions of dirty rice recipes use ground beef, pork, or chicken, or minced meat to create a similar flavour and colour. Even with the use of different protein, a dirty rice recipe (like this one) is still packed with flavour. Expect a smokey, spicy taste in each bite.

If you love Cajun seasoning, try these tasty recipes; Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, Air Fryer Chicken Bites and Air Fryer Shrimp from Frozen

Ingredients

Ingredients to make mince and rice recipes laid out on a pale blue background and labelled.

Pork Mince – I love adding pork mince to this dirty recipe, as it adds a good amount of flavour. If you prefer, you can use other types of mince, such as beef or chicken. Or, try this recipe with hot Italian sausage or other pork sausage options.

Rice – Traditionally, long-grain white rice is used to create Cajun rice. However, you can also use basmati rice or brown rice, if that’s what you have on hand.

Jalapeños – These are added for a hotter flavour and enticing appearance. If you have a lower heat tolerance, you can use a smaller amount or omit the jalapeños altogether.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations/ Adaptations

Here are a few ways to make this dirty rice recipe your own! Instead of using pork mince, consider using beef or chicken mince. Or, keep the recipe traditional by including chicken gizzards, livers, and hearts.

I’ve included sweet peppers and onions in this recipe, but you can also use other veggies. Feel free to use anything from carrots to celery. This recipe tastes great with nearly any vegetables, so toss in anything you need to use up.

If you want a vegan version of this easy Cajun dirty rice recipe, swap out the meat for beans (pinto or black). These will still create a similar colour and add a yummy flavour to the rice.

Pair this yummy Cajun rice with one of these healthy side recipes; Frozen Cauliflower, Sauteed Broccoli or Sauteed Leeks

How to make Cajun dirty rice

  1. Start by finely slicing the onions and garlic (Image 1).
  2. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan with 1 tbsp oil over high heat. Add the mince, break apart roughly, and brown for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with finely sliced onions on chopping a board and the second with pieces of mince frying in a pan.

3. Next, break the mince apart properly, stir, and add the onion. Cook for 5 more minutes (Image 3).

4. Reducing the heat to medium/low then add the garlic, tomato puree, Cajun seasoning and peppers to cook for a further 2 minutes (Image 4). 

2 step by step photos, the first with browned mince in a pan with a wooden spoon and the second with pieces chopped peppered and garlic added to the mince in the pan.

5. Now add the rinsed rice and mix together in the pan (Image 5).

6. Then add the chicken stock and stir together.  Place a lid on the pan and simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice isn’t sticking. Add more stock if the mixture becomes dry and ensure the rice has cooked through (Image 6). 

2 step by step photos, the first with rice, tomato mix, with sliced peppers and cooked mince in a pan and the second with stock added to the mix.

7. When the rice is cooked through, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary (Image 7).

8. Top with jalapeno slices and sprinkle a sprinkle of fresh chives (or coriander if you prefer). You can also serve with extra cheese as an optional side (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with rice, tomato mix, with sliced peppers and cooked mince in a pan and the second with sliced jalapeños added and the pan placed on a blue background.

If you love Cajun seasoning, try my Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta and serve this delicious Easy Mexican Street Corn Off the Cob as a side dish.

Tips for the best results

Make it as spicy (or unspicy) as you want
This dirty rice recipe is great, as you can adjust the spice level to your liking. If you want a less hot dish, skip the jalapeños and add a smaller amount of Cajun seasoning. For a spicier recipe, increase the amount of jalapeños and Cajun seasoning. You can also add some cayenne pepper for a hotter recipe. Start with 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne, and adjust to your preferences.

Brown the mince first
Browning the meat for this recipe helps increase the flavour and ensures there are no large chunks of pork mince throughout the rice.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this dirty rice recipe as a main or side dish, depending on your preference. If you want to serve it as a side dish, you can pair it with items like BBQ chicken or pork, baked fish, a green salad, jambalaya or gumbo. Or serve with a tasty side dish/salad; Simple Tricolore Salad, Prawn Salad Recipe or Easy Mexican Street Corn Off the Cob

A large pan with cooked rice with a reddish sauce, some red peppers, jalapeños and chopped chives mixed with a wooden spoon on a blue background.

How to Store and Reheat Dirty Rice

This dirty rice recipe (UK version) is delicious fresh but also holds up well in the fridge. Below, you’ll find notes on what to do with the leftovers.

Allow the Cajun dirty rice to cool fully. Then, put it in an airtight container. Store it in the fridge for up to three days. Be sure to pack the rice into a container within two hours after cooking to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria.

Can you freeze dirty rice?
Yes, you can freeze dirty rice. However, cooked rice is likely to get mushy in the freezer, so the texture may be off when storing it with this method. If you’re okay with that, feel free to freeze the leftovers. Once cooled, pack the rice in an airtight container or baggie. Then, freeze for 2-3 months.

To reheat, zap it in the microwave until it’s warmed. If you’ve frozen the rice, allow it to defrost first in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat it in the microwave. If you notice the rice is dry, add a small amount of water, beef broth, or chicken broth before reheating it. You can also reheat the recipe with a bit of olive oil in a pan.

Satisfy those sweet cravings and try these recipes; Tiramisu Overnight Oats, Homemade Granola Recipe and Soft Flapjack Recipe

FAQs

How big does the pan need to be for this recipe?

I recommend using a large pan that’s about 10-12” in diameter for this dirty rice recipe.

Is It okay to use a non-stick pan?

Yes, you can use a non-stick pan for this recipe. I actually recommend it, as it makes cleanup even easier afterwards!

Can I make this dairy free?

Yes, you can make this recipe dairy-free. Simply leave the cheese off the top.

Can you make this ahead?

Yes, you can make this recipe the day or night before. I would not make it more than a day in advance, as it only lasts in the fridge for a few days. Follow the directions below: let the rice cool, pack it in an airtight container, and keep it in the fridge. Then, reheat it in the microwave when you’re ready to eat it.

Explore More Recipes

If you tried this Cajun Dirty Rice recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

 

Cajun Dirty Rice

Print
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes
£1.70
mains
Cajun
Freezable
Servings: 5
This savory Cajun dirty rice recipe is made in one-pan so it’s great for weeknight meals. This Cajun recipe takes 30 minutes and is bursting with flavour!

Ingredients

  • 500 g pork mince (£2.50)
  • 350 g rice, thoroughly rinsed (£0.52)
  • 2 peppers, red and green (£0.59x2)=(£1.18)
  • 1 white onion, finely diced (£0.15)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (£0.40)
  • 2 tbsp Jalapenos, sliced (£1.25)
  • Optional cheddar cheese to serve

Cupboard Essentials

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 850 ml beef stock
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  • Preheat a large non-stick frying pan with 1 tbsp oil over high heat. Add the mince, break apart roughly, and brown for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Next, break the mince apart properly, stir, and add the onion. Cook for 5 more minutes, reducing the heat to medium/low then add the garlic, tomato puree, Cajun seasoning and peppers to cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Now add the rinsed rice and chicken stock and stir together. Place a lid on the pan and simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the rice isn’t sticking. Add additional stock if the mixture becomes dry and ensure the rice has cooked through.
  • When ready, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Top with jalapeno slices and sprinkle a sprinkle of fresh chives (or coriander if you prefer).

Notes

  • Customise the heat: skip jalapeños and use less Cajun seasoning for mild; add more jalapeños, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne for a fiery kick.
  • Brown the pork mince first to enhance flavour and avoid large chunks.

Nutrition

Servings: 5 servings
Fat: 22g
Calories: 594kcal
Carbohydrates: 64g
Protein: 34g

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Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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Comments

  1. So tasty and filling. I added extra cheese for the kids and they loved it.5 stars

  2. We tried this recipe last night and the family really enjoyed it! Thank you Mimi5 stars

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