1-Pot Dirty Rice Recipe

Don't be deterred by the choice of adjective in the name of this dish. As it happens, the "dirty" part of dirty rice comes from the brownish color the rice takes on from meats, spices, and, at least in earlier days, from the chicken gizzards and livers that were often tossed into the pot.

While this dirty rice recipe is offal-free, recipe developer Kate Shungu does say it makes for "a great way to use up some refrigerator [or] pantry staples like ground beef, rice, celery, and onion." This indicates a certain flexibility in the recipe, so you could tweak the amounts of seasonings and vegetables used here as long as you keep the "holy trinity" of onions, bell peppers, and celery. Shungu says that this dish is "flavorful and hearty enough to be served as a main dish," but you could also use it as a side for a larger cajun or creole meal.

Gather the ingredients for this 1-pot dirty rice

To make this dish, you'll need rice, ground beef, onions, celery, and a green bell pepper. For seasonings, you'll use garlic, a bay leaf, and a Cajun seasoning mix, while for a cooking medium you'll be using chicken stock.

There's one more ingredient Shungu uses here that she says is not typical for dirty rice: beer. While you can use any kind you like — she suggests "a regional beer such as Abita [could] make it extra authentic" — a lighter-bodied beer such as a lager would work best here as opposed to a IPA or dark stout, which could overpower the rest of the flavors.

Brown the meat

Fry the ground beef over medium heat, breaking up the clumps and stirring it as it cooks. You want the meat to be loose, kind of like taco meat. Once the beef is all browned with no pink remaining to be seen, take it out of the pan — but leave the grease behind.

Fry the vegetables in the beef drippings

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and fry them in the grease left over from the ground beef. You'll be cooking these for about 4 to 5 minutes until they start to soften. Stir in the garlic, Cajun seasoning, and bay leaf.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan

At this point, everything else goes into the pot: the cooked beef, beer, stock, and rice. Bring everything to a boil, then turn the heat down until the mixture is just simmering. Put a lid on it and let it cook for 20 minutes. Check the rice at this point to see if it's done. If not, it may need to cook for another minute or so.

Shungu says that "the leftovers are great the next day" and suggests microwaving a plateful with an ice cube on top to help "re-steam" the rice. You could also just stir in a spoonful of water, or reheat your rice on the stovetop or in the oven.

1-Pot Dirty Rice Recipe
5 from 28 ratings
Don't be deterred by the adjective choice. As it happens, the "dirty" part of this dish comes from the brownish color the rice takes on from meats and spices.
Prep Time
Cook Time
dirty rice in pan
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup light-bodied beer
  • 1 ½ cups white rice
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Brown the ground beef in a pan that has a lid over medium heat (uncovered), stirring occasionally to break up the clumps.
  2. Remove the meat from the pan, leaving the drippings.
  3. Fry the onion, celery, and green pepper in the drippings for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft.
  4. Stir the garlic, Cajun seasoning, and bay leaf into the vegetables, then add the beef back into the pan.
  5. Add the beer, rice, and stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat so the mixture is just simmering.
  7. Cover the pan and cook the rice for 20 to 22 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the dirty rice with parsley if desired.
Calories per Serving 428
Total Fat 16.7 g
Saturated Fat 6.2 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 56.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 46.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 2.8 g
Sodium 206.3 mg
Protein 19.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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