This classic Louisiana Rice Dressing is not the same as dirty rice. It's a traditional Southern Louisiana dish that begins with a stock made of roux, the Cajun trinity, and cooked ground beef and pork. It's a convenient and versatile side or main dish!
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Daddy was a cattle farmer. Horses and cows were his passion, and he loved sharing them with others. My two sisters and I were put on the backs of horses at a very young age. We spent time together driving cattle, helping in the cow pen with vaccinations and steer cutting, bottle feeding orphaned calves, and all of the other things daddies like mine want their daughters to grow up doing.
They were good learning experiences and seemed like little work, except for those twice-daily bottle feedings. We were raised eating beef in many different dishes, like this delicious rice dressing recipe.
The Difference Between Rice Dressing And Dirty Rice
Rice dressings are known throughout the South as a main dish or perfect side dish. It originated from a dish made with leftover rice and ground-up meats, waste-not want-not. However, this recipe is not the popular Cajun dirty rice dressing. This dressing is made of ground beef and pork, while dirty rice is made with ground organ meats like chicken livers, hearts, and gizzards.
Most Southerners are more familiar with Cornbread Dressing. It was not until my first Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's Mississippi family that I learned of such a thing. They served cornbread dressing, and I missed my Cajun rice dressing that year. Since then, I've learned to make a pretty good Cornbread Dressing alongside a pot of Rice Dressing at our holiday gatherings.
Another way to serve this rice dressing is to stuff it into a Roasted Turkey Seasoned In A Brine. It's a Cajun holiday tradition, much like other turkey stuffing methods. You can also stuff bell peppers, Deboned Stuffed Chicken, and even a tortilla with it.
- oil - vegetable oil or olive oil can be used for the roux
- all-purpose flour - browned in oil for a rich, nutty tasting roux
- chopped onion - yellow or white onion
- chopped celery - a marshland plant whose stalk and leaves can be used in cooking
- garlic - pressed fresh garlic cloves or substitute with ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder/granules per garlic clove
- chopped green bell pepper - a traditional ingredient to the Cajun trinity
- ground beef - browned and drained with pork
- ground pork - adds a little bit of fat and goes well with the ground beef flavor
- chicken stock or beef broth - more flavorful than chicken broth, but chicken broth may be substituted
- water - tap or filtered for the rice dressing stock
- salt - for seasoning
- red cayenne pepper - adds just the right heat; add a little or a lot
- rice - cooked white rice, either medium or long grain, not brown or wild rice
- green onions - to garnish with before serving
- hot sauce - optional, for more heat
Ingredient amounts are found in the recipe card below.
First, you make a roux. This roux's ingredients differ slightly from my Chicken Gumbo, Simply Classic Cajun recipe. Using less oil here gives the dressing a milder taste. The flour and oil are browned until a dark brown color in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. A cast iron pot may be used, but quickly remove the roux into a bowl to stop the browning process and avoid burning the roux.
Next, the onion, celery, and green bell pepper are stirred into the roux and stirred until these sauteed veggies are softened. These three vegetables are sometimes called the Cajun trinity or the holy trinity. Another version of these chopped vegetables is this Creole Seasoning Blend. It has herbs like parsley added to onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic.
Next, brown the meat over medium heat in a separate pot like a Dutch oven, then drain any excess grease from the meat. Add the roux mixture into the large pot with the ground meats and pour in the broth (or stock), water, and seasonings to simmer. Cajun seasonings may be used in place of the salt and pepper.
One of the beauties of this recipe is you can freeze the dressing mix or stock before adding the rice. Then, defrost, heat, and stir in the cooked rice before serving. This is so convenient for those days when there isn't enough time to cook.
- Ground venison is an excellent replacement for ground beef; leaving the pork ingredient in to give it the right taste and amount of fat needed.
- Substitute with ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder per garlic clove
- Black pepper used instead of cayenne pepper will give a slightly different peppery taste.
- Cajun seasonings can substitute the salt and red cayenne pepper.
Storage For The Louisiana Rice Dressing
The dressing can be easily stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not let the dressing set out of the refrigerator for more than a few hours, or bacteria may begin to grow. It also freezes well with or without the rice added for up to a month.
Chicken stock is tastier than chicken broth, or you can use beef broth if you don't have any chicken stock available.
What's the difference between dirty rice and rice dressing?
Dirty rice is a rice dish made from ground organ meats, and rice dressing is made from ground beef, pork, and/or deer meat.
What is a rice dressing mix made of?
The dressing mix or stock is made with a roux, the Cajun trinity of onion, celery, and bell pepper. Then browned ground meats, seasonings, and broth are simmered together. This mix, or stock, is made before adding the cooked rice and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer before serving with the rice.
Is rice dressing the same as boudin?
Boudin has a similar taste to rice dressing. The difference is boudin is usually made with organ meats like chicken gizzards, livers, and hearts, then stuffed into a casing like a sausage.
Related Favorite Dishes
Pairing With Main And Side Dishes
- .25 cup vegetable oil
- .5 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large or 1.5 cups chopped onion
- 3 chopped celery stalks
- 1 large chopped bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1.5 pounds of ground beef
- .5 pound ground pork
- 2 cups chicken stock or beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 1.25 teaspoon salt
- .25 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- Make a roux first by heating the oil over medium heat in a large pot like a Dutch oven until hot and stir in the flour.
- Brown the roux until it is a dark caramel color, being careful not to burn, taking your time all the while you stir.
- Stir the chopped vegetables into the roux and cook until the onions are soft.
- Remove vegetables and roux from the pot and into a bowl to set aside.
- Brown the ground meats to the pan.
- Drain fat from beef and pork and return to the large pot.
- Add the roux and vegetable mixture to the browned meat and stir in the chicken stock or beef broth.
- Pour in a cup of water and stir in salt and cayenne pepper, then close the lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 3 cups of cooked rice, mix well, and serve warm.
- You may add up to 1 more cup of rice to the dressing if you prefer the taste of more rice and less meat.
- Use your favorite Cajun seasoning instead of salt and red cayenne pepper.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Main Dish, Side Dish
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Cajun
Keywords: Rice dressing, rice dressing recipe, Cajun Rice Dressing, Louisiana rice dressing
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“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity