This Cajun rice rice is completely mouthwatering. It’s a quick and easy side dish that’s packed with delicious Cajun spices, bell, peppers, and onions. Trust me, everyone will be asking for seconds!
I can’t begin to describe how tasty this Cajun rice is. The onions and peppers are so tender, the rice is cooked to perfection, and the flavor is absolutely mouthwatering.
It has such a beautiful blend of spices and just the perfect little bit of heat from the cayenne pepper. The buttery flavor makes each bite just melt in your mouth.
This is a super easy, affordable, and comforting side dish that’s perfect for just about any occasion. You could even add some red beans or chicken to serve it as a hearty budget-friendly main dish. No matter how you serve it, it’s always a crowd-pleaser.
Butter: I prefer to use butter in this recipe. It adds a rich flavor to the rice and helps to sauté the vegetables to perfection.
Onion: A medium-sized onion is perfect for this recipe. It adds a sweet and savory flavor that pairs wonderfully with the other ingredients. Look for an onion that feels firm and has a dry, papery skin.
Red, Orange, or Yellow Bell Pepper: This adds a pop of color and a mild sweetness that works perfectly with the Cajun spices.
Green Bell Pepper: Since green bell peppers haven’t fully ripened, they have a more bitter flavor that balances out the sweetness of the red bell pepper nicely.
Spices: Paprika, fine sea salt, dried thyme leaves, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and ground black pepper. These spices work together to create the unique Cajun flavor. Each one contributes to the overall flavor profile of the dish.
Chicken Broth: Chicken broth not only helps to cook the rice but also infuses it with a deep, savory flavor. You can substitute it with vegetable broth if you prefer.
Long Grain White Rice: This type of rice is ideal because it cooks up fluffy, soaks up all the flavors, and doesn’t become mushy.
- For a vegetarian version, swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and add some sautéed mushrooms for a meaty texture.
- If you’re a seafood lover, toss in some cooked shrimp or crawfish for a Cajun seafood rice dish.
- You could even add some smoked sausage for a hearty touch.
How To Make Cajun Rice
Prepare the Pan: Start by melting the butter in your saucepan. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Sauté the Vegetables: Next, add in your diced onions and bell peppers. Stir them around until they become soft and the onions turn translucent.
Add the Spices: Once the vegetables are ready, it’s time to stir in your dried spices. This step will really bring out the aromatic flavors of the spices.
Pour in the Broth: After the spices are mixed in, pour in your chicken broth and bring it to a boil.
Add the Rice: When the broth is boiling, add in the rice. Stir it around and let it return to a boil.
Simmer the Rice: Once boiling, turn down the heat and cover your pan with a fitted lid. Let it simmer until the rice is cooked.
Let it Rest: After the rice is done, remove the pan from the heat. Keep the lid on and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the rice to continue to steam and absorb any remaining liquid.
Fluff and Serve: Finally, use a fork (not a spoon) to fluff the rice and separate the grains, and serve. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, and helpful tips, etc.
- Rinse Your Rice: Rinse your rice under cold water to help remove excess starch, preventing your rice from becoming sticky or clumpy.
- Let the Rice Rest: After the rice is cooked, don’t be in a rush to serve it. Let it rest, covered, for a few minutes. This allows the rice to continue to absorb any remaining liquid and steam, resulting in fluffy and tender grains.
- Use Fresh Vegetables: For the best flavor, use fresh onions and bell peppers. They add a wonderful sweetness and crunch that canned or frozen versions just can’t match.
- Fluff with a Fork: When your rice is ready, use a fork (not a spoon) to fluff it up. This helps to separate the grains without crushing them, keeping your rice light and fluffy.
What Is Cajun Rice Made Of?
The main ingredients are long-grain rice, bell peppers, onions, butter, and chicken broth. The dish is seasoned with a mix of Cajun spices, which typically includes paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. Some versions also include ground meat like pork or beef, and it’s all cooked together in one pot until the rice is tender and the flavors are well combined.
Is Cajun Rice The Same As Dirty Rice?
While the terms “Cajun rice” and “dirty rice” are often used interchangeably, there are some subtle differences between the two.
Dirty rice is a specific type of Cajun rice that gets its name from the “dirty” appearance the rice takes on from being cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets. The liver gives the rice a grayish color.
Cajun rice, on the other hand, can refer to any rice dish that uses Cajun seasonings and doesn’t necessarily include the liver or giblets.
Is Dirty Rice The Same As Jambalaya?
While dirty rice and jambalaya both have roots in Louisiana cuisine, they are not the same dish.
Dirty rice is a simple, one-pot dish that gets its name from the “dirty” appearance of the rice after it’s been cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, along with the “holy trinity” of Cajun cooking (bell pepper, onion, celery).
Jambalaya, on the other hand, is a more complex dish that includes rice but also has a variety of other ingredients like sausage, chicken, shrimp, and sometimes tomatoes. The ingredients in jambalaya are cooked together, similar to a paella, and it’s a much heartier dish than dirty rice.
What Do You Eat With Cajun Dirty Rice?
Cajun Rice is a versatile dish that pairs well lots of different of mains. It’s a perfect side for grilled meats or fish. For a true Southern-style meal, serve it with fried chicken or blackened catfish. You can even make it a main by adding some cooked shrimp or sausage. A side of Jiffy cornbread with creamed corn or a fresh salad would also pair with Cajun rice perfectly.
Can I Freeze It?
Absolutely! Cajun rice freezes well, making it a great make-ahead meal. Simply let the rice cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat gently in a saucepan or microwave, adding a splash of broth or water if needed.
How Can I Make It Spicier?
If you like your dishes with an extra kick, feel free to amp up the heat in your Cajun rice. You can add more cayenne pepper, or try adding some hot sauce or sliced jalapenos. Just remember to add a little at a time – you can always add more heat, but you can’t take it away!
Keep In Touch
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- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 ground black pepper
- 3 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- Heat a medium lidded saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the butter and let it melt. Add the diced onions and bell peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the peppers are softened.
- Once the vegetables are ready, mix in the dried spices, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until aromatic. Pour in the chicken broth, turn the heat up and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add in the rice and stir, and let it return to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to in between medium-low and low, and cover with a fitted lid. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let it rest covered for 10 minutes.
- Lightly fluff the rice with a fork (not a spoon) and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 8.6gCarbohydrates: 43.5gFiber: 2.2gSugar: 3.1gProtein: 5.2g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Try making this simple, flavorful, and budget-friendly Cajun rice recipe that your whole family is sure to love!