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King Oscar’s Dirty Rice is a delicious spin on the classic Louisiana dish with shrimp and meaty sardine fillets.

Pan full of dirty rice and shrimp, garnished with fresh parsley.

This post is sponsored by King Oscar | Thank you for supporting the brands I trust.

A Seafood-y Riff on Dirty Rice? It Works!

The first thing you’ll notice about this spin on Dirty Rice is that it incorporates seafood. The next thing you’ll notice: no chicken livers. A Southern purist might clutch their pearls at this, but when it comes to King Oscar recipes, we’re in it for the adventure and the flavor—and King Oscar fans will attest to this. After all, there isn’t much you can’t do with these products. They’re stellar straight out of the can, but they offer oh-so-much-more than that, and we like to boast. 

What Is Dirty Rice?

Traditionally, this Creole recipe is made with white rice, ground beef, chopped up chicken livers, a generous amount of seasoning, and of course, the holy trinity of Cajun cooking, which is equal parts onion, celery, and bell pepper. We’ve kept the general idea here, but we’ve shaken things up by using bacon, shrimp, and King Oscar’s Skinless Boneless Spanish Sardines, which offer a nice pop of spice and flavor. The “dirty” part of dirty rice comes from the brownish tint to the rice as a result of being cooked with chicken livers. But, thanks to the bacon and sardines, once they’re stirred in, we still get that “dirty” appearance—in the best way possible, of course. If you’re looking for an authentic Dirty Rice recipe, this isn’t it. But if you’re simply looking to get creative and use your King Oscar sardines in a way that you’ve never thought to before, you’re in the right place.

Why King Oscar Skinless and Boneless Sardines Spanish Style Are Perfect for This Rice.

The flavor. These meaty fillets are hand-packed in pure olive oil with a whole red chili pepper, sliced pickle, and sliced carrot, and what you get is a subtle heat that plays super well with the punchy Creole seasoning. They’re also a great companion for the shrimp. Of course, sardines have their health benefits too. They’re packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, calcium, and protein.

Close up of opened can of King Oscar's sardine fillets.

The Ingredients for King Oscar’s Dirty Rice.

There’s no arguing that what makes this dish is the Creole seasoning. The kick from the cayenne and the herbaceousness from the dried basil, thyme, and oregano are unmistakable. Shrimp make for an excellent source of protein in this meal, and the sardines bring on even more protein with a healthy dose of Omega-3s. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • White long-grain rice
  • Chicken broth
  • Avocado oil or Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Yellow onion
  • Celery
  • Green bell pepper
  • Creole seasoning
  • All-purpose flour
  • Bay leaves
  • Shrimp
  • Bacon
  • Scallions
  • Parsley

Bowls of ingredients inlcuding rice, shrimp, onions, peppers, celery, spices, and chopped bacon.

How to Make King Oscar’s Dirty Rice.

Once your ingredients are all chopped and prepped, this dish is an easy one to bring together. You could eat it as a side dish, but it’s hearty enough to enjoy as dinner on its own. Here’s the gist on how to make it:

  1. Start things off by cooking your rice as per the directions on the package, but instead of water, cook the grains in chicken broth.
  2. Cook the bacon in a pan until it’s slightly browned at the edges and curling upward.
  3. Add the garlic, peppers, celery, and onions to the pan and sauté until they’re tender and the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the Creole seasoning into the pan along with the flour, and stir to coat.
  5. Transfer the raw shrimp to the pan, add the bay leaves, and add one cup of chicken broth. Stir, then cover for about 3-4 minutes to let the shrimp cook through.
  6. When the shrimp is cooked, trash the bay leaves and fold the rice and scallions into the pan until evenly coated. Then, add the chopped sardines and half of the parsley, and stir to combine.
  7. Garnish with the rest of the parsley and serve.

Ingredients being simmered in a pan.

Pan with rice being added, then sardines and parsley.

Equipment You’ll Need:

Recipe Tips + Tricks.

  1. If you can’t find King Oscar’s Skinless & Boneless Sardines Spanish Style, you can use many of KO’s other varieties in this recipe instead—like their fillets in olive oil, or even their mackerel fillets with jalapeño peppers.
  2. This dish is already quite spicy, but if you’d like to add more heat, a diced jalapeño will do the trick.
  3. Be sure to cook the rice in chicken or vegetable broth; this adds a lot of flavor!
  4. You can easily make this recipe pescatarian by cooking the rice in vegetable broth and swapping the bacon for smoked kippers.
  5. Believe it or not, despite being seafood-based, reheated leftovers are great! This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Plate of King Oscar's Dirty Rice with package of sardines next to plate.

Side shot of plate of dirty rice with package of King OScar sardines in background.

Other Fiery King Oscar Recipes You’ll Love:

Have You Made This Recipe?

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5 from 1 vote

King Oscar's Dirty Rice

King Oscar's Dirty Rice is a delicious spin on the classic Louisiana dish with shrimp and meaty sardine fillets.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
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  • 1 tin of King Oscar Boneless & Skinless Sardines Spanish Style; drained, *See notes
  • 6 strips of thick-cut bacon
  • 1 cup long-grain rice; I like to use basmati
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (about one onion)
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper (about half of a bell pepper)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about two ribs of celery)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 TBSP Creole seasoning
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  • Cook rice as per the package's instructions, but cook the rice in chicken broth instead of water. Once the rice is ready, set it aside.
  • Heat a smidgen of oil in a skillet (no oil needed if using a non-stick pan). Add the chopped bacon and simmer until browned and crispy around the edges, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, peppers, celery, and onions to the pan and sauté them until they're tender, about another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the Creole seasoning and the flour over the veggies and bacon; stir to coat. The flour will help create a thick sauce once the broth is added.
  • Bring the raw shrimp and the bay leaves to the pan, and add one cup of the chicken broth. Give it all a good stir, then cover for and simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp is opaque and cooked through.
  • Once the shrimp is cooked, remove the bay leaves. Fold the rice and scallions into the pan until evenly coated and mixed with the shrimp and veggies.
  • Add the chopped sardines and half of the parsley, and stir to combine. Then garnish with the rest of the parsley and serve.


**If you can't find King Oscar's Skinless & Boneless Sardines Spanish Style, you can use one of the brand's other varieties—like fillets in olive oil or mackerel fillets with jalapeño peppers.
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5 from 1 vote

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    1. So sorry, Sloane! Thanks for catching that. I’ve edited the recipe to include that. 6 strips of bacon! I cut mine prior to frying so that they’re already in small chunks but you could cook them then chop them if you wish. I hope this helps and I hope you enjoy it!

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe last week and we loved it. I am so thrilled to have your recipes for sardines and can’t wait to try several of them. We’ve had sardines sitting in our pantry for a while, and I just didn’t know what to do with them. You have given me so many ideas.  Thank you.