This Wild Rice Recipe is a flavorful and simple side that will complement any dish you serve at your holiday table. A tender seasoned rice blend with cranberries and pecans, it’s utterly delicious.
Table Of Contents
I love making this Wild Rice recipe because it’s always a crowd pleaser. Full of flavor and a great complement to most main dishes, it’s a great recipe to have in your repertoire.
- TASTE: This Wild Rice recipe has lots of savory flavors mixed in with sweet cranberries and toasted pecans.
- TEXTURE: Tender vegetables, chewy cranberries, and crunchy nuts add delicious texture to this rice dish.
- TIME: This recipe takes an hour to make, but most of that is cook time.
- EASE: With simple ingredients and not much prep time, this easy Wild Rice recipe will fit in nicely with your holiday meal preparations.
What You’ll Need
- Shallots- If you don’t have shallots, red onion would be the best replacemnt.
- Wild rice blend– this can be found at almost any grocery store or you can purchase it from amazon.
- Nuts: Pecans are optimal, but you can use walunts as well.
Add-ins and Substitutions
- Substitute other nuts- If you don’t have pecans, you could also make this Wild Rice with chopped walnuts, almonds, and cashews.
- Add other vegetables- You can make this side dish with other vegetables for added flavor. Saute some mushrooms, peppers, or Brussels sprouts.
- Substitute other fruits- Dried cranberries are a hallmark of the season, but you can also make this recipe with raisins, apples, and dried cherries.
- Make it vegan-friendly- If you’re serving this to vegetarians or vegans, make the Wild Rice with a vegan butter or olive oil, and substitute vegetable broth.
How to Make Wild Rice
- Sauté the vegetables. In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then add the minced shallots, chopped celery, and diced carrot. Sauté until the shallots become translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the wild rice. Now add the wild rice blend and stir until the grains are well coated, about 3 minutes.
- Add cranberries and seasonings. Then stir in the dried cranberries, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper. Stir for 1 minute.
- Stir in broth and simmer. Pour in the chicken broth and bring the rice to a boil. Then drop the heat to medium-low and let the rice simmer (covered) for about 40-45 minutes.
Pro Tip: Because tastes vary and some chicken broths has more sodium than others, salt your wild rice to taste. You can always add more if your guests prefer it.
- Add pecans and parsley. Once the liquids have been absorbed and the rice is tender, stir in the chopped toasted pecans and garnish with freshly chopped parsley (optional).
- Saute the vegetables until tender- Carrots, celery, and shallots add such great flavor to this dish, so make sure they cook until they are nice and tender, adding the maximum flavor.
- Coat the rice- Stirring the butter and veggies until the rice is coated with them will help the grains absorb the flavors before they cook in the broth.
- Cook the wild rice covered- Like in a rice cooker, steam is the key to tender, perfectly-cooked rice. Keep the lid on while your Wild Rice cooks so the texture is just right.
- Add the pecans last- The reason this is done is so the nuts retain some of their toasted flavor and crunchy texture. Cooked nuts tend to be chewy and soft, which isn’t what we want for this dish.
Yes, if you prefer to cook this in an instant pot (I know those stovetop burners are busy during holiday meal prep!), you can. Just add the vegetables, seasonings, cranberries, broth, and rice to the pot and cook on high for about 20 minutes, then let it release steam for about 10 minutes. Stir, add your pecans, and serve.
Yes, wild rice is naturally gluten-free so you can serve this to anyone avoiding or allergic to it. Wild Rice can also be served in place of pasta, couscous, farro, or other glutinous grains. It has a great texture and adds more protein and fiber than other staples, so it’s a worthy addition to your table.
This Wild Rice recipe has so much flavor and pairs nicely with lots of entrees and side dishes. Here are some tasty ways to serve it.
- Meats: This side dish is perfect for family dinners and holiday meals, so serve it alongside your Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey, Prime Rib Roast, or Garlic Herb Crown Roast of Pork.
- Salad: This Wild Rice goes nicely with cold salads, such as Broccoli Cranberry Salad or Spinach Pomegranate Salad,
- Sides: Pair it with Crispy Air Fryer Broccoli or Garlic Asparagus.
Make This Wild Rice in Advance
Make ahead: You can prepare this Wild Rice recipe ahead of time (minus the pecans and parsley) and store it in the refrigerator. Allow it to cool before covering and storing, then warm on the stovetop or in the microwave before garnishing and serving.
Storing: Store this rice in an airtight container or covered by plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Once the Wild Rice has cooled, place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge or in the microwave.
More Tasty Side Dishes!
Full Recipe Instructions
Wild Rice Recipe
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium-high heat.
- Add 3 minced shallots, 1 stick chopped celery, and 1 diced carrot. Sauté until the shallots become translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour in 4 cups of chicken broth and bring the rice to a boil. Then drop the heat to medium-low and let the rice simmer (covered) for about 40-45 minutes.
- Once the liquids have been absorbed and the rice is tender, stir in the 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans and garnish with 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley (optional).