Wild Rice Stuffing is naturally gluten-free and makes a delicious alternative to traditional bread stuffing. It’s the perfect make-ahead side dish for Thanksgiving!
Made with easy whole-food ingredients, this will quickly become one of your favorite stuffing recipes. It’s loaded with flavor, and won’t take up any space in your oven during a busy holiday meal.
It pairs perfectly with your Thanksgiving turkey or vegetarian meatloaf, along with any other holiday sides you love.
As written, this recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can swap them for your favorite poultry seasoning to make this dish as easy as possible.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This recipe features crunchy pecans, dried cranberries, sweet apples, and chewy wild rice. Using a wild rice blend will give this stuffing a better combination of textures since it’s typically made with a blend of brown rice and wild rice.
In a pinch, you can use your own mix of half brown rice and half wild rice for a similar result.
Note: Be sure to check the label on your package when using a wild rice blend. Some brands may include a gluten-containing grain, like barley or farro. If you need to make gluten-free stuffing, stick to blends that are labeled as “gluten-free” on the package.
Mushrooms give this stuffing a meaty texture and extra nutrients, but if you’re not crazy about their texture, chop them into smaller pieces. This way you won’t bite into a big slice of mushroom later! When they are chopped, you can’t tell you’re eating mushrooms at all.
How to Make Wild Rice Stuffing
Add the dry wild rice blend to a fine mesh strainer and rinse the rice under running water. This will give the rice a better texture later.
Pour the rinsed rice into a saucepan and cover it with 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth. Season with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, then bring the liquid to a boil.
Once it’s boiling, lower the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let the rice cook for 40 minutes at a low simmer, then remove it from the heat but keep the lid on for an additional 10 minutes.
This extra step will ensure the rice is tender, without burning to the bottom of the pot.
While the rice is cooking, dice the onion and celery then add them to a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. (You can use butter if you don’t need a dairy-free recipe.)
Saute the veggies until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic, sage, thyme, and chopped mushrooms.
Season with salt and pepper, then continue to cook the veggies until they are tender, about 8 to 10 more minutes.
When the rice is done cooking, fluff it with a fork, then add it to the pan of sauteed veggies. Stir well, so the mixture will be evenly seasoned.
Next, add in the chopped pecans, cranberries, and diced apple. Adjust any seasoning to taste, adding more salt, if needed.
Stir again, so everything will be warm, then serve immediately as a warm side dish. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Wild rice stuffing can be made up to 5 days in advance, but if you are making this ahead of time, don’t add in the apple and pecans until just before serving, so they will retain their crunch. Add them in after reheating the stuffing on the stovetop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can! In that case, use equal parts dry rice to liquid. So, you’ll use 1 cup of rinsed rice plus 1 cup of vegetable broth. Cook at high pressure for 22 minutes, then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes after that. (See my How to use your Instant Pot post if you need guidance.)
Yes, rice freezes well so this stuffing is freezer-friendly. Store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Be sure to let it thaw for at least 24 hours in the fridge before warming it up again for serving.
Yes, this recipe will work with white rice, brown rice, or wild rice, but the texture will be slightly different with each variety. (The cooking time may also change so use the guidance on the package.)
Wild Rice Stuffing
- 1 cup wild rice blend
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion , chopped
- 3 celery ribs , chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms , sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage (or 1 tsp ground)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 teaspoon salt , plus more to taste
- 1 large apple , cored and diced
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- Pour the dry rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under running water. Transfer the rinsed rice to a medium saucepan, cover it with the vegetable broth, and add a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the pan from the heat but keep the lid on for an additional 10 minutes. (See notes for Instant Pot cooking directions.)
- While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat and saute the onion and celery until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, sage, thyme, and salt, and saute another 8 to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
- Combine the cooked rice and mushroom mixture, and stir in the apple, cranberries, and pecans. Adjust any seasoning to taste, and serve warm.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
If you try this Wild Rice Stuffing recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.