Wild rice stuffing is an easy side dish infused with incredible flavor that will complete your holiday table. Dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness to the nutty taste of this breadless stuffing with all the classic flavors of a traditional stuffing.

It’s only a few days away from Thanksgiving, and we’re just about done with our holiday meal prep, including Cranberry Sweet Potato RoundsFresh Cranberry Sauce, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Pecan Crunch and of course, Easy Pumpkin Pie.

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wild rice stuffing in baking dish

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Wild Rice Stuffing

Is Thanksgiving really complete without stuffing on the table?

Some might say they would rather have anything else in place of stuffing during this great day of marathon eating, but I think those people just haven’t been eating the right stuffing. With one bite of this wild rice stuffing, even the biggest of stuffing doubters will change their minds, and maybe even come back for seconds!

What makes this recipe so amazing is that it takes your traditional bread-based stuffing recipe and give it a little twist with the addition of rice and even some fruit and nuts. Show up to your party with this recipe and you’ll be getting rave reviews all night long. 

wild rice stuffing in a serving bowl

What’s The Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

Traditional, modern or just different.  Every Thanksgiving the age-old debate arises……..“stuffing or dressing”?  Both terms are used to describe a traditional Thanksgiving side dish,  a moist bread (or rice), seasoned with herbs and vegetables.  Many will argue that stuffing is cooked inside a turkey, while dressing is cooked alongside the bird.  But, in most homes and cookbooks, the words are interchangeable…… although stuffing seems to be more prevalent in the south and east.

I don’t care what you call it…………as long as it’s delicious!

Stuffings and dressings can be prepared in many ways. This recipe is not a traditional bread stuffing that you usually see at Thanksgiving but makes an elegant and delicious side dish.  Dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness to the nutty taste of this wild rice stuffing.

visual steps of how to make wild rice stuffing

Ingredients For Wild Rice Stuffing

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

I love the simplicity of the ingredients for this wild rice stuffing recipe that still manages to create bold and unique flavors. Add this list of ingredients to your next shopping list and you’ll be set to make the best stuffing ever. 

  • Wild rice
  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Chicken broth
  • Water
  • Dry sherry
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Celery
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pecans

Note: This recipe is a great gluten-free stuffing option as it is made with wild rice instead of bread. If you plan to make the wild rice stuffing gluten-free make sure to purchase brands of rice, bacon, broth and dried cranberries that are known to be gluten-free

How To Make Wild Rice Stuffing

To make a perfect wild rice stuffing, it doesn’t take much effort at all! Fist just rinse the wild rice in cold water, drain it well, then set aside. Next, in a large saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, and remove bacon, reserving some of the drippings in the saucepan. Drain bacon, and set it aside.

Now, add the onion to the saucepan and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, then add the wild rice, and cook for several minutes. Once the rice has cooked, add the chicken broth, water, sherry, and thyme, bring to boiling, reduce heat, and cover to let simmer. Remove from heat, stir in celery and dried cranberries.

Meanwhile, heat the oven, and transfer the rice mixture to a 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring once. Stir in pecans and bacon.

wild rice stuffing on a fork

Can I Make This Wild Rice Stuffing Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! When it comes to any kind of holiday recipe prep, I try to make as much as I can the night before to take some of the day of stress off myself. 

I always make my wild rice stuffing the night before, and it still turns out just as good as when it’s served the day of. 

To make the recipe in advance, just cook the stuffing according to the instructions below, up until placing the stuffing in the oven. Instead, store the cooked rice in an airtight container in the fridge, and complete the rest of the instructions just before serving.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

How to Store and Reheat Wild Rice Stuffing

If you happen to walk away from dinner with leftover stuffing, be sure to take them with you, because it’s a great dish to reheat the next day. 

To reheat you have two options: 

  • Bake in an oven-safe dish covered at 350ºF for 20-30 min or until heated throughout.  
  • Reheat in the microwave, in a microwave-safe dish for 20-30 seconds, or until reheated.

If you want to store your leftover wild rice stuffing for more than just a few days, feel free to store some in the freezer. Simply place the cooled stuffing in an airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to 4 months. To reheat, allow the stuffing to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then follow the instructions above.

gluten-free wild rice stuffing in baking dish

Other Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love

Au Gratin Potatoes – This potato side dish must be on your holiday table it’s perfect with ham, turkey, pork, chicken and other entrees.

Acorn Squash Mashed Potatoes – Nutty acorn squash and buttery Yukon gold potatoes are mashed to creamy perfection. The result is a festive, flavorful side dish everyone will love.

Sauteed Green Beans With Bacon – Made with crispy bacon, minced garlic, and fresh green beans they are ready in 15 minutes, making it the perfect side dish for any weeknight dinner or a holiday meal.

Simple Italian Salad – Pairs perfectly with almost any meal. It’s quick and easy and rivals any restaurant. Pair it with cheesy garlic bread to really complete your

Easy Pull-Apart Garlic Rolls – A can of biscuits turns into delicious, flaky, buttery garlic rolls in just a few simple steps. Making these rolls the perfect complement to any meal.

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gluten-free wild rice stuffing photo collage

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wild rice stuffing in a serving bowl

Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries and Pecans

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Dried cranberries add a touch of sweetness to the nutty taste of this Wild Rice Stuffing, perfect for any holiday table.


  • 1 ¼ cup wild rice, uncooked (I used long grain and wild rice)
  • 4 slices Bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry, (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted


  1. Rinse wild rice in cold water. Drain well; set aside. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in saucepan. Drain bacon; set aside.
  2. Add onion to saucepan; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add wild rice; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, water, sherry, and thyme. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in celery and dried cranberries.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer rice mixture to a 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring once. Stir in pecans and bacon.


if you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free please be sure to buy brands of rice, bacon, broth and dried cranberries that are known to be gluten-free

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 167Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 272mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 14gProtein: 5g

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gluten-free wild rice stuffing in bowl

wild rice stuffing with cranberries in a bowl