Thanksgiving Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe

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A simple Thanksgiving rice pilaf recipe made with nutty wild rice, sweet and tangy cranberries, leeks and fresh herbs. A lovely festive side dish worthy of the holiday dinner but easy enough for any day of the week.

Here’s an easy one pot recipe to help make your holidays less stressful so you can enjoy more time with those you love instead of slaving in the kitchen.
Wild rice and cranberries go together like peanut butter and jelly you guys. They just have a thing for each other especially this time of the year.

What Is Rice Pilaf?

A delicious rice dish that involves sauteeing your veggies and rice in a little bit of fat like olive oil or vegan butter then finish cooking it in a flavorful veggie broth.

how to make it

  1. Sautée flavorful leeks until they release all their sugars and start to caramelize.
  2. Cook them together with carrots, nutty wild rice, cranberries and herbs in a savory veggie stock. Fluff it up and serve as a side dish or a main course.

what to serve with

Thanksgiving Wild Rice Recipe with Cranberries and Leeks
Rice for Thanksgiving
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  • It can be prepared in advance and used as rice stuffing, or served as a cold salad topped with roasted chestnuts, pecans or candies walnuts. Delish!
  • Any leftovers? Add to mushroom soup, or toss them together with some steamed broccoli florets in a casserole topped with plant-based cheese and bake away.
Thanksgiving Wild rice
5 from 3 votes

Thanksgiving Wild Rice Pilaf

Simple Thanksgiving rice pilaf recipe made with wild rice, sweet and tangy cranberries, leeks and herbs, a lovely festive side dish worthy of the holiday dinner. 
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes



  • Preheat a large deep skillet or pot over medium low flame. Add a splash of water (or a drizzle of olive oil) and the chopped leeks. Sautee with a pinch of sea salt until translucent. 
    1 small leek, 1 splash water (or 2 tsp olive oil)
  • Stir in the grated carrot, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Add the wild rice mix and stir well to combine. Allow it to toast together with the aromatics for a couple of minute. 
    1.5 cups wild rice blend, 1 carrot, 2 leaves bay, 1 sprig rosemary, 1 sprig sage, 8 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 sprigs fresh oregano, 1 pinch red pepper flakes or to taste, 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Add in the chopped bell pepper and 1/2 cup of the cranberries. Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by half then add the vegetable stock (or water). Stir and taste for seasonings. Add more sea salt to your taste if desired.
    1 bell pepper, 1/3 cup vegan white wine, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock or water
  • Bring the rice to a simmer, cover with a tight lid and cook on low flame for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat but do not remove the lid. Allow the rice to sit covered for 10 to 15 minutes and continue cooking in its own steam.
  • Discard the bay leaves and the woody sprigs from the herbs. Use a fork and gently fluff up the rice.
  • Serve warm or cold garnished with the remaining cranberries and fresh herbs.
    1/3 cup dried cranberries



Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 468mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 4415IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 3.7mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: rice pilaf, Thanksgiving Rice
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 358kcal
Author: Florentina

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  1. This was a hit for Thanksgiving so I’m going to make it again for Christmas and I plan to actually keep it on repeat all year long. Who says you can’t have cranberries in July right ? Very flavorful and festive dish, thank you for an easy recipe anyone can make!

  2. I decided to make this for my family for our Canadian Thanksgiving, and it was a big success. Everyone want to make this for Christmas now..Thanks for this awesome recipe.❤. It’s a 5 star for me.

    1. Hi Connie, yes I have made it a few times and the leftovers were always great. You might need to add a little veggie broth when reheating to keep the moisture level just right. Report back if you try it ~ Florentina Xo’s

  3. Could you freeze this recipe? Always looking for lunch to take to work. Batch cooking is a must for me. Thanks looks DELICIOUS!

    1. Sure, i don’t see why not. Just make sure to thaw out in the refrigerator before reheating, you’ll probably need to add some liquid when warming up.

  4. I made this and it was a hit with everyone there. They all took leftovers home. Easy to make and delicious. Highly recommend this one.

  5. Question — Step 3 refers to “one cup of the cranberries” but there isn’t even a whole cup total listed in the ingredients,
    Please can you check this Thx!

    1. Hey, you need to add half of the cranberries at this point and you can definitely use more than the recipe calls for if you prefer.

  6. Plan to serve this tasty Rice Pilaf on Thanksgiving. Wondering if you have any suggestions for dried fruit other than cranberries? Asking because others are brining two other sides with cranberries. Thanks

    1. Hi Carol, I would use either dried cherries or apricots in place of the cranberries, they would both work nicely here. Remember to add some in the beginning for everything to cook together and then add some dried ones on top before serving for both texture and flavor. Let me know how it turns out ~ Florentina Xo’s

    1. Hi Janice, I do not recommend only using the wild rice as the liquid ratio will be totally off. The black long “wild rice grains” are actually grasses and behave differently than the long brown and red rice that is usually found in a wild rice mix. I hope you give the recipe a try with the wild rice mix, let me know! ~ Florentina

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