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Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

Easy one pot Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf simmered in herb seasoned chicken broth and apple juice and riddled with sweet dried cranberries, apples and roasted pecans for an unbelievable savory sweet side dish perfect for the holidays. Everyone always asks for this recipe!
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 8 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup wild rice blend, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 Fuji or honeycrisp apple, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Garnish (optional)

  • fresh thyme
  • fresh parsley


  • Bring broth, apple juice Dijon, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, pepper, dried thyme, oregano, parsley and bay leaf to a boil in a large nonstick skillet.
  • Add rice, cover and reduce heat to low (dial should be just above lowest LOW setting). Simmer 45-60 minutes, or until rice is tender and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally and replacing lid. Add additional water if needed if rice has absorbed all the liquid and is still not done cooking. Check for doneness at 45 minutes. Once cooked, drain rice and leave in fine hole strainer.
  • To the now empty pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Increase heat to medium high and add onions and apples; saute for 5-7 minutes, or until onions and apples are tender. Add garlic and saute for 30 more seconds.
  • Return rice to skillet along with cranberries and pecans. Add apple cider vinegar a little at a time to taste if desired for more tang (I use 2 teaspoons). Toss to evenly combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Garnish as desired.


* I use the wild rice blend located in the bulk bins at Sprouts. That blend is wild rice, long grain brown rice, short grain brown rice, and red rice. I am sure anything similar will work great. Enjoy!
**I have cooked this rice a few different ways.  When I cooked it in my enamel cast iron skillet (as shown in the video), I cooked it on the lowest possible setting (as cast iron gets very hot) and it absorbed all the liquid within 30 minutes and I had to add quite a bit of additional water.  When I cooked it in my nonstick skillet as instructed in the recipe, the liquid in the recipe was perfect.  Either pan will work, but just be aware so you can improvise as needed.

Make Ahead

This recipe reheats exceptionally well due to the hearty wild rice blend. 
  • To make ahead: follow the cooking instructions except hold the cranberries and pecans and add them in when you reheat the rice.
  • To reheat on the stove:  reheat gently, adding a splash of water if the rice seems dry and/or drizzle in some melted butter to finish. 
  • To reheat in the oven: transfer to casserole dish, toss with 2 tablespoons extra water, cover and heat at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until warmed through. Drizzle in some butter to finish if the rice seems dry.