When it comes to holiday side dishes this Cranberry Apple Rice Pilaf Recipe is one that is hard to beat. Delicious fluffy rice that is full of earthiness combined with the sweetness of the cranberries and the crunchiness of the pecans - it's a wonderful mixture of flavors and textures!
Next time try adding my Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies to your Thanksgiving dessert table!
Wild rice pilaf is one of those great recipes that are so simple to make and has all those fall flavors that add that much needed something extra to your Thanksgiving table (and Christmas dinner, of course). The addition of cranberries and apples lend to making this a seasonal side dish.
It reminds me a little bit of a Mexican rice I had once, I don't remember the exact ingredients, but it had the wild rice and nuts with some other kind of fruit. It was delicious!
- Brown and Wild Rice Mix
- Chicken Broth (or Chicken Stock)
- Salted Butter
- Granny Smith Apples
- Dried Cranberries
- Chopped Pecans
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Tarragon
- Fresh Parsley
- Salt and Pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
- Step 1: Add the wild rice and the chicken broth to a rice cooker and turn on - or use a medium saucepan on the stove top.
- Step 2: Chop the apples (after they've been washed in cold water), shallots, pecans and herbs.
- Step 3: Add the butter to a large skillet and apply medium heat.
- Step 4: Add the diced shallots and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown and soft.
- Step 5: Add the diced apples, stir and remove the heat.
- Step 6: Add the pecans and cranberries and gently stir to combine.
- Step 7: Once the wild rice has cooked, stir into the skillet gently.
- Step 8: Sprinkle with the chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper and serve.
Hint: making the seasoned rice pilaf in the rice cooker is a great way to make this a super easy recipe to put together. You're able to complete the remaining steps without worrying about burning the rice! Just don't use too much liquid as this could lend to a mushy rice. Use the ratios from my recipe, the rice will be perfect.
Substitutions and Variations
- Brown Rice - instead of the wild rice and brown rice mix feel free to use just brown rice.
- Basmati Rice - you could even swap it out for basmati rice - for a delicious fragrant type of rice.
- Long grain rice - if you're more for the plain rice feel free to use plain long grain rice instead.
- Vegan - this recipe could easily become a vegan friendly version by replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth and butter for olive oil.
- Spicy - infuse some sweet heat by adding a few red pepper flakes.
- Bell Peppers - add some bell peppers for additional flavors and textures.
- Orzo Pasta - add some more carbs and texture by adding some cooked orzo pasta. Or it could be used to substitute the rice.
- Meat - Although this is an easy side dish, if you have something like some leftover pork chops you could chop them up and add to this dish to add some more protein and it could be a meal all unto itself (a family favorite).
Using just a rice cooker and large skillet make this for the perfect side dish as it's really easy and uses minimal utensils/cookware.
You could cook the rice in an instant pot if you are short on time, it will cook the rice quicker.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Add even more depth of flavor by toasting the pecans over a medium-high heat before adding to this perfect rice pilaf.
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- 2 Cups Brown and Wild Rice Mix
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Stick Butter, salted
- 3 Large Shallots, chopped
- 2 Granny Smith Apples, diced
- 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 Cup Pecans, chopped
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Thyme, chopped
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Tarragon, chopped
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Add the wild rice and chicken broth to your rice cooker, stir and switch on. This step will take about 45 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, add the butter to a large skillet and turn on a medium heat.
- Add the chopped shallots once the butter has melted and cook a few minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the diced apples, pecans and cranberries and turn off the heat. Stir gently to combine.
- Once the rice has cooked, add to the skillet along with the chopped herbs and stir gently.
- Serve in your favorite serving dish.
- If you don't have a rice cooker, you can cook the rice in a normal pot on the stove, just mix as described then bring to a boil. Add the lid and turn down to a simmer, for 45 minutes. Don't remove the lid during this cooking time.
- The amount of butter can be reduced, as some find it a little on the buttery side. I happen to LOVE butter, especially on my rice and love the additional moisture it adds but feel free to reduce if you prefer.
- Add a further taste by toasting the pecans.
- Use olive oil instead of butter
- Replace the wild rice with basmati rice
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 329Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 33mgSodium 594mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 4gSugar 20gProtein 4g