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Cranberry pecan sweet potato wild rice pilaf is a perfect fall side dish infused with incredible flavors and textures. Crunchy pecans, cranberries, sweet potato, wild rice, and herbs come together in this tasty dish!

Rice is the perfect side dish and can take on any flavors you add to it. I love how versatile of an ingredient it is! Next time you’re looking to use rice from your pantry, make this easy fried rice or this delicious Mexican rice to go with your tacos. And if you need something sweet for dessert make rice pudding!

Top view of cranberry pecan sweet potato wild rice pilaf in a gray bowl with a in the bowl spoon.

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Wild Rice Pilaf

This cranberry pecan sweet potato wild rice pilaf will be your new favorite Thanksgiving side dish. It’s bursting with flavors but isn’t too heavy. You’re going to love all the textures in this recipe. The crunchy pecans, chewy dried cranberries, and tender wild rice and sweet potatoes. Combined with herbs and seasonings, this recipe has the best savory fall flavors all in one bowl.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I just love this time of year because there is so much to be grateful for. Growing up we’d always have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma’s house. My grandma was an excellent cook and nobody could make a turkey better than she could. It was always perfectly juicy and melted in your mouth. But my favorite memory from Thanksgiving dinners was my Grandma’s pumpkin pie and her homemade crust. To this day we still make her famous pumpkin pie.

Ingredients Needed

I included sweet potato, cranberries, and crunchy pecans. Use high-quality dried herbs to bring out the amazing flavor in this dish. Parsley, oregano, and thyme all come together to season the dish. This rice pilaf is a fun and unique dish that can be the star of the table.

  • Chicken Broth: Adds flavor while cooking the wild rice.
  • Wild Rice Blend: Use a blend or just wild rice, it’s up to you!
  • Dried Parsley, Oregano, and Thyme: The best herbs to season this fall side dish.
  • Olive Oil: For cooking the sweet potato and onion.
  • Sweet Potato: Cook sweet potato is tender and perfect in this dish.
  • Onion: Adds great flavor to the pilaf.
  • Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries are also known as craisins.
  • Pecans: Toasting the pecans brings out the delicious nutty flavors.
  • Fresh Parsley: Garnish with fresh parsley right before serving. It’s also pretty!

Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe

We love having a rice dish at our dinner table, and this includes all of the delicious fall flavors. My favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be made in advance. Having one less thing to make on Thanksgiving day is a game-changer!

  1. Prepare the Wild Rice: In a medium-sized saucepan bring the broth to a boil and add wild rice, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Alternatively, you may follow the liquid/rice ratios and cooking directions according to your particular brand of wild rice blend for 1 cup of rice.
  2. Cook the Sweet Potato and Onion: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the sweet potato and saute until tender, about 15 minutes or so. Once the potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent.
  3. Add Dried Cranberries and Pecans: Add the dried cranberries and chopped pecans and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Combine the Sweet Potato Mixture with the Wild Rice Mixture: Add the sweet potato mixture to the rice mixture and fluff with a fork.
  5. Garnish and Serve Warm: Season with salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm!
First process photo of wild rice being added to a saucepan of broth. Second process photo of the herbs being added to the wild rice. Third process photo of the diced sweet potato and onions cooking in a skillet. Fourth process photo of the chopped pecans, craisins, and sweet potato in a bowl.

Make Ahead Tips

This cranberry pecan sweet potato wild rice pilaf is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time. Perfect for Thanksgiving day prep because you can make it a couple of days before you serve it. I’m all about cutting corners to make the big day run smoother. Here are my tips for making this side dish in advance.

  • Use Premade Wild Rice: Cook the wild rice in advance or use premade wild rice. I love the microwavable packets because it’s fast and easy. Just warm it up and the rice is ready to go!
  • Cook the Sweet Potatoes and Onions in Advance: Cook or roast the sweet potatoes and onions ahead of time. This way it’s done and ready when it’s time to assemble the cranberry sweet potato wild rice pilaf. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator then reheat them in the microwave.
  • Chop and Measure Ingredients: Chop the pecans and measure out the pecans. I like to have them measured and ready to add to the recipe. It just makes it go fast when you’re ready to assemble the pilaf.
Close top view of cranberry pecan sweet potato wild rice pilaf in a gray bowl with a spoon. The spoon is lifting up the pilaf.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

It’s so easy to store this pilaf recipe for later. Just pop it in an airtight container, stick it in the fridge, then it’s ready for whenever you’re craving some fluffy, savory goodness! This recipe is also great for meal prep.

  • In the Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Reheating: Reheating leftovers is a breeze! Simply place it in a microwave-safe dish then microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through.
Side view of cranberry pecan sweet potato wild rice pilaf in a gray bowl with a spoon. The spoon is lifting up a bite of pilaf.

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Looking to switch up your Thanksgiving recipes and try some new ones? These are some of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving recipes because they never let me down! I know they’ll be a hit with your friends and family just like they have with mine. Give these favorites a try because they are the best!

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Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Wild Rice Pilaf

4.73 from 22 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Cranberry pecan sweet potato wild rice pilaf is a perfect fall side dish infused with incredible flavors and textures. Crunchy pecans, cranberries, sweet potato, wild rice, and herbs come together in this tasty dish!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a medium-sized saucepan bring the broth to a boil and add wild rice, parsley, oregano, and thyme. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Alternatively, you may follow the liquid/rice ratios and cooking directions according to your particular brand of wild rice blend for 1 cup of rice.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the sweet potato and saute until tender, about 15 minutes or so. Once the potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent.
  • Add the dried cranberries and chopped pecans to the sweet potato mixture then cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potato mixture to the rice mixture and fluff with a fork.
  • Garnish with fresh parsely and serve warm!

Notes

Originally Posted on November 14, 2017
Updated on October 26, 2023

Nutrition

Calories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 9gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 463mgPotassium: 415mgFiber: 6gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 4741IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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87 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this last night, it was absolutely delicious. I added a few extra cranberries because I love them, and also about a half a cup of chopped celery because I had it left over from another recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    I tweaked this a smidge, for a quick go-to and made it a one pot vegetarian meal.
    I used a 90 second brown rice & quinoa mix and frozen diced sweet potatoes. Used all the other ingredients and spices as is.
    Cooked the onion and frozen sweet potatoes in a tablespoon of olive oil. Cooked the 90 second packet of brown rice/quinoa for about 60 seconds and then added that to the onion/sweet potatoes. Then added all the spices and a small amount of broth to keep things moist and blend everything together. Added the cranberries and pecans, Let simmer for about 5 minutes, topped with fresh chopped parsley and serve! Amazing!

  3. Made it and got rave reviews from family! I used a microwave wild rice packet and eliminated the onions. It was delicious and the colors made it a beautiful fall dish. Thanks!