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Cranberry Leek Wild Rice

Cranberry Leek Wild Rice is a savory side dish perfect for the holidays or any day, with a touch of sweetness from dried cranberries.

A white serving bowl full of wild rice with cranberries and leeks garnished with a sprig of curly parsley.

Fall is in full swing and that means it’s time to think about the holidays and all the deliciousness that entails. It’s been a few years now, but I love the addition of wild rice to my holiday table.

What is Wild Rice

If you’re like me, I simply thought wild rice was, well, wild. Like quinoa, that it was an ancient or heirloom rice grain(s) brought back because they’re so good for us.

Yeah, not so much. Turns out wild rice isn’t actually rice, but grass…from several different areas of the world, tossed together, and put in a nice bag you pick up at the grocery store.

A blue casserole dish full of cranberry leek wild rice garnished with fresh thyme with a wooden spoon with The Complete Savorist logo burned on it.

It gets the moniker because it resembles rice grains both in seed form and cultivated and is grown in similar conditions/ways as grain rice.

How to Make Wild Rice

Ingredients to make cranberry leek wild rice: wild rice, dried sweetened cranberries, mushrooms, leeks, salt, pepper, chicken broth, sage, thyme, butter, and olive oil.

Cook the wild rice according to package directions. I cooked mine in a rice cooker. The stove or a multi-pot appliance’s rice setting all work perfectly.

Wild rice has been added to the insert of a rice cooker.

I use broth as my liquid instead of just water to enhance the flavor. Water is fine. Or even a combination of the two. I usually toss in a bay leaf when I make flavored rice (vs just plain white), but I totally forgot this time.

Chicken broth being added to the rice in the rice cooker insert.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, pour in some olive oil and toss in a nob of butter once hot.

Sauté the leeks and mushrooms together for about 3-4 minutes, then add the cranberries, herbs, and seasonings.

Sautéing the leeks, mushrooms and the cranberries with the seasonings.

Cook together for another 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms and leeks have softened.

Once the mixture has reached its desired tenderness, add in the now-cooked wild rice with the remaining butter and stir to combine.

Cooked wild rice has been added to the skillet of seasoned leeks, mushrooms, and cranberries with a knob of butter.
Cranberry Leek Wild Rice garnished with fresh thyme.

Side Dish Recipes for the Holidays

Now this Cranberry Leek Wild Rice is perfect for your holiday table, but by no means will complete it. If you’re like me, we have at least a half dozen (if not more) side dishes.

I collaborated with some blogger friends to bring you many ideas to complete your holiday table.

Don’t forget to check out the other awesome Holiday Side Dishes posted today:
White serving bowl filled to the brim with cranberry leek wild rice with curly parsley as a garnish.
Horizontal shot of cranberry leek wild rice in a white bowl with a dish towel and wooden spoon off to the side

Cranberry Leek Wild Rice

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cranberry Leek Wild Rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 313.37 kcal
Author: Michelle De La Cerda

Hearty wild rice sautéed with herbs, seasonings, mushrooms, leeks, and cranberries. A tasty side dish all year long or for the holidays.



  • 2 cups wild rice
  • cups chicken broth water or other broths work too
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter divided
  • 3 cups leeks diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms finely diced
  • tsp rubbed sage dried
  • tsp thyme dried
  • ½ tsp salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper to taste
  • cups dried cranberries sweetened or not


  1. Cook the rice according to package directions via desired method and liquid.

  2. While rice cooks, dice the leeks and clean them. (see notes)

  3. Once the rice is done, or nearly done, heat a large skillet over medium high heat.

  4. Once hot, add the olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter.

  5. Sauté the leeks and mushrooms for 3-5 minutes.

  6. Add the herbs and seasonings, mix well.

  7. Add the cranberries, stir until combined and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the vegetables have reached their desired softness.

  8. Stir in the cooked rice and the remainging butter.

  9. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the ingredients have combined and melded together.

  10. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

Leeks LOVE to hide dirt between their fine layers, so I dice them up first then soak them. After a quick soaking, I rinse and drain and leave them in the strainer to get as much water off them before sautéing. 

Nutrition Facts
Cranberry Leek Wild Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 313.37 Calories from Fat 80
% Daily Value*
Fat 8.92g14%
Saturated Fat 3.33g21%
Cholesterol 11.29mg4%
Sodium 570.79mg25%
Potassium 412.37mg12%
Carbohydrates 54.83g18%
Fiber 4.66g19%
Sugar 17.64g20%
Protein 7.78g16%
Vitamin A 695.16IU14%
Vitamin C 11.93mg14%
Calcium 37.79mg4%
Iron 1.95mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Bowl of wild rice with mushrooms, cranberries, leeks, herbs, and seasonings.

Thank you for sharing!

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  • Reply
    Simply Inspired Meals
    October 30, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Cranberries sound fantastic with this rice dish. Sounds like a great side for turkey.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    I had no idea wild rice was grass!! This dish sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      Sylvia Hasbach
      October 30, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      Looks wonderful! What would you suggest to use in place of leeks?

      • Reply
        Michelle De La Cerda
        October 30, 2019 at 3:39 pm

        Is it a taste thing or an allergy? Finely diced shallots would be nice, use a large one or two medium ones and increase the mushrooms to 12 oz to give the dish a bit more body. A few green onions, both white and green parts would be good too for color. Sweet onion would also work.

        • Reply
          October 31, 2019 at 4:43 pm

          Thank you Michelle! It’s a taste thing for a family member. Your suggestions are great…I sure appreciate them …..and your recipes!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Michelle De La Cerda
      October 30, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      I was shocked to learn it was grasses as well. Wild rice looks like regular rice grains to me so I had no clue.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    5 stars
    I am making this soon! I am really excited for this delicious and easy one that will impress a crowd! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    5 stars
    Using wild recipe in this recipe is perfect because the hearty rice stands up to the other ingredients added to it. I love the addition of the sweet cranberries and flavorful leeks. Yum!

  • Reply
    Wendy Klik
    October 30, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Nutritious, delicious and beautiful Perfect for the Holiday table.

  • Reply
    Lisa Kerhin
    October 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Definitely adding cranberries to wild rice next time!

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    November 17, 2019 at 4:13 am

    I’ve never been much of a fan of wild rice but I think I’d enjoy it with the addition of sweet cranberries. I really never thought to add anything to wild rice so that’s for the idea!

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