wild rice stuffing in a baking dish

Folks, it’s time to think outside the (stuffing) box. Say goodbye to stale boxed bread with its mile long ingredient list and hello to tender wild rice tossed with all the fixins including bacon, mushrooms, herbs, almonds, and dried cranberries, plus a secret ingredient you do NOT want to miss.

Best Ever Wild Rice Stuffing is currently rocking my entire world, and I wouldn’t blame you if you went home and made this easy side dish to serve with dinner tonight versus waiting for the holidays – if for no other reason than to be able to enjoy the leftovers for lunch over the next 3-4 days because they are legit!

Watch How to Make It!

Wild Rice Stuffing vs Bread Stuffing

I think you’re either a bread stuffing person or you’re not. My family is a stuffing family in that we serve it at Thanksgiving because, I don’t know, we feel as though the pilgrims of yesteryear would frown upon our holiday gathering if we didn’t have a giant bowl of wet stale carbs on the table that everybody begrudgingly takes a spoonful of because it’s there.

Well enough is enough – this year I challenge you to serve this sophisticated yet simple, totally scrumptious wild rice stuffing that’s full of ALL the fall flavors. Your friends and family will swoon!

wild rice stuffing in a baking dish with fresh sage on top

Prep Ahead to Save Time

Since we’re talking the holidays, know that the components in this dish can be prepped a day ahead of time. Chop the vegetables and bacon the night before then saute and assemble up to several hours before your holiday dinner. You can warm the stuffing up in the oven if need be, or just pop the baking dish or serving bowl in the microwave for a couple minutes! So easy, so, so, SO, so scrumptious.

You will be making this stuffing side dish for many many meals to come!

serving spoon scooping wild rice stuffing

How to Make This Recipe

Start by adding a wild rice blend to a 1-1/2 or 2 quart saucepan with chicken broth, a bay leaf, and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is al dente, 40-45 minutes. Take the pan off the heat the let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. I love this Lundberg Wild Blend rice.


Meanwhile, brown bacon in a large, 12″ skillet over medium heat then scoop the bacon into a bowl and set aside, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet.


Turn the heat up to medium-high then melt butter in the skillet and add chopped onion or shallot, mushrooms, and celery. Saute until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are starting to brown then season with dried thyme, salt, and pepper.

Once the vegetables are tender add chopped fresh sage and minced garlic then saute until the garlic is very fragrant and golden brown, 1-2 minutes.


Last step is to add the cooked wild rice and bacon back into the skillet along with chopped whole almonds, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and dried cranberries.

The parmesan cheese is the “secret” ingredient I mentioned, by the way! It gives the recipe a totally unique flavor so if you are craving a super classic stuffing flavor, leave it out, but if you’re up for something a little bit out of the ordinary, definitely include.


Stir well to combine, adding a splash of chicken broth if needed to loosen the stuffing up a bit.


That’s all she wrote — told you it was easy! Garnish with a couple whole fresh sage leaves and more chopped almonds for a beautiful presentation, then scoop and serve next to your Thanksgiving favorites. As I mentioned, leftovers reheat wonderfully so you can scoop the stuffing alongside your leftover turkey and pumpkin pie days after the holiday. Enjoy, everyone!

a scoop of wild rice stuffing on a plate

More Tasty Holiday Side Dishes

Best Ever Wild Rice Stuffing


Best Ever Wild Rice Stuffing is full of fall flavors like herbs, bacon, mushrooms, dried cranberries, almonds, and garlic. A delicious gluten free version of the classic!


serves 6-8 as a side

  • 1-1/2 cups wild rice blend (I like Lundberg Wild Blend)
  • 2-1/4 cups gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 jumbo shallot or 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup Fisher whole almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional


  1. Add wild rice, chicken broth, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt to a 1-1/2 - 2 quart saucepan then bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then turn heat down to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until rice is al dente. Let pan sit off the heat with the lid on for 5 minutes then remove bay leaf, fluff rice with a fork, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, brown bacon in a large, 12" skillet over medium heat then transfer to a bowl, reserving bacon fat in skillet. Turn heat up to medium-high then melt butter in skillet and add shallots, mushrooms, and celery. Once mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown, add dried thyme then season with salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms are golden brown and vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and fresh sage then saute until garlic is very fragrant and golden brown, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove skillet from heat then add cooked wild rice, cooked bacon, chopped almonds, dried cranberries, and parmesan cheese to skillet then stir well to combine. Add a splash of chicken broth if you need to loosen the stuffing up a bit. Taste then add salt and pepper if necessary, and then serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


photo collage of gluten free wild rice stuffing