Holiday Wild Rice Dressing

Written by Beth - Budget Bytes

Last year for Thanksgiving I made an apple walnut stuffing that was *out of this world* good, despite using a boxed mix. I was so happy with that recipe that I really didn’t plan on making something new… until I started seeing recipes for wild rice dressing.

It started when I saw this recipe on the Bitten Word, then I did a search and found this one, this one and this one. They all look fantastic so check them out. But, as always, I took the best from each and made my own that fit my budget and supplies. The result was every bit as delicious as last years plus it has tons of fiber and nutrition. That’s my kinda deal.

Holiday Wild Rice Dressing

Holiday Wild Rice Dressing in bowl

Holiday Wild Rice Dressing

This Holiday Wild Rice Dressing combines a flavorful wild rice mix, sweet cranberries, and savory herbs.
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 6 to 8


  • 2 lbs. butternut squash ($2.35)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp dried sage, divided ($0.10)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.08)
  • 12 oz. seasoning mix (frozen chopped onion, bell pepper, celery) ($1.25)
  • 1 1/2 cups wild rice mix ($2.05)
  • 1 cup long grain white rice ($0.30)
  • 5 cups water, divided ($0.00)
  • 1 Tbsp chicken base/bouillon ($0.30)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme ($0.48)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries ($0.40)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts ($0.59)
  • salt and pepper to taste ($0.10)


  • Peel, dice and roast the butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and sage. The squash can roast while the rice cooks (next steps) or you can do it a day ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • In a large pot, melt 2 Tbsp of butter and add 1.5 cups (or 12 oz.) onion/celery/bell pepper mix. If you do not want to use a frozen mix, substitute one medium yellow onion, one bell pepper and 3 stalks of celery. Cook down until soft and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 5 minutes).
  • Stir the wild rice mix into the vegetables and butter. Continue to cook and stir for about one minute more to toast the rice. You should be able to smell the toasty aroma.
  • Add 3 cups of water, 1 Tbsp chicken base, leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme and 1/2 tsp of dried sage. Add a lid to the pot and bring it up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 50 minutes then turn off the heat and let sit for 10 more minutes. Check your rice package for the cooking instructions, they may vary slightly.
  • After you get the wild rice mix going, cook the white rice. The white rice cooks much faster so you want to do it separately to avoid over cooking and turning it to mush. Place the dry white rice in a smaller pot and add 2 cups of water. Place a lid on top, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Turn the heat off and let sit with the lid in place until ready to use.
  • When the wild rice mix is finished cooking, fluff it up with a fork. Gently stir in the white rice, butternut squash cubes, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. Give the mix a taste to see if you want to add any additional salt or pepper. Serve garnished with fresh parsley or thyme.
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Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 485.73 kcalCarbohydrates: 84.2 gProtein: 11.68 gFat: 13.9 gSodium: 422 mgFiber: 8.33 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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Top view of Holiday wild rice dressing in bowl

Step By Step Photos

seasoning blend in bag
I had this seasoning blend left over in my freezer from making jambalaya but feel free to use fresh onion, bell pepper and celery if you wish.

seasoning blend in pot being cooked with wooden spoon
Cook the seasoning blend in butter until softened and the liquid has evaporated.

wild rice mix in packaging
This is the wild rice mix that I bought. It’s a combination of at least four types of wild and/or brown rices… no spices or herbs, just different kinds of rice.

wild rice added to seasoning mix in pan to toast
Add the wild rice mix and cook it for about a minute more while stirring. This will toast the rice and give it a nice deep flavor. If a lot of moisture is still in the bottom of the pot from the vegetables, it will not toast.

broth and spices added to pot of wild rive and seasoning blend in pot
Add the water, chicken base, thyme leaves and sage. Give it a good stir. Put a lid on, bring it up to a boil then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 50 minute. Cook the white rice (no pics, sorry) in a separate pot.

fluffed rice mix in pot
After the wild rice mix is finished cooking, fluff it up with a fork or spoon.

sweet potatoes and and cranberries added to wild rice mix in pot
Stir in the cooked white rice, roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. You can have the squash roasting while the rice is cooking and they should be done at about the same time.

finished wild rice mix in pot
Oh, it’s delicious and the aroma is amazing.

wild rice mix
This is the wild rice mix that I used… a little expensive but it was the only one at the store (found near the regular rices). I added the plain white rice to bulk it up and spread out the higher cost of this specialty rice. At least it tastes as good as it looks!