A mixture of brown and wild rice that is pressure cooked in a lemon juice and orange zest dressing with flavor that is so intense it is out of this world! Topped with scallion, this is the perfect side dish for any occasion!
I don't know about you but I can always use more side dishes in my life, especially when it comes to rice recipes. While I love my Ono Rice recipe and my Mexican Rice, I wanted to create something with wild rice...something easy that requires little to no effort. Most wild recipe recipes take a lot of time and effort to make, but not this one. With this recipe, you simply throw the ingredients together and let the Instant Pot do all the hard work. Pressure cooked in a lemon and orange juice dressing, the nutty taste of the wild rice paired with pecans and the sweet dried cranberries is out of this world!
What is Wild Rice?
Believe it or not, it's not a rice at all. It's actually the seed of a tall aquatic wild grass that grows near rivers and lakes. When cooked, the texture is more on the chewy side and it has a flavorful earthy and nutty taste.
A Blend of Wild and Whole Grain Brown Rice
For this recipe, I mixed brown and wild rice together so it wouldn't be so chewy. Wild rice is firm and extremely chewy so I wanted to soften this recipe a bit by adding brown rice. You can also use a wild rice blend when making this recipe.
Here's the key players:
- Wild Rice - provides rich texture and has more of an earthy flavor.
- Brown Rice - a medium to firm texture that provides a nutty flavor.
- Olive Oil - lubricates the rice and helps lock in the moisture while the rice is cooking.
- Dried Cranberries - provides a sweet taste and pairs well with the textures of the rice blend.
- Pecans - compliments the nutty taste of the rice and adds a bit of a crunch to each bite.
- Green Onions - optional topping, but adds to the flavor.
- Lemon - main ingredient used to make the dressing
- Orange - an additional citrus flavor that pairs well with the lemon. The citrus flavor pops when you add the zest of the orange to the dressing.
- Sugar - used in the dressing to cut some of the tartness of the citrus flavor.
- Butter - only used if making the stove top version, use butter. Don't use the butter in the Instant Pot version as it makes the rice mushy.
- Salt and Pepper - a dash of each to taste.
How to Make Wild Rice with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
- Start by making the dressing - In a small bowl, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon and orange juice, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and the zest of the orange. Mix well and set aside.
- Add ingredients to the Instant Pot - Next, you'll add the wild rice, brown rice, dried cranberries, water, citrus dressing, and a dash of salt and pepper to the Instant Pot. Stir and then place the lid on and seal.
- How To Cook Wild Rice - Set the Instant Pot to manual mode. Make sure it's on the high pressure setting. Click on the + button and set the time to 28 minutes.
- Natural Pressure Release - Once the timer counts down to 0, the Instant Pot will beep. Turn the valve to venting and let the pressure release for 15 minutes.
- Final Steps - In a small bowl, mix together another 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, orange juice, and a ½ teaspoon of olive oil. Remove the lid and pour the liquid onto the rice. Add the chopped pecans and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Toppings - I love topping off this dish with fresh chopped scallions. You can even add more dried cranberries.
Is Wild Rice Good for You?
It's incredibly nutritious and very good for you. Nutrition wise, it's full of fiber and rich in protein. It's easy to digest because it contains a high level of magnesium. It's also naturally grain and gluten free. On the glycemic index, it's a 57. It's also high in antioxidants.
Can I Make This On The Stove?
Yep - sure can! I put the stove top instructions in the recipe card below.
Expert Tips for the Best Rice
- Why Manual Mode on the Instant Pot and not Rice Mode? For this recipe, you need to control the pressure and the timing since we are cooking wild rice. If you cook it on rice mode, the rice cook all the way through and it will be crunchy.
- Fresh vs. Dried Cranberries - I don't recommend using fresh cranberries in this recipe because it changes the flavor to be more tart instead of sweet.
- Butter - Only if you're making the stove top version, use butter. Don't use the butter in the Instant Pot version as it makes the rice mushy.
- Serve Hot or Cold: This dish can be served either hot or cold. I personally like it at room temperature.
- Black vs. Wild: You can use black rice if you want in this recipe. If you opt to use black rice, set the pressure timing to 30 minutes instead of 28 minutes.
- How long with Wild Rice Keep: Keep this dish covered and it will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- When to serve: While this is a great side dish for any occasion, I enjoy it best during the holidays. It's perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Oh, and it's great for a picnic side dish.
Main Dish Pairing Ideas
I love serving this rice dish with these mains:
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Instant Pot Wild Rice with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
- ¾ cup brown rice
- ¼ cup wild rice
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Instant Pot Instructions
- In a small bowl, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon and orange juice, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and the zest of the orange. Mix well.
- In the instant pot, add in the water, the dressing mixture, brown rice, wild rice, dried cranberries and a dash of salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well, set the valve to steaming, and lock the lid in place.
- Set the instant pot to manual mode on high pressure for 28 minutes.
- Once the timer counts down to 0, the Instant Pot will beep. Turn the valve to venting and let the pressure release for 15 minutes.
- While the pressure is naturally releasing, mix together another 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, orange juice and a ½ teaspoon of olive oil. Remove the lid and pour the liquid onto the rice. Add the chopped pecans and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Serve immediately.
Stove Top Instructions
- Use the amount of water for the rice according to instructions on the rice package. Typically straight brown rice is 1:2 ratio rice to water. Straight wild rice is a ratio of 1:3 of wild rice to water. But make sure you follow the directions on the package on how to cook the rice on the stove top.
- Bring the rice, ½ teaspoon salt, butter, and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 50 minutes. Do not stir or uncover during this 50 minutes.
- Once the rice is done, remove the pot from the stove and let sit, covered for 10 minutes. Then uncover, fluff up with a fork, and let cool to almost room temperature.
- In a medium sized serving bowl, gently mix the rice, pecans, and green onions together.
- In a separate container with a lid, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, orange juice and zest, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Just before serving, mix the dressing into the rice mixture. Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in May 2012, but was re-published with updated step-by-step instructions, pictures, and tips in September 2019.