Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Herb-seasoned wild rice, veggies, cranberries, toasted pecans, and juicy baked chicken thighs make this dump-and-bake wild rice pilaf a cozy, flavorful, and comforting one-pan dinner!

Close up side shot of wild rice pilaf with chicken in a bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make this Easy Chicken and Wild Rice
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Preparation and Storage Tips
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Chicken and Wild Rice Recipe
  8. Dump-and-Bake Chicken and Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe

If you’re looking for even more dump-and-bake dinner inspiration, be sure to try this dump-and-bake creamy chicken and orzo, a pan of dump-and-bake chicken penne pasta, and this dump-and-bake ham tetrazzini, too!

Why You’ll Love this Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe

  • Quick and Easy. Thanks to the convenient dump-and-bake method, this simple meal comes together with almost zero prep work. You don’t have to pre-cook the rice, sauté the veggies, or brown the chicken thighs. Just combine everything in a single pan and let the oven do the work! The drippings from the chicken flavor the rice and vegetables as the ingredients simmer together.
  • One Dish. You get an entire meal in a single dish — rice, meat, and veggies — so you don’t have to worry about sides, and you have fewer dishes to wash at the end.
  • Comforting. There’s nothing more cozy than the aroma of roasted chicken and herbs on a chilly evening. Whether it’s a busy weeknight or a lazy Sunday afternoon, this meal will fill your home with warmth!
Overhead shot of a pan of chicken and wild rice pilaf.

Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?

While most casserole recipes call for cooking the rice before mixing it into the dish, this particular recipe is designed specifically for uncooked wild rice. That means that you do not boil the rice in a saucepan on the stovetop before adding it to the casserole dish.

Instead, the rice cooks right in the oven with the rest of the ingredients. This requires extra liquid in the pan (since the rice absorbs a lot of broth as it cooks), and extra cooking time to make sure that the rice is tender.

Chicken thighs tossed with parmesan, olive oil, and herb seasoning.


This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for this easy chicken and wild rice pilaf. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step baking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken thighs: we like boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe, but you can leave the skin on your chicken if you prefer.
  • Olive oil: helps the seasoning adhere to the chicken, adds flavor, and helps it brown in the oven.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other ingredients.
  • Parmesan cheese: for even more flavor on the meat.
  • Garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage: give the dish earthy, savory flavor.
  • Uncle Ben’s Original Long Grain & Wild Rice mix: these boxes include a seasoning packet, which you will use with the wild rice.
  • Celery, carrots, onion, and mushrooms: classic aromatic vegetables in a wild rice pilaf.
  • Dried cranberries: add little bites of sweet, tart, chewy texture. Raisins would be good, too!
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: the liquid that the rice absorbs as it bakes. Vegetable broth or water would work, too.
  • Butter: for flavor and richness. I use salted butter, but unsalted butter is a fine substitute.
  • Toasted pecans: a rich, nutty crunch to finish off the dish. Sub with almonds, walnuts, or pistachios if you like.
Process shot showing how to make wild rice pilaf with chicken in a dish before baking.

How to Make this Easy Chicken and Wild Rice

It doesn’t get much easier than this one dish dinner! You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Season the chicken.
  • Combine the uncooked rice, vegetables, cranberries, seasoning, and broth in a baking dish.
  • Top with butter.
  • Place the chicken in the dish.
  • Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the cover and continue baking for about 20 more minutes, or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Garnish with toasted pecans and chopped fresh herbs.
Overhead shot of dump-and-bake chicken and wild rice pilaf in a dish on top of a wooden dinner table.

Serving Suggestions

Since this wild rice pilaf also includes chicken and vegetables, you really don’t need much else on the table. That said, here are some delicious side dish options if you’d like to round out the meal:

Horizontal side shot of dump and bake wild rice pilaf with chicken in a blue and white bowl.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: You can assemble the casserole a few hours in advance, or even leave it covered in the refrigerator overnight before baking. The rice will start to soften and absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so you may need to decrease the baking time slightly. You don’t want to overcook the casserole or you’ll end up with gummy, mushy rice.
  • Storage: This casserole is best enjoyed immediately from the oven. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The rice will dry out a bit as it sits.
  • I do not recommend freezing these leftovers, as rice tends to get mushy when thawed.
  • How to Reheat: Cover and reheat leftovers in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until warmed through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds.
Square side shot of a blue and white bowl full of chicken with wild rice pilaf.

Recipe Variations

  • For even more flavor, replace about ½ cup of the broth with white wine.
  • Use skin-on chicken thighs instead of skinless if you prefer.
  • If you like white meat chicken, I recommend using bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, which have a longer baking time than boneless skinless chicken breasts (and are therefore less likely to dry out).
  • If you choose to try a plain wild rice blend (rather than the Uncle Ben’s boxed mix with the seasoning packet), you’ll likely want to add some extra seasoning to your dish — such as salt, pepper, and more herbs. You may also need to adjust the total baking time.
  • Make it spicy by adding cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square dish. The cooking instructions remain the same.
Blue and white bowl of baked wild rice pilaf with chicken thighs and cornbread.

Tips for the Best Chicken and Wild Rice Recipe

  • The dark meat chicken thighs stay juicy and tender over the long baking time.
  • This recipe is specifically designed and tested with uncooked Uncle Ben’s Original Long Grain and Wild Rice mix and the included seasoning packet. Do not substitute with brown rice, cauliflower rice, white rice, or instant rice — all of which require different amounts of liquid and different cooking times.
  • Make sure to cover your dish tightly with foil so that none of the liquid or steam escapes during the first part of cooking. The rice needs to absorb the liquid as it bakes.
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your meal is done, taste a bite of the rice. The rice should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Be careful not to overcook the casserole, or the rice will become mushy and gummy.
  • Fluff the rice mixture with a fork — do not stir with a big spoon, which can compact the grains and yield a dense texture.
Fork in a bowl of chicken with wild rice pilaf.

More Chicken and Wild Rice Recipes to Try

Square side shot of a blue and white bowl full of chicken with wild rice pilaf.

Dump-and-Bake Chicken and Wild Rice Pilaf

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 5 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 576 kcal
An entire meal that bakes in one dish — including juicy chicken thighs, fresh veggies, and herb-seasoned wild rice!


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 ½ – 2 lbs. total)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 (6 ounce) packages Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain & Wild Rice mix (with seasoning packets included)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sliced baby portobella mushrooms
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or use water for a lower sodium dish)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley, thyme, or other herbs


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a large bowl, drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste. Add the Parmesan, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Toss to coat. Set aside.
    Chicken thighs tossed with parmesan, olive oil, and herb seasoning.
  • In a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, combine the uncooked wild rice, celery, carrots, onion, mushrooms, and cranberries. Sprinkle both of the seasoning packets from the rice over top. Pour the broth into the dish. Stir gently. Top with the butter. Arrange the chicken over the rice and vegetables. Cover tightly with foil or a lid and bake for 45 minutes.
    Process shot showing how to make wild rice pilaf with chicken in a dish before baking.
  • Remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165°F). If the rice is still hard, add extra water if necessary and continue cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
    Square overhead shot of baked chicken and wild rice pilaf in a casserole dish.
  • Let the dish rest for at least 5-10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, garnish with toasted pecans and chopped fresh herbs, and serve.
    Side shot of wild rice pilaf with chicken in a blue and white bowl.


Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 576kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 37gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 279mgPotassium: 961mgFiber: 6gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 4269IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 110mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: chicken and wild rice, easy chicken and wild rice, wild rice pilaf, wild rice pilaf recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.