a white bowl filled with cooked wild rice

How To Cook Wild Rice

Wild rice is a protein and fiber rich wild grain, grown and harvested throughout North America as well as China, and India. It’s flavor when cooked is slightly nutty, and with a bit of a chew similar to brown rice. Ideal as a side dish, or used in other recipes, wild rice is healthy and best of all learning how to cook wild rice couldn’t be easier!

Traditionally harvested in North America by Indigenous tribes, wild rice played in important role as a staple food, as well as in religious and medicinal uses. This wild grain makes an excellent addition to any healthy diet and is gluten free.

raw canadian wild rice in a white bowl

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Is Wild Rice Healthy?

Yes! Not a true rice but closely related, wild rice is full of important B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folate) and minerals (Manganese, phosphorus, iron, magnesium) and stores extremely well with very little nutritional loss making it an ideal food source.

Studies show that wild rice is beneficial to digestion, helps reduce cholesterol, and can reduce heart disease. With more protein per gram then white rice, wild rice is a great natural source of fiber, and is naturally gluten free. While wild rice is not a true ‘rice’ it is still considered a grain, and as such is usually avoided in diets such as the paleo or whole 30 diet. That being said, if you are looking for a healthy way to add a little carb to your diet, wild rice is probably one of the healthiest ways to do it!

What Does Wild Rice Taste Like?

Wild rice has a slight nutty flavor, with some describing the flavor as tea like. It’s chewy texture makes wild rice ideal for use in soups, stews, and stuffings, where the earthy flavor adds a delicious and hearty element to the dish. Depending on how long the wild rice is cooked for, it can have a bit of a chew when it is just starting to burst open, or become quite soft when cooked longer.

I prefer my wild rice when it is just burst open, has a bit of a chew, but isn’t mushy. Of course the longer you cook wild rice, the more available it’s nutrients become but I find the texture more appealing when the wild rice is not cooked to mush.

You can even pop wild rice in a pot on the stove much like you would popcorn! It makes a delicious snack!

Do You Have To Soak Or Rinse Wild Rice Before Cooking?

Do you need to soak or pre-rinse prior to cooking wild rice? Yes and no. While rinsing the wild rice before cooking is always a good idea, soaking it is not required. Soaking the wild rice for 15 minutes can cut the cooking time in half, but it will also result in a softer, less textured end product.

wild rice being rinsed in a mesh strainer under running water

If cooking wild rice in the Instant Pot I recommend not soaking the rice to avoid over cooking it.

Related:  Instant Pot Wild Rice

How To Cook Wild Rice On The Stove

The easiest way of cooking wild rice at home is on the stove top. While it does take quite a while to simmer, (about 40 minutes), the longer cooking time as compared to Basmati rice for example, allows you to multitask and prepare or cook something else (such as these oven baked chicken breasts ) as the wild rice cooks.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup unbroken, whole wild rice
  • 4 cups water
  • pinch of salt

Start by bringing a pot with the four cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rinsed wild rice, and quickly bring the pot back to a boil.

Related:  How To Cook Basmati Rice

adding wild rice to a boiling pot of water

Cover the pot with a lid, and turn the heat down to medium or medium low, to allow the wild rice to simmer. Let the rice simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, before checking the rice for done-ness. Simply taste it with a spoon to check the texture. It should have a little bit of a chew, but not be hard in the middle.

Some people prefer their wild rice, quite chewy and barely broken open, while others insist it must be fully burst open. I prefer it somewhere in the middle with most of the grains burst open, yet not cooked to mush. Depending on your preference simply add or subtract 5 minutes of cooking time.

Depending on the size of the rice and how tight fitting a lid you used, all of the water may be absorbed or there may be a little liquid remaining. Simply strain any liquid that may remain out.

a white bowl filled with cooked wild rice and garnished with parsley

Serve the wild rice immediately, or cool it down to be used in other recipes such as grain salads, or stuffings. The wild rice can be seasoned with herbs, spices, or vegetables such as onion, garlic, and mushrooms to create a hearty side dish.

Have you cooked wild rice at home? Leave a comment and star rating below, then take a picture and tag me on Facebook & Instagram: @earthfoodandfire. For more from scratch recipes follow me on Instagram & Pinterest

a white bowl filled with cooked wild rice
5 from 11 votes
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How To Cook Wild Rice

Learn how to cook wild rice on the stove. A healthy and delicious grain, wild rice is a great natural source of protein and fiber.

Course Basic Skill, Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword cooking wild rice, do you have to soak wild rice, what does wild rice taste like
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3 cups
Calories 496.9 kcal
Author Chef Markus Mueller

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Whole Unbroken, Wild Rice
  • 4 cups Water chicken or vegetable stocks may also be used
  • pinch Salt

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot with the four cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rinsed wild rice, and quickly bring the pot back to a boil.

  2. Cover the pot with a lid, and turn the heat down to medium or medium low. Let the rice simmer for 40 to 45 minutes.

  3. Checkthe rice for done-ness. Simply taste it with a spoon to check the texture. It should have a little bit of a chew, but not be hard in the middle.

  4. If there is a little liquid remaining in the pot, simply strain it out. This may happen depending on the variety, size of the wild rice etc.

  5. Serve the cooked wild rice immediately. It may also be cooled down to be used in other recipes such as grain salads, or stuffings. 

Recipe Notes

Some people prefer their wild rice, quite chewy and barely broken open, while others insist it must be fully burst open. I prefer it somewhere in the middle with most of the grains burst open, yet not cooked to mush. Depending on your preference simply add or subtract 5 minutes of cooking time.

© 2018, Markus Mueller | Earth, Food, and Fire. All rights reserved. Please contact Earth, Food, and Fire, if you wish to use any media or other content contained on this site.

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26 Comments

  1. I love wild rice but I honestly cant remember the last time I made it. Thanks for the reminder that I need to add this gorgeous grain back into the dinner rotation!

  2. I usually make Wild Rice Soup and the family love it. Have not tried cooking the same way you did.

  3. This is a great tutorial on how to cook wild rice thanks for sharing!

  4. I absolutely love wild rice, but rarely make it. Thank you for the great instruction on how to cook it.

  5. I love wild rice, but have not made it in a long time. Thank you for sharing detailed instructions to make it.

  6. I love wild rice but don’t make it often because my husband doesn’t like the texture. I will be trying it out again soon, though! Thanks for the great post.

  7. I could eat wild rice everyday, such a great flavour and texture! Thank you for sharing such detailed instructions, super helpful!

  8. We love wild rice, sometimes add with basmati, sometimes on its own for a salad, such a healthy and delicious rice. Lovely tutorial.

  9. This is a great post to learn how to make wild rice. I’ve made it with a mix, but never from scratch. So glad to find this post because my family really loves dishes with wild rice!

  10. What a great primer! I love wild rice in a cold salad but haven’t gotten the gumption up to try one myself. This will help me give it a go.

  11. The hubs is in charge of meals this week and he just asked me to pick up some rice. I think I’ll grab wild rice to pair with our chicken. I always rinse my rice but I never knew that soaking can cut cook time down. I’ll have to try it out!

  12. I could never place it until you mentioned that some people describe the flavor of wild rice as tea-like. That’s totally what it tastes like! I always thought it was a bit floral, but tea is a better descriptor. We don’t have wild rice too often, but this post has inspired me to change that!

  13. Love love wild rice! Thanks for the tip about washing and soaking. I try to buy rice that’s already pre-washed (because who has the time) but it’s not always possible. Nice to know you can skip the soaking or do it to speed up the cooking process!

  14. Such great tips and info about wild rice and how to make great rice!

  15. This is great. I love wild rice – it has so much flavour and looks so pretty compared with plain white rice.

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