How to Cook Perfect Wild Rice

Let’s talk about wild rice. It’s nutty and earthy, irresistibly chewy-tender, and I can’t get enough of it. What is it, exactly? Wild rice is an aquatic grass native to the Great Lakes region of North America.

Don’t save your wild rice for your Thanksgiving stuffing—it’s great year-round, but perhaps especially wonderful during the cooler months. Wild rice offers a warm, hearty component that turns fresh greens into a proper meal, and adds texture and heft to soups.

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Wild rice is nutritious, too. It offers about fifty percent more fiber and protein than its cousin brown rice, which puts it on par with quinoa. It’s a suitable gluten-free substitute for farro, since the two are similar in texture.

Wild rice has one less-than-fortunate quality: It’s more expensive than many other whole grains. Wild rice is quite labor-intensive to harvest, which is why it’s pricy. Shop around and store your rice in a cool, dry location. Read on to learn how to cook your wild rice, plus find ideas to use up every bit of it!

How to Cook Wild Rice on the Stovetop

Unlike most recipes, I prefer to cook my wild rice uncovered, in an abundant amount of water. This way, it’s easy to keep an eye on, it cooks a little faster (sometimes it’s done in just 40 minutes), and most importantly: it turns out perfectly every time.

Scroll down for the printable recipe!

How to Cook Wild Rice in the Instant Pot

Wild rice cooks up beautifully in an Instant Pot and saves you about 10 to 15 minutes cooking time, realistically. The main advantage to cooking wild rice in the Instant Pot is that you don’t need to “babysit” it in any fashion. This method is courtesy of The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook by Megan Gilmore.

  1. Combine 1 cup well-rinsed wild rice and 1 ¼ cups water in the bowl of your Instant Pot.
  2. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select the Manual/Pressure Cook option and cook on high pressure for 22 minutes.
  3. When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure.
  4. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid and give the rice a stir. Season as desired.

Wild Rice Goes Well With…

Want to improvise a meal with wild rice? Add any of the following:

  • Alliums: Chives, garlic, green onion, red onion or shallot
  • Beans: Especially chickpeas or other white beans
  • Fresh or dried fruit: Fresh apple, dried cherries or cranberries or raisins
  • Greens or herbs: Arugula, collard greens, dill, kale, parsley, sage, spinach, tarragon, or thyme
  • Nuts or seeds: Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pepitas, pine nuts or walnuts
  • Seasonings: Black pepper, cinnamon, Dijon mustard, ginger, lemon or orange juice/zest, or vinegar (apple cider or red wine or white wine vinegar)
  • Soft cheese: Feta or goat cheese
  • Vegetables: Asparagus, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, celery, mushrooms, pumpkin, squash (acorn, butternut, or kabocha)

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