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Here’s exactly how to cook wild rice: it will become your go-to wild rice recipe! Add onion and celery to make it into an easy side dish.

Wild rice recipe
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Are you a wild rice fan? Wild rice is a tasty whole grain, and guess what? It actually has some nutritional advantages over brown rice! But more than that, it’s a unique healthy side dish to work into your dinnertime repertoire. Alex and I often make wild rice soup, but we didn’t often eat it as a side dish…until now! We’ve perfected a version of my mom’s favorite wild rice recipe. Eat it as a side dish, or use it in other recipes like this wild rice casserole! Ready to cook?

How to cook wild rice

So, you’ve got a bag of wild rice: now what? Here’s how to cook wild rice. There are varying opinions on the amount of liquid needed for wild rice. Some say 1:4, others say 1:2. There’s a lot of variation out there! Here’s what to know about cooking this grain (or go right to the recipe):

  • Use wild rice, not a blend. Some wild rice is packaged with other types of rice, labeled as a “wild rice blend”. This recipe is for just straight-up wild rice: so make sure to find that.
  • Know the ratio: The ratio that we used in this recipe is 1 cup rice to 2.5 cups water or broth. This recipe uses 2 cups at once, so we used 4 cups broth (sold as 1 quart) and 1 cup water.
  • Simmer covered 45 to 55 minutes: Place everything in a pot, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer. Depending on the brand of rice, it will take between 45 and 55 minutes. Remember to check on it and taste! The rice is done when it bursts and is tender.

Also try: Wild Rice Mushroom Soup

How to cook wild rice

Add onion and celery if desired!

You can use the formula above to make this wild rice recipe straight up. But we highly suggest adding the diced onion and celery to the mix! It adds just the right flavor and texture contrasts. It’s perfect if you’re serving is as a healthy side dish.

The nice thing about the cooking method here is that you don’t even need to saute the veggies! Just add them to the rice and broth, and boil them while the rice is boiling. It’s an easy way to add big flavor.

Love celery? Try these 15 Easy Celery Recipes!

Finish with olive oil or butter

To really take it over the top, you can finish this recipe with a drizzle of olive oil. Or if you want even more richness, add a tablespoon or two of butter. This takes the flavor over the top! My mom’s favorite recipe is a little retro: It adds some canned mushrooms at the end, and a little butter. Feel free to add that if you want a 1970’s vibe!

Wild rice recipe

Is wild rice healthier than standard rice?

Did you know that wild rice is not actually rice? (Mind blown, right?) It’s actually the seed from a grass that grows in lakes and streams. Since it looks a lot like rice, wild rice is treated as rice in most cuisines. So though they’re not truly related, wild rice is often compared to brown rice. Here’s how they stack up:

  • Wild rice has less calories than brown rice, about 66% less! 1 cup of cooked wild rice has 166 calories and 1 cup brown rice has 248 calories. (Source)
  • Wild rice has slightly more protein than brown rice1 cup cooked wild rice has 6.5 grams protein vs 5.5 grams in brown rice. (Source)
  • Both wild and brown rice have the same amount of fiber, about 3 grams per 1 cup cooked.
Wild rice

Ways to serve this wild rice recipe

There are so many ways to serve this wild rice recipe! It’s the perfect side dish, but it can transform in many ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • As a side for fish. Wild rice works well as a side for salmon; consider serving with this Lemon Dill Salmon.
  • In a salad. Try this tasty Wild Rice Salad with cranberries and feta.
  • In a casserole. Our Wild Rice Casserole combines this blend with broccoli and gooey cheese. Yum!
  • Throw in veggies and make a grain salad! This wild rice recipe easily transforms into a grain salad by adding chickpeas, fresh sliced veggies, olive oil and vinegar. (Alex and I tried this and it was very tasty!)

This wild rice recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Wild rice recipe

Perfect Wild Rice (Easy Side Dish!)

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Here’s exactly how to cook wild rice: it will become your go-to wild rice recipe! Add onion and celery to make it into an easy side dish.


  • 1 cup small diced yellow onion (1 small onion), optional
  • 1 cup small diced celery (about 3 celery ribs), optional
  • 2 cups wild rice (make sure it’s all wild rice, not a mix!)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided


  1. Prep the veggies (optional but recommended): Small dice the onion. Dice the celery.
  2. In a large saucepan, place the onion, celery, wild rice, vegetable broth, water, and ¾ teaspoon kosher salt. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes, until the rice is split and tender. (Most of the grains will split, but not all: see the photo.)
  3. Drain excess liquid. Taste and add an additional ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. If you’d like, add a drizzle of olive oil or a tablespoon or two of butter (but it tastes great on its own).
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Me says:

    I cannot wait to start cooking wild rice. I just bought a 25lb container of it from fall world wild rice. Yummy

  2. Richard Schinella says:

    Also, …we added a pinch of Italian truffle salt at the mid-point in cooking.

  3. Richard Schinella says:

    Made your wild rice recipe tonight as side dish for Coq Au Vin Blanc along with a tomato, Romaine lettuce, onion salad, …and it was GREAT. Perfect balance to the meal. Here in MT it took about 1.5 hours to cook perfectly.
    Thank you.

  4. Kris Fox says:

    Since I’m not sure digestive tract can handle this, how do I fix a much smaller amount? Just cut down the rice to 1/2 Cup & the liquid to 1 3/4 Cup? It seems like the liquid would boil away long before the time estimate about for cooking it. TY

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We haven’t tried it but the ratio would be 1/2 cup rice to 1 cup broth. You could try in a small sauce pan. Since you are simmering with the pan covered not much boils out. Just keep an eye on it!

  5. Diane says:

    Is it ok to heat in microwave before serving? Thanks

    1. Alex Overhiser says: