Perfect Wild Rice

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

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.
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.

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 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!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (45 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

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

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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 3/4 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 1/4 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

Keywords: Wild Rice Recipe, How to cook wild rice

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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