If you’re not cooking with wild rice this fall and winter, you’re missing out on an awesome ingredient. It has a unique flavor and texture you just can’t get from anything else and I love to use it in soups, salads, and hearty one pot meals. Wild rice gives so many dishes an extra dose of delicious personality.
wild rice isn’t really a rice at all
It’s actually an aquatic grass seed, which grows wild near freshwater streams and lakes in North America and Canada. I think it’s better than any rice I’ve ever had, and it’s a star ingredient in so many fall and winter recipes. It has so much more personality than other rice and grain varieties, from its bold glossy black color to its earthy flavor and fabulously chewy texture. It’s really a rockstar.
how to cook wild rice perfectly every time
Wild rice couldn’t be easier to cook, you don’t even need to measure! For reference, raw wild rice will triple in volume when cooked, so one cup raw rice will cook up to 3 cups. Wild rice is generally not served on its own, but with other ingredients and/or grains, so a little goes a long way.
- Put your rice in a tall saucepan and cover with several inches of cold water.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for anywhere from 40-50 minutes, covered, until tender. You’ll want to check it on the early side and go from there, use your teeth as your guide! The rice should be firm but not at all crunchy. Wild rice will split open as it becomes tender.
- Drain off any excess liquid and you’re good to go.
- I almost never cook my wild rice as long as the suggested time on the package. I like the chewier texture that comes from undercooking it a bit, and I like to catch it just as some of the grains are beginning to split.
- The exception is for dishes like my wild rice porridge (below), where I want a creamier, softer texture. Then I let the rice cook until it ‘explodes’ open. The texture will be less chewy in that case.
wild rice salad with maple cider vinaigrette
This autumnal wild rice salad takes all the classic fall flavors (cranberries, maple, apple cider, roasted sweet potatoes) and turns them into a perfect side dish, or lunch on the go. We always include it on our Thanksgiving table, too!
creamy wild rice soup
A comfort food classic and a great cozy lunch or dinner in the colder months. Wild rice, fresh veggies, and a super creamy broth make for a hearty meal with lots of texture and flavor.
creamy chicken with wild rice and mushrooms
This is one of the coziest, most comforting one-pot dinners I’ve ever made. Wild rice pairs perfectly with earthy mushrooms and chicken.
beet and wild rice salad with spiced pecans
This salad is a new favorite of mine, it’s so satisfying on so many levels, and, like so many wild rice dishes, it keeps incredibly well so I can enjoy it for days! It’s another idea to round out your Thanksgiving menu.
wild rice breakfast porridge with cranberries and walnuts
This unique cereal showcases the sweet side of wild rice. Wild rice porridge is a tradition in many Native American tribes, and it makes a lovely warm breakfast paired with roasted fresh cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and sweet maple syrup.
carrot and wild rice soup
The colors, textures, and flavors in this soup make it totally main-course worthy, but it also makes a stunning lunch, or starter to any meal.
wild rice bowl with watercress and hazelnuts
Sometimes in the fall and winter, I’m craving something fresh and healthy, but still want my meals to have that cozy/comfy vibe. This salad is the answer! Wild rice, mushrooms, and hazelnuts add substance and texture to vibrant winter greens like watercress and spinach.
harvest wild rice salad
You might call it ‘everything but the kitchen sink,’ but I call it the most epic fall salad of all time! Don’t hold back, add in all your fall favorites from roasted winter veggies, crunchy apples, nuts, and whatever else you love!
basmati and wild rice with chickpeas, currants and herbs
Maybe it’s the fried onions, but this is one of the most comforting recipes ever, and is a great way to get to know wild rice.
Questions and Reviews
Where can I find wild rice? I seem to only find it as a blend with either long grain or brown rice.
Thanks and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Most stores these days sell it right in the regular rice section. Since it comes in relatively small boxes, you sometimes have to search a bit. I don’t love the blends, myself, but you should be able to source it pretty easily, especially now in the fall. You can always buy it online, search Amazon Prime.