Learning how to cook wild rice is easy. It’s delicious, versatile, and can be used in so many different dishes. In learning how below, we’ll make a Cranberry Wild Rice Recipe that everyone loves.
*For this wild rice recipe and three others, go to the bottom of the post.
This is the type of rice I like to have on hand all the time.
Prepared wild rice is a great great way to add more flavor to other recipes.
Wild rice recipes are fantastic side dishes to go alongside chicken, meat or fish.
What is wild rice?
- Wild rice is the seed of an aquatic grass.
- It’s not necessarily wild. Most of what we see in grocery stores is cultivated and grown under farmed conditions. The true wild rice that is in fact wild, is hand harvested. (Check out this process here.)
- It's a long grain rice and one of the only whole grains native to North America where wild rice grows in shallow freshwater marshes, creeks and along the shores of streams and lakes -- the Great Lakes region of North America.
- There are more acres of naturally growing wild rice in northern Minnesota than any other state in the country. There, they call it “Paddy Rice.”
- Though typically skinny and black — like super tiny, straight sticks, the color and shape of wild rice can vary depending on where it’s grown. Once cooked however, it’s always a shade of brown. And when it cooks it splits and curls.
- Wild rice is gluten-free and very nutritious — it’s rich in antioxidants and has high amount of protein, manganese, phosphorus magnesium and zinc. More about the health benefits of wild rice is here.
- Native Americans have said, "wild rice is like gold to us." Here's an article about how they're trying to protect its growth.
What does wild rice taste like?
It tastes similar to brown rice, but with a slightly earthier, nutty flavor. It has an outer “shell” that gives it a chewy texture.
Wild rice recipes therefore offer a fantastic nut-like flavor that's delicious with sweet ingredients like cranberries.
How to Cook Wild Rice
Wild rice cooks for a long time to absorb enough liquid to become tender. The cook time can anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour, depending on the amount being cooked, the pot used, etc.
You can use almost any liquid to cook the rice. I usually use stock. It’s especially good with mushroom stock but you can use any vegetable, meat or chicken broth (or stock) to add flavor. Here's my cooking method:
- Rinse the rice under cold running water.
- Wild rice ratio of rice to liquid: Use about 3½ times the amount of liquid to the amount of the rice. Add the rinsed rice, the liquid and a bit of salt to a large pot, and bring it to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low and bring it to a simmer, cover and cook until it’s tender — for 1 cup of rice and 3½ cups of liquid, about 50 minutes. You will see that most of the grains have split open when it’s ready. If it’s tender, but there’s still liquid at the bottom of the pot, drain it.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper — or add it to any recipe you’d like to make.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Uses for Wild Rice
- You can mix almost anything you want into the rice. From vegetables and meats to fruits and nuts. I think it’s incredibly tasty with Sherry Mushrooms.
- This delicious whole grain is a great addition to Thanksgiving stuffing, and it’s lovely to mix with other grains.
- People also love a wild rice salad, when it's mixed with greens and served cold.
- It makes for a great filling ingredient for stuffed peppers and mushrooms.
- It’s also a super delicious addition to soups and salads.
- If you want to cut down on the cooking time, you can soak the rice in cold water overnight. (Drain it when you’re ready to begin the cooking process.) Either way, how long to cook wild rice can vary, so check it often.
- If you’re using a salted stock or broth, don’t add salt — you can season to taste later.
- Since the cooking time can be long, I like to make a big batch at once to have on hand. You can freeze the wild rice if you do this. Just let it cool to room temperature and put it in a tightly sealed container. It will keep well in the freezer for four to six months. Freezing it in small batches is a good idea.
- While my simple method on the stove top works really well, if you want to use a rice cooker, you can follow this recipe.
The below image and written in the recipe card, is my favorite wild rice recipe. Its earthy flavor is so delicious with the subtly sweet cranberries.
More Wild Rice Recipes:
Cranberry Wild Rice
You can also get a wild rice blend or wild rice pilaf.
Now that you know how to cook wild rice, I bet you’ll be using it all the time.
Cranberry Wild Rice Recipe
To cook the rice
- 1 cup raw wild rice
- 2 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 1½ cups water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
For the Cranberry Wild Rice dish
- 3 cups cooked wild rice
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup finely chopped green onions, washed and dried
- salt and pepper to taste
To cook the rice
- Rinse the rice under cold running water.Add the rinsed rice, stock, water and salt to a very large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and bring it to a simmer, cover, and cook until it’s tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. (Cooking times might vary.) You will see that most of the grains have split open and are curled when it's ready. If it’s tender, but there’s still liquid at the bottom of the pot, drain it. Season to taste if necessary with salt and pepper — or add it to any recipe you’d like to make.
For the Cranberry Wild Rice dish
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries and green onions. Mix and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
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I love the nutty earthy wild rice. This makes a really great side dish.
Me too. Thanks, Angie! Happy holidays! 🙂 ~Valentina
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop
I love the nuttiness of wild rice. Making a large batch and freezing some is a great idea. That way I can have it at the ready whenever I like!
That's what I do, Kathy. Thanks so much. Hope you had a lovely holiday! 🙂 ~Valentina
Thank you ahead of time for the homework I have just set myself ~ L have loved the grain since the very first time I tried it - all in the shops seemed imported from the Great Lakes area of US and carried quite a price tag. These days it is often sold at our supermarkets mixed with actual and varying rice like brown. Reading your post just now I went to talk to Mr Google - here I believe the industry is quickly evolving in our crocodile infested huge swamps up north - I understand varying grains are being researched and will be cultivated . . . the thought is to be the 'bread basket' for the world in the product by 2050 ~ Have to keep an eye on the matter meanwhile putting a packet of the current available on my next on-line delivery . . . yummy !!!
Hi Eha, Yes, wild rice is often sold mixed in with other grains. Harvesting the wild rice is trickier than other grains which is why it's more expensive. Not my area of expertise, but so I've read.;-) Enjoy and thank you! I wish you a very happy new year! ~Valentina
David Scott Allen
I have not had wild rice for decades! And I don’t know why… I love it, and, as Angie said, it has such a great nuttiness. I’m going to look for it when I shop this week. Are used to have a friend from Michigan who brought it to me in pound bags every year. Those were the good all days!
David Scott Allen
And of course, like an idiot, I forgot to tell you that the recipe looks absolutely wonderful. I get into a rut with rice and this might just get me out of it.
Aww, thanks so much David. Enjoy and a very Happy New Year to you and Mark. xo Valentina
Wow, I'd love to be brought bags of wild rice. Lucky you -- even though it's past. 🙂 I've seen it at Trader Joe's. Not sure where it's sourced from, but it's probably very good. ~Valentina
Love it! The cranberry rice is fabulous. However I do prefer wild rice cut with some brown rice or hulled barley, otherwise it’s too “spikey” feeling for me! I also sometimes put cooked wild rice in savory pancakes. It’s so versatile! Happy New Year!
Thank you so much for this one; I have always cooked wild rice in water with a pinch of salt. Your suggestion using broth is absolutely amazing ! it really brings the taste to completely new level !
Thanks, Davorka. I hope you love it! 🙂 ~Valentina