How to Cook Perfect Wild Rice

How to Cook Perfect Wild Rice Recipe

In cooking, there is a difference between simple and easy. Easy recipes don't require a lot of skill to prepare. Then, there are recipes that are simple: that is to say that there are few ingredients, but the preparation of the ingredients may be very complex.

Cooking rice is as much an art as it is a science. I remember watching a program when chef Morimoto talked about how difficult it is to prepare properly seasoned sushi rice. I'm no expert at making sushi rice but I do make a lot of brown, basmati,  jasmine and wild rice for my husband. If cooked improperly, wild rice can taste like horse food. But it doesn't have to be that way, I've discovered some method and techniques that will produce a softer, more delicate end product . Just because wild rice is good for you doesn't mean that it can't taste good as well.

A special note: The wild rice in the picture was given by my father-in-law's friends from Minnesota.

Wild Rice Product


Yields: 6

1 cup wild rice
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter, at room temperature


Wash the rice throughly, discard any dirt. Place in a bucket, cover with water. Add 1/2 of the juice of a lemon with its pulp. Soak for at least 2 hours. Drain as much water as possible.

Repeat the same procedure for the wild rice without the lemon juice though.

In a saucepan, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the wild rice. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid, then cook for about 50 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt half way through the cooking process. The wild rice should be tender. Do not remove the lid and wait until the basmati rice is ready.

Fill about 4 quarts of water in a big pot. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the rice is cooked all the way through evenly. Cook for about 8 minutes at a bubbly simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of salt half way through the cooking process (it will bring the natural flavor of the basmati rice and the rice will be more tender). Keep stirring the rice every now and then so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot. It may take longer than the cooking time written on the instructions of the package. The grains of rice should be still a little hard, about 2/3 of the way cooked. Drain the liquid from the rice using a fine mesh colander. Do NOT rinse. Discard the liquid.

Transfer the rice to a small saucepan. Using the pestle (the stick) of a mortar and pestle, create 3 evenly-spaced holes (forming a triangle) in the pot of rice and drizzle about between 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water into the rice. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of salt if you'd like to. Place little mounts of butter all over the rice. Seal the saucepan with an aluminum sheet and cover tightly with a lid. Place on the stove over high heat for about 4-5 minutes. Steam should escape from the pot.

Drain the excess liquid from the wild rice (cooked a little earlier) using a fine mesh colander. Transfer the wild rice to the basmati rice saucepan. Lower the heat to a medium low, cover the lid again and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and wait at least 10 minutes for the rice to set. Do not remove the lid.

Fluff and mix both types of rice together. The rice is ready.



wild rice

Toasted Sesame Tofu Caramelized with Agave Nectar, Wasabi and Soy Sauce. I served it with wild rice.

One cup of raw wild rice yields 3 to 4 cups cooked.

I always add one part of basmati (or brown rice) for one part of wild rice for texture.

wild rice and brown rice

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on May 20, 2009.


[-] so true! - Guest-lisaiscooking
That's so true about the distinction between simple and easy! Your wild rice looks perfect, and it looks delicious with the tofu. I have to try your wild rice technique

lisaiscooking Website Link
[ Posted at 1:16 PM on 5/20/09 | Reply ]
[-] yum! - Guest-Jessica
I love all sorts of rice but I think that wild rice is probably my favorite. That said, I only have about a 50% success rate with it and it's way too expensive to mess up (in my opinion). I can't wait to try this recipe.

Jessica Website Link
[ Posted at 2:26 PM on 5/20/09 | Reply ]
[-] How to Cook Perfect Wild Rice - Guest-JESSICA919
Thanks, this post is very informative!

JESSICA Website Link
[ Posted at 6:07 PM on 5/20/09 | Reply ]
[-] Wild Rice - Guest-Elyse
What a great post! It's so good to refresh on rice-cooking. And can we talk about how amazing that caramelized tofu over rice looks?! Soo soo good. You've definitely given me a craving.

Elyse Website Link
[ Posted at 4:32 PM on 5/21/09 | Reply ]
[-] Wow, that is extensive. - Guest-truebosko
I don't think I can dedicate that much effort to rice on a regular day.
[ Posted at 10:19 AM on 5/22/09 | Reply ]
[-] How to Cook Perfect Wild Rice - Guest-TangledNoodle
Living in Minnesota, I couldn't pass up an opportunity for information on wild rice! Because of it's long cooking time, I usually make it only in soups. But I love how you've matched it with basmati (definitely wouldn't work with 'stickier' varieties). It looks great and the nutty flavor and texture makes it kind of like a pilaf.

Tangled Noodle Website Link
[ Posted at 7:53 PM on 5/22/09 | Reply ]
Thank you Tracey. I had no idea that you could use wild rice in soups. I have to give this a try :P
[ Posted at 8:16 PM on 5/22/09 | Reply ]
[-] quibble - Guest-Liv
Looks interesting, but I wonder whether it would be possible to insert the word basmati every time the text says rice, to distinguish from the wild rice. Here we have rice versus wild rice, when actually it is basmati versus wild. A little confusing.
[ Posted at 12:42 PM on 7/18/09 | Reply ]
[-] Question - Guest-Mim
Hi! If you're around right now, can you please tell me what method would be best for cooking the mixed rice (I've bought the wild, brown and basmati mix)??
I would appreciate if you emailed me, cause I always either undercook the wild rice or overcook the brown and the end product turns out either hard to bite or very mushy.
[ Posted at 2:29 PM on 10/5/11 | Reply ]
[-] How to Cook Perfect Wild Rice - Guest-Susan587
I use brown rice, which cooks for the same lenth of time that wild rice does. Any reason they can't be cooked together, brought to a boil and turned down with butter and salt to simmer the rest of the time?
That's how I usually cook brown rice, and it turns out fine, and it's so simple!
[ Posted at 5:10 PM on 11/21/12 | Reply ]

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