Wild rice! It’s chewy, toothsome, and slightly sweet. It’s one of my favorite starches. At least, it is now that I know how to cook it properly.
This recipe is part of my cooking Basics series, a collection of recipes that are all about how to cook basic, everyday things.
My dad notoriously undercooked wild rice throughout my childhood. It was always a task to eat it, and I didn’t learn how to cook it until I went to culinary school.
Turns out, you want to cook wild rice like pasta. That is to say, in salted boiling water. You also want to look for the grains to sort of burst open. Trust me, it makes all the difference.
Wild rice fetches a premium price because it can involve being harvested by canoe as it grows in water like a grass; making it difficult to cultivate.
How Much Water to Use When Cooking Wild Rice
Unlike regular rice which involves precise measurements, wild rice is less finicky because the outer shell prevents it from turning mushy. You don’t have to be as precious about the ratios of water to wild rice. Just be sure the rice has plenty of room to cook. In other words, you can’t have too much water when cooking wild rice (but you could have too little).
How to Tell Wild Rice Is Done
Simply dump it into a pot of boiling water and cook until you see the grains burst open. You do want to remove the rice as soon as this happens. It is possible to over-do it with the cooking. As a rule of thumb, wild rice takes anywhere from 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the brand. Just begin checking every 20 minutes or so.
Best Way to Serve Wild Rice
Once strained, the wild rice will have the best texture if you allow it to steam and fluff it with a fork.
You can serve wild rice like a salad with a shallot vinaigrette and some dried cranberries or with a hearty wild mushroom sauce like my mushroom stroganoff. It’s lovely as a side to some broiled salmon and those pan drippings can double as a sauce for the rice, too.
Hope you enjoyed this basic cooking method. Now, grab your apron and let’s go!
How to Cook Wild Rice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups wild rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- Boil. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and the wild rice. Stir every so often to ensure the rice cooks evenly. Note: You can check the bag for approximate cook time. Typically 35 to 55 minutes.
- Strain and serve. When you see the grains visibly split open, immediately strain using a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to a large serving bowl and toss with some olive oil or butter to fluff and allow steam to escape. Serve hot or at room temperature.