How to Cook Wild Rice

Wild rice is a great addition to so many meals! Check out how to make wild rice on the stove and in the Instant Pot. Both ways are easy and will have you using wild rice on a regular basis!

It is fun to use wild rice as a topping or a fun addition to meals you already know how to make! We love adding wild rice to a butternut squash soup or mixed into one of our delicious salad recipes.

Wild rice in a bowl

The World of Wild Rice

If you’re from the mid-west you probably grew up with wild rice as a staple in the kitchen! We grew up eating delicious wild rice soup, wild rice casseroles, and porridge.

Why is it that midwesterners are so familiar with wild rice? It’s because Northern Wild rice is grown and harvested from lakes and rivers in Minnesota and Canada. Crazy, right?

Another cool thing about wild rice is that wild rice tends to be a bit more expensive because it is HAND harvested. That’s right. Every grain of wild rice is shaken loose when it’s harvested.

Now, some of the wild rice you see in the grocery store may be cultivated in a regulated area. This type of rice isn’t TRUE wild rice but will taste and cook the same.

Is wild rice hard to cook? There is a myth out there that wild rice is hard to cook. Don’t believe it! Wild rice is an accessible grain and there are many ways to prepare it. We tested how to cook wild rice many ways and our two favorite ways are:

  • Instant Pot
  • Stove-top

Let’s dig in!

Dried wild rice in a bowl

Everything You Need to Know

Wild rice has been known to stump a cook or two, so let’s go over some of the most commonly asked questions about WILD RICE.

Do you have to soak wild rice before cooking?

You do not have to cook wild rice before cooking it! We wanted there to be as few steps to cooking wild rice as possible. That being said, people soak their wild rice to reduce the cooking time, so if you have the time feel free to soak the wild rice.

Our recipes DO NOT include soaking the wild rice.

What is the water to wild rice ratio for cooking wild rice?

The ratio for water:rice all depends on HOW you cook your wild rice. The ratios for our wild rice recipes are below!

Stove-top 1:4

Instant Pot 1:1.5

How long does it take to cook wild rice?

It takes about 30-45 minutes for wild rice to cook depending on how you decide to prepare your wild rice.

Is wild rice supposed to be crunchy?

Wild rice is supposed to have a bite to it! When wild rice is done cooking, it will split or pop! You will know if this happens if your wild rice splits down the middle and turns a beige or white color!

Your wild rice should have a bite, meaning it shouldn’t hurt your teeth when you bit it and it shouldn’t be super mushy!

How is wild rice different than other rice?

Wild rice is different than other rice in that it is an outer sheath (or shell) on the outside and a soft grain on the inside. Other rice species like white rice or brown rice do not have that outer shell.

When we explain HOW to cook wild rice compared to other types of rice, I like to say we cook wild rice like it’s pasta! We boil it and strain it rather than solely depend on absorption!

What dishes can I use wild rice for?

The beautiful thing about wild rice is that it is so versatile! There are so many ways to incorporate wild rice into your favorite dishes. Wild rice can be the all-star in your dish in a casserole or soup. It can also make a great accompaniment to soups and salads!

Here are some of our favorite dishes to add wild rice to:

How do you know when wild rice is done?

Your wild rice is done when it has cracked and revealed it’s inner soft grain! It should be chewy, but not mushy!

Can I freeze cooked wild rice?

Yes, you can freeze cooked wild rice! Let the wild rice cool completely before placing it in an airtight plastic bag or stasher bag. Remove the air from the bag and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months!

When you’re ready to use the rice, let it thaw out and use it in your favorite recipes!

Stove Top

Preparing wild rice on the stove top is probably the most common way to prepare wild rice! Here are a few tips and tricks to cooking wild rice on the stove-top!

  • Prepare wild rice on the stove top like you would pasta! It is a hard grain, so it will take longer to cook, like pasta!
  • Consider cooking wild rice in broth, rather than water. It adds great flavor to the wild rice!
  • Make sure you bring the wild rice and whatever liquid you use to a boil first and then turn it to simmer for 45 minutes!
straining wild rice

Instant Pot

We LOVE cooking wild rice in the Instant Pot. It is a set-it-and-forget-it situation! We are all about it! The beautiful part of the Instant Pot wild rice is that there is only one step involved. Here are some tips and takeaways for preparing wild rice in the Instant Pot.

  • Place wild rice and liquid into the Instant Pot itself. No need for any additional bowls or trivets!
  • You don’t need a natural release when you cook wild rice in the Instant Pot. 35 minutes on high pressure is enough time for the rice to cook and absorb the water!
  • If you release the pressure from the Instant Pot and there is still a little bit of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot, let the wild rice sit for an additional 10-15 minutes to absorb the rest of the liquid!
Wild rice in the Instant Pot

Add Wild Rice to these Soups

We have learned that wild rice adds a nice bite to any soup! Cook your wild rice separately and then add a 1/4 cup of wild rice to any serving of our favorite soups!


How to Cook Wild Rice

Wild rice is a great addition to so many meals! Check out how to make wild rice on the stove and in the Instant Pot. Both ways are easy and will have you using wild rice on a regular basis!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
Author: Linley Richter
Category: Side Dish
Method: Stove Top
Cuisine: American



  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups water or broth

Instant Pot

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1.5 cups water or broth



  1. Add wild rice and liquid to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Lower heat to low and cover. Let wild rice simmer for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  3. When wild rice is done cooking, strain the liquid from the wild rice and enjoy!

Instant Pot

  1. Add wild rice and liquid to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  2. Turn pressure valve to seal and cook wild rice for 35 minutes on high pressure.
  3. Quick release pressure and fluff wild rice with a fork, and enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 143
  • Sugar: 1
  • Fat: 0
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 6
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