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Wild Rice Pilaf

This wild rice pilaf recipe creates a side dish that’s full of delicious flavor. You can make this easy rice pilaf ahead of time, as it reheats well. Great for holidays and everyday meals.

wild rice pilaf recipe in a dish
Tender, delicious wild rice pilaf is the perfect addition to your table

The wild rice pilaf recipe They’ll Love

A humble bowl of rice may not get the same kind of glory that Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes basks in, nor does it often receive the accolades that Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread is accustomed to.

However. We aren’t talking about just plain old rice (though I personally am more than happy to put away a heaping bowl of perfectly cooked rice any day.)

Today we’re divulging the magnificence of this wild rice pilaf that’s as brilliant as any side dish out there. This rice pilaf recipe is easy enough for casual weeknights, yet delectable enough to be paired with this luscious beef tenderloin roast with garlic wine sauce.

What is Wild Rice?

According to Healthline, Wild rice is not technically a rice at all – rather, it’s a species of grass that produces edible seeds resembling rice. Wild rice boasts a chewier texture and more robust flavor than other varieties of rice. It’s higher in protein than regular rice and contains several important antioxidants and nutrients, and tends have many health benefits regular rice does not. Though it can be pricier and take a bit longer to cook, the benefits are well worth including wild rice into your healthy diet.

wild rice pilaf recipe in a dish with forks
Use a wild rice blend that incorporates several varieties of rice

Pro Tips for perfect wild rice pilaf

  • Use a wild rice blend that includes several varieties of rice. This allows the dish to have a texture balance of fluffiness, tenderness, and slight chewiness.
  • Since there are different brands of wild rice blends, be sure to cook according to your package instructions, veering towards the tender side. If the rice seems a bit too firm after cooking, mix in just enough extra broth to moisten all the rice, and cover/simmer 10 more minutes or until tender but not overly cooked.
  • This recipe uses only half the amount of butter that most rice pilaf recipes call for; it doesn’t need more than 1/4 cup of real butter.
  • Use regular strength chicken (or vegetable) broth instead of water for cooking the rice. Same liquid to rice ratio.
  • Instead of peeling and slicing large carrots, use baby carrots that only need to be thinly sliced.
  • Freshly shaved brussels sprouts are simply fabulous in this rice pilaf recipe; you can use a bag of pre-shaved fresh brussels sprouts, if your grocery store carries it. If not, it’s super simple to thinly slice your own.
wild rice pilaf recipe in a bowl
Add protein for a complete or heartier dish, if you’d like

Wild Rice Pilaf Ingredient Substitutions

Even though this wild rice pilaf is quite perfect (humbly speaking,) feel free to play with the add-ins. Especially if you’ve made it several times and feel like switching things up according to what you’ve got in the fridge.

Options: freshly sliced sweet bell peppers, broccoli florets, cut green beans, or any variety of mushrooms would be delicious in this dish. You can even make it a meal in one to satisfy meat-lovers by adding cooked/cubed chicken, turkey, or ham.

Make Wild Rice Pilaf ahead of time

Whether your schedule is tight or you want to get some cooking done ahead of time, this wild rice pilaf has you covered. You can easily make this entire dish several hours ahead of time and reheat when ready to serve. You can even make it the night before, cover/chill, and reheat the next day

Tip: if reheating after a night in the fridge, sprinkle with a bit of broth evenly over the top just prior to reheating, which ensures that rice stays moist.

Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe
Commonly Asked Questions

What is special about wild rice?

Wild rice is a special type of grain that’s toothsome and robust in flavor.
It’s higher in protein than regular rice and contains several important nutrients and an impressive amount of antioxidants, as well as a healthy dose of fiber.

What are the types of wild rice?

The most common types of wild rice include cultivated vs. wild grown. Cultivated wild rice is farmed rice, whereas wild grown is harvested by hand, near the waters of Minnesota and Canada.

How do you know when wild rice is cooked through?

Wild rice generally takes a bit longer to cook than regular rice. Once it’s cooked down to a chewy yet tender texture, it is done.

Can I make this wild rice pilaf ahead of time?

This wild rice recipe is perfect for making in advance. You can have it completely prepared several hours in advance. If you need to reheat your wild rice pilaf, sprinkle some broth over it just to re-moisten it a bit, and microwave covered until it’s hot.

Serve your rice pilaf with one of these main dishes

Try these easy, tasty roasted vegetables:

wild rice pilaf

Wild Rice Pilaf

4.52 from 77 ratings
This wild rice pilaf recipe creates a side dish that’s full of delicious flavor. You can make this easy rice pilaf ahead of time, as it reheats well.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Servings: 15

Ingredients  

  • 2 cups wild rice blend
  • Regular strength chicken or vegetable broth, enough to use instead of water, for cooking rice according to package instructions
  • ¼ cup salted butter, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced baby carrots
  • 2 cups freshly shaved brussels sprouts
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook rice according to package instructions, using the broth instead of water. When cook time is up, do not open lid; turn heat off and keep lid tightly covered for 10 minutes to allow continued steaming. If rice is still a bit too firm, mix in just enough extra broth to moisten all rice, cover, and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • While rice is cooking, add butter to a large/deep skillet over medium high heat. Once butter is melted and starting to bubble, add onion and carrots. Stir to combine. Cover and cook 5 minutes,  stirring occasionally. Add brussels sprouts, garlic, Italian seasoning, and black pepper, stirring another 2 minutes until softened. 
  • Check rice for doneness. Fluff with fork and add to skillet with vegetable mixture, stirring to incorporate. Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. 

Notes

I cook my wild rice blend for 55 minutes, keeping covered for another 10 minutes off heat afterwards. 
Wild rice pilaf can be made several hours ahead of time and reheated just before serving. If reheating leftovers the next day, sprinkle with a bit of broth to re-moisten prior to reheating.
Vegetable alternatives include: chopped bell peppers, broccoli florets, cut green beans, and mushrooms. Make it a meal-in-one by adding cooked/cubed chicken, turkey, or ham. 
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂 

Nutrition

Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.6g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3.4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8.8mg | Sodium: 158mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1.5g
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop

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68 comments

    • Jen
    • 5 stars

    This recipe should reassure everyone that wild rice is not something to fear.
    Great flavour and you can choose the type of oil you use.
    You can also change the flavour profile to any ethnic cuisine. I’m eager to try middle eastern spices.

    • Anji
    • 5 stars

    I frequently use online recipes but never leace a comment, I’m compelled to do so tonight. Since trying to eat healthier, rice has been in the mix for some time but deemed BORING when it gets to the table. I am pleased to comment that this dish was a hit.

    • Marie
    • 5 stars

    This recipe is my go-to side to serve company! I make it as is, except with peppers instead of brussel sprouts. Everyone loves it!

    • Annia
    • 5 stars

    Our family of 5 enjoyed this. It was my first time to be successful at getting my kids to eat wild rice. I made a slight variation to the recipe because I only had 1.5 cups of wild rice so I added a half cup of brown rice to cook with the wild rice. Brown rice takes the same length of time to cook so it worked out beautifully and I would make again.

    • Mary

    Question regarding: “yield 15”….. I would like to make this for a dinner for 6 & want to be sure I make enough. Thanks for your help!

      • Amy Dong

      It can feed up to 15, potluck style. If it’s the only side dish, then 6 will be fine (maybe you’ll be lucky with a bit of leftover.)

    • Aaron
    • 5 stars

    Excellent!! I must confess that I did change it a bit. Since I can’t eat regular rice, I substituted millet and quinoa for about a third of the total with the remaining two-thirds being wild rice. Since the wild rice takes longer to cook, I added it first and then added the millet and quinoa about 20 minutes later. I used all of the vegetables in the recipe and it was wonderful, so much so that I’d like to add a few different ones to the regular ones next time. Truly an excellent recipe. Thank you so much!!

    • Vanessa
    • 5 stars

    So delicious! I used a beef bouillon cube instead of chicken/vegetable stock and it turned out very well. Highly recommend this recipe to anyone looking to try something new.

      • chewoutloud

      SO happy you all loved it, Vanessa!

        • Pantina Murrell

        This is one of my favorite vegan meals. I made it for the 1st time and I ate the whole thing by myself. The second time my mom helped me eat it. This time I made plenty. I added mushrooms. I used Better than Boullion Garlic paste as I ran out of Vegetable broth. I will make this again and again. Of course to make it vegan I substituted the butter for vegan butter. Thank you beautiful for such great recipes.

    • Ryan

    Never does tell you how much water to use..good grief!

      • chewoutloud

      Sorry, Ryan. Most packages of rice varieties come with their own basic cooking instructions with water:dry rice ratio. Feel free to email me if you have a specific brand of rice that you need water amounts for 🙂

      • Alex
      • 5 stars

      She says in the recipe to follow the package directions for your rice. That is where you will find how much water to use. Good grief, indeed.

    • Val
    • 5 stars

    Excellent! Improvised with the veggies a bit (broccoli, carrots, celery stalk, brussel sprouts), my both kids loved it (despite the fact that one of them generally refuses to eat vegetables).

    • Britt

    Really an excellent recipe. Made exactly as written with Rice Select “Royal Blend”. Only addition was a smidge of bouillon since I only had the low sodium broth and recipe called for full strength. Definitely adding this to our rotation. So so good.

    • Diane

    The best rice pilaf. So delicious and wonderful flavour.

    • Mel

    This sounds great and I’d like to make it the day before. You mention sprinkling with broth before reheating but could you also explain how you reheat this including the temp/ length of time? thanks!

    • Ree

    Absolutely Delicious, even my fussy eaters enjoyed it. Great way to get my children who does not like eating vegetables to eat them. Thank you very much for this wonderful recipe. xxx

      • chewoutloud

      Agreed – my boys devour this, veggies and all 😉

    • MarquetteSam

    I plan to make this dish as it sounds really good. My question concerns the number of servings listed as 15. Are these servings 1/2 cup?

      • chewoutloud

      The finished recipe should yield approximately 6 cups; that would be a bit less than 1/2 cup servings, as a side dish.

    • Elaine
    • 5 stars

    My husband is a wild rice lover and I have tried plenty of recipes, including the one from the package the rice. It is always too crunchy and blah. This was so good that I even enjoyed it! I did halve the recipe and it turned out perfect! I am printing it up and putting it in my “suitable for company” folder! Thanks so much!

      • chewoutloud

      SO happy you guys enjoyed this…we love the tenderness, too!

    • Carrie
    • 5 stars

    I didn’t have Brussels so I used summer squash and it was delicious. Excited to try it with Brussels next time.

      • chewoutloud

      So happy you enjoyed this dish!

    • Jim
    • 5 stars

    Delicious recipe, made it a couple times now and went heavy on the veggies and added a bell pepper the second time around. Seems pretty foolproof.

    Has anyone tried it as a cold dish? Thinking I may make ahead of time and bring to a cookout.

      • chewoutloud

      Jim, SO happy you liked this! And, great idea as a cold dish…it would be delish!

    • LINDA

    Really delicious!

    • Danielle
    • 5 stars

    This recipe was delicious. And my picky eaters also enjoyed it!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s awesome, Danielle!

    • Karen
    • 5 stars

    This recipe was delicious and my family loved it! I served it with broiled salmon. Wonderful!

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