It's technically not rice at all.

By Melanie Fincher
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Jacob Fox/Meredith

Wild rice adds depth to soups, casseroles, and salads. It's even great on its own as a simple side dish. But this chewy, nutty rice is actually not rice at all — more on that below. Regardless of how it's classified, wild rice is so easy to cook. Keep reading to learn how to cook wild rice on the stovetop and in the Instant Pot.

Related: How to Cook Rice

What Is Wild Rice?

John Noltner/Meredith

Although it's often served in rice blends and pilafs, wild rice isn't actually rice at all. It's the seed of an aquatic grass plant, and thus not a "true" rice. This grass plant grows primarily in the Great Lakes region of North America, and was once a staple in Native American diets.

Today wild rice is specially cultivated in Minnesota and California, which is where most of the rice you'll find in the supermarket comes from. There are so many reasons to love wild rice, in addition to its nutty flavor and chewy texture. It's also higher in protein than quinoa. Plus it's naturally gluten-free, low in fat, and high in fiber.

Wild rice is often used as an addition to other rice blends or dishes, as its flavor can be somewhat overwhelming on its own. The good news is, cooked wild rice freezes well, so you can easily make a big batch and freeze it for use in future dishes.

How to Cook Wild Rice 2 Ways

Cooking wild rice the old fashioned way (a.k.a. using the stovetop) couldn't be any easier. That is, unless you have an Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is a great way to cook wild rice because it cuts down on cooking time and allows for a truly hands-off cooking approach. But no worries if you're without an Instant Pot, we'll teach you how to cook wild rice using both the stovetop and Instant Pot methods.

Cooking Wild Rice on the Stovetop

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups water or broth or a mixture of both

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water.
  2. Add rice and liquid to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Drain the excess liquid. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

Cooking Wild Rice in the Instant Pot

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 ½ cups water or broth or a mixture of both

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water.
  2. Add rice and liquid to the Instant Pot inner pot.
  3. Close the lid and turn the pressure valve to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  4. Quick release pressure and fluff with a fork. You're done!

How to Store Wild Rice

Uncooked wild rice will last indefinitely when stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. Cooked wild rice can be refrigerated for up to six days or frozen for up to six months in an airtight container.

Rice left out at room temperature for more than two hours should be tossed in the trash, since bacteria can grow rapidly between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. Refer to our guide for instructions on how to reheat rice safely.

Related: Browse our entire collection of Wild Rice Recipes.