Let me teach you how to make this chewy, nutty Minnesota Wild Rice Recipe easily in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker! Perfect for any soup, salad, or side dish, these easy preparation instructions will make cooking this hearty grain for your favorite recipes a breeze.
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Wild Rice is a staple Northern Minnesota food, though it’s also quite popular in the Twin Cities region and throughout the state of Minnesota. While wild rice is grown in many places, the bulk of our national crop comes from the Great Lakes region of the United States. It has a rich history as a staple food for the Sioux & Chippewa Native American tribes. Many indigenous people of North America considered lake & river varieties of wild rice to be sacred, a “Gift from the Great Spirit, the creator Himself.“
It may surprise you to learn that wild rice is not truly rice. It is the seed from edible aquatic grass. Wild rice is also gluten-free and full of nutrients. While it comes at a higher price point than typical rice, the protein & fiber content is double that of white or brown rice. It’s easy to see why it costs more–the density of nutrients is much higher!
Because of its nutrient density, wild rice is considered a great source of whole grains to include in your diet.
How to Make Wild Rice in the Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
This post is a how-to guide for preparing wild rice to be used in a variety of wild rice recipes, whether it be a creamy soup, cold salad, or a rice pilaf recipe. Because it takes a long time to cook, the pressure cooker is an easy shortcut. It’s a great way to conveniently prepare this rice.
To make this Minnesota wild rice recipe in your Instant Pot, all you need is:
- Wild Rice– For this recipe, choose dark whole kernel cultivated wild rice. Lake & River wild rice is also a great choice, but usually a little harder to find. Avoid rice labelled as “light” or “soup grade.” Light rice & soup grade cook in less time, so these particular instructions will not work for it. Soup grade is rice that has been broken, therefore it is usually cheaper. While it’s convenient for soup, it has a compromised texture that doesn’t work as well in side dishes, casseroles, or salads. You also want to avoid anything called “a wild rice blend” as that is made of different rice varieties that also have different cooking instructions.
- Water– Any clean, pure water will do.
That’s it! We are making plain wild rice so that it can be used in a wide variety of dishes, sweet or savory.
1. Measure & Rinse Rice
First, weigh out 16 ounces of rice. Next, we will rinse it. While wild rice is typically pretty clean, it’s always a good idea to rinse before cooking. Add your rice to a collander and run under cold water for a few seconds to rinse off any lingering debris.
2. Add Rice & Water to Instant Pot
Add your rinsed rice into your instant pot, followed by 5 cups of water. Place your Instant Pot lid on the pot and turn the vent to sealing.
3. Cook on High Pressure
Cook your rice on High Pressure for 30 minutes, then allow it to naturally release. For best results, allow it to naturally release all the way instead of doing a quick release. Wild rice needs a long cooking time to fully absorb all the water, which is why these cooking instructions will not work for rice blends.
The rice is now ready for whatever you need it for. You can use it in a soup, chill it in the fridge for a salad, use it as a base in a casserole, or eat it plain as a side for dinner.
Tips & Variations
The instructions given here are to make a plain, versatile wild rice dish great for any application. However, feel free to swap out the water for chicken stock or broth to increase the flavor of savory dishes.
Not all grocery stores carry wild rice, and if you don’t live in the upper Midwest, it may be even harder to find at your regular grocery. Luckily, you can order wild rice at places like Amazon.
Watch out for the phrase “wild rice blend” on the packaging. Real wild rice usually only makes up a small percentage of most blends. While I’m sure the blend is still delicious, it’s just not what we want for these cooking instructions.
The best wild rice recipe is our Minnesota Chicken Wild Rice Soup recipe. Be sure to give it a try!
Wild rice also makes a great side dish for your Thanksgiving turkey alongside these Cranberry Wild Rice dinner rolls or some orangey roasted Brussels sprouts. For other times of the year, try our delicious Smoked Chicken recipe!
If you’d like to use the wild rice for a cold recipe, such as our Thanksgiving Fruit Salad with Wild Rice & Pecans, put the rice in the refrigerator after cooking to make the cold recipe later in the day.
Wild rice is also a great choice to sort into individual portions for meal prep. This chewier rice reheats very well because it retains moisture better than other types of rice.
The nutrient information for 1 cup of cooked wild rice (166 grams) is:
- Calories: 168
- Protein: 6.6 grams
- Fat: .6 grams
- Carbs: 35.5 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
One thing I love about this Minnesota wild rice recipe is that it freezes incredibly well! That, combined with the fact that it takes a while to make, is why I make a full pound at one time. After cooking, set aside what you need for that day’s meal, and then freeze the rest.
To freeze, I like to pack 2 cups of cooked wild rice into a vacuum sealer bag, press the rice into a flat, even layer, then remove the air & seal. You can also do this with regular ziplock bags. Just make sure you remove as much air as you can to prevent freezer burn.
Freezing in an even, flat layer also makes thawing quick and easy. If I am making soup, I grab a bag from the freezer and break it into pieces to just throw right in. It thaws in minutes!
Wild rice can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, but it’s best eaten within three to four days.
My experience is that the best way to cook wild rice is how I’ve outlined it here with the Instant Pot. That is certainly not the ONLY way, and most wild rice comes with stove-top instructions on the bag that you can follow if needed. I have experienced burnt rice many times trying to make it on the stovetop. It needs such a long simmer time that if your heat level isn’t perfect, you can easily boil away your liquid before the rice is done. That’s why I love the Instant Pot method. No risk of burnt or crispy rice!
All rice has benefits for a healthy, well-rounded diet, therefore you should eat what you like and what you have access to. However, wild rice has many great nutritious qualities. It boasts high levels of protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It has a chewier texture and nutty flavor compared to white rice. It’s a fantastic choice for a diet based on whole foods.
While Minnesota and Wisconsin grow more wild rice than other states, it can be found in other parts of the country, also, such as Texas and Florida.
Did You Make This Recipe?
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Minnesota Wild Rice Recipe in Instant Pot
- 1 Instant Pot or other pressure cooker
- 16 ounces Wild Rice dark, whole kernel
- 5 cups Water
- Add your wild rice to a collander and rinse under cold water to remove any debris.
- Add your wild rice to the Instant Pot.
- Pour 5 cups of water over your rice.
- Place your lid on the Instant Pot and seal the vent. Set it to High Pressure for 30 minutes.
- When the cook time is done, allow the rice to do a natural release. Once the pressure is down, the rice is ready to go!