Recipe: How to cook Canadian Wild Rice

On shopping day, I browsed the bulk bins, hoping against hope that I could find the real thing – Canadian Lake Wild Rice – here, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  As I scanned past basmati, jasmine and wild rice blends, my eye caught something shiny and jet black. I didn’t even have to read the label to know I was in business. The long grains gave themselves away.

They look like a pile of runway models in sleek black dresses.

Canadian wild rice is all together a different plant than American wild rice.  In fact, the long, spindly needles are more related to wild grass than rice. Canadians have dubbed their special grain Canadian Lake Wild rice, a beautiful and apt description of the rice’s growing environment, where the grains billow above the waters.

Recipe (Serves 2-3)

Making Canadian Wild Rice is easier than almost any rice I can think of. Just remember my tips about hot dog buns and popcorn. Confused? You won’t be. Keep reading!


1 cup wild rice (rinsed and checked for debris)
3 cups water
1-2 sprigs of thyme


1. Add water to a large pot… you know, the fairies’ grapes.

2. Add salt to taste.

3. Bring the water to a boil, then add rice.

4. Add aromatics, if you have some.

This thyme sprig smelled so earthy, I felt like I was already at Thanksgiving dinner.

Simmer, covered, until done – about 45 minutes to an hour.

Drain off any extra water and remove the now faded thyme sprig.  The thyme is spent, but she served us well, as we now have a gently aromatic batch of Canadian Lake Wild Rice. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before fluffing with a fork and devouring. Yum.

Properly Cooked Wild Rice

How to know your wild rice is properly cooked:

First, the grain will crack open, revealing a somewhat ominous looking dagger. This is still underdone.

The rice will continue to split, looking somewhat like a hot dog bun. This is considered properly cooked, al dente (slightly chewy) wild rice.

If you continue cooking the rice past the hot dog bun stage, it will soften enough to curl up into a rolly polly ball.

This is called the popcorn stage – softer yet and anything more than a few of these is generally considered overcooked.  Perfect for baby Ava who still doesn’t have any side teeth.

Other than a little cooking time, there’s nothing to making Canadian Wild Rice! Try some, you’ll love the nutty rice flavor.

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  1. Kay from Toronto says:

    Fabulous description and pictures! Makes me want some.

    Here’s a tip if you like wild rice but it’s expense in your area. Use just a handful of it in rice that cooks for approx the same period of time (or cook it separately) and then it is sprinkled through your rice adding flavour and texture.

  2. oooo…I have some wild rice…I’m going to try this recipe over the long Labor Day weekend!

  3. First of all, Sasha from Cape Cod, thanks for visiting the site! Second, I love the photography that shows the simplicity of making wild rice! Third, I want you to see the chicken and wild rice soup that I posted a while back (wintertime or early spring). You will really love it … and baby Ava will even be able to gum a bit from your bowl!

    • globaltable says:

      Sounds delicious Susan! I think you’re right, Ava would gum it right up! On Monday we’ll have a video of her eating this recipe :)

  4. this is so WILD!!!

  5. This meal looks wonderful!! Can’t wait to try it! Did you buy your rice at Whole Foods or another place?

  6. I’m confused. While it’s true that wild rice is from a different plant than the food we’re all familiar with as just plain “rice” (used in everything from sushi to risotto to biryani to jambalaya), I’m not sure what you’re calling “American” wild rice as opposed to Canadian rice. Wild rice from the genus Zizania grows in areas throughout North America, and none of species are exclusive to Canada – The kind that grows around the Canadian side of the Great Lakes also grows on the American side, and so on. Since ancient times it was important to the Anishinaabe Native Americans, who live in both Canada and the United States.

    Fascinating blog, though.


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