How to Cook Black Wild Rice

Black wild rice, often referred to as “forbidden rice,” is an intriguing and nutritious grain with a striking deep black color and a rich, nutty flavor. It’s a versatile ingredient that can elevate your dishes with its unique texture and earthy taste. However, cooking black wild rice requires specific techniques to achieve that perfect balance of tenderness and chewiness. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey to master the art of cooking black wild rice, allowing you to enjoy its distinctive qualities to the fullest.

What Is Black Wild Rice?

Black wild rice is not a true rice but a grass seed native to North America. It has a distinct appearance with long, slender grains that are jet-black in color. This rice variety is known for its hearty texture and robust flavor, making it a fantastic addition to a variety of dishes.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Black wild rice
  • Water or broth
  • A pinch of salt (optional)
  • A saucepan with a lid
  • A fork or rice paddle

Measure Your Black Wild Rice

Before you embark on your cooking journey, measuring your black wild rice accurately is essential. Black wild rice requires a longer cooking time compared to white rice. The general guideline for cooking black wild rice is a 1:3 ratio of rice to water or broth. This means for every one cup of black wild rice, you’ll need three cups of liquid.

Rinse the Black Wild Rice (Optional)

Rinsing black wild rice is optional but can help remove any debris and excess starch. Place black wild rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly before proceeding.

Add Black Wild Rice and Liquid to the Pan

Now, it’s time to add the black wild rice to your saucepan. Use the appropriate measuring cup for rice and level it off for precise measurements. Then, add the measured liquid, whether water or broth, to the pan. If desired, add a pinch of salt for seasoning.

Customize the Cooking Time

Black wild rice has a unique texture requiring longer cooking to achieve the desired tenderness and chewiness. Here’s a rough guideline:

  • Regular Black Wild Rice: Simmer for about 45-55 minutes.

The cooking time can vary depending on the type and age of the black wild rice. Tasting the rice as it cooks is essential to ensure it reaches your preferred level of doneness.

Bring to a Boil

Place the saucepan with the black wild rice and liquid on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Allow it to come to a gentle boil while uncovered.

Reduce to a Simmer and Cover

Once the liquid reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. This will trap steam and allow the black wild rice to cook evenly.

Cook and Monitor

Black wild rice can have varying cooking times, so it’s essential to monitor it closely. Check the rice periodically, starting around the 45-minute mark, to see if it’s done to your liking. Taste it to ensure it’s tender but still has a slight chewiness. The grains should have popped open.

Drain Excess Liquid (If Necessary)

Black wild rice can absorb varying amounts of liquid during cooking. If the rice is cooked, but there’s excess liquid in the pan, you can carefully drain it using a fine-mesh strainer.

Fluff and Serve

Once the black wild rice has reached your desired level of doneness, remove it from the heat and let it sit, covered, for a few minutes. Then, gently fluff the rice gently using a fork or rice paddle, separating the grains. This step helps prevent clumping and ensures a light and fluffy texture.

Enjoy Your Cooked Black Wild Rice

Your black wild rice is now ready to be served! Whether you’re enjoying it as a side dish, adding it to salads and soups, or using it as a base for various protein or vegetable dishes, you can savor the satisfaction of perfectly cooked black wild rice. Its nutty flavor and hearty texture make it a delightful addition to your culinary repertoire.


Cooking black wild rice may require more time and patience than other grains, but the result is worth every minute. Its striking color, nutty flavor, and chewy texture make it a unique and nutritious choice for a wide range of dishes. With this guide, you can cook black wild rice perfectly and incorporate it into your favorite recipes. Whether you’re exploring new culinary horizons or sticking to traditional favorites, black wild rice is sure to add depth and richness to your meals, leaving your taste buds satisfied and your body nourished.

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