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Splitting Ways on Wild Rice

Tender but not split.

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From Fine Cooking #131, p. 89

You may have seen recipes for wild rice that recommend cooking it until it splits open to reveal its white interior. That’s fine if you like it on the softer side, but we prefer it tender with a little chew. That’s why we cook it just until the grains look puffed but not broken. Cooked this way-a bit firm outside but tender inside-the rice pops a bit with each bite, making it perfect for dishes like Wild Rice with Roasted Grapes, Pecans, and Sage. The best way to test for doneness is not by looking but by tasting. Because cooking times can vary, begin tasting early, and take the rice off the heat when it’s just shy of being cooked to your liking as a little carryover heat will continue to cook it. It’s OK if some of the grains have split. Just don’t let them get to the point of curling, or the rice will be unpleasantly mushy.

Tender but not split   Softer with some splitting   Overcooked, burst, and curled

Tender but not split. We prefer to cook wild rice until it looks swollen but has not burst.


Softer with some splitting. Some recipes say to cook wild rice until it splits. This means the rice will be softer.


Overcooked, burst, and curled. Rice cooked this far is mushy and disintegrates easily.

Photos by Scott Phillips


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