I’m a huge fan of rice pilaf, especially ones with wild rice in them. Now, I might be able to claim that’s coz I’m from Minnesota, you betcha, which for decades was the bastion of wild rice. Truth be told, it’s because I’m a child of the 1960s and wild rice pilaf was served at so many restaurants, especially with kebabs which became wildly popular around that time period. Now I make Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf and it’s a game-changer.
There’s no doubt that Wild Rice Pilaf is still a favorite; check out how beautiful it looks with my Hot Artichoke Dip Chicken. And you know this would be a great dinner party or holiday side, maybe Thanksgiving or Christmas. And there’s no doubt that there are a ton of boxes and packets at the grocery store so you can make it at home. And there’s no doubt that there’s a reason for that. Wild Rice takes forever to cook and Wild Rice Pilaf can be a pain to make at home – but no more! Not as long as you use your Instant Pot.
About Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf:
So with all the packets and boxes available, you might question why you might want to make your pilaf at home. It’s better tasting, for one (those commercial products always have that intense flavor that isn’t really a flavor, if you know what I mean). But it’s also healthier: no additives, made with whole grains and you can add in all kinds of bits of this and that, which will up the nutritional value and maybe even help clean out the fridge. It’s customizable to your taste because you can put whatever you want in it. Don’t like mushrooms? No problem. Hate onions, leave them out. Use more veggies or less. It’s all your choice.
And then there’s the elephant in the room: it’s so much cheaper to make your own. I gotta tell ya, when I was helping out the folks, I often relied on packets of rice to fill out a meal. Yeah, that’s right, me the Frugal Hausfrau! But I’ll talk more about that under Saving Money on Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf.
See, the folks always had to have something soft at every meal, I was constantly exhausted (aren’t most caregivers, especially you Moms & Dads with littles?) and I hadn’t yet figured out how fast, easy and hands-off it is to make a fab Wild Rice Pilaf in the Instant Pot! It wasn’t really until I got home and sorted my neglected pantry (I’d been going back and forth, and my pantry was pretty random) and I knew I’d have to go through my stash of wild rice that I turned to the Instant Pot. What a game-changer!
Making Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf:
Making pilaf in the Instant Pot is really super easy. Most pilafs start out the same way. You’ll add a little oil to your pot and saute up all your aromatics. I used the combo I did in this recipe because I was finishing up a veggie tray of all things! You can use just about anything you’d like, but a little onion is pretty much a key flavor. In went the onion, bell peppers, carrots, and celery, all finely diced.
Once they’re softened and delish, add your brown rice and stir it around just to toast it a bit and give it a good nutty flavor. Then add in all the rest of the ingredients, seal and it’s truly set it and forget it until it’s done. I do like to hold off on the salt till the end because stock can already be salty depending on what you’ve used. And be sure to use long cooking, not instant or par-cooked brown rice. Wild rice takes a long time to cook so you have to kind of “match” the cooking time with the regular brown rice.
It will be glorious when finished. When you open the pot, fluff it, add salt to taste and taste a few of the pieces of rice and wild rice; make sure it’s done to your liking. If you feel you’d like it a little softer, close the Instant Pot back up (no need to turn it on, it’s so hot at this point) and leave for a few more minutes.
Saving Money on Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf:
Look for wild rice (which is actually an aquatic grain, not rice) on sale around Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you don’t live “up Nord” request it when you have visitors from there – although more widely available these days and available online, the price difference is amazing. There are different grades of wild rice, from perfect grains to packages with more broken ones; all have the same flavor. In this recipe, I use a small amount and cook from the raw state, but for many recipes, I’ll cook up the whole package and freeze so I have it at the ready. It’s a great time saver.
Brown rice is quite a bit more inexpensive than wild rice. It’s usually included in commercial wild rice pilafs to keep the cost down but frankly, many people find wild rice hard to handle on its own and enjoy it more as a chewy accent to brown rice. Generally, the less processed the rice (plain old brown rice as opposed to converted, quick or instant) the less the cost. Check towards the bottom of the shelves at the store.
While those microwave rice packets often go on sale for a dollar each, they’re usually about 2 cups, cooked. Since rice increases by three-fold, cooked, you’re looking at about 2/3rd cup of dry, raw rice in that packet. The package sizes are so small that any “add-ins” including wild rice, orzo or veggies are minimal. Really, it’s all about convenience (90 seconds) but a pound of brown rice even without shopping around and looking for a deal is about a dollar a pound. That pound has about 2 and 1/4 cups of raw rice. That means the packets are about 3 times the cost of cooking your own. Not a big deal if it’s kind of a one-off or now and then thing to toss a packet in the microwave, but if you make it regularly it adds up.Print
Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Sides
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons oil plus additional as needed
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1 small carrot, finely diced,
- 1/2 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 cup brown rice, not short cooking
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 2 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable preferred)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- salt to taste
Add oil to Instant Pot, set to Saute (Low). When oil is hot, add in the onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper. Saute, stirring often until softened, a few dark spots are fine. Add in the brown rice and saute for a minute or two longer, stirring, until the rice just shows a bit of white on the edges. Add a little additional oil if needed. Add in wild rice, stock, and thyme.
Cover and seal, set to 24 minutes, High Pressure. When finished, allow to go to Keep Warm and release any remaining pressure after 10 minutes. Open add salt to taste and fluff with a large fork. Test a few pieces of rice; if any of it seems too firm or if there is still quite a bit of liquid, close the Instant Pot back up and allow to sit for another 5 minutes.
Keywords: Bell Peppers, Brown rice, Carrots, Chicken Stock, hearty sides, Instant Pot, Pilaf, Rice, Side, Wild Rice