Many tasty recipes call for wild rice but that may be something you don’t currently have in the house. If that is you, there is no worry. There are several amazing wild rice substitutes you can use to still have an amazing meal. To substitute for wild rice, you can use medium or long grain brown rice, wild pecan rice, white rice, brown basmati rice, or even quinoa!
What is Wild Rice?
Wild rice has been around for centuries. It is native to the Connecticut River Basin and grows all over water sources in the United States. Wild rice is an aquatic grass that has a grain that we can eat. It is long with some stalks growing up to 12 feet tall.
The flavor of wild rice can be described as nutty and earthy compared to some of the other kinds of rice out there. This makes wild rice perfect for recipes with an earthy flavor. Wild rice is commonly used in soups, gravies, and other recipes that have a warmer taste for the cold season.
How is Wild Rice Different from Regular Rice?
Wild rice is different from regular rice from how it is grown to its flavor. As we just mentioned, wild rice has a nuttier and earthier flavor than other kinds of rice that have a sweeter or more mellow flavor. It grows taller than some other forms of rice and the hull of the rice is thicker and more rigid. This is how wild rice has a firmer and chewier texture that isn’t as common with other types of rice.
Health-wise, wild rice is a lot healthier than regular white rice. Wild rice has fewer calories, fat, and carbs. Then, wild rice has all 9 amino acids with higher levels of fiber and potassium than both white and brown rice. Those who are looking after their health and are trying to get more nutrients in their diet will commonly look to eating wild rice to increase their fiber and amino acid intake.
What Can I Substitute Wild Rice With?
1. White Rice
White rice is the easiest rice substitute you can make. It is available at pretty much any store and it’s the cheapest rice you can buy. While white rice isn’t the best of the substitutes, it can work when you want a kind of rice that is cheap to buy and easier to make.
White rice does not have all of the health benefits that wild rice has, but it is still filling and works to make a tasty meal. You can season white rice to make it taste nutty and earthy if your recipe wants the taste of wild rice.
If you have a soup recipe that calls for wild rice, white rice makes an amazing substitute as it works great in soups. It absorbs moisture and flavor in the water. Just make sure you add some extra seasoning to fill in the flavor white rice doesn’t have.
2. Brown Rice
To substitute for wild rice, you can use either medium or long brown rice. Brown rice may not have the health benefits that wild rice has, but the texture is significantly closer to wild rice than white rice.
To get a close match, use long-grain brown rice to be similar to the long grains that wild rice has. Brown rice cooks in a similar amount of time as wild rice does and it has a similar nutty flavor. With brown rice also being super easy to find in a variety of stores, it has to be the best substitute for wild rice.
If you add brown rice to a dish that requires wild rice, you will find that the results will be very similar.
3. Wild Pecan Rice
Wild pecan rice is also known as popcorn rice. It is highly similar to wild rice as they both have a nutty taste and a similar texture, but it isn’t as easy to find as brown rice.
While wild pecan rice has “wild” in the name, it isn’t actually wild rice. Instead, it is a hybrid rice. It tastes amazing and works great in the same recipes that require wild rice, but it’s not our favorite substitute just because it is harder to find in stores.
4. Brown Basmati Rice
Brown basmati rice has a similar texture and nutty flavor as wild rice along with being a longer grain. This rice is available at a variety of stores so it will be easy to pick up a substitute in a pinch. For many recipes that call for wild rice, brown basmati rice works too! Though, basmati rice works best as a substitute in soup or gravy recipes.
Basmati rice works great if you also want some of the same nutrients in your dish that wild rice would give you. These two kinds of rice don’t have the same amount of nutrients, wild rice has more amino acids with fewer calories, but basmati still has a similar amount to give you better health.
Our last substitute for wild rice is quinoa. Now, this will give you a much different eating experience than using a rice as it is a completely different texture and size. However, it has many of the same health benefits as wild rice along with having a similar nutty flavor. Quinoa will have a diverse flavor palette and works well in recipes calling for wild rice.
Like wild rice, quinoa is rich in fiber and some other nutrients that are similar to what wild rice can give you. When cooked, quinoa becomes fluffy which makes for a filling dish. Since the size of quinoa is smaller than the long grains that wild rice has, it will give your dish a different overall feel.
While wild rice has a ton of nutrients and is a tasty rice to add to a variety of dishes, it won’t ruin your dinner if you have to use a substitute. White rice, brown rice, wild pecan rice, brown basmati rice, and quinoa are all great substitutes for wild rice.
To bring your dish as close to the original as possible, we recommend using basmati rice or brown rice. Both of these are extremely close to brown rice in taste and texture. If you want a rice that has many of the same nutrients as wild rice, go with basmati rice.