Skip to Content

What to Add to Wild Rice for Flavor (18 Best Options)

Wild rice is a delicious, nutty grain that makes a great addition to any meal.

But sometimes, it can be a little bland.

That’s why it’s important to know how to add flavor to wild rice.

Read Also: What To Serve With Wild Rice? 10 Best Side Dishes

What to Add to Wild Rice for Flavor

There are many ways to do this, and the best part is that you can mix and match until you find the perfect combination for your taste buds.

You can add fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and even nuts or seeds.

In this article, I’ll go over 18 ways to add flavor to wild rice!

What to Add to Wild Rice for Flavor?

There are many ways to add flavor to wild rice. One way is to cook the rice in broth instead of water. You can also add finely diced vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots. Another way to add flavor is to stir in some seasonings after cooking, such as parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, or sage. Finally, you can top cooked wild rice with nuts, dried fruits, or fresh herbs before serving.

Wild Rice

Adding extra ingredients to wild rice is a great way to give it some flavor.

Here are 18 easy options:

1. Vegetables


With so many different vegetables to choose from, it’s easy to add flavor to wild rice.

I usually start with a base of carrots, peas, corn, and celery.

Then, I add in mushrooms, onions, garlic, and zucchini for extra flavor.

Finally, I top it off with a squash or two.

This makes for a delicious and healthy side dish that is perfect for any meal.

2. Dried Fruit

Dried Fruit

I like to add dried fruit to my wild rice for a little sweetness and color.

My favorite combination is cranberries, raisins, and cherries, but you can really use any dried fruit that you like.

Just make sure to add enough so that the rice is nicely flavored, but not so much that it becomes too sweet.

I also like to add some chopped fresh fruit, like apples or pears, for a little bit of texture.

And finally, a few chopped figs added in at the end give the rice a lovely richness.

3. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds

I like to add nuts and seeds to my wild rice for some extra flavor and texture.

Pecans, almonds, and walnuts are all great choices.

I also like to add sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for a little extra crunch.

You can either stir them into the rice before you cook it, or sprinkle them on top after the rice is cooked.

Either way, they’ll add a nice touch of flavor and texture to your dish.

4. Herbs and Spices


No matter what dish, I always like to add in some herbs and spices to give some extra flavor.

My favorites are parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, cumin, paprika, and chili powder.

I usually just add a little bit of each until it tastes the way I want it to.

This is a great way to add some flavor to wild rice without making it too heavy or overpowering.

5. Dairy


Although some people try to stay away from dairy products, I still think they can add a lot of flavor to wild rice.

I usually add some butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and/or shredded cheese to my wild rice dishes.

This not only adds flavor, but also creaminess and body.

The fat in the dairy products helps to round out the flavors of the dish and make it more satisfying.

In addition, the dairy products can help to offset the bitterness of the wild rice.

6. Protein


It’s important to get enough protein, so I like to add in some chicken, turkey, shrimp, or bacon.

This not only adds flavor, but it also helps to round out the meal.

I usually cook the wild rice in chicken broth for extra flavor, and then I add in whatever protein I’m using.

If I’m using bacon, I like to cook it separately and then crumble it on top of the finished dish.

This way, you get all the flavor of the bacon without it being too greasy.

7. Grains


I know it might sound strange to add grain when you’re serving rice, but trust me, it’s delicious.

I like to use a mix of farro, quinoa, and barley.

The different textures and nutty flavors of the grains add so much interest to the dish.

Plus, they’re packed with nutrients like fiber and protein.

  1. To make this dish, simply cook the wild rice according to package directions.
  2. Then, stir in the cooked grains and some chopped fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve warm or cold, depending on your preference.

8. Legumes


Beans are full of protein and will make your meal much more filling and satisfying.

I like to add them to my wild rice dishes for a little extra flavor and texture.

You can use any type of bean you like, but I often go for lentils, black beans, or kidney beans.

If you’re using canned beans, simply rinse them off and add them to the dish.

If you’re using dried beans, cook them according to the package directions before adding them to the rice.

Either way, beans are a great way to give wild rice a little something extra.

9. Dressings


There are tons of dressings you can use on wild rice, but my personal favorite is a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

  1. Just whisk together some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and honey.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and you’re good to go.

I like to add a bit of chopped fresh parsley for a pop of color and flavor.

This dressing is great on just about any kind of salad, but it really shines when paired with earthy wild rice.

Try it the next time you’re looking for a new way to spruce up your grain bowls.

10. Soup

Slow Cooker Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Pick your favorite soup, prepare your wild rice, and then mix the two together.

This is a great way to add flavor to your wild rice, and it’s also a great way to use up any leftover soup you might have.

I usually do this with chicken noodle soup or tomato soup, but really any kind of soup will work.

Just make sure that the flavors complement each other.

For example, if you’re using a creamy soup, you might want to stay away from pairing it with a strongly flavored wild rice.

But if you’re using a light soup, like vegetable broth, then just about anything will taste good.

11. Dips


Do you have a favorite dip?

Much like a dressing, a good dip can really elevate the flavors of wild rice.

I love to add a dollop of hummus, tzatziki, or even guacamole to my wild rice bowls.

Not only do they taste great, but they also add a boost of protein and healthy fats.

If you’re looking for something a little different, try mixing in some jam or preserves.

The sweetness pairs perfectly with the nutty flavor of wild rice.

12. Sauces

Dipping Sauces

How about a delicious sauce?

I usually like to add a tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, honey mustard, soy sauce, or Teriyaki sauce.

You could also try Sriracha for an extra kick of flavor.

Just add a little bit at a time until you reach the desired level of flavor.

13. Oils and vinegars


Oils and vinegars might not bring as much flavor as sauces or dressings, but they can still enhance the flavor of your wild rice.

For a quick and easy way to add some extra flavor, simply drizzle some olive oil or balsamic vinegar over your cooked wild rice.

This will add a touch of acidity and richness that can really elevate the dish.

If you have more time, you can also make a simple vinaigrette to dress the wild rice.

  1. Start with a base of olive oil and vinegar, then add in some diced shallot, garlic, and herbs.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then give it all a good whisk.
  3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the wild rice just before serving.

14. Marinades


A marinade?


Hear me out.

I like to take a few extra minutes to marinate my wild rice before cooking it.

This adds so much extra flavor, and it’s really not that much work.

  1. Just whisk together your favorite marinade ingredients (I like soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger) and pour it over the uncooked rice.
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes, then cook the rice according to package directions.

The result is a fragrant, flavorful side dish that’s perfect for any meal.

15. Sweeteners

Brown Sugar Syrup

There are tons of sweeteners you can use to add flavor to wild rice.

I usually opt for something like honey or maple syrup, but brown sugar or cane sugar would work well, too.

You could even use molasses for a deeper flavor.

If you’re looking for something a little different, try using powdered sugar.

It will give the rice a slight sweetness without overpowering the other flavors.

And if you really want to amp up the sweetness, you could always drizzle some agave syrup on top.

No matter what sweetener you choose, make sure to add it in slowly and taste as you go.

You don’t want to end up with overly sweet rice.

16. Broths and stocks

Beef Broth

Check your pantry for some beef, vegetable, chicken, or fish broth or stock.

These can be used to add flavor to wild rice without adding any extra calories.

Simply simmer the wild rice in the broth for a few minutes before serving.

This will infuse the rice with rich flavor, and it’s a great way to use up any leftover broth that you may have.

I like to add a little bit of salt and pepper to my wild rice for extra flavor.

This is a simple but effective way to dress up plain old wild rice, and it’s a healthy option too.

17. Juices


Juice is an underrated ingredient in the world of cooking.

Sure, we all know that orange juice goes great with breakfast, but did you know that it can also be used to add flavor to wild rice?

Just a splash of any of these juices will add a brightness and acidity that complements the nutty flavors of the rice.

I like to use a combination of lime and orange juice, but feel free to experiment with different combinations.

Just remember to start with a small amount and add more to taste.

You can also use juices to make a simple dressing for your wild rice salad.

Just whisk together equal parts juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

18. Extracts and flavorings

Vanilla extract

Extracts such as vanilla, almond, anise, hazelnut, peppermint, orange, lemon, lime and coconut can be added to wild rice for flavor.

I usually do this by cooking the rice in water with a little bit of salt, then adding the extract of my choice afterwards.

For example, to make vanilla wild rice, I would cook the rice in water with a little bit of salt, then add vanilla extract afterwards.

To make rum-flavored wild rice, I would cook the rice in water with a little bit of salt and rum extract afterwards.

What Spices to Add to Wild Rice?

There are many spices that go well with wild rice, such as thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. You can also add other spices to give it more flavor, such as cumin, chili powder, curry powder, and turmeric.

How to Add Flavor to Wild Rice Soup?

There are many ways to add flavor to wild rice soup. You can start by adding aromatic vegetables like onions, celery, and garlic. You can also add some fresh herbs, like thyme, rosemary, or sage. Another way to add flavor is to use chicken or beef broth instead of water. Finally, you can add some diced tomatoes, green onions, and/or crumbled bacon for extra flavor and texture.

What to Add to Wild Rice for Flavor

What to Add to Wild Rice for Flavor (18 Best Options)

This blog post is a great resource when you need some ideas on how to flavor your wild rice.
It provides 18 different options, so you're sure to find something that will suit your taste.
Whether you want to add a zesty kick or a more subtle flavor, this blog post has you covered.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 55 kcal


  • Vegetables
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Dairy
  • Protein
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dressings
  • Soup
  • Dips
  • Sauces
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Marinades
  • Sweeteners
  • Broths and stocks
  • Juices
  • Extracts and flavorings


  • Pick your favorite ingredient from this list to add to your wild rice dish.
  • Prepare the rest of your meal.
  • Enjoy in no time!
Keyword What to Add to Wild Rice for Flavor