Mexican Wild Rice Recipe

Bowl of Mexican wild rice topped with cilantro and chopped tomatoes, with a wooden spoon on the side.

Mexican wild rice is a delicious alternative to a traditional Mexican rice recipe. The warm spices of the Mexican seasonings are complimented by the slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture of the wild rice.

Bowl of Mexican wild rice. Tomatoes and cilantro on a plate in the background.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you click through and make a purchase.

What is Wild Rice?

Wild rice is actually not even rice at all! It is an aquatic grass seed that grows in lakes and rivers. Minnesota is the primary producer of wild rice. It has a nutty, tea-like flavor, and a chewy texture.

Most wild rice that you find in supermarkets is a combination of authentic wild rice that is mixed with brown and black rice. But you can also get pure wild rice, and that is what we are using in this recipe.

This Mexican wild rice recipe is super simple to make. It uses cooked wild rice, tomato sauce, salt, cumin, chili powder, garlic, and cilantro! Once the rice is cooked, the rest comes together in just 5 minutes.

Ingredient flatlay: wild rice, tomato sauce, oil, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic.

Is Wild Rice Healthier than Brown Rice?

According to wild rice has 30% fewer calories than brown rice, almost half of the carbs, and more protein! Wild rice can be a wonderful alternative to white or brown rice when you are looking to make a protein-rich meal.

How to Cook Mexican Wild Rice

Step One: Cook Wild Rice

  • Wild rice cooks in a similar manner as pasta, where it cooks in a lot of water! Because it is a very dense seed that takes a while to cook. After simmering on the stove for 50-60 minutes, the excess water is drained off.
  • Cooking the rice can be done ahead. Day-old wild rice works perfectly in this recipe.
Pot of wild rice, ready to add water and boil.

Step Two: Saute the Wild Rice, Sauce, and Seasonings

  • Heat some oil in a large skillet, over medium heat.
  • Cook the garlic in the oil until it becomes fragrant.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cilantro, and cook for a few minutes. Once the sauce has been mostly absorbed then the rice is done.
Pan of wild rice with tomato sauce, garlic, and seasoning added.

Step Three: Add Cilantro

  • The final step is to add the cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro then you can skip this step. But for me, I love cilantro, so this adds the perfect finishing flavor!
Pan of cooked Mexican wild rice with cilantro.

What to Serve with Mexican Wild Rice

This wild rice recipe goes perfectly with any Mexican or Tex-Mex meal! From fajitas to enchiladas, Mexican wild rice is a delicious accompaniment!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a standard water ratio when cooking wild rice?

Wild rice is a little tricky when it comes to how much water you need. Many recommend a 3:1 ratio. However, it can take 50-60 minutes for wild rice to fully cook so the amount of liquid needed may vary. Since you pour off excess liquid, I recommend a 5:1 ratio so that you are sure to have plenty of liquid for the full cook time.

Can I make this recipe with a different kind of rice?

This Mexican wild rice recipe can definetely be made with brown or white rice! Use 2 cups of cooked white or brown rice as a substitute.

Wild rice in a white bowl. Garnished wtih tomatoes and cilantro. There is a wooden spoon on the side.

If you like this recipe, please share it with your friends! And once you taste it, let me know your thoughts by providing a review.

Bowl of Mexican wild rice, topped with chopped tomatoes and cilantro.

Mexican Wild Rice

This easy side dish has the earthiness of wild rice with the addition of warm spices. It is a delicious compliment to any meal!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 176 kcal


  • 4 ounces wild rice (a little over a half cup)
  • 5 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup cilantro


  • Place wild rice and water or chicken broth in a large saucepan and cover with a lid.
  • Bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 50-60 minutes.
    Rice should be tender, but chewy. If it is still crunchy, continue cooking.
    Pour into a strainer. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Through this step can be made a day ahead.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  • Add rice, tomato sauce, salt, cumin, and chili powder, and cook until the sauce has mostly been absorbed.
  • Add cilantro and cook an additional minute, then serve.


The nutritional facts provided are only estimates. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Calories: 176kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 6gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 602mgPotassium: 261mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 258IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Keyword easy side dish, rice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Share a photo of your creation with your friends!Mention @stateofdinner or tag #stateofdinner!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating