Homemade Long Grain & Wild Rice Mix


Homemade long grain and wild rice mix, cooked.

Back when I posted about Homemade Hamburger Helper, I had some requests to look at boxed rice and pasta mixes, too. I’m here first with my homemade mix for long grain and wild rice, which is my very favorite of all the boxed rice mixes. (I’ll have more homemade versions of other popular flavors soon! I’m studying on it!)

I love long grain and wild rice because it has such a nice nutty flavor. It goes with everything and looks pretty on the plate. I bought a box of Rice A Roni and a box of Uncle Ben’s and set to work deciphering their long grain and wild rice secrets.

Why would you want to make homemade long grain and wild rice mix? (In case you’re wondering.) You might want to do it for the price. Homemade is cheaper. Or maybe you care about all those long laboratory-sounding words in the boxed ingredients list. Or maybe you just want your rice to taste better, without that preservative packaged flavor that comes in anything boxed.

First, let’s look at what’s in the boxed mixes.

Rice A Roni long grain and wild rice (4.3 ounce box) measures up to almost 2/3 cup of rice.

A look at the ingredients list will tell you that more than half of the rice you’re looking at here is not wild rice. It’s parboiled long grain white rice.

What is parboiled rice? Parboiled rice is rice that has been boiled in the husk before being processed. It’s higher in nutrition and cooks up less sticky. It also costs a little more. A 32 ounce bag of parboiled long grain white rice costs $1.64 (at my store). But wait! We shall see on this cost thing, shall we not? Please use parboiled long grain white rice for your mix, NOT regular long grain white rice.

There is a difference in how it cooks up. Parboiled rice cooks up light and fluffy while regular rice can cook up gummy. If you use regular white rice in this mix, you may be disappointed with the results as they will not compare to the boxed mix. (Note: I bought the Wal-Mart store brand parboiled rice. They also sell the Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice–it’s significantly more expensive. Try to find a generic parboiled rice.)

Back to the price…. The other half (or less) of what is in a boxed long grain and wild rice mix is wild rice. I live in the middle of nowhere and I drove to the “big” tiny town in our county and found this 16 ounce bag of “gourmet blend of wild and whole grain brown rice” at the Wal-Mart.

It includes long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, whole grain Wehani rice, and whole grain Black Japonica rice. This is already more exciting than the mere wild rice in the box.

But–this 16 ounce bag of gourmet rice cost me $3.47. OUCH!!!!

Hold on here.

To make up the 2/3 cup of parboiled long grain white rice and wild rice in the Rice A Roni box, you will need 1/3 cup parboiled long grain white rice and 1/3 cup wild rice.

If you buy the rice yourself:

1/3 cup parboiled long grain white rice = 13 cents.
1/3 cup wild rice = 58 cents.

Total cost of your homemade long grain and wild rice = 71 cents.

Cost of the Rice A Roni boxed long grain and wild rice = $1.24.

And just look at this–the Rice A Roni long grain and wild rice is in the bowl to the left, my homemade rice mix on the right. Which one looks better to you?

What about Uncle Ben’s?

Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice (6 ounce box) measures out to just under a cup of rice.

If you buy the rice yourself:

1/2 cup parboiled long grain white rice = 20 cents.
1/2 cup wild rice = 86 cents.

Total cost of your homemade long grain and wild rice mix = $1.06.

Cost of Uncle Ben’s boxed long grain and wild rice = $1.94.

Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice on the left, my homemade rice mix on the right.

We have a winner in both cases, and it’s homemade!

What about the seasonings, Suzanne?

I haven’t forgotten about the seasonings, but the amount needed for the mix is a negligible cost, a few cents. Maybe throw in 5 cents for the seasonings to be extra generous. What you are really paying for when you buy a boxed rice mix is the rice plus the convenience of the seasonings packet.

To make your rice mix, combine equal parts parboiled long grain white rice and wild rice.

Make as much as you want to store at a time, just keep the mixture 50/50–unless you don’t want it to be 50/50! You’re in charge! You can use 3 parts wild rice to 1 part parboiled long grain white rice if you want! It’ll cost you a little bit more, but it STILL WON’T COST AS MUCH AS THE BOX. So go ahead. Live a little. If you want!

Back to the seasonings. What are the seasonings anyway?

The Rice A Roni version includes salt, sugar, parsley, and garlic powder (in that order), along with various preservatives and who knows what.

The Uncle Ben’s version lists dried vegetables (onion, spinach, celery, tomato, carrot), parsley, sugar, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder (in that order) along with the various laboratory-sounding ingredients.

You can put together a seasoning mix however you like. The classic ingredients that flavor both of these mixes are parsley and garlic. Whether you want to add some dried minced onions or onion powder and other dried vegetables probably depends on which brand you prefer. The sugar and salt is up to you, which is one of the great things about a homemade mix–you can control the sugar and salt. You can season it up however you like, using different herbs, whatever is your favorite. You can also use dried minced or granulated garlic instead of garlic powder.

Take my basic seasoning mix as a starting point. Experiment with the seasonings until you suit your own taste.

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Seasoning Mix:

1 cup dried parsley
1/3 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar

This makes about 1 1/2 cups seasoning mix. (It’s also great sprinkled on baked or fried potatoes!)

To make the Rice A Roni size homemade version:

2/3 cup long grain and wild rice mix plus 1 level tablespoon seasoning mix. Cook rice with 1 2/3 cups water and a tablespoon of butter or olive oil (optional). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid is gone.

To make the Uncle Ben’s size homemade version:

1 cup long grain and wild rice mix plus one heaping tablespoon seasoning mix. Cook rice with 2 1/4 cups water and a tablespoon of butter or olive oil (optional). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid is gone.

You can tuck your seasonings mix inside the bigger bag holding your long grain and wild rice mix. Tack on a little note telling yourself how much seasonings mix per how much rice.

With your homemade long grain and wild rice mix, you will not only save some money, you can suit your own taste in the seasonings (not to mention the sugar and salt), and use fresher ingredients with no preservatives. (I used my own dried parsley saved over from my garden last year.)

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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  1. Casey says:

    Thank you for this! Can’t wait to try it!!

  2. Ruthmarie says:

    I’m going to have to look for that parboiled rice (never noticed it before) … this happy knock off looks like major potential particularly for gift baskets at the holidays! And Walmart of all places!

    I already buy Lundberg organic brown basmati through a local discount mart as it’s the family favorite … cooked in chicken broth with that incredible popcorn smell, it’s an easy addiction. Pinching pennies everywhere else makes a favorite seem like a luxury!

  3. Melinda says:

    THANK YOU!!! I am so excited to see this post since this is one of our favorites and you broke it down so simply!

  4. CindyP says:

    Thank you, Suzanne!!! Love the rice, hate the salt and this is going to work perfectly!!! :snoopy:

  5. Runningtrails says:

    Great idea, Suzanne!! I am going to try this!

  6. Diane says:

    1. Love love the rice recipe!!!! It is probably better for us and I love that we can make a little more. A box of that stuff does not always feed a family of 3 or 4. lol.

    2. I can not understand why people need to comment about stupid stuff like why you are shopping at walmart. ugg. Ok Suzanne to save yourself some grief mabe next time put a little tape over the offending lable so people do not know where you shop. Personally I dont know why they would care. But I guess they do. Geeze nothing like making you feel like you commited a crime shopping there.

    Anyways I am going to try this one. What are the seasonings for the pasta mixes they sell???

  7. Tovah says:

    I love this feature! Please do more like this! The price breakdown is awesome too. Homemade does look so much better and I love that you don’t have all the preservatives.

    And I may not like or shop at walmart but I understand that for some people it is either 1) the only option they have (especially true in rural areas where having a low priced walmart meant local grocery stores went out of business and now walmart is basically the only place) or 2) the only option they can afford. You might want to keep in mind that everyone’s circumstances are different.

    But anyway thanks again for the new recipe Suzanne! I don’t like to buy the boxed mixes but I love an easy side dish:)

  8. Ilene says:

    Well, I sorta agree with Karen about WMT, but I also agree with Diane that this is not the place to rant about that.

    I have a further elaboration on this rice dish if anyone’s interested. First, you can get wild rice cheaper if you order it from BulkFoods.com. I’m not affiliated with them in any way other than that I’m a customer. Shipping is quite reasonable if you buy a lot of things so I wait till I have several things on my list.

    Second, I save bits and tads of vegetable broth left over from cooking them. I keep a Folger’s plastic coffee container in the bottom of my refrigerator freezer and just dump the liquid in there as I clear my kitchen. I try to go easy on the liquid from corn, though, as it’s pretty sweet and can get overpowering if there’s not a lot of, say, broccoli broth or cabbage broth. When the container is full I pack it off to the big freezer. It occurred to me that this would be perfect to cook the rice mix in.

    Suzanne, I so enjoy your blogs, I mention you quite a bit on my blog. It’s so refreshing to see someone so young embracing the natural way to do things. You go, girl!

  9. Valerie says:

    This is wonderful. I don’t usually buy convenience foods unless they are deeply discounted. Also I have to watch salt, but this is one of my favorites. Love it with fish. I am definitely going to make this mix up. Here in Minnesota, there is an abundance of wild rice, harvested not far from my home. Thanks so much!

  10. Leah says:

    Well done! I learned the importance of the order ingredients are listed on the pkg when I worked in a grocery store. Whatever ingredient is listed first is what the product has more of compared to the other ingredients and so on down the line. If we make our own mixes with fresher ingredients,leaving out preservatives we probably will start feeling better.

  11. Jenny says:

    Thanks for figuring this out for us. I’ve been trying to avoid the boxed stuff because I know they are full of junk. I’ve made rice pilaf from scratch before using little pieces of broken spaghetti and homemade broth and my daughter says it’s better than the boxed mixes.

  12. tsmith says:

    You have done it again! I love long grain and wild rice, but don’t really like buying the box. I have recently been looking in to making my own rice mixes. This is perfect! Thanks!

  13. IowaCowgirl says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I too love wild rice…I think I’ll make this today; it is cold and November-ish here in Iowa today and I have to work on indexing for hours, so this sounds wonderful. ..

    On another note, I found an old churn to attach to an old Sunbeam mixer in my attic (collecting area for 5 generations)…I suppose now I have to make butter….

  14. Carol says:

    Rice mix is a great idea. Thanks Suzanne.

  15. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I have paid the price for the Lundberg mix out of desperation because I love it so much… but it really is too expensive to get very often though it really IS a fine mixture, darn it!

    If anyone lives near a Whole Foods or a Wild Oats, (I used to have access but no longer) they have a bulk version of this mix which is every bit as good as the Lundberg’s rice for a much more reasonable price though still not as good as Suzanne’s solution.

  16. Susan at Charm of the Carolines says:

    You go girlfriend! I’ll never buy Uncle Bens again. Thanks for taking the time to decifer.


  17. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Posting again to say that I never buy those boxed mixes anyway since I much prefer to add my own seasonings and such. Not only is the salt too overwhelming, but I prefer to be able to add other seasonings to suite the rest of the meal I’m serving. Sorry for the double comment!

  18. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My husband grew up in Florida and apparently thinks rice goes with EVERYTHING LOL. I personally prefer potatoes LOL. This will be great for making as much or as little as I want for each meal.

  19. sahmcolorado says:

    Well, I guess I’ll have to pick up some rice at the store today and make up some of this mix! Thanks for sharing it with us. :hungry:

  20. Angela pierce says:

    How funny I was just at Wally world the other day buying rice and was wondering whats up with the par boiled rice? Thanks again to you Suzanne, your a blessing! This web site is the best!

  21. Ruthmarie says:

    BuckeyeGirl … sorry, I could’t resist my second post either … the bulk rice mix you found at Whole Foods is actually supplied by Lundberg as are a big number of organic sections in grocery chain stores, so just ask where you are. I like Lundberg rice so much (aside from creative rice mixes, their eco-farming and organic devotion is impressive and deserves support) that I hunt down discounted sources or buy on sale + coupons. Try amazon.com (free shipping above $25!) or https://www.triadtrading.ca/index.php/cPath/15. There, a rah-rah post https://chickensintheroad.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/shimmy.gif to balance the rant!

    I can probably count on one hand (ok, maybe two) the times I’ve bought packaged flavored rice mixes (reallygoodsale!) … one box is never enough to feed my brood and WAY too salty! I’m rather excited about the idea of mixing the parboiled rice with the wild mix and stretching the grand stuff that much further. Thank you, Suzanne!

  22. Tobey says:

    Thanks again, Suzanne! I had always wondered about parboiled rice but never thought to look it up when I was at the computer. You are awesome – your recipes make doing it yourself look so easy.

  23. coffeefrappe says:

    This is super! I cannot wait to try the chicken rice a roni mix using broken vermicelli and that parboiled rice. I’m thinking sauteeing then cooking in chicken broth or stock and a similar seasoning mix might get me close. I’ll let u all know if it turns out well. Thanks so much Suzanne! You rokc and I still wanna be your bff!

  24. Chic says:

    Good Morning Suzanne! Mmmmmm this homemade rice mix sounds delicious…I’m going to print out the instructions and put the ingredients on my list for tomorrows big grocery day! Thank you for sharing your recipes with us….Maura :hungry2:

  25. Shauna says:

    earlier today I found your website while searching for ways to make home made hamburger helper. I was THRILLED to find that as I hated the boxed stuff, we ate it all the time growing up. My daughter however loves it and has requested it. I had the idea in my head to make my own instead of buying the boxed. Months ago I had the same idea with rice-a-roni. We had for the first time ever purchased the same flavor as mentioned here (I LOVED the balance of the rice) and I got the bright idea that I could make it on my own but never got beyond buying wild rice as I couldn’t find bags of parboiled rice and was clueless as to what seasonings to use. I’m ready to check my local Walmart! 🙂

    I’m writing and rambling because I’m BEYOND thrilled to have found your site and all these beautiful recipes and break down of things that I’ve been spending far too much money on! You are amazing and have such an incredible talent! I’ve already stocked up on some seasonings and look forward to learning how to cook for real, none of this boxed stuff. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  26. Suzanne Lombardo says:

    From one Suzanne to another–I love your site!! Great stuff. Thanks.

  27. Ann Winans says:

    We love boxed rice mixes, but I’ve been looking for a homemade version because my daughter has been having reactions to MSG (monosodium glutamate) which is listed on the Rice-a-Roni and a possible hidden ingredient in Uncle Ben’s (autolyzed / hyrdrolyzed). I can’t wait to try your version and experiment with it. Thanks very much for making this easier for me!!!

  28. Heather says:

    This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.
    I am having a link party this week featuring mixes you can make your self. I would love it if you would link up.


  29. CMHValex says:

    If I have parsley flakes instead of dried parsley, what measurement would I use of parsley flakes? I don’t imagine it would still be a cup, would it?

  30. krazkat says:

    Thank you for taking the time to detail this out. I am anxious to try the recipe. I much prefer homemade to anything packaged.

  31. jj46627 says:

    Suzanne, THANK YOU!!! Just discovered your website looking for a Wild Rice recipe like Zatarain’s or Rice-a-Roni, and here you are. Can’t wait to see what else is here!! For anyone’s input …I don’t know how old this thread is, but here’s a question … how does the parboiled rice compare to basmati rice for use in this recipe. I love the basmati I get at Costco (cheap) because it’s never sticky, grains don’t go mushy. Haven’t tried it yet, but I just bought 21 oz of Rice Select Royal Blend for 7.99 at Target, will check Costco next time. Still cheaper than the packaged mixes, without the MSG that’s in R-a-R.

  32. kiwilder says:

    Thank you! We are a dairy/gluten and now soy free family. Although my family loves this rice, I couldn’t recreate it as I wanted to. I can’t wait to try this and see what they say! I do have a question. Is there such a thing as parboiled long grain brown rice? We have been doing brown rice, so I thought I would ask. Thanks so much! Can’t wait to hear from you.

  33. shellyann81 says:

    This might seem like a silly question, but why don’t you mix the seasoning in with the rice? Is it because then you couldn’t guarantee correct portions of rice and seasoning when using it each time? I bought a container that will hold five cups and planned to just shake it really well before scooping out a cup each time… Would that work? Thanks in advance, and thanks, too, for the recipe!!! I look forward to exploring more of yours on this site. 🙂

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