Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Corn and Basil

It’s almost the Fourth of July, which means we need all the portable foods! Whether you are playing potluck guest, barbecue host, or want to see how many different cookouts you can crash before you are chased away with hot grill tongs, this Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Corn and Basil has you covered. It’s bright with the best flavors and ingredients of summer, can feed a crowd, and the crock pot does the cooking.

Easy Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Sweet Corn, Basil, and Bell Peppers. One of our favorite summer side dishes! A summer spin on classic brown and wild rice pilaf that’s bright, healthy, and perfect for barbecues, picnics, or anytime you don’t want to turn on the oven! Recipe at | @wellplated

Is cookout crashing a thing? It seems decidedly less stressful (and less rude) than wedding crashing, and you’re more likely to end up with new friends at the end instead of being taken out back by the bride’s older brother.

Plus, it seems reasonably acceptable to show up at a cookout and barter food for entry, especially if that food happens to be a slow cooker filled with a delicious, summer-inspired wild rice pilaf.

If you want to be even more certain of being admitted, pack a cooler.

Crock Pot Summer Wild Rice Pilaf with Corn, Basil, and Bell Peppers. Easy, healthy, and the slow cooker does the work! Recipe at | @wellplated

In all seriousness, I am very, very excited for this weekend of casual dining, backyard imbibing, and (hopefully) long afternoons spent lazing in the sun. Potluck-style meals like those traditional to the Fourth of July are my absolute favorites, whether I’m the one hosting or the one ringing the doorbell.

As a potluck/cookout guest, I love contributing to the meal and sampling the tasty dishes that everyone brings.

As a cookout host, I love that I don’t have to stress about putting together an entire menu…and sampling the tasty dishes that everyone brings.

Easy Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Basil, Corn, and Bell Peppers. A fresh, healthy summer side dish that won’t heat up your kitchen! Recipe at | @wellplated

While wild rice pilaf isn’t *as* traditional of a cookout side as say, Pesto Potato Salad or Pepperoni Pasta Salad, to me, that is part of its appeal. It’s a dish that feels fresh and different yet with enough familiar features and cozy qualities to fit right in beside the Easy Baked Beans and Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread.

For the recipe, I essentially took the critical components of classic wild rice pilaf then “summer-ized” it with seasonal ingredients.

A summer spin on classic wild rice pilaf, made in the slow cooker! With sweet corn, basil, and bell pepper, this easy summer side dish is always a hit at barbecues and potlucks. Recipe at | @wellplated

Fresh sweet corn and red bell peppers celebrate the summer produce that’s in its prime, a generous handful of basil adds freshness and depth, and a final squeeze of lemon juice gives the recipe sunny vibrancy and life.

For a bit of crunch, I added toasted pine nuts, which are lovely combined with the basil and lemon. If you prefer, you can easily omit them or swap another nut, such as pecans or almonds, which are more traditional.

Easy Slow Cooker Wild Brown Rice Pilaf with Corn and Basil. Fresh, healthy, and one of the best summer side dish recipes. The crockpot does the work to make this easy, healthy gluten free dish! Recipe at | @wellplated

My other big change to a classic wild rice pilaf recipe was to adapt it to the slow cooker.

This crock pot method make the recipe highly portable; you can take it right along with you in your slow cooker. If you are hosting, it’s also a good choice, because it keeps your oven completely free. I brought it along to a friend’s for a barbecue on Tuesday night, and we didn’t have a single grain of rice remaining!

Tools I used to make this Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Corn and Basil:

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Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Basil, Corn and Bell Pepper

Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Basil, Corn, and Bell Pepper. A summer spin on classic rice pilaf that’s perfect for barbecues and easy dinners. No oven!

Yield: 8–10 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes (on high); 4 hours (on low)

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes (on high); 4 hours (on low)


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet or yellow onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large red bell peppers, chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend, rinsed and drained (I love this onethis is another option, though it is not gluten free)
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn or corn cut from the cob
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Lightly coat a 3- to 4 1/2-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook just until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. To the slow cooker, add the onion mixture, bell peppers, uncooked rice, corn, salt, and pepper. Pour 1 1/2 cups very hot water over the top. Stir to combine, cover, and cook 3 1/2 to 4 hours on low or 2 to 3 hours on high.
  3. When ready to serve, stir in the lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, and basil. Taste and add additional salt as desired. Enjoy warm.
  • Cooking times can vary widely based on the model and size of your slow cooker. Be sure to check the rice early, especially if you are using a larger-size slow cooker, to make sure it does not overcook.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 10), about a heaping 3/4 cup each

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 133 Calories
  • Total Fat: 5g
  • Sodium: 173mg
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Protein: 4g

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. I love that the rice is made in the slow cooker!

  2. A perfect side dish for this holiday weekend!!

  3. Lexi @Lexi'scleankitchen Reply

    Such a great slow cooker recipe!! Love the flavors in this!!

  4. This makes entertaining so easy! I love the fresh colorful additions!

  5. my slow cooker is used more in the summer for sure! love this combo for BBQ! And so easy. Sign me up!

  6. I have family with corn on their diet restriction list. What might you suggest as a substitute? I imagine the corn could simply be omitted but then the color is not as appealing….

    • Hi! Omitting the corn will be just fine! If you like for color, you could use a diced yellow or orange bell pepper instead. Or, you could sauté small-diced yellow summer squash or zucchini with the onions. I wouldn’t suggest adding the zucchini or squash raw, as they have a lot of moisture and might make the rice too mushy. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  7. YES to portable foods! I always forget about my crock pot in the Summer. But I should definitely be using it more often. I have a party on Monday. I think I’ll try this out! Enjoy your weekend, Erin!

  8. very nice pictures and very nice recipe. My daughter like this rice pilaf. Thank you for this one.

  9. I love great slow cooker recipes. I definitely going to try this.

  10. hey girl- this looks really tasty! Happy 4th!!

  11. This looks delicious. I can hardly wait to make it for my family. I know commenting on the beauty of a blog is a bit commonplace but I just have to say that I love your blog. It’s so inspiring. If you find me hanging out a little longer than your usual reader, I promise- I’m not a stalker :o) I’m just really enjoying your blog!
    Have a great day!
    Kelli M. Riebesehl

    • Kelli, thank you so much for this sweet comment! It makes my day to hear that you enjoy my blog, and I so appreciate having you as a reader!

  12. I haven’t made this yet but hope to this week!! Any idea what the saturated fat content is?? Trying to figure out to WW value :) Thanks!

    • Hi Jessica, there’s no saturated fat in the recipe! Sorry for any confusion. (If a value is 0g, my nutrition info box removes the category, so even if I input 0g saturated fat, the label “Saturated Fat” won’t display.) I hope you enjoy!

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