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.
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.
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.
How to “Summer-ize” Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf
While wild rice pilaf isn’t *as* traditional of a cookout side as say, Pesto Potato Salad, Pepperoni Pasta Salad, or even Southern Style Mustard Potato 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.
- Sweet Corn + Bell Peppers. Fresh sweet corn and red bell peppers celebrate the summer produce that’s in its prime.
- Fresh Basil + Lemon. A generous handful of basil adds freshness and depth, and a final squeeze of lemon juice gives the recipe sunny vibrancy and life.
- Pine Nuts. 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.
My other big change to a classic wild rice pilaf recipe was to adapt it to the slow cooker.
This crock pot method makes 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!
More Slow Cooker Recipes to Share
- Crockpot Mexican Chicken
- Crock Pot Creamed Corn
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
- Crockpot Breakfast Potatoes
Tools Used to Make This Recipe
Slow Cooker Wild Rice Pilaf with Basil, Corn and Bell Pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions 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 one; this 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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I love that the rice is made in the slow cooker!
Thanks, Maria! It definitely makes it easy!
A perfect side dish for this holiday weekend!!
Thanks so much Gerry!
Such a great slow cooker recipe!! Love the flavors in this!!
Me too! Thanks Lexi!
This makes entertaining so easy! I love the fresh colorful additions!
Thanks so much Heather!
my slow cooker is used more in the summer for sure! love this combo for BBQ! And so easy. Sign me up!
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!
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!
Thanks Liz! I’d love to know what you think!
very nice pictures and very nice recipe. My daughter like this rice pilaf. Thank you for this one.
Thank you so much, John! I’m so glad to hear your daughter enjoyed the recipe!
I love great slow cooker recipes. I definitely going to try this.
I hope you enjoy it, Trishanya!
hey girl- this looks really tasty! Happy 4th!!
Thank you! Happy 4th to you too, Shawnna!
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!
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!
Yes I made it and it was yummy! I did not have red peppers but I had a yellow and orange and it tasted great too! Thanks for posting it!
Kellie, thanks so much for taking the time to leave this review! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This looks phenomenal! Wild rice is one of my favourites but it always takes so long to cook. I love my slow cooker but haven’t experimented with it as much as I’d like. Could you add diced chicken or another meat to this recipe to increase the protein. Or would that change the cooktime?
Caroline, you can definitely add it! I would suggest sautéing the chicken separately, and then stirring it in at the end after the pilaf is cooked to make sure that the rice cook times and liquid ratios stay the same. I hope you enjoy it!
Yummy! This is the second recipe I have gone through on your website and I am in love with all of them! Desperate to try this too during the weekend!
This was bland and peppery. I made it exactly as listed for a potluck to answer the gluten free crowd and no one ate it! I’m trying to figure out how to fix it since I have so much left.
I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t what you hoped for, Marcie. Many other readers have tried it and loved it, but I know everyone has different tastes. I truly wish you would have loved it!
I have just found you and am saving several of your recipes. I appreciate your thoroughness, photos, and extra tips. I also appreciate you don’t require us to go restock our spices – a problem with the direction Chris Kimball has taken. Recently it became necessary for me to begin watching my cholesterol levels so I’m cooking more “meatless” meals. I plan to try your Eggplant Lasagna and/or Grilled Shrimp recipes. I look forward to trying several of your recipes and sharing them with my niece who is now totally vegan.
Hope you enjoy it Ellen!