Simple Wild Rice Pilaf for 300

Rice pilaf is wonderful and inexpensive side to feed my church family. But it took me several tries to get the texture just right. Cooking 20+ pounds of rice can be little tricky, as you can imagine. First, I tried a large, commercial electric rice cooker. Fail. Because of large volume, the rice on the bottom burned while the rice on top was barely cooked. Then I tried using three smaller rice cookers and cooking in small batches. And that took wayyyyy too long. It seemed like we were cooking rice all afternoon and nothing else.

Well, as for the equipment, this 29-qt roaster which I inherited when I took on this job was the answer! Using both top and bottom roaster pans separately to cook 24 pounds of rice turned out to be perfect solution. Since the pans fit nicely over two gas burners, cooking rice pilaf for 300 became super easy. (No, our roasting pans DO NOT look this shiny and nice).

To add some texture and flavor, four pounds of wild and brown rice blend was mixed to long grain rice. Rinse rice in cold water, then soak for 15-30 minutes. This water absorption reduces the cooking time.

Saute diced onions in small amount of butter.

Drain water well from rice and then add to sauteed onions. Stir until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken stock. (yep, that's our beat-up roaster pan, well-loved for sure!)

Adding the correct amount of liquid is crucial whether you are cooking a small or large amount. So let me show you using water, how my Korean mother taught me to measure the perfect amount. You eye-ball the water amount over the soaked rice, level the rice with your hand so it's even under the water. Then lay your open hand flat like this gently over top of rice. Add or reduce water amount until it just covers your proximal phalanges (had to google that one). Can you see where the water level is on my fat fingers?

Using a ruler to show you, it is about 5/8 " from the leveled top of the rice.

Back to the rice pilaf, using two sheets of foil, cover the roster pans tightly and seal the edges. Place a full sheet pans over the foil to keep it in place. Cook in high heat until you see steam escape on the side, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the amount of rice. Reduce heat to simmer and let steam for 20-30 minutes. Do not uncover the foil top at anytime during steaming.

Peel back the foil sheets and fluff the rice.

Transfer to serving pans. Cover with foil and keep warm until ready to serve.

Simple but perfect wild rice pilaf for a crowd and perfect accompaniment to any meat dish!

Print This Recipe!

Simple Rice Pilaf for 6

1 1/2 cups white rice (preferably long grain)
1/2 cup wild rice blend
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cups of chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

In a bowl, blend white and wild rice and soak in water for 15-30 minutes. While the rice is soaking, using medium-high heat in a large saute pan with a lid, saute diced onion in butter until fragrant.

Drain rice well and add to onion. Add chicken broth and salt and pepper. Stir and cover with lid and cook until broth is in full boil, 10-15 minutes depending on the amount of rice. Quickly reduce the heat to low simmer and cook until all broth is absorbed into the rice, about 20-30 minutes. Do not uncover the lid at any time. Fluff the rice and serve with your favorite main dish.

Simple Rice Pilaf for 300

20 lb white rice (preferably long grain)
4 pounds wild rice blend
1 lb butter
6 large onions, diced
chicken stock, preferably homemade, enough to cover your fingers as directed above
Salt and Pepper to taste

Equipment: Two 23-quart roasting pans, top and bottom, heavy duty foil sheets; divide the ingredients into two roasting pans (each pan will cook 22 lbs of rice).

Make Ahead Tips:
Onion can be diced up to days ahead.
Make homemade chicken stock and freeze weeks ahead.


  1. Impressive as always! try try try again, right!

  2. Thank you for the birthday post. Happy Birthday! And thank you for teaching us how to cook rice well.

  3. Kay, that is exactly how my Thai friends taught me to measure rice! I use that method every time I use my rice cooker. And I always cook with Thai Jasmine rice. Mmmmm.....this post is making me crave some now. :)

  4. Wow, what a challenge to get such a large quantity of rice done right. It took me several years before I could even cook rice well for 4! It's really neat to see your behind-the-scenes strategy! :)

  5. interesting and i try same to u.

  6. Yum--the texture of your rice does look perfect. And I love the hand-measuring tip--our friend Darius from Hong Kong had a thumb-measuring trick that is similar.

  7. I can't imagine having to cook 20 lbs of rice!! looks like you did an amazing job - it looks delicious and love that you used chicken stock
    Mary x

  8. I wish I could go to your church! I'm always amazed at what you make, and how you share it. I love rice.

  9. Looks incredibly delicious and easy!

  10. Thank you for your sweet comments dear friends! And Debby and all of you, you know you are ALWAYS welcomed in my kitchen and my church! :)

  11. You stuck with it and it paid off, Kay! Delicious! This was a fun post, and you do not have fat fingers! :)

  12. This looks awesome. I love making rice pilaf--but for 4 not 300! :) It was so nice meeting you at Food Blog Forum last weekend.