Chicken Wild Rice Soup is deliciously rich and creamy without the use of heavy cream or flour. Learn to make this easy, healthy, and budget-friendly comfort food on the stovetop, the crockpot, or the Instant Pot!
Table of contents
- Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Why Make Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup?
- Ingredients for Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
- How to Make Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Tips for Best Results
- Serving Recommendations
- Making This Soup in Advance
- More Chicken Soup Recipes
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
This recipe for chicken wild rice soup is healthier than your average recipe without the use of heavy cream but it’s still so rich and creamy! It’s such a delicious and healthy soup that I wanted to adapt it to as many cooking methods as possible, which is why my Instant Pot chicken wild rice soup has become super popular!
This soup is loaded with fall apart shredded chicken, tender carrots, potatoes, celery, and of course, wild rice simmering in a creamy broth that is exploding with crazy flavour. After realizing how quick and easy it is to make this one-pot soup in just over an hour, you’ll never want to go back to Panera or a can of condensed cream of mushroom chicken and wild rice soup again.
Why Make Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup?
- Easy. This soup, while it may need a bit of simmering time, is easy to make with very minimal effort.
- Delicious. So much flavour from the earthy mushrooms, the veggies, and the aromatics and seasonings. Your kids will love warming up with a bowl of this soup!
- Healthy. No heavy cream is used to make this soup and wild rice plus mushrooms are full of protein, fiber and antioxidants!
- One-pot. Cooler weather activities and the holidays seem to accelerate life at a faster pace. Anytime I can make dinner in one pot with easy clean-up, it’s a win!
- Freezer and meal-prep friendly. Prep soup ahead of time and freeze until you’re ready to cook it. Portion any leftovers and enjoy for lunches throughout the week.
I have a few tips and tricks to making soup even healthier without skimping on any taste or texture. For example, in this healthy broccoli cheese soup, I pureed 5 cups of squash, and it even makes the soup yellow as cheese does. In my white chicken chili I mashed up some white beans, and in this pressure cooker Zuppa Toscana I use just whole milk and Italian sausage. Try them out!
Ingredients for Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
- Chicken: ANY chicken works – raw, bone-in/skin-on or boneless/skinless, cut-up whole chicken, cubed or shredded cooked chicken. Chicken breast, chicken thighs, chicken legs, you name it.
- Dried mushrooms: If you don’t have dried mushrooms, use fresh brown button or shiitake mushrooms.
- Vegetables: Onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes.
- Wild rice: Wild rice has a very unique taste that makes this soup so delicious.
Did you know wild rice is not actually a rice? It’s an aquatic grass primarily grown in North America, considered an ancient grain and higher in protein than brown rice.
- Milk: Homo 3.25 % milk is the best replacement for heavy cream.
- Liquid: Water or low sodium chicken broth.
- Seasoning: Thyme, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Garnish: Parsley to give it a nice herbaceous finish.
- Butter: You’ll only need this if you’re making the stove top version. Use unsalted butter that way you can control the amount of added salt.
How to Make Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Rinse wild rice ahead of time, just as you would regular rice. Although it’s not actually rice, and you’re not rinsing off the same amount of starch, you do want to make sure to rinse of any debris or bit of starch.
- Saute vegetables with spices. Melt butter in a large heavy bottom pot and add onion and garlic to saute. Add veggies and seasoning and continue to saute for 5 more minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients: Chicken, potatoes, wild rice, water, or broth.
- Cook: Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 55 minutes or until rice and potatoes are tender.
- Shred chicken: Place chicken onto plate and shred with 2 forks and set aside.
- Make it creamy: Whisk in the milk and prepared mustard and blend with an immersion blender a bit. Or leave it as is. Add shredded chicken back in as well as a handful of chopped parsley. Enjoy!
How to Make a Freezer Meal
Do you like to plan ahead for busy weeknights or days when you don’t feel like cooking? Turn this chicken wild rice soup recipe into a freezer meal and have it ready when you are!
- Instant Pot: In a large Ziploc bag, add all of the ingredients except water, milk, and parsley. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen with 7 cups water/broth on High pressure for 25 minutes, wait 10 minutes, and release remaining pressure.
- Slow cooker: In a large Ziploc bag, add all of the ingredients except water, milk, and parsley. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and then cook on Low for 10 hours or on High for 6 hours with the recommended amount of water/broth. You can skip cooking the veggies before adding them to the bag. Either way, the soup is going to be delish.
- After cooking: Remove the chicken and shred it with 2 forks. Blend the soup a bit with an immersion blender until desired consistency. Add chicken back in with the parsley. Stir and serve hot.
Check out my full list of healthy freezer meals and prep anywhere from 5, 10, 15 or 20 meals! I’m obsessed!
Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Slow cooker: Saute the vegetables and spices. Add chicken, potatoes, wild rice, water/broth in a large slow cooker. And cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 5-6 hours.
- Instant Pot: Throw all of the ingredients into the Instant Pot and cook for 25 minutes on High. Watch the video below where we show you how to make Instant Pot chicken wild rice soup.
- Finish it off with a squirt of lemon or lime (reader tested!) to round out the flavors!
- Need dairy free? Try coconut milk for the same creamy result.
No immersion blender? Blend a small amount in your blender, then stir back into soup. Do this in batches until desired soup consistency is reached.
- Herbs: Try poultry seasoning or rosemary instead of thyme.
- Additional vegetables: Add some chopped spinach or kale (after you blend it!)
- Other rices: If you cannot find wild rice and opt to use a different rice, readers have had luck with cooking it separately and then stirring it in at the end after cooking, if you add it during cooking it will be a mushy thick mess.
Tips for Best Results
- No wild rice? Unfortunately, white or brown rice do not make good substitutes for this recipe. If that’s all you have, make Instant Pot chicken and rice soup instead.
- Cooked chicken. If you have any leftover cooked cubed or shredded chicken you can use that instead. Add at the end. Be sure to use broth and not water, as the process of cooking the chicken won’t be creating any.
- To make this dairy-free, you can use any nut, oat milk, or coconut milk, but the flavor will change.
- Thickness of soup. This soup will thicken over time. Adding 7 cups of liquid is great if you’re wanting thick soup right away. Adding 8-9 cups is great if you plan to consume the soup a couple of hours later as it will have become thicker by then. You can always adjust the day next with more broth.
- Instant Pot tips. This recipe works in a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot. For a 3 quart Instant Pot, cut the recipe ingredients in half but keep the same cook time.
A blend usually comes with brown or white rice, which both have different cooking times, and different levels of starch. While a wild rice blend is great for many things, this recipe in particular, I’d say no.
It’s not! It’s actually a grass seed, therefore it’s quite sturdy and has a bite to it and a chewy outer shell, much like rice. It looks like rice, it can taste a bit like brown rice (although, not exactly) with a more grassy earthy note. It is understandable why people consider it rice. The name doesn’t help matters either!
Not if you follow the recipe as listed. It’s been tested, so you should be good! Wild rice can get mushy if it’s overcooked in which case, it’s not so appealing. Keep that in mind when it’s simmering. Don’t walk away!
As stated above, the soup will thicken over time. If you’re in a hurry to eat it and it’s not as thick as you’d like, you could also make a cornstarch slurry to thicken it quickly.
You bet. If you are ok with adding heavy cream to your soup, then by all means do that. If you can find an organic cream, or one without added ingredients like carrageenan and other nonsense, all the better!
Yes, but better. 😉
Loads of options for extra added veggies include diced sweet potato, butternut squash, small broccoli florets, spinach, kale, or collard greens.
An appetizer is always a nice addition to get things going, especially if you’re serving company. Try parmesan mushrooms, zucchini fritters, garlic hummus, or a healthy veggie dip with fresh veggies or crackers.
Serve soup with a charcuterie board for crowd pleasing smiles!
Making This Soup in Advance
Make Ahead: Saute the veggies with spices and store them in an airtight container for 2 days. You can also chop the potatoes and keep them refrigerated in a bowl of cold water. When you’re ready to make the soup, combine with the remaining ingredients and cook as per instructions.
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Freeze chicken and wild rice soup leftovers in a glass container for up to 3 months.
Reheat: Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 4 hours. Simmer on low for 10 minutes on the stove top.
See recipe card for turning this soup into an easy freezer meal for busy nights!
More Chicken Soup Recipes
Healthy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- 1.5 lbs any raw chicken pieces
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 large carrots coarsely chopped
- 3 large celery stalks diced
- 2 large potatoes diced
- 1/2 cup dried mushrooms or 2 cups fresh brown mushrooms sliced
- 1 1/2 cups wild rice
- 7 cups water or chicken broth low sodium
- 1/2 tsp thyme dried
- 1 tbsp prepared mustard
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups whole milk
- Small bunch parsley finely chopped
- 1 tbsp butter for stovetop only
- Preheat large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, add butter and wait until it has melted. Add onion and garlic; saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add carrots, celery, fresh mushrooms (if using), thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper; saute for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken, potatoes, dried mushrooms (if not using fresh), wild rice, water/broth.
- Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for about 55 minutes.
- Preheat medium skillet on medium-high heat, add butter and wait until it has melted. Add onion and garlic; saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add carrots, celery, fresh mushrooms (if using), thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper; saute for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a large slow cooker along with chicken, potatoes, dried mushrooms (if not using fresh), wild rice and water/broth. Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 5-6 hours.
- In Instant Pot, add chicken, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, wild rice, water/broth, thyme, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover, set pressure valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 25 minutes. After wait for 10 minutes and do Quick Release to release the pressure by turning the valve to Venting.
After cooking (for all versions)
- Remove chicken onto plate and shred with 2 forks.
- To the pot, add milk and mustard. Using an immersion blender give a few pulses until soup is desired thickness (don’t forget to stir and feel free to adjust thickness with extra water and spices).
- Add shredded chicken and parsley, stir well.
- Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.
Make Ahead: You can saute veggies with spices and store them in an airtight container for 2 days. Also chopped potatoes can be refrigerated in a bowl with cold water. When ready to enjoy, combine with remaining ingredients and cook as per instructions.
Freeze: Freeze soup leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Reheat: Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the countertop for 4 hours. Then reheat in a small pot covered while simmering on low, about 10 minutes
- Raw chicken: I used chicken breasts in the stovetop and drumsticks in the slow cooker version. ANY chicken works – raw, bone in/skin on or boneless/skinless or even cut up whole chicken.
- Wild rice: Wild rice has a very unique taste that makes this soup so delicious. Unfortunately, white or brown rice can not be substituted in this recipe. If that’s all you have, make Instant Pot chicken and rice soup instead.
- Water or broth? Use water or broth/stock if making soup with raw chicken as meat will add a lot of flavor during cooking. And use chicken broth/stock with cooked chicken.
- Instant Pot: In a large Ziploc bag, add all ingredients except water, milk and parsley. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen with 7 cups water/broth on High pressure for 25 minutes, wait 10 minutes and release remaining pressure.
- Slow cooker: In a large Ziploc bag, add all ingredients except water, milk and parsley. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours and then cook on Low for 10 hours or on High for 6 hours. You can skip sauteing or saute veggies before adding to a bag. Either way soup is gonna be delish.
- After cooking: Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Blend a bit with an immersion blender until desired consistency. Add chicken and parsley. Stir and serve hot.
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