November 30, 2020

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This creamy chicken and wild rice soup is like a hug in a bowl. It’s filled with tender chicken, veggies, wild rice, fresh herbs, and flavorful creamy broth to pull it all together. The best part? Everything is made in one pot and simmers for just under an hour until perfect. It’s an easy recipe with minimal hands on cooking that yields perfect results every single time. 

chicken and wild rice soup

The Perfect Cozy Dish: The Best Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with you! When my husband was in the hospital, all I could stomach for some strange reason was Panera’s creamy chicken and wild rice soup. I had no clue what ingredients were in it, nor did I care to look at that time. All I knew was that it tasted delicious when nothing else really did, it was comforting, and because there was a Panera in the hospital it was an easy choice.

Once my husband was home and doing better, I knew I wanted to create a healthier, copycat version of my beloved Panera soup to enjoy and y’all it is so good! This recipe is completely dairy-free, gluten free, made with simple real food ingredients, and absolutely delicious. It’s and easy one-pot recipe and I’ve also an included a rough idea of slow cooker instructions for you as well.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! I’m sure it will be a staple in my kitchen for many years to come.

soup ingredients

Soup Ingredients

Boneless, Skinless Chicken: for this recipe, you’ll need around a pound of chicken. I like to use a combination of both boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts for ultimate flavor. You could of course use just chicken breasts or thighs.

Veggies: this soup uses the classic combo of diced carrots, celery, onion, and minced garlic to create a flavorful base for the soup.

Mushrooms: these are optional of course but they are absolutely delicious and bring such a great flavor to the soup. My favorite mushrooms are baby Bella (also called crimini) but you could of course use whatever mushroom you love.

Herbs: this soup gets a heavy dose of flavor from fresh thyme. I like to add in a bundles of  six to eight sprigs and let it simmer with the soup as it cooks. At the end, just discard the remaining woody pieces of sprig before eating. Another flavorful addition to this soup  are bay leaves. Dried bay leaves give this soup even more delicious flavor.

Wild Rice: the star of this soup is of course the wild rice! Wild rice as a nutty flavor and chewy texture that is absolutely delicious in this soup. I love to use plain wild rice but you could also use a wild rice blend if you prefer.

Low Sodium Chicken Broth: I like to use low-sodium chicken broth in my soup recipes because it allows you to have control over the salt content in the soup.

Full Fat Coconut Milk: to keep this wild rice soup dairy free, it uses full fat coconut milk. If you have never used full fat coconut milk, trust me, it will not make your soup taste like a big bowl of coconut.

Arrowroot Starch: one of my secret ingredients to a creamy dairy  free soup is arrowroot starch. Arrowroot starch is very similar to cornstarch and a grain and gluten free way to thicken soups and stews. In this recipe, the arrowroot works to thicken the soup a bit and give it a creamier texture.

veggies in dutch oven

How to Make This Healthy Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe

Step One: First, start by searing the chicken. Searing the chicken helps to develop even more flavor in the soup which is exactly what we want. Once you have liberally seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Next, add in the ghee and then sear the chicken for three to four minutes on each side until browned. 

Step Two: Next, it’s time to develop the flavor base of the soup by cooking the veggies for a few minutes. Add the diced carrots, celery, onion, minced garlic, and sliced mushrooms to the pot. Season the veggies with a little more salt and pepper and then sauté for 3-4 minutes until everything is fragrant and the onions are starting to become translucent and tender. 

Step Three: Now, it’s time to add in the rinsed wild rice and herbs. Stir the wild rice and herbs into the pot and continue to cook for another two to three minutes. Next add the chicken back to the pot and then cover with chicken broth. Give everything a stir until well combined and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Let the soup simmer for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender. 

Step Four: Now it’s time to finish the soup. Once the rice is tender, remove the chicken from the soup and use two forks to shred the meat. Then, stir the shredded chicken back into the soup. This is also a great time to discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. 

Step Five: Next, whisk together a little of the coconut milk (around half a cup) and the arrowroot starch until they are well combined to create a slurry. While stirring the soup, pour the arrowroot starch slurry into the soup and then add the remaining coconut milk. Let the soup continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 5-10 minutes until it has thickened. 

Step Six: Lastly, ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot with extra fresh thyme on top.

Can I Freeze Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup?

Yes! Once the soup has fully cooled, transfer it to a freezer safe container. When you are ready to eat, let the soup thaw out completely in the fridge before reheating on the stovetop for best results.

Can I Make This Soup in the Slow Cooker?

I haven’t tested it but my guess is that you could definitely make this soup in the slow cooker! Here is how I would make this recipe in the slow cooker:

  • Add the chicken, rinsed wild rice, carrots, c, and herbs, broth, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the wild rice is tender and the chicken fully cooked through. Add in the mushrooms during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  • Remove the chicken from the slow cooker, shred the meat with two forks, and then stir back into the soup. Discard the thyme sprigs and dried bay leaves.
  • Next, add in the arrowroot starch slurry and coconut milk. Let the soup continue to cook for around 10 minutes or so until thickened and then serve!

Can I Use Leftover Chicken or Turkey?

Yes! This soup is a great way to use leftover chicken or turkey. Just add leftover cooked chicken or turkey near the end of the recipe, after the wild rice, but before you add the coconut milk. Because the protein is already cooked, you don’t really want it to simmer for another 45 minutes while the rice is cooking or it could dry out and become tough.

wild rice on plate

Is There a Substitute I Can Use for Arrowroot Starch?

Yep! Iyou do not have arrowroot starch you could try using tapioca flour instead or make a slurry with corn starch and warm water.

Storage Instructions

For the best results, store this soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

Helpful Kitchen Tools

Dutch Oven

Wooden spoon

cutting board

sharp knife

measuring cups

Tips and Tricks for the Best Soup

  • Be sure to use wild rice and not black rice or your soup will turn purple. You could also use a wild rice blend if you prefer.
  • Depending on how much liquid your wild rice soaks up as it cooks, you may need to add more liquid to achieve that soup like consistency. You can add more chicken broth if needed to thin out the soup.
  • Don’t forget to salt and pepper the soup at different stages of cooking. This is how you develop layers of flavor for a truly delicious soup. It’s important to salt and pepper your chicken before searing as well as when sautéing the veggies. Give the soup a taste at the end and adjust the seasoning before serving.
  • Use even more fresh herbs! Fresh rosemary and sage would be great additions to this soup. Don’t forget to remove any sprigs of herb from the soup before serving.
  • If you would like to use dairy, you can substitute the full fat coconut milk with whole milk.
  • Be sure to use full fat canned coconut milk and not the coconut milk you find in the refrigerated section.
  • Feel free to add in extra veggies if you like! Baby spinach would be a great addition to this soup.

chicken and wild rice soup

More Delicious Soup Recipes to Love

Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

Whole30 Tomato Basil Soup

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Healthy Chicken Taco Soup

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup

Dairy-Free Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Loaded Cauliflower Soup

I hope you give this Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup a try! It’s absolutely delicious and so easy to make.

If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on Instagram. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.

Print

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free
/
Scale:
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced 
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups full fat coconut milk 
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Heat the ghee in a dutch oven or large pot. 
  2. Liberally season the chicken and then add to the pot. Sear both sides of the chicken from 3-4 minutes until browned and then remove from the pan. 
  3. Add the diced carrots, celery, onion, minced garlic, and sliced mushrooms to the pot. Season with a little more salt and pepper and then saute for 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Add the wild rice, bay leaves, and thyme to the pot and stir until everything is well combined. Next add the chicken back to the pot and then cover with chicken broth. Give everything a stir until well combined and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. 
  5. Let the soup simmer for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender. 
  6. Once the rice is tender, remove the chicken from the soup and use two forks to shred the meat. Then, stir the shredded chicken back into the soup. This is also a great time to discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. 
  7. Next, whisk together a little of the coconut milk and arrowroot starch until well combined to create a slurry. While stirring the soup, pour the arrowroot starch slurry into the soup and then add the remaining coconut milk. Let the soup continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 5-10 minutes until it has thickened. 
  8. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve warm with extra fresh herbs on top. Enjoy!

Notes

!!
  • Be sure to use wild rice and not black rice or your soup will turn purple. You could also use a wild rice blend if you prefer.
  • Depending on how much liquid your wild rice soaks up as it cooks, you may need to add more liquid to achieve that soup like consistency. You can add more chicken broth if needed to thin out the soup.
  • If you would like to use dairy, you can substitute the full fat coconut milk with whole milk.
  • Be sure to use full fat canned coconut milk and not the coconut milk you find in the refrigerated section.

Keywords: chicken and wild rice soup, creamy chicken and wild rice soup, gluten free chicken and wild rice soup

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Recipe rating

    38 comments
  1. This is the best chicken soup I’ve ever made. I added 1 zucchini because I had to use it up and it was amazing in it!

  2. Hands down, the best Panera Bread copycat recipe ever! I have made this a couple times a month during wintertime and have really enjoyed it. Honestly, we have a Panera Bread within walking distance, but I choose to make this instead because the flavor is SO good! Since I love mushrooms, I double the amount 🙂 Thank you for another wonderful recipe that I now have memorized!

  3. Delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your talent and fabulous recipes with all of us! Much appreciated!

  4. So so so good. A perfect dinner for a cold night. Had some buttered sourdough on the side. I had to stop my husband from having a third serving so we would have leftovers!

  5. This was just what we needed as our town flirted with a snow flurry! It was warm, flavorful and had us stuffed! I used corn starch since we ran out of arrow root powder and it worked perfectly!
    usually I under cook wild rice due to impatience but leaving it to simmer in the Dutch oven while my husband and I played a game of rummy kept me from checking on it. 😁

  6. This soup was easy and delicious. I added leftover turkey from Christmas dinner at the end which made it a very quick meal and reinvented my leftovers.Thank you

  7. I made this soup last night and it was delicious! I made in the slow-cooker and it turned out great using that method! Chicken wild rice soup is my favorite and I’ve been looking for a good gluten-free and dairy-free version, and this hit the spot! My husband loved it too and even had a second bowl 🙂 Thank you!

    • I’m so happy you loved the soup, Heather! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review and share with us!

  8. One of the best soup recipes I have ever made! It is so good and perfect in every way. Thanks so much for the recipe 🙂

  9. I’m making this in my crockpot! I added the rice at the start. I’m hoping it doesn’t absorb all the liquid!! What do you think? I won’t be home to add the rice at a later time so in it goes!

  10. I made this for dinner tonight. It was amazing! My husband, 2 teenage boys, and I devoured it. The only thing I did differently was soaking my rice overnight. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • I’m so happy you loved the recipe, Melanie! thank you for sharing your tips and taking the time to leave a review!

    • Hi, Michelle! It gets shredded and then added back to the soup. Just noticed that instruction was missing from the recipe card so I made an update. Hope you love the recipe!

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