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Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Wild Rice Soup is lightly creamy and brimming with tender chicken, nutty wild rice, and plenty of vegetables. Swap the chicken for turkey to make this soup with Thanksgiving leftovers!

Overhead view of two blue bowls of chicken wild rice soup.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Wild Rice Soup is one of those quintessential Minnesota meals, like Tater Tot Hotdish and steaming bowls of Booyah. I first made this recipe after Blake and I were married, and I tweaked it for years until we both deemed it “perfect”. This was “our” chicken wild rice soup recipe!

This savory chicken and rice soup has a lightly creamy base, loaded with tender chicken, vegetables, and earthy, nutty wild rice. A sprinkling of fresh herbs brings the flavors together in the most beautiful way. We hope you like it as much as we do!

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Wild Rice Soup Recipe

  • Wholesome. The best chicken wild rice soup comes down to the flavors, level of creaminess, and kinds and quantities of vegetables. This recipe ticks all the boxes! The broth isn’t too rich, brimming with tender rice grains and juicy chicken pieces, with onion, carrots, and earthy mushrooms.
  • One pot. This easy creamy wild rice soup comes together in (almost) one pot, if you don’t count the pot used to boil the rice. Pre-cooking the rice separately and thoroughly is the key to the perfect soup texture.
  • Use up leftovers. This soup is the best way to use up leftover chicken breast or rotisserie chicken, and you can easily convert it to a turkey wild rice soup with Thanksgiving leftovers!
  • Freezer-friendly. I often double the recipe and freeze half of it for an easy meal later on. It doesn’t take much extra effort to ensure another meal of our favorite soup.

Looking for more protein-packed soup recipes? Be sure to check out my coconut curry chicken soup, this flavorful Thai chicken soup, and my popular chicken tortilla soup!

A measuring cup filled with wild rice, surrounded by scattered rice grains on a countertop.

What You’ll Need

Wild rice, chicken (or turkey), and vegetables are the stars of this hearty soup recipe. Here’s everything you’ll need. Scroll to the recipe card below the post for a printable ingredients list.

  • Wild rice – I recommend authentic, Minnesota whole-grain wild rice for this recipe. ALL of the grains should be long, thin (not cracked), and very dark in color as pictured.
  • Unsalted butter – Unsalted butter gives you more control over the soup’s salt content.
  • Vegetables – Yellow onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. You can switch things up with other vegetables as well.
  • Garlic
  • Chicken broth – I always use a low-sodium broth or stock. Vegetable broth is another option.
  • Half and half – Adds the perfect touch of creaminess to the soup base. If you prefer a richer soup, use heavy cream instead.
  • Soy sauce – I LOVE using umami-rich soy sauce as a flavor booster in soups. You can also use Worcestershire sauce.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs – A bay leaf, plus fresh thyme and parsley perfectly flavor the soup. You could also use dried thyme and parsley.
  • Shredded chicken – Either roast or grill some chicken breasts, or use leftover cooked chicken. Wild rice soup is also a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Smoked or grilled turkey is especially wonderful in this soup, a favorite at our house!
  • Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice is added right at the end to give a little brightness!

What is Wild Rice?

Fun fact: Wild rice isn’t related to regular rice at all. It’s an aquatic grass native to North America, and the official state grain of Minnesota. In Minnesota, wild rice is hand-harvested in shallow lakes and rivers and then dried over fire. When cooked, the hard outer shell splits and curls. This gives the grain a tender, chewy texture. Combined with wild rice’s smoky, earthy, wonderfully nutty flavor, we can’t get enough!

A spoonful of cooked wild rice held over a pot of rice.

How to Make Chicken Wild Rice Soup

There’s just nothing quite as comforting as a pot of soup simmering on the stovetop on a cold winter day. Here’s a quick step-by-step to show you how to make this easy chicken wild rice soup. Scroll to the recipe card for printable instructions.

  • Prepare the wild rice. Start by cooking the rice according to the package instructions. It usually takes 50 to 60 minutes for the grains to curl and split open. Don’t rush this step!
  • Saute the vegetables. In a large pot, melt the butter and add the vegetables and garlic. Cook until the onion is transparent.
  • Add the broth. Stir in the flour until it bubbles then add the broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil for one minute.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Add the cooked wild rice, half and half, soy sauce, salt & pepper, herbs, and chicken (or turkey). Simmer for 20 minutes until thoroughly hot.
  • Taste and serve. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and taste to see if you’d like more salt and pepper. Then serve and enjoy!
Overhead view of a ladle serving chicken and wild rice soup from a pot.

Tips and Variations

This comforting soup is easy to make, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Be sure to use a large enough pot. When making a single batch of this soup, I use this pot (affiliate link). When doubling the recipe, a 12-quart stock pot works great. 
  • Take time to cook the rice. Make sure that the rice cooks long enough that the hard outer shell cracks open. The majority of the rice must be split open with a curled appearance.
  • Use whole-grain wild rice. While you can buy cracked wild rice, it’s just not as beautiful as whole grains and doesn’t give the same texture to the soup. Also, try to avoid mixes that contain other varieties of rice mixed with very little actual wild rice.
  • Switch up the veggies. This is a great recipe for adding in the veggies that you already have on hand. Green beans and corn would both be great additions. You could even stir in some spinach or kale.
  • Use leftover meat. Leftover rotisserie chicken is perfect for this wild rice soup, as is leftover Thanksgiving turkey!
  • Adjust the salt. Depending on the saltiness of the broth, chicken, turkey, etc., you may need to add more salt or soy sauce to achieve the best flavor. Just taste test and add more if you need to.
  • Adjust the creaminess. If you like a super creamy soup, use more half-and-half. Or even use some heavy cream. If you like the broth thinner, reduce the amount of cream.

Can I Prepare This Soup Recipe In Advance?

Yes, an easy way to get a head start is to prepare the wild rice in advance. The wild rice can be prepared a day or two ahead of making the rest of the soup. Store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. This will speed up the cooking time for the rest of the soup if you’ll be pressed for time on the day you want to serve it.

Chicken wild rice soup in a blue bowl with a spoon.

How to Serve Creamy Wild Rice Soup

With chicken, wild rice, and vegetables all cooked into one dish, this creamy chicken wild rice soup is a complete meal on its own! Garnish your bowls with an extra squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or freshly grated parmesan.

If you’d like to round out a dinner table, pair bowls of soup with a family-style harvest salad and a side of warm crusty bread or homemade Rhodes rolls for dunking. This cranberry apple crisp is delicious for dessert.

Overhead view of three mugs of chicken wild rice soup.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

  • In the fridge. Leftover wild rice soup will stay great for about 5 days in the fridge. Just reheat on the stovetop or even in the microwave. If the leftovers are too thick, add a splash of additional chicken broth to thin it out.
  • In the freezer. As I mentioned, I LOVE making a double batch of this soup and freezing half of it! Allow it to cool completely then transfer to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop! Add additional chicken broth if necessary.

More Wild Rice Recipes

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Overhead view of cream chicken and wild rice soup in a blue bowl.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Yield: 8 servings
prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
This hearty, flavorful chicken wild rice soup is pure comfort on a chilly day! It's lightly creamy with chicken, wild rice, and vegetables. Swap the chicken for turkey to make this soup with Thanksgiving leftovers!
4.5 Stars (65 Reviews)
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked whole grain not cracked wild rice
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 large carrots sliced into 1/4” thick coins
  • 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp. dried
  • 4 cups cooked and coarsely shredded chicken or turkey smoked turkey is especially wonderful!
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  • First, start cooking the wild rice, so it’s ready to add to the finished soup. Prepare according to the package instructions. This will take awhile – usually about 50 to 60 minutes, or even a bit more. Make sure the wild rice is cooked until most all of it is split open. It will have a curled appearance, with the dark outer shell broken open to reveal the lighter interior. The wild rice can even be prepared a day or two ahead of making the rest of the soup; just store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.
  • The remainder of the recipe can be made all in one pot. I like to use this pot for a single recipe, and a 12 quart stock pot when I double the recipe. Start by melting the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir well and sauté until the onion is transparent and softened.
  • Blend in flour, cooking until it bubbles a bit. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly. Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a low boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  • Reduce heat slightly and add the cooked wild rice, half and half, soy sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and chicken or turkey. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed.
  • Stir in the fresh lemon juice and taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Serve with crackers or warm bread.

Notes

Thin any leftovers with additional chicken broth, if needed.
from a farmgirl’s dabbles

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 406kcal Carbohydrates: 16g Protein: 30g Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 13g Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 118mg Sodium: 544mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 5g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!

This post was previously published in 2011. Photographs and some of the text were updated in 2021.

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87 comments on “Chicken Wild Rice Soup”

  1. Oh my!  This soup was fantastic!  We enjoyed it for several meals and made it with the leftover turkey.  Thanks for sharing another wonderful recipe.

  2. 4 stars
    This soup hit the spot on a cold autumn evening. My husband took one bite and began to compliment me for the rest of dinner. He even had a third bowl even though he was feeling full because it was just that tasty he said. I will be keeping this recipe and possibly using some leftover turkey after Thanksgiving in the next round. Yum!

  3. I made this the day after Thanksgiving with smoked turkey…it was amazing!!  We love Wild Rice Soup, his one is a little extra special with the mushrooms, soy sauce, lemon and fresh herbs!  Thanks for sharing this great recipe!