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This chicken and wild rice soup is a family favorite in cold weather. It's rich and hearty made with carrots, celery, garlic, chicken, and wild rice in a creamy, savory broth in less than one hour.
Literally this week y'all are getting snowmageddon all across the country. So I figured comfy cozy fall and winter foods were okay to post. Spring stuff will resume next week.
When it's cold and snowy or rainy, I really love this chicken and wild rice soup recipe. Like my Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Creamy Chicken Tomato Tortellini Soup it's easy to make (actually it's a one pot meal!) made in less than one hour.
It's creamy and savory and hearty and absolutely flawless when sopped up by dinner rolls or a piece of crusty bread; it's definitely one of my all time favorite soup recipes and I hope it'll be yours when you try it because it's too good not to love.
- What makes this Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe so Good
- How to Make Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Scratch
- What is Wild Rice?
- Do you have to Cook the Rice before Adding it to the Soup?
- Freezing and Reheating Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Storing your Soup
- Love soup? Me too! Here are some soup recipes to try:
- Recommended Tools
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
What makes this Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe so Good
It's a one pot, weeknight recipe. Whether you're using leftover roasted chicken or are using fresh chicken, this soup is made in a 6 qt dutch oven and ready for your belly in under an hour.
It's ideal for a make ahead or freezer meal! This soup keeps incredibly well in the freezer, all you need is to portion it out and freeze in freezer safe containers.
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is top notch comfort food! It's rich and comforting, hearty and cozy, with plenty of good fall and winter vibes.
How to Make Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Scratch
This soup is really, really simple to make. All you need are your mirepoix (that's the mixture of carrots, onions, and celery used in many soups and stews), some herbs, a little flour and fat, chicken, good chicken stock and cream.
You can use whatever type of chicken you want, but I like dark meat. Dark meat chicken (the thighs and legs) handle being stewed for longer periods of time better than white meat chicken and maintain their juiciness and texture.
When it comes to the cream, you totally can not use cream at all. Milk works, evaporated milk, even non-dairy options like cashew milk or almond milk are good to use here.
As for the herbs, I use Italian seasoning with some extra rosemary and thyme, especially if I have them fresh. Italian seasoning has many different herbs like marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, etc. that compliment the savory chicken soup. It's a little herb short cut I love to use when I have it.
To put this soup together, if you're using fresh chicken use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and sear them in the pan. Remove and set aside on a plate, then sauté the vegetables and herbs in a little butter or olive oil.
We'll be coating the vegetables in the fat and flour so that they make a sort of faux roux, which is what we are using to thicken up the soup and give it a velvety mouthfeel.
Pour in chicken stock, add in chicken, and uncooked wild rice, then simmer for 45 minutes until done!
What is Wild Rice?
Wild rice soups and its variations (including this one!) are attributed to Minnesota, where wild rice grows abundantly and is really popular in all types of recipes!
Wild rice isn't a rice at all! Surprise!
It's actually an aquatic long grass that has an edible grain. It has a nuttier, earthy flavor compared to conventional rice. It's heartier, and has a pleasant texture. It's perfect in this chicken and wild rice soup since it takes it a long time to overcook thanks to its rigid hull.
Wild rice can range from light brown to almost black in color and can be found in many grocery stores' rice aisles. If you can't find it at your store, don't worry I've found wild rice online. It can last for years stored in your pantry so long as it doesn't get wet.
Do you have to Cook the Rice before Adding it to the Soup?
Some recipes will have you precook the wild rice then add it to the soup. Honestly, I don't feel like having more dishes to wash and cooking the rice in the soup gives more flavor to it so that's what we're doing. It works out perfectly every time, y'all.
Freezing and Reheating Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
If you are making this soup as a freezer meal, here are some tips to make sure it comes out perfectly:
- Don't add the cream. Cream doesn't freeze well and will separate when frozen. Instead, add some cream when you reheat the soup in a saucepan.
- Undercook the wild rice a little. When you freeze the soup, the wild rice will still soak up some of the liquid while cooling and could risk overcooking when you reheat it. So undercook the soup by about 5 minutes. Reheat the soup for about 15 minutes to cook the rice through.
- Or freeze it without the rice! You can make the chicken soup without the wild rice, freeze it, and then cook the rice according to package directions when you're ready to eat some chicken and wild rice soup!
- Freeze the soup in portions. This way you'll keep the rest of the soup in safe temperatures and only eat what you plan on eating at that time. Remember, it's not recommended to freeze and heat and refreeze and reheat food.
- Swap the chicken for turkey for a perfect post-Thanksgiving bowl of soup.
- Add in whatever veggies you want to make it even more hearty. I've added spinach here, but add in mushrooms, kale, whatever you love.
- You can completely omit the cream and substitute the butter for olive oil for a dairy-free chicken and wild rice soup.
Storing your Soup
If you're making it ahead, you can keep the soup in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days before you serve it. Simply reheat it on the stove over medium heat in a saucepan, stirring every so often so the soup is evenly heated.
For leftovers, you can safely keep chicken and wild rice soup in an air tight container for up to 5 days. When frozen, it can keep for 3 months!
Love soup? Me too! Here are some soup recipes to try:
- Avgolemono Soup (Greek chicken and lemon soup)
- Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Better than Olive Garden!)
- Traditional French Onion Soup
- Chicken and Dumplings
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- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 cup yellow onion, small diced
- 1 cup celery, washed and sliced small
- 1 cup carrots, washed, peeled and small diced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme and rosemary, optional
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 chicken thighs, cooked or raw (see note)
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream/half and half or whole milk
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a 6 qt dutch oven, melt the butter over medium high heat then add the mirepoix and sauté the vegetables with a wooden spoon until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
- Then add in the kosher salt and pepper, the Italian herbs and any fresh herbs you're using, and the minced garlic. Cook for another minute, then stir in the all purpose flour and coat everything in flour, stirring and cooking for another minute or two to get rid of any raw flour taste.
- Slowly pour in the low sodium chicken broth, and stir the vegetables to help the flour dissolve into the broth. Add the chicken thighs, wild rice, bay leaves, and heavy cream then let simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes. Make sure to give everything a good stir occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom.
- After cooking, remove the bay leaves and chicken thighs. Give the thighs a rough chop with a chef's knife or shred them with two forks, then put the meat back into the pot.
- Squeeze in lemon juice, give the soup a taste, then sprinkle in some salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve hot with toasty, crusty bread or dinner rolls.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 818mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 31g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.