During the colder months, I am always looking for ways to find shortcuts for putting dinner on the table fast. Today’s recipe, Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, is my current favorite meal-worthy soup to make when I am short on time.
Made with store-bought rotisserie chicken and leftover cooked wild rice (from all the testing I did for the post I wrote on How To Cook Wild Rice), it comes together in less than 45 minutes. To cut down on the calories and make it a tidbit healthier, I used milk instead of cream.
Ingredients For Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Mirepoix & garlic: As in most soup recipes, you will need chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic.
- Seasoning and herbs: Salt & Pepper and fresh thyme
- Chicken Stock & water: You can use homemade chicken stock or store-bought. I used a combination of chicken stock and water to make it on the lighter side but you can use all chicken stock if you prefer.
- Flour & Milk: Whole milk and all purpose flour to make it creamy without using cream.
- Cooked Wild Rice: I usually cook wild rice on the stove top or put my Instant pot to use. Wild rice in pressure cooker is just as good when/if you want to include cooked wild rice in your meal prep.
- Rotisserie Chicken or leftover chicken: You can get store bought rotisserie chicken or use leftover chicken.
- Last minute additions & garnish: Squeeze of lemon juice and fresh Italian parsley.
How To Make Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe:
The process of making this lightened up and healthy wild rice soup recipe has 5 folds:
- Sautee the aromatics: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add in the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Pour in the liquid: Add in the chicken stock and water and bring it to a boil.
- Make the roux: Ladle a cup of hot liquid from the pot into the bowl. Add the milk into the bowl. Give it a whisk until smooth and no lumps left. Pour the mixture into the pot.
- Add the chicken and rice: Add the cubed (or shredded chicken) and cooked wild rice into the pot. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes (stirring it every few minutes) or until it starts to thicken.
- Garnish & Serve: Squeeze in two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
- Serve: Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty No Knead Bread.
What If I want to make it from scratch?
If you have no time restrictions and want to make this low calorie chicken wild rice soup from raw chicken and uncooked wild rice, you can add cubed raw thighs (and/or breasts) to the stock right after you poured it into the pot.
You can cook the wild rice in the same pot, but I recommend cooking it in another one as it takes longer to cook. Once your wild rice is ready, just add it to the soup at the last minute.
Alternatively, you can make this healthy wild rice soup in a pressure cooker in the same amount of time. If you prefer using that method, check out my Instant Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup recipe.
Can you freeze Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup?
Yes, you can. I usually make a big batch, let it come to room temperature, place small portions in airtight containers (or even freezer bags), and freeze up to 6 months.
A day before I am ready to serve it, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight and warm it up right before serving.
A Few Variation Ideas:
- Make it with leftover turkey: Try this soup with turkey meat. Last year after Thanksgiving, I made this soup using leftover turkey and it was great.
- Add in mushrooms: Try adding a cup of cremini mushrooms into the soup. My husband is not a big fan of mushrooms so I didn’t add them in, but I am sure it would be an incredible addition. If you decide to do so, add them in at the same time with onion, celery, and carrots.
If You Liked this Chicken Wild Rice Soup You Might Also Like:
If you love this Panera bread style healthy wild rice soup recipe, here are a few other chicken soup recipes you might also like:
- Healthy White Chicken Chili
- Easy Chicken Chili recipe
- Crockpot Chicken Tomatillo Soup
- Chicken Veggie Soup
And if you have turkey meat instead, you can also want to try a Peruvian Aguadito de Pavo- Peruvian Turkey Soup
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into small pieces
- 3 stalks of celery cut into small pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 5 cups of store-bought low sodium or homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups cooked chicken cut into small chunks (I used 1 small rotisserie chicken)
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley more as garnish
- Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium high heat. Add in the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring regularly, until softened, 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the thyme, salt and pepper.
- Pour in the chicken stock and water. Put the lid on and bring it to a boil.
- Place the flour into a medium bowl. Ladle a cup of hot liquid from the pot into the bowl. Add the milk into the bowl. Give it a whisk until no lumps left. Pour the mixture into the pot.
- Add in the chicken and wild rice. Bring the soup to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Give it a stir every 5 minutes or so. It should thicken as it cooks. If you want it to be thicker let it simmer until it is as thick as you want.
- Stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley.
- Ladle into bowls, garnish with more parsley, and serve immediately.
I have tried several chicken soup recipes in the past but this is the very best. It is just the right amount of creamy, lower in calories and oh so yummy. I just discovered your site and will certainly be back.
This is music to my ears. Thanks Jan.
Happy to hear that you enjoyed it.
So perfect for our chilly evenings- we love this one!
Thanks so much Lori. So glad you liked it.
Even though this was “lightened” up, it still was so rich and full of flavor. Loved this soup!
YAY! So happy that you liked it Stephanie. 🙂
I loved how creamy it was!
Oh great to hear. Thanks Toni.
This soup really hit the spot we LOVED it!
Thanks for letting me know Melissa.
So good! It was a perfect meal for warming up today!
So happy to hear that Jennifer. Thanks for stopping by.
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes
This is definitely delicious and love the milk in place of cream!
I know, right? It is always good to cut down on calories.
Chicken wild rice soup is one of my very favorite ways to stay warm during the winter months. Beautiful recipe!
Exactly. Thank you Brenda!
This was perfect when we had a cold icy day! I loved that it was a lightened up recipe–so yummy!
So happy you liked it Liz. Thanks for stopping by.
Made this today to take to 2 friends who are laid up for awhile. Good instructions and glad to know it freezes well. So if either of these women has an over abundance of meals brought to them they can enjoy it later on.
Thank you for the easy to follow directions and good photos. I was pleased to see you live in Manchester, VT. I grew up in Woodstock and have lived in a lot of wonderful places but now we have made our retirement home in Montana.
This chicken and wild rice soup is my go-to soup when I feel like I need to feel warm and fed. I am sure you know what I mean by that since you lived in VT. Winters here are so SO brutal.
Is Montana as cold as VT?
Thanks so much for coming back and taking the time to leave a comment about your experience with this recipe. It means so much to me.
The one tablespoon thyme. Is that fresh or dried?
I used fresh in this recipe, but you can use both.
I hope this helps.
This looks so comforting! Perfect way to include wild rice in our diet! Although it’s getting warmer here, I need to give this a try because I always have a craving for a yummy soup like this one. Love that you use whole milk instead of heavy cream. That’s what I do for creamy soups as well.
Thank you Zerrin. I try to use heavy cream as less as possible. Unless of course, I am making ice cream :)) You will love this soup. 🙂
Whole milk instead of cream sounds good to me! I’d rather eat ice cream if I’m going to be having cream. 🙂 Always enjoy watching your videos, and loved the snappy music to go along with it. Wild rice soup always seems like such a classy choice to me, and your version looks absolutely perfect. It’s so wonderful to hear that you are continuing to enjoy your book group. What a wonderful way to connect with people and build real life connections!
Same here. Heavy cream is delicious, but it is good to lighten up weeknight dishes. 🙂
Thanks so much for always being so supportive and kind. Videos are a lot of work, but I love making them.
Hope all is well. Sending you warm hugs.
I haven’t had wild rice in a long time; and seeing this recipe makes me want to eat wild rice again.
Speaking of which, could I use a plant based milk instead of whole milk (I’m gluten and lactose intolerant), and can I omit the all-purpose flour when making this recipe?
I have read in a few websites that you can use almond milk, but to be honest I have never tried it myself. I assume if you were to use unsweetened almond milk it should be fine. About your question on all-purpose flour: If you do not use it then your soup will not thicken as much. There are a few ways you can thicken your soup without using flour and milk. Though before I list them, please know that the result (and the look of your soup) might not be like mine, but I would assume they would still work.
1. Omit flour and milk altogether, process 2 cups of the soup in a food processor and then transfer it back into the soup. The blended part will be thicker and will make the soup a little bit thicker.
2. Some people use a few slices of their favorite bread to thicken their soups. If you are following a gluten-free diet, then you can use GF bread. Simply blend some of the hot liquid of the soup in a blender (or food processor) with some bread and then add that back into the soup.
Like I mentioned earlier, they might not exactly look the same, but your soup would be thicker. If none of these work for you, cook it longer (45-50 minutes). This way most of the liquid will evaporate and you’ll be left with a thicker soup.
Hope this helps.