Iconic Minnesota Soup – Made Quick & Easy!
Here in Minnesota, chicken and wild rice soup is a low-key BIG deal. (I honestly think it’s more popular than tater tot hotdish, which definitely says something!) Whether you grew up eating chicken and wild rice soup like me or it’s new to you, this iconic Minnesota dish is total comfort food.
There are tons of chicken and wild rice soup recipes out there but my mom’s version is my go-to. Mom has a pragmatic, no-fuss approach in the kitchen that I really appreciate – you’ll see it in action in this recipe. It goes from stovetop to table in 30 minutes or less(!) thanks to shortcut ingredients like pre-cooked wild rice (more on this below) & shredded rotisserie chicken. If you have leftover chicken from a Sunday roast (or even a holiday dinner like Thanksgiving!), this recipe is a great way to use things up.
In addition to the easy, shortcut ingredients, Mom also uses rice flour as a thickener, making this quick chicken and wild rice soup naturally gluten-free. It’s a simple swap with a big impact – it eliminates the need to prep a classic roux! (ICYMI, our vegetarian wild rice soup also has a fun gluten-free thickening trick, too!) If you avoid gluten but crave a classic thick & creamy soup, this is the cozy recipe for you!
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe Highlights
This quick & easy recipe is the perfect addition to your winter soup arsenal! You’ll love it because it’s…
SIMPLE, WITH SHORTCUTS. Quickly build this easy chicken and wild rice soup in one pot using shortcuts like pre-cooked chicken & wild rice. Ready in 30 minutes for a cozy weeknight meal!
100% GLUTEN-FREE. Naturally gluten-free wild rice is the star of the show here, & Mom’s recipe uses a rice flour slurry in lieu of a traditional roux to thicken the soup, keeping things friendly for gluten-free eaters.
HEARTY & VEGGIE-LOADED! This hella creamy soup is loaded with hearty wild rice & tons of carrots, celery, onion & mushrooms. Super satisfying & feel-good, guaranteed to fill you up!
The best Minnesota comfort food! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Mom’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
This chicken wild rice soup recipe calls for a pretty standard line-up of wild rice soup ingredients. If you’re a local Minnesotan, this will all feel very familiar to you! The biggest differentiator comes from using several pre-cooked components for an extra-quick pot of soup. These shortcuts keep meal prep nice & simple to instantly satisfy comfort food cravings!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Wild rice – A Minnesota staple! Using pre-cooked rice leads to a super easy chicken and wild rice soup. Due to its long cook time, I always prep a big pot of wild rice at the beginning of winter, storing individual portions in the freezer for an easy shortcut whenever a wild rice soup, salad, or casserole craving strikes. These days, most conventional grocery stores also sell pre-cooked wild rice packets that you can quickly reheat in the microwave (look for them next to dry wild rice at the store!). More prep tips below!
- Chicken – This soup is a great way to use up chicken leftovers like shredded rotisserie or diced, pre-cooked chicken. Feel free to use a combination of chicken breasts & chicken thighs. Even leftover Thanksgiving turkey will do!
- Vegetables – Tons of carrots, celery, onion, & mushrooms make this recipe incredibly veggie-forward.
- Aromatics & seasoning – Some garlic, dried poultry seasoning, & chicken base build rich chicken and wild rice soup flavors despite a quick cooking time.
- Chicken stock – Or low-sodium chicken broth – your choice! – for the base of the soup.
- Rice flour – This simple swap for all-purpose flour helps thicken the soup while keeping things gluten-free. Be sure to use finely ground rice flour for extra-smooth results. Cornstarch is another option for gluten free soup & regular all-purpose flour works if gluten is ok with you.
- Half and half – Our choice thickener for a perfectly creamy chicken and wild rice soup. If you prefer extra-creamy, feel free to use heavy cream!
- Finishing touches – Fresh lemon juice finishes the soup with a bit of brightness, while slivered almonds add irresistible texture.
Minnesota Wild Rice
Wild rice is an aquatic grass that grows naturally in the shallow lakes of Minnesota (we have thousands of those here 😊). Indigenous tribes like the Ojibwe have been harvesting what they call manoomin (or “good berry”) for centuries.
The Ojibwe traditionally harvested wild rice using canoes to collect the grain from 12-foot stalks of grass in the lake. Indigenous people continue to play an essential role in hand-harvesting Minnesota wild rice. Eventually, it became a staple product for trading & Minnesota became the top supplier of wild rice in the world. It’s also our official state grain!
Other wild rice FAQs:
- How is wild rice different from regular rice? ⇢ Wild rice has a unique look & taste compared to plain long grain white or brown rice. The grains are nearly an inch long & have a rich, dark brown color packed with tons of nutrients. Each grain also has an outer shell (bran) that pops open as it cooks, creating a uniquely chewy, hearty texture.
- What does wild rice taste like? ⇢ Minnesota wild rice has an incredibly earthy – almost grassy – flavor & smell with a complex nuttiness we adore. It’s unique from brown rice or any other type of rice – you’ll have to try it for yourself!
- Suitable substitutes? ⇢ If wild rice isn’t readily available where you live, I’d be willing to guess that some sort of wild rice blend is! Many grocery stores carry wild rice blends consisting of a mixture of different wild rices, brown rices, & other hearty whole grains. They’ll work beautifully as a wild rice substitute for this soup recipe!
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How to Make Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (in 30 Minutes!)
Mom’s super savvy shortcuts make this one-pot meal quick & easy. There’s no time to waste when a soup craving hits on a chilly Minnesota day!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Cook the veggies & aromatics. Soften carrots, celery, onion, & mushrooms in butter or olive oil in a Dutch oven or medium saucepan, then coat them in garlic, poultry seasoning, & chicken base for extra flavor. Tip! ⇢ The veggies will take about 10 minutes to cook – the perfect window of time to multitask by shredding your chicken if you haven’t done so already!
Create a slurry. Whisk rice flour into a bit of chicken stock, until it’s nice & smooth, without any lumps or bumps. Why? ⇢ Instead of preparing a traditional roux, this rice flour slurry helps thicken the soup so it’s creamy & hearty! We use rice flour instead of all-purpose flour. We love rice flour’s velvety texture, plus it keeps this chicken wild rice soup recipe completely gluten-free.
Build the soup. Add the rice flour slurry, chicken stock, shredded chicken, cooked wild rice, & slivered almonds to the pot with the veggies then bring everything to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pre-cooked chicken & wild rice make this step SO quick & easy!
Finish with half and half & lemon. Once the chicken and wild rice soup has simmered for about 5 minutes, add the half and half & lemon. This makes a super creamy chicken and wild rice soup while balancing the rich dairy with a bit of brightness. Tip! ⇢ It’s always best to cook dairy gently, so avoid boiling the soup too intensely once you add the half & half. Once it’s warmed through you can simply turn off the heat – the soup is hot enough at this point!
Serving & Reheating
We keep serving this quick & easy chicken and wild rice soup pretty simple here at the PWWB House. I ladle the soup into cozy bowls, then top with lots of cracked black pepper & a sprinkling of fresh herbs like parsley or thyme.
We love serving this comforting soup with homemade no-knead bread slathered in butter (the only thing cozier than a pot of simmering soup on the stovetop is the smell of freshly baked bread!). A simple green side salad tossed with a bright & tangy All-Purpose Vinaigrette is also an easy, fresh add-on.
This chicken wild rice soup recipe yields a large batch, serving 10-12 generously! The good news? A pot of chicken and wild rice soup only gets better the longer its flavors sit & meld together. Store any leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop to enjoy leftovers all week long!
Wondering whether you can you freeze chicken and wild rice soup? You bet you can! This chicken and wild rice soup recipe is also great for freezer meal prep! Stock your freezer by portioning the soup into individual servings (I love using these awesome freezer containers) for an easy lunch or dinner down the road. When you’re ready to enjoy, simply thaw & reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!
I can’t wait for you to try Mom’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe! It’s so flavorful that you’d never guess how quickly it comes together. A comfort food staple at our house during the cool months – we think you’ll love it too!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
More Recipes Like This:
Easy Soup Recipes
Quick & Easy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 10–12 1x
- Category: Soup, Stew, & Chili Recipes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Here in Minnesota, chicken and wild rice soup is a low-key BIG deal. Wild rice is our official state grain, & there’s nothing we Minnesotans love more than enjoying it in a comforting casserole or cozy soup. Chicken and wild rice soup is iconic Minnesota comfort food!
There are plenty of recipes out there, but this is the one my family most often enjoys. It goes from stovetop to table in 30 minutes or less thanks to a couple of savvy shortcut ingredients:
- Shredded rotisserie chicken. Keep things quick & easy by grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the store, or make this recipe whenever you have leftovers from a Sunday roast chicken or a holiday dinner like Thanksgiving.
- Cooked wild rice. The secret to a quick wild rice soup is starting with already-cooked wild rice. There are plenty of store-bought options these days, but I often simmer a big batch at the beginning of the cold season, storing leftovers in individual freezer containers for easy grab & go prep down the road. Learn more in the Recipe Notes, below!
- Rice flour. Rather than preparing a traditional roux, this chicken wild rice soup recipe is thickened to a perfectly creamy texture with a rice flour slurry. It cuts down on cooking time, dishes to wash, and keeps this recipe naturally gluten-free! Learn more in the Recipe Notes, below!
Despite these shortcuts & a relatively quick simmer, you’ll love the rich flavor of this soup. We make it whenever we’re craving something extra cozy & comforting – & I hope you love it too! ♡
- 3 – 3 ½ cups shredded or diced chicken (approx. 1 lb chicken meat or 1 store bought rotisserie chicken)
- 3 cups cooked wild rice (see Recipe Notes)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium carrots, peeled as desired & diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms (baby bella), trimmed & sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 2 teaspoons dried poultry seasoning
- 2 teaspoons chicken base
- ½ cup rice flour (see Recipe Notes)
- 4 cups chicken broth or stock, divided
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 3 cups half & half
- ½ lemon, juiced
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Soften the veggies: Add the butter to a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (at least 5-qt capacity) over medium heat. Once melted, add in the carrot, celery, onion, & mushroom. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies have softened slightly, 6-8 minutes. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to shred or dice the cooked chicken.
- Cook the aromatics: Add the garlic, dried poultry seasoning, & chicken base to the pot, stirring to coat the softened veggies. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Build the chicken & wild rice soup: Create a slurry by whisking the rice flour into 1 cup of the chicken stock – be sure to whisk very well to eliminate any lumps or bumps. Pour the chicken stock & the rice flour slurry into the pot. Cook, stirring often, until the stock thickens, 2-3 minutes. Stir the shredded/diced chicken, wild rice, & slivered almonds into the soup. Increase heat to medium-high to bring the soup to a steady simmer, then cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to bring the flavors together.
- Finish the soup: Stir the half & half into the soup, cooking for about 5 minutes more to ensure it’s warmed through without boiling it. Turn off the heat & stir in the lemon juice. Taste & season with additional salt & ground pepper as needed.
- Serve: Portion the chicken and wild rice soup into soup bowls, topping with finely chopped fresh herbs or freshly cracked black pepper as desired. Enjoy!
- Ingredient Notes:
- Wild rice: Using pre-cooked wild rice is secret to making this recipe quick & easy. There are a few different options, based on your preferences. You can use a packet of cooked wild rice, which are often sold near dry & minute rice varieties in the rice & grains aisle, & simply reheat it in the microwave according to package directions. Second, if you enjoy wild rice recipes, you can also cook up a big batch of wild rice at the beginning of soup season & store it in the freezer for later use – this is my preferred method. I rinse the dry wild rice well, then add it to 6 cups of boiling chicken stock (or water, or vegetable stock) with a few bay leaves. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender, about 45-55 minutes. Drain, cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or portion into smaller freezer containers & freeze up to 3 months. 1 cup dry rice yields 3-4 cups cooked wild rice.
- Rice flour: Rather than creating a roux with all-purpose flour, the use of a rice flour slurry keeps this wild rice soup recipe entirely gluten-free. For smooth & creamy results, be sure to use finely ground rice flour (vs a more coarsely textured “stone-ground”) – this is the rice flour we always use. If you do not keep rice flour on hand, you can create a similar slurry using 3-4 tablespoons cornstarch OR an equal amount of all-purpose flour (not gluten-free).
- Storage & Freezing:
- Storage & Reheating: This quick chicken wild rice soup is incredibly meal prep & make-ahead friendly – it stores so well & it’s one of those things that gets even better as it sits & its flavors meld together. Cool leftover chicken wild rice soup completely, then transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.
- Freezer Instructions: This chicken wild rice soup is also incredibly freezer-friendly. Transfer the cooled soup to a freezer container or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions – Souper Cubes are our favorite! – & freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen chicken wild rice soup in the refrigerator overnight or submerge the freezer container in room temperature water for a quicker thaw. Easily reheat on the stovetop.
- 20-Minute Meal Prep: With the wild rice cooked, all of the prep work involved in this recipe is shredding cooked chicken & chopping the veggies. Take care of this in advance, storing in airtight containers in the refrigerator & when you’re ready to prep your soup, all you have to do is get cooking – seriously so easy!
- Chicken Prep: Dice or shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (10 minutes active prep)
- Veggie Prep: Dice 1 medium yellow onion, 3 medium carrots (peel as desired), & 3 stalks celery. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (10 minutes active prep)
Keywords: Minnesota wild rice soup, chicken and wild rice soup recipe, chicken wild rice soup, cozy winter soup recipe
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.
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We’re Minnesotans so we have to make wild rice soup a few times during the cold winter months. My hubby says this is his favorite. I used previously cooked chicken breasts and happened to have heavy whipped cream on hand so I diluted it with milk. The sautéed veggies and seasonings added even more deliciousness. Obviously we’ll be enjoying this one again!
Thanks so much LaVonne! We totally agree, it’s a winter must-have soup! 🙂