Best Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Tell me! I wanna know what you wish was simmering on your stove right now. Is it soup? Perhaps it’s water for tea someone will bring with macaroons while you search for the best soup recipes? We can dream scenarios like nobody’s business, right? Nonetheless, the only thing I’ve been served here in Minnesota might be our last warm day until March, maybe? 🥶 And while I’m struggling to let go of the season with open window breezes in my kitchen or office, I will persevere by taking hold of soup season and comfort food like this gluten-free apple crumble I made last month. Making recipes like my best chicken and wild rice soup is helping me shift from white-knuckling my way through to full-on acceptance. Are you with me? 

Gray stone bowl with golden colored  chicken and wild rice soup being scooped with gold spoon, next to beach wood container of Himalayan salt on a marble surface.

Before you think that soup must be hard to taste good or full of steps and long simmers, skip to the end and start with the FAQ or see the table of contents next for all the shortcuts. Calling this recipe the best is not me trying for a not-so-humble-brag. It’s the best for many reasons that aren’t about me. It’s super satisfying and complex in flavor, so much so that it might surprise you. There’s a really delicious way I make it for my clients (and us at home) to provide my version of a nourishing, tasty, and beneficial broth. However, this recipe is like a reversible coat with an extra liner. Are there good options for this soup recipe based on mood, capacity, and need? The answer is always yes. 

A gold spoon with a bite of chicken and wild rice soup, carrots, celery and broth over bowl of soup on a marble table with dish of salt nearby.

I thrive off options and love them because different seasons call for different strategies. But I get it– I’ve been throwing things in a pot since I acted out Stone Soup in elementary school. Does anybody else LOVE this story or have an early affection for it? I adore children’s books and making food with kids.

Book called Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Every time I make this broth, I think of this story because there’s magic in putting unpeeled carrots, parsnips, chicken bones, herbs, onions, garlic, and water in a pot (no stones) and walking away. If you have a child around, chopping carrots or simply being the one to dump all the ingredients in a pot will put a smile on their face. Grab this classic gem and Caldecott Honor Book illustrated by Marcia Brown, and make it extra special!

pot of onions, carrots, chicken, parsnip, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and thyme sitting on marble counter next to mason jar of herbs.

When making my own broth, I usually make my Instant Pot Bone Broth just as the instructions say. If I’ve saved up any bones from roasted chicken in the fridge or freezer, I’ll also throw those in the instant pot as well. Or when the cycle is finished, I’ll transport the finished broth to the stovetop, add the extra bones, and let it simmer longer, crushing down the soft vegetables and adding water about 1/2 cup at a time if needed as you let it rumble.

While I think this homemade broth is the base that makes this soup extra special, and I hope you try it at least once when you have time, here are some great shortcuts for this soup in a pinch. Keep reading for all the ways!

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How to make the best chicken and wild rice soup with extra time:

  1. Make my Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth or the stovetop version. It takes 5 minutes of active time and up to 2 hours of passive time using the Instant Pot and at least 4-6 hours the stovetop way.
  2. Roasted chicken – takes 5 minutes to prep and 1 1/2 hours to cook and cool + 5 more to skin and debone – see the recipe below for chicken and follow the rest of the instructions to finish.
  3. Prep wild rice (See notes in recipe about this rice from Red Lake Nation Foods!), vegetables, broth, and chicken ahead of time and throw them together in 15 minutes the day of eating, or prepare parts over 2 hours with a lot of inactive time.
Chopped onions, celery, and carrots on a cutting board for the best chicken and wild rice soup.

How to make the best chicken and wild rice soup when you want a shortcut:

  1. Make homemade broth but store-buy everything else, or vice versa by making homemade rice and roasted chicken but buying store-bought broth.
  2. Prep ahead – wild rice, chopped vegetables, and roasted chicken for a 15-minute weeknight dinner. Whenever I prep like this, it’s like a gift to my future self. If want more prep ideas, be sure to get on my email list, I’ll send you my top 3 meal preps + 9 ways to eat them!

How to make the best chicken and wild rice soup in the quickest way possible:

  1. Instead of making homemade broth, try store-bought broth – Pacific Chicken Broth. I buy this at Whole Foods or Thrive, and it’s 100% gluten-free. While it’s 2nd best to homemade, it does not disappoint.
  2. Replace roasted chicken with rotisserie chicken – skin and debone chicken from bones and add the desired amount to the soup.
  3. Buy any pre-made wild rice blend – frozen, vacuum packed, or substitute noodles for chicken noodle soup when you don’t have the time to make wild rice.
Pacific Foods organic free range chicken broth label

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup: Frequently Asked Questions

Should I cook wild rice in broth or water when making soup? 

I like to cook the wild rice separately because it takes about 50 minutes for the wild rice to cook and pop open. If you use the broth, it will cook down the liquid for your soup. I like the rice to soak in broth flavor so let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you want something to cook in your broth, try noodles instead.

Can I cook raw chicken in soup broth? 

If you are using raw deboned and skinned chicken thighs or breasts, add to simmering broth and vegetables before adding your rice. You can add them in large chunks or whole pieces and simmer the meat until cooked, about 10-12 minutes for an entire chicken breast and 6-8 for a smaller boneless chicken thigh. Remove meat with a fork, chop or shred, and return to soup. Continue with soup additions!

Can I prep chicken and wild rice soup ahead of time?

Prepping the ingredients ahead of time is my favorite way to make this soup. Broth, chicken, wild rice, and vegetables can all be prepared and stored covered in the fridge. The final steps to making this soup will take 15 minutes and make for a perfect weeknight dinner!

How do I make store-bought broth taste as good as homemade broth when making soup?

An excellent organic chicken broth or stock usually does the trick. When I use store-bought broth, I sometimes add garlic, extra chopped vegetable, and fresh or dried herbs like parsley, thyme, or dill. In addition, cooking chicken in the broth will add flavor, as mentioned in the above question. Don’t forget to taste before over-salting because store-bought broth can be high in sodium.

How long does chicken and wild rice soup last?  

I would eat or move this prepared soup to the freezer within three days. If you leave the parts prepped but not combined, you can refrigerate the elements for up to five days.

Can chicken and wild rice soup be frozen?

Yes! You can freeze this soup just like you freeze broth. If you put it in a mason jar, leave at least 1-inch of space from the top because liquid expands when it freezes, and your jar can break. You can also freeze soup in a large freezer-safe bag with as much air removed before sealing, leaving some room at the top. Follow this pattern when freezing soup: cool broth until room temperature, refrigerate overnight, and then freeze for 4-6 months.

Can I freeze wild rice?

Yes, you can. Make more wild rice than necessary, and freeze what you don’t use for next time! You can freeze wild rice for roughly six months.

How do I make this chicken and wild rice soup most often? Let’s make it!

Best Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This homemade soup with delicious broth, wild rice, tender chicken, and delicious vegetables is one of our family's favorite soup combinations. This non-dairy comfort food in a bowl is complex in flavor and tastes as delicious or better when you make it ahead. Enjoy!
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spoon scooping out of a bowl of wild rice chicken soup with kale
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Chicken prep:1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time:2 hours 15 minutes


Roasting Chicken Ingredients

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or more as needed for sautéing onions, carrots, and celery
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion, small diced
  • 4 medium carrots peeled, halved lengthwise, and chopped into half moons
  • 2 medium-large stalks of celery washed, halved lengthwise, and small diced
  • 6 oz dry wild rice *See notes below!
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh herbs like parsley and thyme

Optional Ingredient

  • 1-2 cups kale cut into fine ribbons


Roasting Chicken Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan with sides and roll chicken breasts around in the oil using your hands to rub it all over the meat.
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and again rub it into the chicken on all sides.
  • Roast chicken for 40-45 minutes. Check the temperature of each piece in the thickest part of the meat. If the temp is between 155°-160°, it's ready and will continue to rise in temperature as it rests.
    chicken breasts with skin on and bone in roasting on a pan with salt and pepper sprinkled
  • Let chicken cool to the touch, remove skin and bones and save. Trim anything you need to as you shred or chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. (Save skin and bones or pieces you remove in a freezer bag for your next broth!)

Wild Rice Instructions

  • Add 6 oz of dry wild rice to about 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, partially cover, and simmer the rice for about 50 minutes. If using a different rice amount, reduce water as needed, or cook according to packaged directions.
  • Drain wild rice and let rest until broth is ready.

Soup Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large stock pan over medium to high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Stir to coat all vegetables with oil.
  • Sauté vegetables uncovered for about 1 minute, then turn heat to medium and cover for 8 minutes. Check halfway through and stir, adding a drizzle of oil if dry or vegetables are getting browned. Cook until lightly softened and onions are translucent.
  • Add 8-10 cups of chicken broth to the onion mixture.
  • Add 3 cups of wild rice, at least 2 cups of chicken pieces but more if desired, and chopped herbs. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Taste soup and vegetables to see if more time is needed, and adjust seasoning with added salt or pepper. Lastly, add kale ribbons and let simmer for 1-2 minutes util wilted. Cool soup slightly and serve!
  • If adding kale, sprinkle in the ribbons and let simmer for 1-2 minutes until wilted. Cool soup slightly and serve!


8-quart stockpot
1 8-quart stockpot This All-Clad piece can be a stockpot and a roaster. It heats evenly and can withstand high heat.
12-Quart Stockpot
1 12-Quart Stockpot I have both stockpots with very different price points. Both are good for stock and soup making. This one can burn more easily, so watch the onions sautéing, but it's great for long simmers, and I wouldn't trade it for the usefulness of having a large pot in my kitchen.

This post contains affiliate links to products I know and love. I recommend any of them for this recipe!


*Red Lake Nation Wild Rice is cultivated on Red Lake Farms in Northern Minnesota. It’s distributed by Red Lake Nation Foods, owned by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of the Red Lake Nations. It is the most delicious wild rice I’ve ever had and contributes to the earthy goodness of this nourishing soup. I find it locally at Whole Foods and co-ops throughout Minneapolis. You can read about how Chippewa tribal leadership courageously hung onto this portion of the lower and upper Red Lakes. Today, they share their cultural heritage with us as they are the only American Indian tribe that grows and harvests wild rice. ❤️


Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 940mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5381IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings :8
Author: Heather Bursch
cost: $35-40
Keywords: chicken and wild rice soup, chicken broth, fall foods, Minnestoa wild rice, roasted chicken, soup, soup season, wild rice, winter foods
Did you make it? Mention @heatherbursch or tag #shemadeit so we can admire your work!

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Last Updated on November 3, 2022 by Heather Bursch

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