Try this wholesome chicken and wild rice soup on any dreary fall or winter day! A nourishing twist on a classic soup.
Hi there! My name is Chantal, and I’m the owner of this little corner of the internet.
I’m a mom, certified personal trainer, and constantly struggling with my nutrition. (There, I said it.)
Personally, I find it hard to track every morsel that I consume. I also struggle with emotional eating, and have to constantly dodge tempting sugar and refined carbs. Another thing that I struggle with is cooking food that my family will actually eat while knowing that we could all improve our nutrition.
So many times I want to make something healthier, but my family doesn’t always think healthy food is appetizing. (I have a three year-old, a seven year-old, and a husband who eats like a nine year-old.)
P.S. You are always welcome to scroll down and “skip to the recipe.” However, I find that the best tips and tricks are in the stories behind a recipe! Back to the story!
As such, it has been my goal to meet everyone’s needs somewhere in the middle. I have taken it upon myself to try to make delicious food that’s actually wholesome and nourishing.
Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.
It’s often just a matter of simplifying. (Like eating grilled chicken with steamed veggies.) But other times, it’s a matter of making very small tweaks to a classic comfort food.
And I’ll admit, I am not a bad cook, but I don’t always have the motivation to do it. Sometimes, cooking a good dinner that everyone will eat feels like an overwhelming task. It doesn’t always feel natural or easy, and too many instructions make me feel, “blah.”
However, I am pretty good at making soup.
This time of year, I always want soup.
I am good enough at making soup that by now, I don’t follow any instructions. I don’t measure things, though I do have a good guestimate of everything in my head. That is what happens after years and years of cooking for your family. (With many mistakes, like super salty and burnt meals in the mix!)
By now, I have been dubbed the “soup master” of my family.
I was tasked with making the crowd-favorite chicken noodle soup into something just a little healthier, and this chicken and wild rice soup is the result!
And really, this wholesome chicken and wild rice soup recipe might just be a winner.
Really, it might actually be better than soup with noodles. 🙂
Not to mention that wild rice is better for you than egg noodles or most other types of noodles! (Hello, whole grains!)
Related Reading: What Are Carbohydrates? The Low-Down On Carbs
Anyway, before I share this delicious chicken and wild rice soup recipe with you all, I have a few notes. If you aren’t well-learned in the world of soup making, you might want to read them. Otherwise, it’s all quite simple.
And I love this recipe because there is no need for a separate saucepan or extra gadgets – the only thing you need is a good soup pot!
Tips for The Best Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
First of all, you should know that I am not a skilled photographer. My pictures do not do this soup justice. I am also a poor planner when it comes to taking pictures of my recipes. I made this recipe last night, so there was no chance of good pictures then. (It was dark.)
When I decided to take photos the next day, the soup had already sat (which changes the vibrancy of the colors a bit) and I only had my old phone. So, these pictures are not as beautiful as I would like them to be.
But this soup is delicious.
You will just have to trust me on that.
Next, you should know that I believe in onion and garlic 100%. ONE HUNDO.
Meaning, I have never really heard of too much onion and garlic, but I do have some suggestions. If you don’t like onion chunks (my husband doesn’t) but appreciate the flavor, just put some BIG chunks in. To get that flavor, I don’t chop the onion up – I just peel off entire layers and put them in. This makes it easy to pull them out whole later.
You can do the same thing with garlic – just put whole cloves in and fish them out later. Either way, you do not want to skip either of these ingredients for the best flavor for your chicken and wild rice soup. (The same goes for the bay leaf. Bay leaves are non-negotiable!)
A few more things – if you are short on time, you can always boil some chicken the day before. Then you can just shred and go when you’re ready to make the soup. (I use chicken breasts, but chicken thighs could work too.)
Next, remember that cooking wild rice and brown rice will take longer than cooking noodles. So if you think that you will be making soup in 20 minutes, you are wrong. If you’re making this from scratch and your rice isn’t cooked, this soup can take about an hour to make.
Another thing – I do not use heavy cream or olive oil in this soup (more fat), but you can! This can be a really creamy soup without any of that.
Last, but certainly not least – your chicken stock matters. I don’t care what anyone says. Not all chicken broth is created equal! If you have homemade chicken broth, I am sure that it is amazing. But if you are going with a store-bought chicken base or broth, I implore you to use Better Than Bouillon.
I absolutely swear by this stuff. The flavor is just so much better – it’s rich and delicious. You are welcome to try other bases, but I am tell you that Better Than Bouillon (chicken flavor, of course) is going to be a game-changer for your soups. They even make low-sodium and organic varieties.
So, there’s that. (Heed my soup-queen tips!) If you want the best soup, keep these things in mind. Onto the recipe, friends!
Scroll down further for the printable recipe card.
Wholesome Chicken And Wild Rice Soup
With it’s delicious creamy broth and wholesome veggies, this hearty soup is easily one of my favorite recipes!
3-4 chicken breasts
12-16 cups of water, add more as needed
3-4 whole carrots
3-4 celery stalks
2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon, chicken flavor
1-2 T. minced garlic, or 2 garlic gloves
1 bay leaf
2 cups of wild rice (I used a wild rice blend from Bob’s Red Mill)
Garlic powder or salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Oregano to taste
Chicken Wild Rice Soup Instructions
Fill a large pot with water. I start with about 12 cups – you can always add more later. Immediately stir in chicken paste. (This assumes you are following the recipe exactly and not using premixed chicken broth.)
While bringing the broth base to a boil, prepare onion and garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf to the pot. You can also add garlic powder, oregano, and black pepper at this time. When the base reaches a boil, add the chicken breast and stir. While waiting for the chicken to cook, chop the carrots and celery into small chunks. I just chop them any old way depending on the size of the carrots and celery sticks. Set them aside until the chicken has been cooking for at least 10 minutes.
Next, you will add your wild rice and/or brown rice. (I used uncooked rice from Bob’s Red Mill, pictured above.) Since whole grain rice takes longer to cook than white rice or noodles, it is important that you remember to add the rice sooner-than-later.
At this point, you can either wing it or set a timer for about 30 minutes. (For the rice.) Next, depending on how soft you like your carrots and celery, add them in! If you like them super cooked, go ahead and add them after the rice. To keep them on the crispier side, hold off another ten minutes or so.
If, at any given point, the water seems to be getting low, simply add a few more cups. We will adjust the flavor in the last few steps.
Next up is checking to see if your chicken breast is cooked. This isn’t an exact art, but you’ll be shredding your chicken by the muscle grain, so more cooked is better. I simply fish out each chicken breast, check for doneness, and pull apart with a fork. Once that is done, the chicken goes back in to keep cooking. (So if your chicken isn’t super cooked yet, it’s okay.)
After you have returned all of the shredded chicken back to the pot, continue to simmer until the rice is done. (Anywhere from another 20 to 30 minutes.) The last step is to taste and adjust as necessary. I sometimes add a little bit of garlic salt, more pepper, or mix in a tiny bit more chicken base.
Just try a spoonful of soup and see what you think it needs. Usually, it only needs a minor tweak. If your rice is still super chewy, it may need a few more minutes.
Related Reading: Beginner Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread Recipe
Last up – remove any unwanted onion or garlic pieces. Finally, serve warm with some yummy dinner rolls or whole grain crackers. Yum!
That’s it ladies and gents! Easy peasy chicken soup – and the best part is that it only requires one big pot! (I suppose you could use a Dutch oven or Instant Pot, too.) It’s seriously a great soup with amazing flavor, despite how simple it really is.
I hope that your whole family enjoys this delicious soup – it is truly perfect for a cold day! Now it’s your turn – what is your favorite comforting soup for this time of year? I’d love to know your go-to for cold winter days.
Recipe Card For Easy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Wholesome Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Try this wholesome chicken and wild rice soup recipe on any dreary fall or winter day. It is sure to nourish and comfort - and it's easy!
- 4 chicken breasts thawed
- 12-16 cups water
- 3-4 large carrots peeled & washed
- 3-4 celery stalks washed
- 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon chicken flavor
- 1-2 T minced garlic
- 2 cups wild rice
- 1 medium onion
- garlic powder to taste
- black pepper to taste
- dried oregano to taste
Fill a large pot with 12-16 cups of water. Stir in chicken paste/base.
Add in onion and garlic. Stir.
Add in black pepper, oregano and bay leaf.
When the soup base reaches a boil, add raw chicken.
As the chicken cooks, chop carrots and celery.
After about 10 minutes, add wild rice.
Continue to simmer for several minutes before adding celery and carrots.
Check chicken for doneness. If chicken is white all the way through, pull apart with a fork and return to the pot.
Continue to simmer until rice is fully cooked, approximately 20 additional minutes.
Add additional pepper, garlic, paste, or salt to taste.
If desired, remove bay leaf and large pieces of onion and garlic.
Serve with some dinner rolls or homemade bread and enjoy!
This chicken and wild rice soup recipe is easily tailored to your taste, and it's really hard to mess up! When in doubt, start with less chicken paste / salt. You can always add more later.