We don't all live near a Panera but we can enjoy this quick, easy, and creamy Panera chicken and wild rice soup recipe anytime we like! Panera's chicken and wild rice soup has a comforting, creamy chicken stock base. Chunks of chicken and the slightly nutty flavor and texture of wild rice make this my favorite chicken soup ever.
Top 3 Reasons To Make This Soup
Creamy and comforting, chicken and wild rice soup is a family favorite any time of year. Here are the top 3 reasons this is one of my favorite soups.
- Wholesome and easy to find ingredients.
- Fast and simple classic Panera soup recipe.
- All natural flavor from real chicken and stock.
This was inspired by my Homemade Panera Corn Chowder Recipe. (I think Panera Bread does a great job of their soups.) For more creamy soups, try my Vegan Potato Leek Soup, Creamy Hazelnut Soup or go to South East Asia with my personal fave, Easy Laksa Paste And Snapper Laksa.
I bet you already have almost everything you need for this recipe. Cream and wild rice are the 2 ingredients I don't always have but they are always available at the little grocery store down the road. Oh, and don't forget the most important ingredient for the best soup, love.
- Chicken - Any boneless, skinless cooked chicken works well in this creamy soup. It's a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken or even roast turkey the next day. Light chicken breast meat, darker thigh meat or a mixture picked off a whole roast chicken all taste great in this recipe. If you plan to let it simmer longer, I recommend using chicken thigh meat.
- Wild Rice Blend - I've used Lundberg brand wild rice mix but you can use any you like. It is a blend of wild rice, long grain rice and some others. Uncle Ben's brand is also a good choice. Wild rice is not technically rice, but the grain produced by Zizania grasses. It is lower in calories and higher protein than real rice. Read more about wild rice here.
- Cream - Dairy half and half, aka coffee cream is what this recipe calls for. For a thicker, richer soup you can substitute heavy cream. To make this a dairy-free soup, you can use your favorite non-dairy, unsweetened cream.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Video
Step 1. On your stovetop, heat oil to medium in a large pot. Add diced carrots, celery, and onion.
Step 2. Sauté for about 3 minutes, until vegetables have begun to soften and turn translucent.
Step 3. Stir in rice, garlic, thyme, oregano, and chicken broth powder.
Step 4. Add minced garlic, and sauté for 1 more minute.
Step 5. Stir in flour until evenly mixed through vegetables.
Step 6. Pour chicken broth into veggie and rice mixture and stir well to combine flour.
Step 7. Cover and heat to simmering. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test rice, if it isn't finished, simmer 5 more minutes.
Step 8. Stir in chicken.
Step 9. Add half and half cream and ground black pepper.
Step 10. Mix well and return to a simmer. Simmer gently until rice is tender, and soup has thickened, about 5-8 more minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Pour soup in to bowls. (Prewarm them in the oven or with warm water if it's a really cold day.) Garnish as desired with finely chopped parsley or chives and serve hot.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 3 days. Reheat on medium-low on stovetop or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until hot. Add extra water or milk if it's gotten to thick.
Serve up Panera Bread soups with your favorite crusty bread, biscuits or crackers. Or for an extra special presentation, serve it up in a bread bowls.
This is one of the most craveable meals during soup season. Copycat Panera chicken and wild rice soup makes a quick meal on it's own or pair it up with a tasty side. The fresh, slightly sweet and tangy flavors of Apple Walnut Salad or Apple Kale Slaw go particularly well with this as does Fast and Easy Rosemary No Knead Bread.
Panera bread creamy chicken & wild rice soup works equally well with chicken breasts or the dark meat of chicken thighs.
If you are using white meat chicken, don't cook it for longer than directed or you'll risk the chicken tasting dry. If you want your soup to simmer for a long time, using thigh meat will ensure tender, moist chicken whenever you decide to eat it.
Yes, this version of copycat version of Panera Bread creamy chicken & wild rice soup can easily be made gluten-free. Omit the wheat flour and use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in it's place and finish recipe as written. (Be sure your chicken bouillon is also gf.)
Cooked as directed and served shortly after, this will cook the rice perfectly. Storing cooked soup with rice will make the rice soggy and the soup much thicker. If you want to make the soup ahead of time, cook the 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of the chicken stock from the recipe and store separately. When ready to serve, add the rice and reheat slowly, stirring until hot and bubbling gently.
Yes. Any rice can be used for this delicious soup. Panera's version uses the wild rice mix but brown or white rice work well too. If using another type of rice, simmer soup until the rice is cooked before adding the chicken and cream.
Brown rice takes longer so ensure the lid is on while cooking. Add an extra ½-1 cup of water if you find the soup is reducing too much.
For more soup recipes, check out these winter warmers. Find the perfect soup for any time of day.
Cheers friends! Sabrina
Quick And Easy Panera Chicken And Wild Rice Soup
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ cup Carrots, diced
- ½ cup Celery, diced
- 1 Yellow Onion, diced (Approx. 1-½ cups of chopped onion)
- 1 c Wild Rice Mix (I used this one)
- ¼ teaspoon Dry Thyme
- ½ teaspoon Dry Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Chicken Bouillon Powder or 1 bouillon cube
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced about 3 cloves
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ cups Cooked Chicken, chopped White or dark meat work equally well.
- 2 cup Half and Half Cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste I use ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper, salt will depend on how salty your broth is.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add diced carrots, celery, and onion.
- Sauté for about 3 minutes, until vegetables have begun to soften and turn translucent.
- Stir in rice, garlic, thyme, oregano, and chicken broth powder, and sauté for 1 more minute. Stir in flour until evenly mixed through vegetables.
- Pour chicken broth into veggie and rice mixture and stir well to combine flour.
- Cover and heat to simmering. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in chicken. Add half and half cream and ground pepper. Mix well and return to a simmer. Simmer gently until rice is tender, and soup has thickened, about 5-8 more minutes.
- Serve hot with your favorite crackers, biscuits or bread and garnish as desired with finely chopped parsley or chives.