Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (Panera Copycat)

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A bowl of creamy chicken and wild rice soup, warm and steaming while the world is cold outside… is there anything more cozy?? The thick, creamy broth tastes just like Panera chicken and wild rice soup, and the carrots, celery, onions, and fresh herbs are so refreshing and rejuvenating. Just one spoonful and you’ll feel ready to take on the world — or at least a second helping!

Titled Image: Panera Copycat Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


 

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Panera cream of chicken and wild rice soup contains veggies, grains, and protein. It’s a whole course on its own! 

Of course, if you want to serve it with some bread to scoop up that thick, creamy broth, I certainly won’t stop you.

Rice is such an easy, inexpensive ingredient you can use to bulk up any meal — especially those with lots of sauce, broth, or veggies. 

My taco rice casserole and crockpot chicken and rice are two more of my favorite filling and easy weeknight recipes!

ingredients for chicken and wild rice soup recipe

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Heavy Cream – Those seeking a lighter meal could try half and half or even whole milk instead of heavy cream. 
  • Chicken Stock – Vegetable or mushroom broth are two really good options if you have those on hand or feel like preparing your own.

    I recommend using some kind of broth or stock as opposed to water to really build up the flavor — and it’s how the original Panera cream of chicken and wild rice soup is prepared!
  • Chicken Breasts – I know some love using thigh meat and some like using cuts with the skin on.

    That’s totally fine! And if you want an intro to shredding poultry at home, check out my crockpot recipe!
  • Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice – I know this is a little more specific than I usually get with these recipes, but we need to use the seasoning packet that comes with it!
sauteed vegetables in a large pot

Tips for Making Copycat Panera Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

  • Save time with pre-prepared ingredients!

You know those frozen bags of corn, peas, and carrots? I love ‘em — especially when I’m making Panera chicken and wild rice soup! 

Let them thaw in the fridge and throw them right in the pot with the butter. Canned veggies are good, too, but you need to drain all of that liquid before using them.

Same goes for the protein. Leftover meat from last night’s dinner can be shredded and tossed in the pot, no problem.

Rotisserie chicken is another fantastic, flavorful time saver!

But if you’re looking for ways to use those Thanksgiving leftovers, can I suggest this turkey version instead?

  • Making this recipe ahead of time? Here’s a trick!

If you’re planning on prepping creamy chicken and wild rice soup the night or morning before serving, I have one quick recommendation!

Wait to add the Uncle Ben’s until you’re ready to serve so that it has the best possible texture.

This means you’ll complete the recipe up until step 3, combining all of the soup ingredients, then pause. 

When you’re ready to serve, bring it to a boil and then add the Uncle Ben’s, seasoning, and herbs.

butter, cream and stock added to pot

Storing and Reheating Panera Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Once the soup cools, add it to an airtight storage container and transfer it to the refrigerator. There it’ll last for 3 to 4 days! 

It might get a little too thick after it cools in the fridge. If this happens, just add a splash of water or stock to thin it out a bit before reheating! 

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

  • Dutch Oven – I love this set and use it all the time. It is perfect for roasts, and I especially love it for one-pot meals like creamy chicken and wild rice soup!
  • Chicken Stock – This is a staple in my pantry because it has significantly less sodium without losing any of the flavor!
  • Vegetable Peeler – Makes removing the skins so much easier!
pot of panera copycat chicken and wild rice soup

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Panera FAQ

What is wild rice?

I have a surprising answer… it’s grass!

Don’t let that ruin your appetite. It’s a super healthy grain with a good deal of protein, fiber your digestive system will love, and plenty of potassium for a healthy heart and strong muscles. 

And it’s tasty! It has a springy, chewy texture and nutty flavor. Great for a change of pace from the usual rice!

How can I make my soup more creamy?

Trust me, creamy chicken and wild rice soup is plenty creamy. Give it a try before changing the recipe!

If you still want to thicken your Panera cream of chicken and wild rice soup, then you can add more cream and cook it down a bit more. In the future, you could add cream of chicken or cream of mushroom!

Can I freeze creamy chicken and wild rice soup?

Unfortunately, the heavy cream really makes it hard to freeze cream of chicken and wild rice soup from Panera. 

The liquid will “split” – that is, the fat from the cream will separate from the water. It is possible to stir it back together after reheating, but the texture will be grainy.

bowl of panera chicken and wild rice soup

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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closeup of panera chicken and wild rice soup on a spoon

Panera chicken and wild rice soup copycat

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (Panera Copycat)

Donna Elick
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is a savory bowl stocked with flavor. Don’t wait to try my Panera chicken and wild rice soup recipe!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 6

Ingredients
 

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 4 cups chicken stock, 32 ounces
  • 2 cups heavy cream, 16 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced, (approximately 3 cups)
  • 6 ounces Uncle Ben's wild rice with the seasoning packet, 1 box
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Melt Butter: In a dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Saute Vegetables (Approx. 5 minutes): Add the sliced carrots, celery, and diced onions. Saute until the onions have softened and are translucent.
  • Add Liquid and Seasoning: To the dutch oven, add the chicken stock, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and diced chicken. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a Boil: Over medium heat, bring the soup to a boil, and stir in the uncooked wild rice along with the seasoning packet.
  • Simmer (Approx. 20 minutes): Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice has cooked and the soup has thickened. Maintain a gentle simmer.
  • Stir in Parsley: Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
  • Serve: Serve the hot soup and garnish with additional parsley if desired. Enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

This creamy chicken and wild rice soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
When reheating the soup, you may need to add a splash of chicken stock or water to thin it out if it thickens upon refrigeration.
Feel free to customize the soup by adding other vegetables such as peas or mushrooms.
If you prefer a lighter version, you can use half-and-half or whole milk instead of heavy cream.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 561cal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 529mg | Sugar: 7g | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Panera Copycat Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Originally published December 2023

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5 Comments

  1. Do you know the equivalent amount of plain wild rice to use? I keep it on hand. I’m going to try this recipe regardless, so I’ll guess if you don’t have an amount to sub in. Thanks!

      1. Thanks, I used a kitchen scale to weigh the rice. This recipe turned out delicious! I will be making it again.

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