Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

4.95 from 34 votes
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Slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup made with ease. Lean chicken breasts simmer in a savory stock with carrots, celery, onion, thyme, and garlic. Long grain wild rice cooks along with the soup into tender grains. A piping hot bowl is just the right solution as an appetizer or dinner on chilly nights. 

bowl of slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup

Comforting soups are essential during colder weather, and so I’ve been busy testing out tasty recipes for when the time comes. This chicken and wild rice soup features lean protein paired with tender carrots, celery, and onion for additional nutrients.

The slow cooker is the perfect kitchen companion for an easy meal that requires little prep and hands-off cooking. Aromatic vegetables are sauteed first before adding into the Crockpot to ensure maximum flavor. All of the ingredients then gently simmer together with herbs and spices that infuse into each bowl. The gentle cooking process keeps the chicken juicy while allowing the grains of rice to absorb the stock and naturally thicken the soup.

sauteing diced carrots and celery in a frying pan

How to make chicken and wild rice soup

  • Saute garlic, onions, carrots, and celery to lightly brown and boost the natural sweetness of the vegetables.
  • Add all vegetables, chicken breast, wild rice, herbs, and seasonings to the slow cooker.
  • Cook for at least 3 hours on “High” or 6 hours on “Low” setting to ensure chicken and rice are cooked through.
  • Using whole bone-in chicken breasts ensures the meat does not become dry.
  • The soup can be held on the “Warm” slow cooker setting to serve later in the day.
  • Option to freeze into individual portions once cooled down to ensure it’s safe to eat.

The slow cooker and Instant Pot works by gradually simmering food over extended periods of time. The simmer point never reaches above boiling point, around 209ºF (98ºC) no matter if you’re on the low or high setting. This temperature allows the ingredients to gently cook and yield succulent chicken and a flavorful soup base. Chicken thighs can also be used if you prefer dark meat.

two chicken breasts in a slow cooker

What is wild rice?

The dark-colored rice is a semi-aquatic grass grown in lakes, bays or tidal rivers, commonly grown as Zizania aquatica or Zinzania palustris varieties. The native North American plant is fickle to grow and harvest, with a low yield, making it more expensive than other grains. You’ll often find a blend of long-grain white and wild rice at the markets to help cut down cost and provide different tastes and textures in a dish.

Wild rice adds a nutty and slightly smokey flavor to the soup, adding depth to the dish. The intriguing rice also packs in an impressive nutritional profile, being a good source of magnesium, folate, phosphorus, fiber, zinc, niacin, Vitamin B, and some protein. If you’d like to use all wild rice instead of the blend as called for in the recipe, go for it!

close up of shredded chicken with soup liquid inside a slow cooker

Cooking wild rice

After some evaluation on how long it takes the wild rice to cook in the soup, I found that it needs at least 2 ½ to 3 hours of cooking on the high setting. Otherwise, the tough grains never fully soften, they should burst open, giving a light and dark striped appearance.

I recommend checking for doneness of the poultry and grains around 2 hours, and then every thirty minutes. If the chicken is ready first, remove from the cooker and cover to prevent moisture loss while the rice continues to cook. Another option is to prepare the wild rice on the stovetop, then add it to the slow cooker before serving. It requires between 40 to 50 minutes of simmering time.

Ready to serve

To keep the chicken succulent, shred the meat right before serving and add back to the soup. Each hot bowl of soup has just the right balance of meat, vegetables, and grains. My family often eats it as the main entree served with a simple salad tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. This soup provides the warmth and nourishment you need after a long day!

white bowl of soup with shredded chicken and pieces of wild rice and vegetables

More soup recipes

Use bone-in chicken for the soup

Chicken breasts have very little fat, which means there is less protection during the cooking process. To reduce the chance of the meat from becoming dry and inedible, using bone-in cuts is critical. The bones are a poor insulator of heat, so it serves as a barrier from the hot liquid with the protein. The chicken gradually heats and cooks through, plus the bones add more flavor to the soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup made with ease. Lean chicken breasts simmer in a savory stock with carrots, celery, onion, thyme, and garlic.
4.95 from 34 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup diced celery, ¼-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups sliced brown mushrooms, ¼-inch thick slices
  • ½ cup wild rice blend
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 pound bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • Heat a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat.
  • Add olive oil, once the oil is hot add the garlic and onions, saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the carrots and celery, saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and saute for 30 seconds, then add vegetable mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Add mushrooms, wild rice, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, chicken stock, stir to combine.
  • Add chicken and submerge in the stock.
  • Cover and cook soup on "HIGH" setting for 3 hours, or "LOW" setting for 6 hours.
  • Add more time if needed to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 160ºF (71ºC) and the rice is fully cooked.
  • Shred the chicken into smaller pieces, and then add back to the pot.
  • Taste soup and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve garnished with parsley.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 242kcal (12%)Carbohydrates 20g (7%)Protein 20g (40%)Fat 9g (14%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Cholesterol 38mg (13%)Sodium 570mg (24%)Potassium 705mg (20%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin A 3770IU (75%)Vitamin C 5mg (6%)Calcium 45mg (5%)Iron 1.6mg (9%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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15 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Spicy options: Cayenne or chipotle powder (smokier), chili sauce like sriracha, canned chipotle with adobe sauce, or canned green chilies.

  1. Sheri B. says

    Thank you so very much! Finally, someone who knows how to cook chicken breast in soups or pot pie that does not come out dry!!!!!!!!
    I can’t stand dry chicken breast!

    Sheri

  2. Ronald Seto says

    Hi Jessica, Can I use shitake mushrooms and dried bean curd stick in the soup instead of wild rice and brown mushrooms, although I might leave the brown mushrooms in as well. The more mushrooms the better.

    Also, do you use canned oyster mushrooms or any other variety of canned mushrooms in any of your recipes?

  3. Oscar says

    Thank you so much for using the metric system too! I always have to translate the cups and oz and stuff like that to something I can understand, so you made it way easier xD

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You’re welcome! I always weigh out everything so happy to hear that the additional weights are helpful to you.

  4. Alison says

    Made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! Thanks for another great recipe, Jessica. I’ve unsubscribed from all cooking blogs but yours!

  5. Paula says

    Made this afternoon and it was DELICIOUS! Perfect time of year for some comfort good. Hearty, healthy and flavorful. Tripled the recipe to have leftovers for freezing so I made on top of the stove. Just lovely!

  6. Jim Bauerlein says

    love you…your slo-cook chicken was the kat meow…not just nourishing for the body but helpful for the soul as well..i am lucky to have connected to your cooking genius…thanks jim