Instant Pot chicken and rice soup is an easy weeknight dinner for your family made with wild rice, celery, and onions. Rich and creamy, this cozy comfort food is perfect for a chilly night and cooks in 15 minutes. Stovetop instructions are also included.
One of my very favorite soups of all time is chicken and wild rice soup.
This week I needed a quick and easy dinner for the night the Peanut got her braces adjusted. I looked for something warm and comforting and especially soft for her sore teeth.
Chicken wild rice soup is total comfort food for cold weather, dreary days, or those times when your kiddos need a little extra loving and it cooks in just 15 minutes!
Why This is the Best Recipe
We love chicken soups for dinner, but I think this is the best chicken wild rice soup recipe because:
- Thick and Creamy: The soup is very hearty and filling. Lots of tender rice, a thick creamy broth, and very tender chicken.
- One Pot: Everything cooks together in the Instant Pot but I've also included one pot stovetop instructions, too.
- No Mushrooms: While mushrooms are a traditional ingredient for chicken and wild rice soup, our version leaves them out as a personal preference. This makes our version much more picky-eater-friendly.
- Uses Leftover Chicken: Start with pre-cooked chicken and the dish is so fast to cook.
- Chicken: I love to make this with raw chicken thighs because they cook so well in the Instant Pot. However, to make this soup even more quickly, start with leftover cooked chicken like baked chicken breasts or baked chicken thighs or even a shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Uncle Ben's Wild Rice (or easy substitution, see recipe card for details.)
- Chicken Stock
- White Wine* Optional
- Half and Half* Optional
Instant Pot vs. Stovetop
I absolutely love using my Instant Pot to make soups for my family because it gives a slowcooked taste to a soup that only takes minutes to make.
The Instant Pot is especially great at cooking the raw chicken thighs for this soup along with the tender rice.
However, if you plan to use leftover cooked chicken or a shredded rotisserie chicken, you may find that the stovetop works just as well.
For that reason, I've included both the Instant Pot instructions as well as the stovetop instructions just in case. I've made it both ways and it works out great!
Saute the Veggies
Whether you're cooking in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop, this chicken and rice soup is made almost the same way with both methods.
First, melt the butter.
In an Instant Pot, you'll use the SAUTE function.
On the stovetop, place your pot over medium-high heat.
Add the chopped celery and onions and cook them in the melted butter until the onions have softened:
Make the Roux
To give the chicken and rice soup that extra creamy broth, we'll make a roux with flour and butter.
Whisk in the flour until no more dry pockets remain and then let it cook until it gives a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes or so.
You'll find the mixture to be quite thick as the flour absorbs all the moisture from the butter and the veggies:
Thicken the Broth
If you're using the white wine, pour it into the pot and use it to scrape up and lift any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
This is an optional step, the wine cooks off but leaves a lovely flavor. It's up to you whether to use it or not.
Then drizzle in the chicken stock, about 2 - 3 cups or so, and whisk until the flour is completely dissolved into the broth and is smooth like this:
When to Add the Chicken and Rice
When you add the chicken and rice depends on the kind of chicken you plan to use:
Raw Chicken Thighs
Add both boxes of wild rice and just one packet of the dried seasonings (or the easy substitution mentioned in the recipe card.)
Then nestle the raw chicken thighs into the broth.
Be sure to stir everything together so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Instant Pot: Cover and seal the pot. Cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes.
Stovetop: Bring the mixture to a boil. Then cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the soup for 25 - 30 minute or until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through.
Cooked Chicken (Leftover or Rotisserie)
If you're using a shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken of any kind, you definitely want to wait to add the chicken until the soup is finished cooking.
Cooked chicken is delicate and can become tough or completely fall apart if you try to simmer it too long in the soup while it cooks.
Instead, add the rice to the broth and finish the soup as instructed.
Once the rice is tender, stir the shredded chicken into the soup and stir. Let it warm through for 2 minutes before serving.
Leftover chicken and rice soup will become very thick as it sits in the fridge. The rice will absorb a lot of the chicken broth.
When you reheat the soup, plan to stir in additional chicken stock or broth to thin the soup out to your desired texture.
I prefer to reheat the soup on the stovetop in a saucepan so I can control the thickness of the broth. However, it will also reheat quite well in the microwave.
This is one of our family's all-time favorite soups and it is wonderful as is, but it has lots of room for some playful variations:
- Spicy Chicken and Rice Soup: Use leftover blackened chicken or Cajun chicken instead of the raw chicken breasts. Add a pinch of cayenne to the broth.
- Herby Chicken and Rice Soup: Stir in a ¼ cup chopped fresh chives, minced fresh basil, or fresh thyme.
- Tender Pork and Rice Soup: Use leftover chopped pork tenderloin instead of the chicken.
- Vegetarian Rice Soup: Substitute vegetable broth and skip the chicken. Add diced carrots to the celery and onions and stir in a bag of frozen peas at the end.
We served the Instant Pot chicken and rice soup with soft warm bread rolls for dunking and soaking up the thick and creamy broth.
It is a rich and thick soup so you may also enjoy one of these simple side dishes for chicken wild rice soup:
More Chicken Soup Recipes
Chicken wild rice soup is one of our family's favorite chicken soups but if you've got leftover chicken to use up, you may also enjoy these other easy chicken soups:
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
- 4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs OR 2 cups cooked chicken, like a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken, chopped
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 3 ribs of celery chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- ½ cup flour
- 2 tablespoon white wine optional
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 (6 oz) packages of Uncle Ben's long-grain and wild rice mix see notes for substitution
- ½ cup half-and-half optional
Prepare the Vegetables:
- Instant Pot: Turn on the Saute function and add the butter to the pot. Let it melt completely. Add the chopped celery and onion and stir them into the butter. Cook until the onions are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stovetop: Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped celery and onion and stir them into the butter. Cook until the onions are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Thicken the Soup Broth:
- Instant Pot & Stovetop: Add the flour to the pot and whisk it in. Let it cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until it smells slightly nutty. Pour in the white wine (if using) and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Pour in roughly 2 cups of chicken stock and whisk the flour into the broth. Once all flour lumps have been whisked until smooth, add the remaining 6 cups of chicken stock.
- Add both boxes of wild rice and just ONE of the seasoning packets to the broth and stir.
If Using Raw Chicken:
- Instant Pot: Nestle the raw chicken into the broth. Cover the Instant Pot and set to cook for 15 minutes on HIGH pressure. Quick release and stir the soup, breaking the chicken into chunks as you stir.
- Stovetop: Nestle the raw chicken into the broth. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Cover the soup pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the soup cook for 30 - 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and reads 180°F with an instant probe thermometer. Break the chicken up into chunks with your spoon and stir it back in.
If Using Cooked Chicken:
- Instant Pot: Cook the soup WITHOUT the chicken first. Cover the Instant Pot and set it to cook for 5 minutes on HIGH pressure. Quick release and stir the reserved chicken meat into the soup and let it warm through for 2 minutes.
- Stovetop: Cook the soup WITHOUT the chicken first. Bring the chicken broth to a bubble over HIGH heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the soup and let the rice cook in the broth for 25 minutes. Stir the reserved chicken into the soup and let it warm through for 2 minutes.
For Extra Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup:
- The chicken soup will be wonderfully thick and creamy at this point but if you like your soup extra rich, stir in the half-and-half and let it warm through for 2 minutes before serving.
Substitution for Uncle Ben's Wild RiceIf you prefer to use bulk wild rice blend instead of the Uncle Ben's boxed rice, simply use this substitution for the 2 boxes of rice and the single packet of Uncle Ben's seasoning:
- 1 ½ cups wild rice blend
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
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