Need some warm soup to fill you up? Our copycat Panera chicken and wild rice soup is creamy, hearty and flavorful. It's quick to make and so comforting on a cold rainy day.
Why This Recipe Works
- It has lower fat from using evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.
- The wild rice is toasted for extra flavor.
- It has 3 thickeners to give it a perfect texture: a roux, a wild rice blend (which naturally thickens the soup while it simmers), and a cornstarch slurry.
- For maximum flavor, the spices bloom and the pot is deglazed to release the fond that was built up from cooking the mirepoix and the roux.
All the ingredients for this delicious Panera soup are pantry staples except the wild rice blend, which is easy to find at large grocery stores.
- Meat: We used boneless, skinless chicken breast for the photo shoot, but you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thigh.
- Vegetables: We used yellow onions, baby carrots, celery, and fresh garlic.
- Rice: We used a blend of wild rice with brown rice, red rice, and black rice. Do not use a pre-packed rice mix meant to be cooked in the microwave.
- Dairy: To keep this lower in fat, we used evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.
- Thickener: We used a cornstarch slurry near the end of the cooking time. This soup is also thickened with a roux and the rice.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Gluten Free: Use gluten free flour and chicken stock.
- More Broth: Use ½ cup less wild rice.
- Different Seasonings: Use ¼ teaspoon oregano and ¼ teaspoon marjoram.
- Want it more yellow like Panera's? Use a pinch or two more turmeric near the end of cooking time.
- Extra Creamy: Use heavy cream. We used evaporated milk for lower fat.
How to Make
- Melt the butter over medium high heat, then add the mirepoix and cook until the onions are soft and have some color. Add the garlic and dried spices, and stir constantly for 1 minute so the spices can bloom and the garlic is fragrant.
- Sprinkle on the flour, then whisk it for 2 minutes to help cook out the raw flour taste.
3. To toast the wild rice, stir constantly with a wooden spoon for a minute.
4. To deglaze the pot, slowly pour in a ½ cup of chicken stock while scraping the fond off the bottom with a wooden turner.
5. Pour in the rest of the chicken stock and the water.
6. Add in the sugar and fresh parsley. Mix well with a large wooden spoon. If you are using uncooked chicken breast or thigh, now is the time to add it.
7. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes to cook the wild rice. (Note: If you added uncooked chicken breast or thigh in step 6, remove it after 20 minutes of cooking and check the internal temperature is at least 165°F. Allow it to cool, and then cube it.)
Remove the lid and add the cooked meat. Stir in the evaporated milk. Add the cornstarch slurry and mix it in with a spoon.
8. Taste and adjust any seasonings, then add more chicken stock if needed. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Enjoy hot!
Panera describes this soup as "diced chicken, long grain and wild rice, celery, onion, and carrots simmered in chicken stock with cream and select herbs."
No, there is wheat in the chicken stock. If you need the soup to be gluten free, make your own at home with our easy to follow recipe. Use gluten free flour and chicken stock with no wheat.
They did in the past, but have brought it back due to popular demand.
For a large (1 ½ cup) serving size, Panera's soup has 260 calories, 27g carbs, 16 g fat and 10g protein. For the same serving size, our copycat soup has 405 calories (due to extra rice and chicken), 54g carbs, 10g fat, and 26g protein. We used evaporated milk for to lower the fat. For more nutritional information, please scroll to the end of the recipe card.
Panera serves this soup with your choice of baguette, kettle chips, or a red apple. You can also pay a little more for a summer fruit cup. At home, you can turn this soup into a meal by serving it with a crisp green side salad, a tasty sandwich, or crusty bread.
Looking for other Panera soup recipes? Make sure to try our copycat recipes for Panera baked potato soup, bistro French onion soup, autumn squash soup, Panera chicken noodle soup, and Panera turkey chili. Serve this soup with one of these 8 Panera copycat dessert recipes for a tasty end to your meal!
If you love wild rice soup, make sure to check out our reader favorite recipe for creamy wild rice soup, which is delicious with bacon!
- Make Ahead: You can make it the night before it tastes just as good, but it will be a bit thicker, so you can thin it with a bit of chicken stock if desired.
- Leftovers: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: If you are using heavy cream, we don't recommend freezing, but if you are using evaporated milk it will be fine.
- Reheat: Heat up any leftovers in a heavy-bottomed pot on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Bloom the spices, toast the rice, and deglaze the pot for more flavor.
- For a low fat option, use evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.
- Check expiration dates on dried spices, especially the tarragon. Make sure they're fresh!
- This soup thickens up within an hour of cooking because of the rice.
Other Panera Recipes to Try
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Panera Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 ½ cup carrots, coins
- 1 ½ cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ¾ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1/16 teaspoon turmeric, for color (at the end)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten free flour
- 1 ½ cups wild blend rice
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 ¾ cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
- 3 cups evaporated milk, 2 cans
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until foamy, then sauté the onion, carrots, and celery until soft and the onion has a bit of color, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic and the 7 dried spices. Stir constantly until the garlic is fragrant, roughly 1 minute.
- Sprinkle in the flour and whisk for 2 minutes to cook it.
- Pour in the rest of the stock, water, sugar, and the fresh parsley and stir to combine.
- If using uncooked chicken breast or thigh, add it now. Cover and bring the soup pot to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the chicken has an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Allow the meat to cool for 10 minutes, then cube it.
- While the chicken is cooling, continue simmering the soup for another 10 minutes to finish cooking the wild rice.
- Dump in the cooked chicken and evaporated milk and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Make the cornstarch slurry by whisking the cornstarch with an equal amount of water, then stir it into the soup. Stir in the turmeric for color, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Taste again to adjust seasonings.
- Serve this chicken wild rice soup hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. This soup thickens up after an hour of cooking because of the rice.
- Bloom the spices, toast the rice, and deglaze the pot as instructed in the recipe for more flavor.
- If you used reduced sodium chicken broth, increase the coarse sea salt by 1 ¼ teaspoons during the last 15 minutes.
- For a low fat option, use evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.
- Use fresh spices, especially for the tarragon.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.