This Copycat Panera Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is packed with aromatic veggies, chicken, wild rice, and lots of spices in a chicken stock based broth. Plus, it’s comforting and wholesome at the same time.
As a foodie, I’m always looking for good food recommendations. So, when my coworker told me one of her all-time favorite soups is Panera Bread’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, I paid attention. Sadly, Panera Bread does not have any locations in Utah. So, I tucked away that little tidbit of information.
As fate would have it, I was able to try that soup with that coworker on a business trip. And, you know what? She is right. Panera Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is really good.
This Copycat Panera Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is just as delicious as the original. It’s packed with aromatic veggies, chicken, wild rice, and lots of spices in a chicken stock based broth. Plus, it’s comforting and wholesome at the same time.
Copycat Panera Chicken & Wild Rice Soup Ingredients
My Opinion on Panera Bread’s Food Promise
One of the things that impresses me the most about Panera Bread is their quality of ingredients. According to their website, as of 2017, their food no longer contains artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors from artificial sources.
As someone who is sensitive to artificial preservatives, I really appreciate this! A big reason why I don’t always enjoy eating out is because I don’t feel well afterwards. However, after eating at Panera Bread, I do not feel that way. The higher quality ingredients really do make a difference.
Plus, their food tastes like something I would make in my own kitchen. There’s no weird ingredients or weird aftertaste. Plus, the vegetables actually taste good! I’m so impressed with their mission and their commitment to good food.
For the best tasting Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, I recommend you also buy the highest quality ingredients you can find. Because the ingredient list is so simple, it shouldn’t be too hard to do.
From the produce section, you’ll need: onions, celery, carrots, and fresh garlic. For the best flavor, be sure to use fresh garlic instead of the jarred kind. Additionally, I rarely buy baby carrots any more. Instead, I buy unpeeled carrots. When I prep the carrots, I don’t peel them either. I just make sure I gently scrub the outside to remove any dirt or debris.
In this recipe, I use two boneless, skinless chicken breasts which is about a pound of meat. If you don’t want to cook the chicken, the easiest thing to do is pick up a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store. However, if you don’t have cooked chicken on hand, you can brown the chicken in a separate pan like I do in this recipe. This step can be done while the soup is simmering for the first 15 minutes.
When it comes to the next recommended ingredient, I’m not sure if you can call it high quality. But it is convenient, and it will cook faster than some other varieties of wild rice. You’ll need one 4.3 oz box of Rice-a-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice. You’ll be using both the rice mix and the seasoning packet. If you can not find this variety of rice, you could also try this homemade version.
Copycat Panera Chicken & Wild Rice Soup Prep Tips
Because the chicken stock and rice mix can have a lot of sodium, avoid adding salt while the soup is cooking. Instead, add salt at the end, to taste, if you think it needs more. Additionally, you can use low-sodium chicken stock if you want to control the salt even more.
If you don’t have chicken broth, you can also use chicken bouillon or chicken base. These tend to have much stronger flavor than chicken broth. But again, be sure to watch the salt levels if you use these substitutes.
After making this recipe several times, I also recommend using a large heavy-bottomed stock pot or dutch oven. A few times, I’ve had the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pot while they are sauteing. So, be sure not to cook them on too high of a heat. A heavy-bottomed pan will also help prevent the vegetables from sticking.
This recipe does require a long cooking time, but be patient! The long cooking time will give you a delicious, full-bodied soup. It’s definitely worth the time.
Want More Like Copycat Panera Chicken and Wild Rice Soup?
If this soup is one of your favorites too, or if you’ve never tried it, I urge you to give this copycat Panera Chicken and Wild Rice Soup a try.
Here are some other soup recipes you might like too:
I also highly recommend serving any of these soups with breadsticks or slices of buttered bread!
Additionally, you can find all my copycat recipes, here.
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Copycat Panera Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
- ½ cup Carrot Diced Small
- ½ cup Celery Diced Small
- 1 medium Onion Diced Small
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic Minced
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 cups Chicken Stock
- 2 cups Water
- 2 cups Milk Divided
- ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 large Chicken Breasts Cooked, shredded or finely diced
- 4.3 oz box Rice-a-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice
- Salt and Pepper To taste
- Using a cutting board and knife, finely dice the carrots, onion, and celery. Next, finely mince the garlic.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, and celery to pot, and saute until the onions are soft and translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, black pepper, oregano, bay leaf, chicken stock, water, and 1 cup of milk to the pot. Stirring occasionally, allow soup to simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk with the ½ cup flour until no lumps remain. Add mixture to the pot, and immediately stir to prevent any lumps from forming.
- Add the cooked chicken, long grain and wild rice mixture, and the seasoning packet to the pot. While stirring occasionally, continue simmering soup over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve, and enjoy!
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Note: This post is not sponsored by Panera Bread. All opinions and statements are my own.