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The Best Minnesota Wild Rice Soup Recipe with Ham

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Tender chicken, savory ham, and chewy wild rice make this wholesome soup the best comfort meal! This cozy autumn Minnesota wild rice soup recipe is creamy and delicious: perfect for a chilly weeknight. Nothing is better than a creamy wild rice soup that comes together in less than 30 minutes, but tastes 5-star!

bowl of wild rice soup on wooden table with yellow napkin

Wild rice soup is a Minnesota staple. My mother has been making this soup my whole life, and it’s one of our favorite family recipes. This recipe has a rich family history, as it is based on my mother’s recipe, which is based on the famous recipe from Byerly’s (a popular local grocery store chain).

This soup is creamy, salty, and warm. The nutty wild rice and almond flavors complement each other perfectly.

A Warming, Nutritious Soup

The original Minnesota wild rice soup recipe has more fat with more butter and less broth than we use here. We have cut down on the butter & increased the amount of broth to cut down on the fat calories in this mouthwatering soup, but don’t be fooled–nothing about this recipe tastes like it’s missing a thing!

To increase the protein, my family also adds chicken and increases the amount of ham from what the original recipe calls for. Trust me–it’s so delicious this way.

Pro tip: Pick up a rotisserie chicken. The meat is succulent and juicy, and it saves a huge amount of time to have the chicken ready to go.

What is Wild Rice?

Wild rice may not be as popular in all parts of the world as it is in the upper midwest. The bulk of the wild rice crop is grown in the Great Lakes region. However, it’s an incredibly nutritious food that’s high in fiber, protein, and manganese. You may be surprised to learn that wild rice isn’t truly rice–rather, it’s a species of grass that grows in lakes, rivers, and streams.

Wild rice has 30% less calories and 40% more protein than brown rice.

chicken wild rice soup in tan bowl on wooden board

Ingredients

For this recipe, you will need the following:

  • Chicken Broth or Stock – If you don’t like your soup too salty, you may want to choose a low-sodium broth.
  • Butter – I love using grass-fed Irish butter in this soup because of the added nutrients like beta-carotene and Omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t want to use butter, I’ve also used olive oil with success.
  • Carrot & Onion – you can use a white or yellow onion, whatever is on hand! Shallots would be a great option, too. I wouldn’t use red onion–the flavor of red onions is too strong for this soup.
  • Cooked wild rice – Hearty wild rice is the key ingredient! It needs to cook for a long time, so you should cook your rice ahead of time (tip: make extra to freeze so you have some ready to go the next time you want to make this soup!) Check out this post for a hands-off and easy way to cook dry wild rice. Alternatively, you can buy pre-cooked wild rice in a can, such as the Canoe brand.
  • Diced Ham & Shredded chicken– Use leftover chicken or grab yourself a rotisserie chicken to make this easy! But chicken breasts or thighs would work great, too.
  • Almonds – slivered onions give a delightfully nutty crunch to this soup
  • Half & Half – Instead of heavy cream, we use a small amount of half & half. Everyone I serve this soup to prefers it with the half & half over the cream, even if they aren’t watching calories!
Ingredients for Minnesota wild rice soup: chicken, ham, carrot, wild rice, flour, broth, half and half, butter, salt, almonds, onions, carrot

Instructions

onions cooking in melted butter in dutch oven with blue spoon

1. Cook Onion

Put a large pot or Dutch oven on your stove and turn the burner to medium heat. Melt butter in the pot. Add the minced onion and cook until the onion is soft.

blue spoon mixing flour into butter mixture in dutch oven

2. Add Flour

Add the flour to the pot and stir until the butter absorbs all of the flour. Since we are using less butter than most recipes call for, it can take a bit of stirring to get it all combined, but it will get there. Cook the flour & butter mixture for about a minute.

whisking soup in dutch oven

3. Add Broth & Whisk

Add your chicken stock or broth to the pot, whisking to get everything combined. Bring to a simmer.

minnesota wild rice soup recipe ingredients added to soup

4. Add Meat, Rice, Carrots, & Almonds

Add the diced ham, shredded chicken, grated carrots, and almond slices to the soup. Stir to combine.

adding half and half to the soup

5. Add Half & Half

Once all of the added ingredients have simmered enough to be warmed through, drop the heat to medium-low and add one cup of half & half to the pot. Stir to thoroughly combine.

stirring soup and adding salt

6. Taste & Salt

Then, you can taste the soup to see how much salt you want to add. If you’re using full sodium chicken broth and salted ham, you may not need to add any. If you have reduced sodium ingredients, you will probably want to add a little bit of salt –about 1/2 to 1 tsp. I use a full teaspoon.

Serving Suggestions & Tips

Pre-cooking the wild rice, chicken, and ham is a huge time saver. I usually make a large batch of wild rice at the beginning of soup season and then store it in 2-cup portions in freezer bags to pull out as needed. You can just throw the frozen rice right in the soup–it will thaw quickly!

This cozy autumn Minnesota wild rice soup recipe pairs beautifully with a loaf of fresh, homemade sourdough crusty bread and a green salad. If you want to keep with the wild rice theme, try it with our Cranberry Wild Rice bread!

Top your soup with a little black pepper if you want to add some bite.

This simple soup also does well in the slow cooker. Just add all your ingredients except the half & half–add that right before serving.

This creamy chicken soup is sure to become one of your family’s favorite recipes, and the recipe is easily doubled or tripled to serve to guests.

bowl of cozy autumn wild rice soup on wooden board with purple napkin

Recipe Notes

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you want to heat up the leftovers the next day, it heats up nicely in a little pot on the stove.

This is a great freezer meal option. If you would like to make this creamy soup as a freezer meal, you can assemble all of it except for the half and half. Wait to add the half and half until right before you serve it.

Nutritional Information

Per 1/6 of this recipe, the nutrition info (based on my brands of ingredients) is as follows:

  • Calories: 417
  • Protein: 28 grams
  • Fat: 21 grams (10 grams saturated)
  • Carbs: 31 grams
  • Fiber: 3.6 grams

FAQ

Can you cook wild rice in soup?

Generally, no, you cannot cook wild rice in a quick stovetop soup. Whole wild rice has a very long cooking time and absorbs a lot of water. That said, sometimes you can find “soup grade” wild rice which consists of broken kernels that cook faster. With enough added liquid, you may be able to cook those in your soup. However, for best results, I recommend pre-cooking your rice and adding it to the soup. Check out this recipe for an easy way to prepare dry wild rice.

What does Minnesota wild rice taste like?

Minnesota wild rice is one of the most flavorful rice varieties you could get. It has a nutty and chewy texture. The flavor is delicious, not bland like regular white rice.

What if I can’t find wild rice in stores?

Wild rice can be ordered online. That said, you could substitute brown rice if needed. Many grocery stores also carry a “wild rice blend,” which is not a true wild rice but could work very well for this soup.

Other Chicken Recipes

Want some other quick chicken recipes for a fast weeknight meal?

Try my easy Dutch Oven Shredded Chicken. My Roasted Chicken with Plums is also easy and tastes fabulous!

Have extra wild rice from making this soup? Try this delicious fall fruit salad with wild rice and pecans!

This is sure to become one of your favorite soups. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments! After you make this recipe, leave me a comment and let me know how it went!

chicken wild rice soup
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Cozy Autumn Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

This warming autumn soup is full of nutritious ingredients to make a quick & delicious weeknight meal.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken soup recipe, chicken wild rice soup, minnesota recipes, wild rice recipes, wild rice soup, wild rice soup with ham and chicken
Servings: 6
Calories: 417kcal
Author: Holly Lee

Equipment

  • Soup Pot

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Small Onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups Wild Rice, cooked See Notes
  • 1 cup Ham, diced
  • 1 Carrot, grated
  • 2 tbsp Slivered Almonds
  • 2 cups Cooked Shredded Chicken See Notes
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 1 tsp Salt See Notes

Instructions

  • Prepare ingredients– mince the onion, grate the carrot, chop the ham, shred the chicken, and cook your wild rice if it is not pre-cooked.
  • Heat a soup pot on medium heat.
  • Melt butter in the pot. Add your minced onion to cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup all purpose flour to the pot and stir until all the flour is absorbed into the butter. Cook flour for one minute.
  • Add your chicken broth to the pot using a whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, whisking often to prevent burning.
  • Add your wild rice, chicken, ham, carrot, and slivered almonds to the pot and stir to combine. Simmer for a couple of minutes to allow all ingredients to warm thoroughly.
  • Add your half & half and stir.
  • Taste and add salt as desired, 1/2 tsp at a time. I recommend tasting the soup before adding more salt so you can determine how much you will need. See my notes.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  1. Use pre-cooked meat to throw this soup together quickly. Rotisserie chicken is our favorite for this soup! It’s tender and moist.
  2. Use pre-cooked wild rice for this recipe. Wild rice takes a long time to cook, so here is how I like to cook it in the Instant Pot: add 16 ounces of dry wild rice & 5 cups of water to your Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes and allow to naturally release. This will make a lot–portion it into freezer bags by each 2 cup service so that you have rice ready to go all season!
  3. Depending on the sodium content in your chicken broth and ham, you may not need too much added salt. Taste first, then add salt 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the saltiness is to your liking.

Nutrition

Calories: 417kcal

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