Thanks to the Instant Pot pressure cooker, this easy chicken with wild rice soup is rich, creamy (without any added cream), and fast to make, and it tastes even better the next day, making it a great addition to your meal prep plans. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, not to worry, I’m sharing my stove top directions as well.
It’s soup week!
This week I’m sharing a few of my favorite soups, old and new. And a good thing too, because when my daughter came home from school and looked at me with a red-ringed nose and her eyes at half-staff and announced her “throat was sooooooo sore”, as she breezed past me and coughed, wheezed, and hacked her way down the hall and into her room to flop onto her bed like a left-behind Raggedy Ann doll, I knew we were in for the night.
Good thing I had this soup prepped and ready for cookin’.
Creamy chicken and rice soup. Pure comfort and totally right for all that feels wrong.
Today’s recipe comes from my good friend and baking maharishi/mentor/advisor Barbara Schieving’s new cookbook The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. Barbara not only creates amazing desserts and main meal recipes on her blog Barbara Bakes (look at that cheesecake!), but put herself way ahead of today’s pressure cooking trend when she started her other recipe blog Pressure Cooking Today where her most popular recipes are quick and easy recipe standouts!
In fact, if you’re the proud owner of an Instant Pot, you’ll see Barbara’s recipes in the handy dandy recipe manual that accompanies each pot. Yep, she’s that dialed in to the pressure cooker cooking scene.
Here are a few things I LOVE about Barbara’s new cookbook:
- The 200 tested and approved recipes are recipes you crave. No weird flavor combinations. No complicated methods. These are home-cooked meals you’ll want to eat again and again.
- The 150 main course dinner recipes are divided into 3 chapters that make it easy to choose what to make depending on time or occassion: Shortcut Dinners, 30-Minute Meals, Soups On, and Sunday Suppers.
- Barb’s advice and tips are invaluable, including tips for adapting your own recipes for the pressure cooker, high altitude cooking conversions, and a super helpful troubleshooting guide. Pressure cooking has been around forever but for many of us it’s a whole new world.
- And she doesn’t forget about desserts and sides. Brownies! Creme Brulée! Peanut Butter Cheesecake! Barb makes sure our sweet tooth is cured and she also shares simple side dish recipes to complete the meal. And just look at the dreamy cream puffs I made from her first cookbook. See what I’m talkin’ about??!!!
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Cooking in the Instant Pot makes dinner really easy. Why? Because it’s a multi-cooker so there’s no need to brown on the stovetop and transfer to the Instant Pot. It’s all done in one.
The thing about making soup in a pressure cooker is it tastes like its been simmering all day even when it’s been cooked in the pressure cooker time of 30 minutes or less.
For this chicken and wild rice soup, I followed Barb’s directions nearly to the T. With one small addition I’ll share in a bit.
This recipe calls for 2 large chicken breasts. Mine came in at about 1 1/2 pounds. If you’re more of a fan of darker meat, skinless chicken thighs would work well here, too. But thanks to the pressure cooker, the chicken breast meat is tender and juicy, not dry or stringy.
TIP: If you’re like me and meal prep chicken for the week (my easy baked chicken breasts and slow cooker whole chicken have saved mealtime more than once) then you could easily skip using fresh chicken breasts and add 3 1/2 to 4 cups of your meal prepped chicken instead.
I try to keep a stash of homemade chicken broth in my freezer to use whenever I’m in need. If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, choose a high-quality store-brand instead.
Long grain wild rice can often be found in the bulk aisle of your grocery store but its not always readily available by the bag. Or, do what Barb suggests and buy a box of a standard rice blend and use the rice, but ditch the seasoning packet. Barb also notes her readers have found success by using regular wild rice instead of the long grain as well. And of course you could always use plain long grain white rice if you prefer.
I added just a bit of acid in the way of lemon juice to make the flavors pop just a bit more. If you don’t have lemon juice on hand you can totally skip this step.
How Do You Make This Chicken Soup Creamy?
There are three things that combine to make this soup creamy without adding a lot of unnecessary fat and calories that keeps this soup on the healthy-ish side:
- a slurry of water and cornstarch thickens the soup
- a knob of cream cheese thickens and adds flavor to the soup
- instead of cream that adds fat and calories, this recipe uses equal amounts of milk (I used 2% fat milk) and half-and-half to add that extra bit of richness.
The soup delivers plenty of broth, and at first I thought maybe a wee to much. But what was terrific is that unlike a lot of rice or noodle soup recipes, there was plenty of broth for the rice to absorb and still be brothy enough for leftover servings the next day.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-size pieces
- 2 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth (or 4 cups / 1 quart homemade chicken broth)
- 1 package (6 ounces) long-grain wild rice (such as Uncle Ben's minus the seasoning packet)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Dash of red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Select Browning/Sauté function and melt the butter in the pressure cooking pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the chicken, chicken broth, rice, parsley, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Lock the lid in place and select High Pressure and 5 minutes cooking time.
- When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes (just let it sit, the steam will escape on its own), then finish with a quick release (be cautious and use a wooden spoon to shift the pressure relief valve so the hearty blow of steam escapes.)
- In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Select Simmer/Sauté and add the slurry to the pot stirring constantly. Sir in the cream cheese until melted. Stir in the milk, half-and-half and lemon juice and heat through (do not bring to a boil). Serve sprinkled with more parsley and black pepper if desired.
- **To make on the stove top
- Heat the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering and add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the chicken, chicken broth, rice, parsley, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and cold water until smooth and add to the pot stirring constantly. Raise the heat to medium high and stir in the cream cheese until melted. Stir in the milk, half-and-half and lemon juice and cook until thickened. Serve sprinkled with more parsley if desired.
10 More Soup Recipes for Your Soul
Remember to check back all this week for more NEW soup recipes, and take a look at some of my favorites below.
- The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Broccoli Cheese and Potato Soup
- Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean and Sausage Soup
- Turkey Pot Pie Soup Plus 10 More Leftover Turkey
- Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup
- Easy Hamburger Vegetable Soup
- 5 Ingredient Thai Pumpkin Soup
- Skinnytaste’s Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Matzo Ball Soup with Chicken Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup with Sausage and Kale
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