This is my favorite recipe for Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup! Use your leftover turkey and herbs from Thanksgiving to make a satisfying and healthy soup that is just what you need after all the carb loading you did on Thursday. (I know you.) The hint of lemon and the shredded carrots make this soup really unique and flavorful! Make it in the slow cooker or on the stove. Originally posted November 21, 2019.
The other day I was out on my front porch taking pictures of this Turkey Wild Rice Soup, getting an overhead shot by standing on a rickety old wicker chair that has to be at least an eternity old.
It’s the kind of chair that has a metal frame, so even though the seat part is completely disintegrating, if you stand on the metal frame you are good to go. I mean, if you are careful. (Come over to my house sometime. I’m sure you will feel really welcomed when I offer you a chair that has actual holes in it. Don’t worry I won’t call you fat when you sit down and it breaks.)
Well apparently this made my neighbors nervous. I don’t know why seeing an 8-month-pregnant woman standing on a chair that is clearly falling apart, hunched over and wielding a giant camera is cause for concern, but my friends Tyrone and Alex came rushing over. Alex even went to his garage to get me a stool.
Well there’s really no way to get overhead shots without standing on something, and the stool was even sketchier than the chair. So they just hovered over me while I finished up my photos, me griping at them when they got too close and blocked my light.
Chivalry is not dead my friends. Neighbors really do care about each other. Also, move into a court. I’ve never gotten to know my neighbors better than in this house, and I think it’s because you’re basically in a giant fishbowl, staring at the houses across from you. I love it. It’s nice to know people still watch out for each other!
We are T minus SEVEN days to the big T my friends! Thanksgiving is just one week away, are you ready? Have you got your menu planned? We all know that leftovers are the best part of this holiday and I’m SO ready. Make this Turkey Wild Rice Soup when the potatoes and gravy are gone and you are left with a mountain of sad lonely turkey.
Today’s post is sponsored by Zoup! Good, Really Good Broth, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Their broths are SO delicious, and as their tagline says, are good enough to drink.
Their broths are made in small batches and are low-calorie, perfect for a post Thanksgiving detox from carbs. (My brother was over the other day and saw all the jars on the counter. He was impressed that there are only 7 calories per serving. Awesome right?)
I used Zoup’s Chicken Broth for today’s Turkey Wild Rice Soup, but it’s also really good with Homemade Turkey Stock made from your leftover carcass. Here is everything you need!
Creamy Turkey Soup Ingredients
- Leftover cooked turkey, a mixture of dark and white meat
- Kosher salt
- Dried poultry seasoning
- Garlic cloves
- 4 jars chicken broth or homemade turkey broth
- Bay leaf
- Fresh thyme
- Quick-cooking wild rice blend.
- Heavy cream
- Large lemon
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh sage
- Fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- All purpose flour
How to make Cream of Turkey Soup with Wild Rice
Here’s a quick overview and then I’ll go into more detail with photos below!
- Saute celery and onion in butter
- Add flour to thicken
- Add broth or stock
- Add the remaining veggies, and later the cooked turkey
- Add the wild rice
- Add cream, lemon juice, and fresh herbs
Easy right? I’m in LOVE with this soup. It has tons of flavor thanks to an excellent broth, fresh herbs, and a splash of lemon at the end that really brightens up the soup.
First we start out with a heck ton of celery. I don’t love raw celery, but I’m obsessed with it in soup. I chop it from the leaf end to get all that flavor in there. Dice up an onion and garlic and saute it all til soft. Add some flour to thicken up the soup and make it extra thick and rich.
Pour in your chicken bone broth and fresh thyme. Thyme is the only fresh herb I like to add before the very end. Cooking the whole stems makes the tiny leaves fall right off, and then you just have to fish out the stems later. So much easier than chopping it beforehand!
I like to shred my carrots for this soup. I love the texture that it adds, and that I can get all the flavors of the soup in every bite. It’s the recipe step that sets apart Eric’s Nana’s recipe for Beef Barley Soup, which is one of the most popular recipes on my blog.
And here’s the wild rice I chose. This is a blend of several different kinds of rice. You can use straight up wild rice if you want, or any blend that you find. You may have to adjust the cooking times. Make sure to check the cook times on the packaging of the rice you choose. See notes for more details.
The Zoup broths come in these nice quart-size glass jars. I put some of the finished soup right back into the empty jars and gave it to a friend. This soup makes a HUGE batch, so it’s perfect for gifting to a family in need or freezing half for a rainy day.
How to make Turkey and Rice Soup from leftovers
First things first, you are going to need to use your turkey carcass to make a rich and savory stock for your soup. It’s as easy as shoving the carcass in a big pot and simmering for a while with some veggies you probably already have from all your Thanksgiving recipes. Here is the recipe for Homemade Turkey Broth! Once you have your broth, start with making today’s recipe as usual.
The nice thing about soup is that once you know the basics, you can basically do whatever you want with the flavors. Starting out with a good, flavorful broth is essential of course. But if you are stumped with what to do with your leftover produce from Thanksgiving, soup is the answer.
Even the herbs are adjustable. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are all called for in this recipe, but you can adjust this to what you have. (If you only have sage, for example, just add that. It’s still going to be a great soup.) If you want to replace some of the carrots with mushrooms, go for it. (Saute them with the onions.)
Can the turkey be substituted for chicken in this recipe?
Yes totally! Basically any turkey soup can be turned into chicken soup, and vice versa. Mixing is okay too; add a little rotisserie chicken to your soup if you’re low on leftover turkey.
Can other vegetables be added to Turkey Wild Rice Soup?
I’m feeling an asparagus, kale, or potato vibe as I type this, myself. Or, if you have cooked veggies that you served at Thanksgiving, and the flavors would be good in this soup, toss them in at the end with the lemon. The possibilities are endless!
Do you cook rice before adding it to soup?
No! You don’t want to cook your rice to mush! If you happen to have some cooked rice on hand you’d like to use up, make the soup without rice. Stir in the cooked rice until it is warmed though, just before serving.
Should I soak wild rice before cooking?
Nope. Just toss in the rice and get ‘er done!
Happy Thanksgiving prep everyone! If you need menu inspiration, check out all my Thanksgiving recipes here. There are several pages, be sure to click through all of them to see older recipes.
More soup and turkey recipes you are going to love!
- Turkey Barley Soup (Slow Cooker) << this recipe is similar to today’s but uses barley instead of rice! I love it!
- Kale, Chicken, and White Bean Soup with Parmesan Shavings << you could add your turkey leftovers to this soup too!
- Beef Barley Soup << this soup is from Eric’s grandma. It’s famous for a dang good reason.
- Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup << another recipe you could use with your turkey!
- Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles << can’t beat a classic!
- Zuppa Toscana Copycat << just like at Olive Garden! Irresistible!
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup << so easy, and so flavorful!
- Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (Crock Pot) << you could use turkey in this one too. It’s so easy.
- Creamy Italian Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup from Recipe Rebel
- Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup with Chicken from Diethood
- Crockpot Lasagna Soup from Family Fresh Meals
This post is sponsored by Zoup! Good, Really Good® Broth, but all opinions are my own of course! Thanks for supporting the amazing brands that keep The Food Charlatan chugging along.
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Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup
- 1/2 cup butter, (1 stick)
- 3 cups celery, chopped
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 4 (31-oz) jars Zoup! Chicken Bone Broth, (12 cups)
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 large carrots, shredded
- 4 cups leftover cooked turkey, a mixture of dark and white meat
- 1 & 1/2 cups quick-cooking wild rice blend*
- 1 & 1/2 cups cream
- juice from 1 large lemon (1/4 cup), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- more fresh herbs, to garnish
- In a very large stock pot, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat.
- Chop 3 cups celery. I used almost a whole medium head of celery, including the leaves at the end. (They add great flavor!) Instead of pulling off individual stalks, just start chopping the whole head from the leafed end. See photos.
- Chop 2 large onions. Add celery and onions to the pot with the melted butter.
- Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning.
- Saute for 13-14 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent.
- Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and stir for about 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with 1/2 cup flour and stir for 1 more minute.
- SLOWLY add 12 cups Zoup! Chicken Bone Broth, stirring the whole time. You don’t want lumps of flour so make sure to stir up those vegetables.
- Add 5 sprigs of thyme and 1 bay leaf.
- Peel 8 medium to large carrots, and cut off the ends. Use a food processor to shred the carrots. You can do this using a cheese grater if you don’t have a food processor. You can also chop the carrots into rounds if you like. But shredded carrots is what gives this soup the texture I love, so keep that in mind. (Shredded carrots are what made Nana’s Beef Barley Soup internet famous.) It’s going to taste good either way, no matter how you prepare your carrots.
- Add all the shredded carrots and turn the heat to high. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Don’t walk away and let it boil over!
- When the soup is boiling, add 4 cups leftover cooked turkey meat. I like a mixture of dark and white meat, but you can use whatever you have. (You can also use cooked chicken!) Lower the heat to a simmer, somewhere between low and medium low depending on your stove. There should be slow bubbles happening but nothing too active. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
- Add 1 and 1/2 cups quick cooking wild rice blend* (see note!) and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, turn the heat back down and simmer for another 15-30 minutes, until your rice is tender.
- When the rice is cooked, turn the heat all the way to low and stir in 1 and 1/2 cups cream.
- Stir in 1/4 cup lemon juice. This gives the soup a bright and lemony flavor, so if you are not into that, start with 2 tablespoons and add more from there.
- Use a sharp knife to chop 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 tablespoon sage, and 2 tablespoons parsley. You can adjust these amounts to taste. Stir the herbs into the soup and turn off the heat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Don’t skip this step! I added at least 1 more teaspoon salt, but this will depend on how salty your leftovers were.
- Don’t forget to remove the thyme stems and bay leaf.
- Serve with fresh herbs sprinkled on top and another drizzle of cream, if you want.
- This makes a really big batch of soup! Soup freezes beautifully, so I put half in a ziplock and am saving it for a rainy day. I also put some of the finished soup back into one of the Zoup broth jars, which are almost exactly 1 quart, and gave it to a friend.
Slow Cooker Instructions
- Follow instructions through step 7 (sprinkling on the flour), except you can use a large skillet to cook the onion and celery (instead of a large stock pot.)
- Slowly pour in about 3-4 cups of broth, stirring the whole time so that your flour doesn’t get lumpy. Transfer the mixture to a large crock pot (at least 6 quarts).
- Add all the remaining broth, the bay leaf, and 5 sprigs of thyme.
- Cook on low for about 6 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
- Add the shredded carrots and turkey, and cook on low for another hour.
- Add the wild rice and cook for another 30-60 minutes, until the rice is tender.
- Stir in the cream, lemon juice, and all the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Put the lid back on to warm it back up for a few minutes, if necessary, otherwise serve immediately.
So delicious! Had frozen the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving and made the stock yesterday. Just enough to make this soup, exactly as directed. So much better than my old turkey soup recipe! Love it! Froze plenty of soup for another day. Thank you!
I was a bit skeptical at first since it makes so much but it was very good ! I did use turkey broth made from Christmas Turkey worked out great got to use the broth made from turkey and ab enough soup to share with family also !
Very good flavor. I doubled the amount of rice in my soup
This was excellent – thanks for sharing the recipe. There is only two of us however, so I am wondering if I can freeze the leftovers…. we have a LOT of soup leftover!
Hi Susan, yes you can freeze leftovers! So happy you enjoyed it.
Delicious!! The hubby and I couldn’t resist and each ate two bowls full! Even our 5 year old gave it a thumbs up. This recipe will definitely be my go-to for turkey leftovers.
I’m not a big cream person (calories and fat). Can I sub skim milk or FF half and half?
Hi Deb! I wouldn’t recommend skim milk but half and half would be fine!
Have you tried canning this soup? I’m making it tomorrow and was hoping to can it rather than freeze it
I haven’t tried that Leigh Ann!
Can those pouches of wild and brown microwave rice be used? They take 90 seconds to cook. Can’t wait to try recipe but don’t know if I should buy a different kind of rice.
Thanks in advance for your advice!
Hi Cheryl! We haven’t tested this recipe with microwaveable rice pouches, but if you do decide to use them, here’s what I recommend. If you’re making the stovetop version, I recommend skipping step 13, microwaving the rice as directed on the pouch, then adding the cooked rice to the soup with the cream in step 14. If you’re following the slow cooker instructions, I recommend skipping step 5, microwaving the rice as directed on the pouch, then adding the cooked rice to the soup with the cream in step 6. If you try it this way, let us know how it turns out! Enjoy :-)
This soup was really delicious and a total crowd pleaser! It will definitely become a mainstay in my repertoire. It took me way longer than 15 minutes to prepare, however! That’s a lot of veggie and meat chopping for 15 minutes. It was also an expensive soup when the fresh herbs were purchased and the bone broth. I plan to freeze the herbs for future servings though, so that cost will be spread over many future meals. A very good and hearty soup—worth the time 😀
Buying dried herbs can help cut the cost.
I would also recommend making your own broth. I always prepare this soup after Thanskgiving because I not only have the leftover turkey on hand, but I also have all the turkey broth I make from my carcass. This year I got 40 cups worth of beautiful flavorful broth 😊