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This Creamy Leftover Turkey Wild Rice Soup recipe is a hearty, satisfying soup that is full of carrots, mushrooms, celery and onion in a light, creamy broth. It's great for using up leftover turkey from the holidays and an easy, comforting classic that is perfect for chilly days!
Happy New Year! I hope you had a fantastic holiday season and that you are looking forward to all that 2019 will bring.
I spent the last day of 2018 in Utah visiting family and staying warm inside while freezing winds gusted to over 70 mph, blowing snow everywhere. We are planning on skiing the rest of the week and I'm already cold just thinking about hitting the slopes and hoping at least the winds die down!
In the meantime, just the thought of this satisfying, flavorful turkey wild rice soup is warming me up. This soup is especially amazing with smoked turkey from Thanksgiving leftovers. Not that we wait for Thanksgiving to roll around to make this soup!
I have actually been meaning to share this with you since this last Thanksgiving but got sidetracked by the allure of Christmas cookies! But better late than never.
I'm including substitutions, just in case you don't have any leftover turkey in your fridge or freezer. Chicken wild rice soup is just as good as turkey wild rice soup anyway, right?
Soup is one of my favorite meals to make all fall and winter long. So much that I make a batch of soup at least once a week and then usually eat that for lunches as well.
My 2nd grader shares my love of soup and even asked for a thermos for Christmas so she could bring soup in her lunchbox to school. This easy soup recipe is especially delicious and filling thanks to the addition of wild rice.
I love the color, texture, and nutty, slightly sweet flavor of the wild rice.
Serve this turkey wild rice soup with a nice, crispy romaine salad and a loaf of crusty bread for a complete meal. It makes a big pot and the leftovers reheat well the next day. Oh, and full disclaimer - this soup will actually look a little more "brothy" than what you see in these pics.
I employed a food photography trick for showing off the soup ingredients a bit by inverting a small bowl and letting the soup ingredients sort of sit on that so you could see the rice and veggies and turkey that otherwise would have been more submerged in the broth.
I've gotta use the tricks of the trade to show off this delicious soup and make it look every bit as good as it tastes, but I wanted you to know it might not look exactly like this as you are pouring it into bowls. We're still cool, right?
How to Make Creamy Leftover Turkey Wild Rice Soup
- Start by preparing the wild rice according to the directions on the package that it came in. This can take a while - typically around 50-60 minutes, but can be done up to a day or two ahead.
- Melt butter in a large dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat, then saute the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic until the onion softened.
- Sprinkle with the flour and cook for just a minute before slowly adding the chicken stock while stirring. At this point you can increase the heat a bit to bring the soup to a low boil before reducing the heat back to medium and adding most of the remaining ingredients, including the cooked wild rice, herbs and seasonings, and shredded turkey.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in the milk, cream, and lemon juice and heat through for another 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.
How do you make creamy turkey soup?
This easy turkey soup is made creamy in two parts. The first is by sprinkling some flour over the sauteed vegetables and cooking a bit before stirring in the broth. This thickens the soup just slightly, without making it gummy or thick.
The second thing that makes this leftover turkey soup creamy is the addition of a little dairy right at the end. I use 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream, but you could use 2 cups of half-and-half if that's what you have in the fridge.
If you are watching calories or need a dairy-free version, you can leave out the milk and cream and still have a delicious, if not as creamy, turkey wild rice soup.
Tips for Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup
- By all means, make homemade turkey or chicken stock using a leftover turkey or chicken carcass if you have one. But honestly, I make this with store-bought chicken stock and it tastes amazing and saves me a ton of work. While I prefer making most things from scratch, turkey and chicken stock are one thing I almost always buy in bulk at Costco because I use them so much!
- If I'm feeling turkeyed out right after Thanksgiving, I will shred any leftovers and freeze them in gallon-size freezer-safe ziplock bags for using in recipes like this one for this easy creamy turkey soup.
- If you don't have leftover turkey on hand, a pulled-apart rotisserie chicken (also from Costco or any grocery store - we get these on a regular basis) is also a great option for this soup, which then becomes chicken wild rice soup.
- Or if you don't have cooked turkey or chicken, you can always throw a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in to cook when you add the broth. Once the broth comes to a boil, cover with a lid and let the chicken cook for 10-12 minutes until cooked through, then remove and shred or chop before adding back to the soup pot along with cooked wild rice and completing the recipe from there.
- You can keep leftovers in the fridge for a few days, but the rice will continue to absorb the broth. Just thin the soup out with a little additional broth when reheating the soup to get it to your desired consistency.
- I typically use the Harvest Wild Rice blend from Costco or Lundberg Wild Rice, but any kind would do. Even brown rice would work in the recipe, if that's what you have on hand.
- Go ahead and double the mushrooms, carrots, and celery if you want for an even healthier, more veggie-filled soup!
More of Our Favorite Soup Recipes
- Cheesy Taco Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- Chicken Avocado Lime Soup (Whole 30 Approved!)
- Chicken Noodle & Dumpling Soup
- Zuppa Toscana Crock Pot or Stove Top Soup
Creamy Leftover Turkey Wild Rice Soup
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 large carrots sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
- 8 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley or ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 4 cups cooked and coarsely shredded turkey or chicken - see note
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Prepare wild rice according to the package instructions. This typically takes around 50 to 60 minutes. This can be done up to a day or two in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the soup
- In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic, and stir, sauteing until the onion has softened.
- Sprinkle the flour over the sauteed vegetables and stir in, cooking for 1 minute. Slowly add the broth, stirring constantly. Increase the heat to medium-high until the soup comes to a low boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the cooked wild rice, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and shredded turkey. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add milk, cream, and lemon juice, and cook another 3-5 minutes until hot, tasting and adjust seasoning by adding more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.