Cream of Wild Rice Soup

Cream of Wild Rice Soup

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
414 Calories
28g Fat
11g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 414
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 2058mg 89%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 29g
Calcium 82mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

For those of us raised in Minnesota, classic cream of wild rice soup is the ultimate comfort food. It's earthy from the rice, hearty from the meat, healthy from the vegetables, soothing from the cream, and warming because it is a bowl of homemade soup. This modern version isn't thickened with flour and uses less ham and cream than traditional versions, keeping it a bit lighter–all the better to enjoy the second bowlful!

The thyme isn't traditional or necessary either, but it sure is tasty if you happen to have some around.

Note that traditionally this soup has ham in it. It is just as tasty without it, though, so feel free to leave it out if you like.

While usually made with chicken, this soup is also an excellent way to use leftover turkey.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Optional: 3 ounces ham, bacon, or pancetta
  • 2 medium leeks or small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 cups chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken or turkey
  • Optional: 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • Dash sea salt to taste
  • Dash freshly ground pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cream of Wild Rice Soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the wild rice and salt. Cook until the wild rice is tender to the bite, about 30 minutes. Drain and set the rice aside.

    wild rice in a metal strainer

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the ham, bacon, or pancetta to the pot if using. Cook, stirring now and again until the meat is sizzling, some of its fat has rendered, and it is just barely starting to darken on the edges, about 2 minutes.

    butter and bacon in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the leeks or onions, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, about 3 minutes.

    bacon with carrots, leeks and celery in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the broth, pre-cooked chicken, and thyme sprigs if using and reserved wild rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook to allow flavors to blend about 10 minutes.

    broth, pre-cooked chicken, and thyme sprigs with vegetables in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the cream (the more you use, the creamier it will be!) and bring back to a simmer. Add salt to taste.

    cream added the chicken soup

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Serve hot with a grinding or two of black pepper on top.

    Cream of Wild Rice Soup

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Tip

  • Rotisserie chicken or left-over cooked chicken breasts are a quick and easy addition to this soup.
  • Make Ahead Tip: You can make the soup ahead up through Step 4. Cover and chill for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost, if necessary, and reheat gently. Add cream at that point. The cream is more stable than milk, but it still has a tendency to separate when frozen and reheated.