This healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Wild Rice Soup is as creamy as it is delicious. Packed with layers of flavor from fresh herbs and lemon to Parmesan and seared mushrooms, a bowl of this and you’ll be happily satisfied.

Overhead image of turkey wild rice soup in a white bowl with a gold spoon off to the side
The delicious aftermath of Thanksgiving dinner can sometimes prove to be better than the big meal itself. But when you’ve had your fill of sandwiches, a few fresh ideas are more than welcome.

For us, our leftovers needed a soul-soothing makeover that was not only packed with flavor but also weeknight friendly. And since the holidays tend to be busy, healthy hands-off dinners are essential for getting through the season.

This creamy Slow Cooker Turkey Wild Rice Soup fits the bill exactly. It’s super simple to throw together (most of which can be prepped ahead of time), makes enough to feed a crowd or a few for the week, and is so flavorful you just might find yourself making it all winter long.

And as creamy and luscious as this soup is, it’s also a healthy choice for dinner. Made with whole milk, this stew-like soup is silky-smooth without being ladened down with cream.

overhead image of wild rice and aromatics scattered over a blue countertop
How do you make slow cooker wild rice soup?

This recipe is so easy! Most of it is hands-off work, with just a bit of attention needed towards the end of cooking. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Add broth, vegetables, rice and aromatics to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 5–6 hours. 
  2. Sauté mushrooms in butter until deep golden brown, add to slow-cooker (hold a few back for garnish).
  3. Make a roux (flour and milk) in the same pan that you cooked the mushrooms in. Pour thickened roux into slow cooker. 
  4. Stir in turkey, parsley, and zest. Thin with additional broth or water if desired. 
  5. Serve with sautéed mushrooms, Parmesan, fresh thyme and lemon wedges. 

Can I substitute chicken for the turkey?

Of course! If you have leftover chicken on hand (or simply prefer chicken over turkey) you can use cooked shredded chicken instead. Just be sure to use the same amount (1 pound or 4 cups).

Make this soup dairy-free and/or gluten-free:

To make this soup gluten-free, skip making a roux and instead whisk 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into the warmed milk to make a slurry. Pour the slurry right into the slow cooker and cook 2–5 minutes until thickened. 

To make this soup dairy-free, use unsweetened and unflavored almond milk and vegan butter or olive oil to make the roux. Likewise, use olive oil or vegan butter for sautéing the mushrooms. Lastly, skip adding the Parmesan rind during simmering.

Two bowls of turkey wild rice soup with parmesan and spoons off to the sideStash your Parmesan rinds!

I go through a lot of Parmesan in my kitchen. And when I get down to the tough rind, instead of throwing it out I pop it into a large reusable zipper-lock bag that I stash in the freezer. I have a whole bag full of Parmesan rinds!

Why? Well Parmesan is full of salty, nutty umami flavor. And so are the rinds of Parmesan! They’re like little flavor bombs that you can drop into soups, stews and sauces to infuse with umami flavor.

Then right before serving, use tongs to fish out and discard the inedible Parmesan rind. It will be soft and melty, but it should stay together in one, or maybe two pieces. 

Got turkey? Try these other recipes that use up leftover turkey!

Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Turkey & Fig Panini

Mexican Rice Bowls (coming soon!)

Close up image of a creamy wild rice soup in two white bowls set on a blue surface

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make this healthy turkey wild rice soup.

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe.  Happy cooking!

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Overhead image of turkey wild rice soup in a white bowl with a gold spoon off to the side

Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Wild Rice Soup

  • Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 1011 cups 1x


This healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Wild Rice Soup is as creamy as it is delicious. Packed with layers of flavor from fresh herbs and lemon to Parmesan and seared mushrooms, a bowl of this and you’ll be happily satisfied.


  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or turkey stock, divided
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chunked carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup dry wild rice
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 Parmesan rind (optional)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 pound shredded turkey or chicken (about 4 cups)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh lemon zest
  • Grated fresh Parmesan
  • Lemon wedges


Combine broth, wine, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, rice, 1 tablespoon thyme, and Parmesan rind in a 6-quart slow cooker or crock pot; season with salt and pepper.

Tie thyme sprigs, sage sprig, and bay leaves together with kitchen twine, add to slow, cover, and cook on low 5–6 hours until vegetables and rice are tender. Discard Parmesan rind and herb bundle.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium-high. Stir in mushrooms and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook until liquid has released and evaporated and mushrooms are brown, 7–8 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to slow cooker (I save a few for garnish).

In now empty pan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat for the roux. Whisk in flour and cook until fragrant and golden brown, about 2 minutes. In a steady stream, slowly whisk in milk and cook until thickened and creamy, about 4 minutes; stir into soup.

Add turkey, parsley, and zest to soup; thin with additional broth if desired and cook until heated through, 5–10 minutes. Serve with Parmesan and lemon wedges.


What equipment you’ll need for this recipe:

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I’ve come to realize in the past few weeks that you can tell a lot about a person from the type of chicken noodle soup they make. Similar to how the kind of car or dog you choose seems to say a lot about you.

Greg loves soup, but more particularly chicken noodle soup. I’ve made it twice in the last two weeks, which means I’ve eaten it nearly every night for two weeks because if I’m going to make it, I’m going to make a lot of it. But here’s the thing. I don’t really like his kind of chicken noodle soup. We almost initiated a full-on Battle Royale about what type of noodles I was going to add. He insisted on Reames noodles, you know those thick, gummy, egg noodles? Can you tell how I feel about them? However, he did ask for mushrooms and I can definitely get on board with that addition.

I humored him and made the first round with Reames noodles. It was pretty good despite the overcooked chicken and those damn noodles. The second round I used chicken tenders instead of breast (much better) and convinced Greg that a different noodle would work just fine. But out of guilt of not using the type of noodles he likes I over compensated and added way too much Ditalini. It became noodles with a ton of carrots, a drop of broth, and a few nuggets of chicken. BUT the broth was delicious and the mushrooms were seared to golden perfection. Damn. The noodle bit just killed me.

After these last two rounds with the soup pot, I’ve made the revelation that this fall should be devoted to figuring out what my signature chicken noodle soup is going to be. The only problem is…I think I’m a no-noodle-chicken-noodle-soup kind of person. Does that make me extraterrestrial?

Greg will die. I just know it. But imagine this, a chicken soup made with a silky, flavorful broth, tender carrots and celery, seared mushrooms, perfectly cooked chicken, and chewy barley. Toss in some thyme and rosemary, a bay leaf, a Parmesan rind, an voilà! What more could you want from a chicken soup? Greg may not agree with my line of thinking on this topic.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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  1. Turkey wild rice soup is one of my favorites this time of year and your recipe especially looks delicious! Love the idea of cozying up with a bowl of this and a glass of red wine 😉