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.
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Leftover Turkey Soup
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. 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.
We like big shreds of cooked turkey in this recipe, but feel free to give it a quick chop instead. You can also use leftover cooked chicken or, for weeknights throughout the winter, grab a rotisserie chicken and use that!
Whole milk is the best here, but if you have 2% or 1% that will also work. Then for extra decadence, feel free to drizzle each serving with a splash of heavy cream of half-and-half right before serving. For a dairy-free option, use soy milk or canned coconut milk.
This soup recipe features large chunks of sautéed mushrooms. We prefer cremini for their texture and heartiness, but feel free to use shiitake or oyster mushrooms. And if you love mushroom soup, then you’ve gotta try our Hungarian Mushroom Soup!
Test Kitchen Tip: Parmesan Rinds
Stash your Parmesan rinds! We go through a lot of Parmesan in the test kitchen and when we get down to the tough rind, we toss it in a large zipper-lock bag (with our other rinds) and store them in the freezer.
Why keep the rinds?
Parmesan is full of salty, nutty umami flavor. And so are the rinds! They’re like little flavor bombs that you can drop into soups, stews and sauces to infuse with umami flavor. 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.
Try These Other Leftover Turkey Recipes
- Our Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps are a fun way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. A total departure from the holiday meal!
- Our Mexican Rice Bowls are the perfect healthy dinner for busy weeknights.
- Use leftover turkey in place of chicken in our Aromatic Chicken and Rice Soup.
- Swap the chicken out for leftover turkey in our Salsa Verde Enchiladas!
More Easy Soups to Try
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.
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).
Yes! We haven’t tested this, but we’re sure it will work just fine. Place all of the ingredients from step 1 of the instructions in a large Dutch oven and place over low heat. Cover and cook until vegetables and rice are tender. This can take anywhere between 2 and 4 hours depending on how hot your stove is. Just check the soup occasionally!
Follow the rest of the recipe instructions as written.
Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Wild Rice Soup
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or turkey stock, divided
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups carrot chunks
- 1½ cups celery chunks
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 cup dry wild rice, rinsed
- 1 bunch fresh thyme, divided
- 1 Parmesan rind, optional
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 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 lemon, zested and cut into wedges
- Combine broth, wine, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, rice, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, and Parmesan rind in a 6-quart slow cooker or crock pot; season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- Tie three sprigs thyme, 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 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook until liquid has released and evaporated and mushrooms are brown, 7–8 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl.
- 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.
- Add roux to soup.
- Add sautéed mushrooms (save a few for garnish), turkey, parsley and 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest. Thin soup with additional broth as desired.
- Cook until heated through, 5–10 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.
This recipe article was originally published on November 28, 2017.