Creamy Wild Rice Soup Recipe

My long-time favorite wild rice soup recipe, it's creamy and hearty but light in calories. It's absolutely delicious, a great way to really take advantage of the lovely nuttiness of wild rice. This is the soup of Minnesota Lutheran church supper tradition. It calls to me in the fall when the days grow short but is also light enough to warm a chilly summer day in the North.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup ♥, a classic way to use wild rice, creamy and hearty but light in calories.

" awesome recipe." ~ Amanda
"... very good!" ~ acr
"This is a delicious soup ..." ~ Edith

Home cooks recognize the usual method to make a cream soup – with cream – although the diet- and health-conscious may use lower-fat milk, even non-fat skim milk.

Another method is to use puréed cream-textured vegetables, in this low-calorie CREAMY WILD RICE SOUP, potatoes and parsnips.

The root vegetables do add today’s verboten carbs but also fiber, vitamins and minerals with a minimum of saturated fat. Watch for recipes, especially soups, that use vegetables rather than dairy products to produce creaminess – without cream.

ALANNA's TIPS For years, I used a half cup of wild rice. Now that seems skimpy so I use a full cup. But if you're short on wild rice? A half cup works fine. Grocery-store pre-chopped garlic is convenient and tasty, especially when the specified quantity is doubled or tripled. Your fingers won’t smell of garlic. A gain or a loss? Your call! Cook’s Illustrated, the perfect-ingredient and perfected-methods magazine that produces television’s America’s Test Kitchen, claims that Swanson’s canned Natural Goodness no-fat chicken broth rates highest in taste tests. When a commercial chicken broth, canned or from a powder or a paste, additional salt is usually unnecessary. Parsnips aren't always easy to come by. For a recent batch, I substituted less-expensive rutabagas. Any root vegetable would also work, think turnips, say. Carrots and butternut squash would add welcome color. For something almost elegant, add a splash of sherry. For an easy-to-convert vegan soup, use olive oil and vegetable stock. Now is the time to consider an immersion blender, an invaluable tool available in kitchen and home stores for about $25. After long avoiding one, I now find it indispensable for puréeing foods, whipping cream and mincing herbs. Compared to a bulky, gummy blender, the interchangeable attachments are small and wash up easily in the dishwasher.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite wild rice recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 35 – 65 minutes
Makes 9 cups
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (about 4 leeks)
  • 2 cups diced celery (about 4 ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups no-fat chicken broth or Homemade Chicken Stock
  • 2 cups red potatoes, skins on, diced small (about five small potatoes)
  • 2 cups parsnips, peeled and diced (about 3 medium)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Splash of dry sherry, optional
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

WILD RICE Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add wild rice and simmer until al dente and nut-flavored, about 25 minutes for native wild rice and 60 for cultivated. Turn off the heat, let rest and if there's any liquid left, do not drain.

SOUP Meanwhile, prep leeks and celery. Heat butter or olive oil on medium heat in a large, heavy Dutch oven until shimmery. Stir in leeks and celery, sauté until just beginning to turn golden, breaking up with leeks as they soften. Add parsley and garlic, sauté another minute or two. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, parsnips, salt and pepper. Cover and return to a boil.

SIMMER Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer and simmer 20 – 30 minutes or until potatoes and parsnips are soft.

PURÉE With a standard or immersion blender, purée hot vegetable broth but do leave some chunks for a textured, rustic soup. CAUTION With a standard blender, blend in small batches. If you're unfamiliar with the safety precautions when working with hot liquids in a blender, please review these tips, Hot Liquids in a Blender.

FINISH Stir in cooked wild rice and sherry (if using) and bring back to temperature. Taste, adjust seasoning. Serve hot garnished with parsley.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per cup: 193 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 32g Carb; 4g Fiber; 774mg Sodium; 4mg Cholesterol; 8g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 5

The Soup of Minnesota Lutheran Church Suppers

Creamy Wild Rice Soup ♥, a classic way to use wild rice, creamy and hearty but light in calories.

I like a chunky soup where you can both see and taste the individual ingredients. That makes an immersion blender perfect for adding "creaminess" without blitzing the entire pot. That said? The traditional way to make wild rice soup is to blend all the cooked vegetables and broth into a creamy purée, then add the cooked wild rice back in. Both ways are wonderful. Cook's choice!

More Wild Rice Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf Wild Rice Salad Turkey Wild Rice Casserole

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Possibly this could be considered ESP because I just bought an immersion blender tonight at Costco, after eyeing it for a few weeks. This recipe sounds good.

It's SO useful, I'd avoided one for years and now pull it out several times a week! In fact while it doesn't mean giving up the Cuisinart, I use the small food processor attachment more than the immersion blender itself. A tip on the immersion piece: make sure the contents of the pot high enough so that the pureeing stuff sprays all over -- it doesn't do well AT ALL with just an inch or two.

The soup looks really good. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and the tips on my pancakes. I know I got both the baking powder and salt in the bowl so who knows where I went wrong. But I will give your recipe a try next time. Thank you again.

Hi Alanna - thanks so much for this recipe!

I just tried tonight but added some sliced chicken breast since my partner is a certified carnivore.

I've always liked soup that was creamy from vegetables and not dairy products, so this was an awesome recipe.

Thanks again!
Just made this tonight. It's great! I tried it once before following Alanna's instructions exactly, but it didn't turn out well, b/c I slightly scorched the celery, etc in the beginning. I made a few changes to accomadate my shorter attention span. I made a half batch, and replaced the leek with a small yellow onion. I melted the butter (I did keep the tablespoon of that), put in the celery and onion, turned the heat on low and put the lid on the pot, coming back to stir a few times. I added the rest of the ingredients, using a heaping spoonful of minced garlic from a jar, and a shake of Penzey's Sandwhich sprinkle (which has garlic, salt, peppercorns and chives). Instead of wild rice, I used a mix of brown rices and wild rice. It was very good! I will be taking it for lunch tomorrow!
This is a delicious soup recipe. I doubled the recipe and am very pleased that I did. However, I ran out of celery so I add some sliced carrots. Other than that I followed the recipe. It used a lot of my CSA veggies and tastes great.
Alanna, this soup looks terrific! Since we're nudging into soup season here, too, I'm loving this recipe! Note to self: pick up parsnips and more leeks this weekend . . . :)
Aren't there carrots in the soup in the photo? They don't seem to be in the recipe... At least not that I can see in my copy!
Beth -- good catch! But they're not carrots, they are rutabagas! When I made this while in Minnesota visiting my dad this summer, there were no parsnips to be found, the "swedes" were my substitute. I'll make a note on the recipe, thanks so much for pointing it out. And -- carrots would be a good substitute too.
Please don't tell my husband your recipe calls for parsnips.....I've tried them a million times and don't like them - so I'll sub carrots! Our secret!
Perfect weather for this!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna