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

Creaminess Without Cream?

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.

The Soup of Minnesota Lutheran Church Suppers

This is the soup of my Northern childhood, where the local churches all put on wild rice suppers, each cook bringing her (hmm ... always her? probably) own big pot, vying for the top spot.

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

But here's where I break with tradition.

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.

But I like a chunky soup where you can both see and taste the individual ingredients. So I use an immersion blender perfect for adding "creaminess" without blitzing the entire pot.

That said? Both ways are wonderful. Cook's choice!


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 No-Big-Deal 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 but lovely
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

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

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

PURÉE With an immersion blender, purée the hot broth a bit, right in the pot, but do leave some chunks for a textured, rustic soup. (You may also use a standard blender. Just lift out as many of the softened vegetables as you like into the blender, then some hot broth. 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 the cooked wild rice and sherry (if using) and bring back to temperature. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot garnished with parsley.

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. Trader Joe's frozen leeks are a big time saver! In spring, look for ramps to substitute for some/all of the leek. 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, they work great. 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.
RESOURCES A print or online subscription to Cook's Illustrated is a great way to stay on top of tested ingredients as well as ultra-tested recipes. Consider investing in an immersion blender, also some times called a stick blender. It's 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, mincing herbs and making salad dressing. Compared to a bulky, gummy blender, the interchangeable attachments are small and wash up easily in the dishwasher. I love mine! My Disclosure Promise
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 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 4 To make Creamy Wild Rice Soup "freestyle friendly," substitute turnips for the potatoes and rutabaga or butternut squash for the parsnips. Easy swaps, these!

More Wild Rice Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf Wild Rice Salad Turkey Wild Rice Casserole

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ wild rice ~
~ leeks ~
~ potatoes ~
~ parsnips ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite 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. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011 (repub), 2015 & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous8/21/2007

    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.


  2. 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.


  3. Anonymous8/21/2007

    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.


  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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 . . . :)

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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