Chicken & Wild Rice Soup or
Turkey & Wild Rice Soup Recipe

On these last chilly days of late winter, there's nothing like a big bowl of hearty soup to warm our innards. I'm so pleased with this soup, a hearty mix of leftover chicken or turkey, wild rice and butternut squash – and, preferably, good homemade stock.

The Conversation: Do you roll your eyes when recipes read, "preferably homemade"? Yeah, me too.

Chicken or Turkey & Wild Rice Soup, hearty soup with leftover chicken or turkey, butternut squash, wild rice. For Weight Watchers, #PP6.

"It's wonderful!" ~ Anonymous

“Preferably homemade”. My eyes roll at the sight of these words in recipes, do yours too? They just sound so foodie-elitist. I fear they put home cooking out of reach, setting a threshold that sounds unattainable for working families with busy lives.

And yet. And yet.

The first batch of this soup last fall was short on wild rice and long on mushrooms, but it was still so good – as in lip-smacking, let’s-make-another-pot-on-the-weekend good. The reason? The stock was clear and golden, like a cupful of savory wine. After Thanksgiving, the turkey carcass went straight into the stock pot (turkey Stock is made just like Homemade Chicken Stock or No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock except with turkey) so the freezer was jammed with bags of turkey stock.

“I hate recipes that say, ‘preferably homemade’,” I complained mid-slurp. My table companion replied with raised eyebrows and a grin. “Homemade stock IS better,” he said. “Some times better is just, well, better.” I grinned back but my inner rebel was scowling.

To prove a point, my next batch of wild rice soup used leftover chicken and my favorite chicken bouillon, the Better Than Bouillon found at well-stocked groceries and online at Once again, the soup was delicious. So there, perfectionists!

To test the counterpoint, I made another pot with leftover chicken and homemade chicken stock. Oh my, twas oh so-so dreamy good.

So here I am, glad that there’s no going wrong with this soup, it’s that good. But for cooks with a choice, homemade stock, either turkey stock or chicken stock, is preferred.

Some times, better is just better but I’ll forgive anyone rolling their eyes.

ALANNA’s TIPS This hearty soup is a great way to use leftover chicken from a Fast Roast Chicken, say, or a rotisserie chicken or leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Creamy butternut squash is a lovely contrast to the chicken, mushrooms and wild rice all bathed in golden stock but sweet potatoes would be delicious, too. It’s easy to cut up a butternut squash, how to cut, peel and cube a butternut squash and keep all ten fingers.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 60 – 90 minutes
Makes 6 cups, easily doubled
  • 4 cups chicken stock or turkey stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, cut in fat slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups butternut squash cubes
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups cooked chicken or cooked turkey, in pieces
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Bring the stock to a boil in the microwave. (Skip this step if not in a rush.)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil til shimmery on medium high. Add the onion, carrot and mushrooms as they are prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Add thyme and salt, let cook until the mushrooms exude all their liquid, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the hot stock, butternut squash and wild rice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer, cook until the wild rice is fully cooked, about 30 minutes for native wild rice, 45 – 60 for commercial wild rice. (Here’s a photo comparison in more about wild rice but since commercial wild rice is easier to find, chances are, your wild rice is commercial.)

Stir in the chicken or turkey and warm through. Taste and adjust seasoning, serve and savor.

The soup keeps for several days but doesn’t freeze well. If made a day ahead, more stock may be needed when warming the soup since wild rice tends to soak up the available liquid.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 247 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 44mg Cholesterol; 200mg Sodium; 27g Carb; 3g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 22g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 5, WW PointsPlus 6 This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in portion size, butter and sugar and increases in nutrient- and fiber-rich vegetables.

Are you a soup lover? Me too, I've made one pot after another since the weather turned chilly last fall. So is my friend Lydia, author of The Perfect Pantry and now, get this, a food blog dedicated to soup! That makes her a Soup Chick!

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 recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!

A Wild Rice Soup Menu

~ Chicken & Wild Rice Soup or Turkey & Wild Rice Soup ~
(recipe above)
or Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Skillet Cornbread
Weeknight Easy Rolls
with sliced cheese

Molasses Cookies

More Recipes for Leftover Chicken & Leftover Turkey

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Turkey Sweet Potato Soup Turkey Tetrazzini on Toast Turkey Orzo Soup with Lemon & Spinach
Asian Chicken Salad Chicken Greek Salad Chicken Nachos

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. I have a question and a comment.

    Question: If I were to make this soup in advance, would I want to add the rice then, or when reheating? I have these childhood memories of my mother's making turkey-rice soup after Thanksgiving, and the next day, it's just . . . rice.

    Comment: I would venture to say that the comment "preferably homemade" is entirely superfluous. I mean - if you're the sort of person who actually keeps homemade stock on hand, you already know it's preferable, right? (I roll my eyes when I see that, too. I mean, um, duh? Have you ever seen a recipe call for "chicken broth - preferably commercial"? I don't think so. . . )

  2. Toy Lady ~ Good question. Let me think this through. You don't want to miss the flavor the wild rice adds in the cooking process but yes, it does "puff up" and become a rice-y soup. I think what I would do is cook the soup with a fourth to half the rice, then cook the rest separately and add it before serving.

    Great comment! Although you'll laugh, I have a favorite recipe here, Sengalese Soup, which can be served hot or cold but when cold, needs to be made with commercial broth otherwise it's too gelatinous! A reader discovered this, I had only tested with commercial broth. Oops!

  3. Anonymous5/11/2012

    I made this last night. It's wonderful! I left out the mushrooms because I hate them, and I added 1/2 cup of dry sherry.

    I was inspired by this recipe to finally turn the remains of a smoked bone-in turkey breast into stock.

    I would advise people to be careful with the salt. I tasted it last night and felt like it needed more salt, so I added some. Today, it's just a tad too salty. So I would suggest letting the flavors meld overnight before adding salt.


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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