Creamy Wild Rice Soup

a pot of wild rice soup with bread

A simple, creamy wild rice soup just like the kind you’d get at an old fashioned supper club in the midwest. But don’t worry, I do have a couple of secret ingredients that make this wild rice soup even better than the one your grandma might have made.

wild rice soup in white cast iron bowls

wild rice soup is a comfort food staple

This classic wild rice soup is a staple in many parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes region and especially in areas where wild rice grows and is harvested. It works as a lovely starter course for a holiday meal, or a meal in itself with a loaf of bread. The soup is easy to make, and actually improves overnight, so it’s convenient for those busy chilly nights, just gently reheat on the stove.

Everyone from Panera to the Pioneer Woman has a wild rice soup recipe, and many of them are quite similar because it’s such a simple, classic soup. I make mine with a couple of tweaks that I believe makes it the best, but I don’t stray too far from the original because I don’t like to mess with perfection.

wild rice soup in a pot with bread on a bread board

what you’ll need for this soup

This is a creamy soup with a classic, mild flavor profile. I like to add dry sherry because it gives the soup more complexity. If you want more or different flavors, see my variation suggestions, below.

  • wild rice ~ cooked and drained (see below for easy instructions.) If you haven’t bought wild rice before, look for it with the other rice products in your supermarket. It generally comes in small packages, and is a bit pricier than regular rice.
  • butter
  • onion
  • carrot
  • celery
  • garlic
  • fresh thyme
  • bay leaf
  • flour ~ thickens the soup; use more or less to your taste. Leave out for a gluten free soup.
  • dry sherry ~ this adds wonderful background flavor (and is one of my secret ingredients!)
  • chicken stock or broth ~ make this vegetarian using vegetable broth.
  • evaporated milk ~ this makes the soup creamy but not heavy, (another secret ingredient.)
  • half and half ~ enriches the soup just enough.
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Tip: add shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey to make this soup into a satisfying meal.

a pot of wild rice soup with bread

how to cook wild rice

Wild rice is super easy to cook, but because it takes time to become tender, many recipes call for pre-cooked wild rice, here’s how to do it:

  • 1 cup of raw rice will yield around 3-4 cups cooked rice.
  • Place the rice in a tall sided saucepan and cover with several inches of cold water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until just tender.
  • Some of the rice will have split open, but it should still have a nice chewy texture. Taste it to check, and don’t over cook.
  • Simply drain off the excess water and it’s ready to use. Fyi it will not stick together as it cools like white rice, and you can make it up to 2 days in advance for recipes.

wild rice soup faqs

What is wild rice?

Wild rice is the seed of a grass that grows in marshes, shallow streams, rivers and lakes. It’s native to North America. Wild rice has long black grains that partially split open as they cook. It has a wonderful chewy texture. Depending on the variety it might be deep brown or jet black.

raw wild rice in a wooden bowl

What does wild rice taste like?

It has a nutty, earthy, grassy flavor. Some find it has a hint of black tea. The flavor is mild, and for me it’s all about that wonderful chewy texture.

Can I make wild rice soup ahead?

Yes, some people swear it tastes better the next day. It reheats nicely on the stove or in the microwave.

Why is my wild rice soup so thick?

Wild rice soup will thicken as it cools, and thicken even more as it chills overnight. If your soup is thicker than you’d like, add a little milk, water, or stock to thin it down. Heat it up first before adding extra liquid, because heating the soup will also thin it.

ladling wild rice soup in a white pot

variation suggestions

  • Add shredded rotisserie chicken, cooked turkey, or cubed ham.
  • Sausage or bacon are great in this soup. You can brown them first to render the fat, and use that to sauté the veggies.
  • Add mushrooms, either fresh or dried.
  • Add cubed butternut squash in place of the carrots. You could even add some pumpkin puree to the broth (note to self: try this!)
  • Stir in some shredded cheese at the end of cooking.
  • Hot smoked fish such as salmon is fabulous in this dish. The smokey flavor goes well with the rice. You could also use regular cooked salmon.
a bowl of wild rice soup with bread and thyme
a pot of wild rice soup with bread
5 from 7 votes

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

A thick, creamy wild rice soup just like the kind you'd get at an old fashioned supper club in the midwest. My secret ingredients make it the best!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 10 servings
Calories 248kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • large Dutch oven or soup pot


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced (use those inner leaves, too!)
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry Sherry
  • 32 ounces chicken broth or stock
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice (see cooking instructions in the recipe notes)
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half


  • Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Saute the carrots, celery, and onion for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic after 5 minutes. Note: don't brown the veggies, just gently saute.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two more, again, without browning the flour.
  • Add the Sherry to the pot, and give everything a good stir, then add the broth, along with the bundle of thyme and bring to a gentle boil, stirring often.
  • Add the cooked rice, and teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cover and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Note: check the pan often to make sure it is simmering and not furiously boiling.
  • Remove the thyme bundle, add the evaporated milk and half and half, and heat through. Taste to adjust the seasonings.
  • At this point the soup can be cooled and refrigerated overnight. Or you can enjoy right away.

Cook’s notes

how to cook wild rice
  • 1 cup of raw rice will yield 4 cups cooked rice.
  • Place the rice in a tall sided saucepan and cover with several inches of cold water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until just tender.
  • Some of the rice will have split open, but it should still have a nice chewy texture. Taste it to check, and don’t over cook.
more wild rice recipes to try


Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 487mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4560IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Melanie Strybos
    January 5, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    5 stars
    One of best soups I’ve ever made. We added rotisserie chicken.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    In your recipes for wild rice, You give 3 different amounts of raw rice to cooked rice: 1 cup raw: 4 cups cooked, 1 cup raw: 3 cups cooked, and 1 cup raw: 2-1/2 cups cooked. I’m confused, which is correct?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      November 22, 2021 at 3:54 pm

      It’s not an exact science, depending on how you cook it it will measure out a little differently. I’d go with one cup of raw rice makes 3-4 cups cooked.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2021 at 6:16 am

    5 stars
    I enjoy your recipes an extra comments. Giving tips are very helpful

  • Reply
    shirley watson
    October 25, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    5 stars
    Hi I live in the U.K. and I’m not familiar with ‘half and half’ – is it some kind of milk?
    Lovely recipe though.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      October 25, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Shirley, it’s half whole milk, and half cream. If you have ‘light cream’ where you are, that would work well.

  • Reply
    Karen asel
    October 25, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Sue-quick question about the dry sherry. You are talking about drinking sherry (wine) and not cooking sherry-right?

  • Reply
    greta marie harper
    October 25, 2021 at 8:06 am

    can i change evaperated milk for the same amount of heavy cream or half and half

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      October 25, 2021 at 8:07 am

      Yes, for sure. I would use half and half, because I think cream is too heavy, and tends to blunt flavor in soups.

  • Reply
    Janet K
    October 25, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Sue, I love your recipes! For this wild rice soup , could I substitute a long grain white rice?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      October 25, 2021 at 8:04 am

      You know Janet, I really don’t recommend that, it would be quite bland. The star of this soup is the nutty, chewy, wild rice. Regular rice can get gummy in soups, and doesn’t really bring anything to the party, flavor-wise.

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