Turkey Rice Soup
This leftover Turkey Rice Soup is wildly delicious, simple to make and extremely versatile. It is destined to become a new tradition that some might look forward to more than turkey day itself! It’s a one pot wonder loaded with juicy turkey, hearty wild rice, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and green beans for a warm, satisfying symphony of texture in every slurpful. This Turkey Soup recipe is also extremely flexible and pantry friendly – swap the wild rice for brown rice, the turkey for rotisserie chicken, ground beef or sausage, and the veggies for your favorites. This Turkey Rice Soup also reheats and freezes beautifully thanks to the nutty wild rice. Serve your leftover Turkey Soup with leftover dinner rolls and salad for a complete feast two days in a row.
Prep Time
10minutes
Cook Time
40minutes
Prep Time
10minutes
Cook Time
40minutes
Turkey Rice Soup
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2cups leftover turkey, shredded or chopped (may sub rotisserie chicken)
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1medium yellow oniondiced
  • 1cup carrotschopped 1/2-inch thick
  • 1cup celerychopped 1/2-inch thick
  • 4-6cloves garlicminced
  • pinch red pepper flakesoptional
  • 1cup wild rice blend
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)peeled and chopped 3/4-inch thick
  • 1 1/2teaspoons chicken bouillon or better than bouillon
  • 1tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1tsp EACH dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2cups Cauliflowerchopped into bite size pieces
  • 8oz. fresh green beanstrimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Instructions
  1. Melt butter with olive oil over medium low heat in a large Dutch oven/soup pot. Once melted, increase heat to medium-high and add onions, carrots and celery; sauté until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. Add wild rice, sweet potatoes, bouillon, all seasonings, bay leaf and chicken broth. (If your pot isn’t big enough for all the broth, add the rest with the cauliflower when the soup has evaporated some broth). Cover the soup to bring to a simmer, then displace the lid so it’s partially covering the pot, with about a one-inch opening. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, then add the green beans. Simmer, uncovered, for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the rice is almost al dente.
  3. Stir in shredded turkey and cauliflower and continue to simmer for 5 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and rice is al dente. Stir in additional broth if desired for a less “chunky” soup. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired (will depend on your turkey).
Recipe Notes

HOW TO USE A DIFFERENT RICE

I highly recommend wild rice blend for its nutty, toasty, earthy flavor and is extremely difficult to overcook, remains al dente and reheats like a champ.  That being said, you can use whatever rice you have on hand, but expect varying results:

  • Brown rice: cook for about the same amount of time as wild rice blend.
  • Long grain white rice:  only requires 10-12 minutes to cook, so you’ll need to approach the soup differently.  Sauté the veggies per the original recipe, then add the sweet potatoes, green beans, broth, seasonings, etc. and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the white rice and simmer 6 minutes, then add the cauliflower and simmer until the rice is al dente.  White rice is easy to overcook, so make sure you check it for doneness often and cook just until al dente. Alternatively, you can cook white rice separately and add it the soup or individual servings if you expect leftovers.

Other Recipe/Ingredient Variations

See the post for how to swap the rice for barley, lentils, quinoa or pasta, add different vegetables and use different proteins.

How to Use Turkey Breast When It’s Not Thanksgiving

If it’s not turkey day, you can roast just a turkey breast, either the day of making the soup or the day before. To do this, rub the turkey breast with vegetable oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and bake per package instructions.  You can also season your turkey breast with a spice rub called “Kinder’s Seasoning Master Salt – Garlic, Sea Salt and Butter” – it is magic!  I just add pepper to the rub and use the mix on everything (not a paid endorsement, just a fabulous find). You will be blown away at how tasty your roasted turkey breast is!  I purchase Kinder’s Seasoning at Costco. 

HOW TO MAKE CREAMY TURKEY SOUP

This leftover Turkey Soup can be served brothy or creamy.  To make creamy Turkey Rice Soup, increase the butter and olive oil, add flour and cornstarch and swap some of the broth for half and half.  Here’s how:

  1. Increase butter to 3 tablespoons and olive oil to 3 tablespoons.  Sauté the onions, carrots and celery over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour then cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes (it will be thick).
  2. Add 9 cups broth instead of 12 cups, wild rice, sweet potatoes, bouillon, all seasonings, and bay leaf to the pot.
  3. Cover the soup to bring to a simmer, then displace the lid so it’s partially covering the pot, with about a one-inch opening. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, then add the green beans.  Simmer, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes or until the rice is almost al dente.
  4. Stir in shredded turkey, and cauliflower. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 cups half and half (you can whisk with as little as 1/2 cup, just enough so it dissolves) and add to pot. Simmer for 5 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and rice is al dente.

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER turkey SOUP

Turkey Rice Soup is also easy to make in the slow cooker!  I would start with only 9 cups of broth and add more if needed when you add the cauliflower and turkey because the slow cooker doesn’t evaporate much broth like cooking on the stove does. To make Turkey Soup in the crockpot:

  • Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker except the cauliflower and leftover turkey.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low 6-7 hours, or until the wild rice is almost al dente.
  • Add the cauliflower and turkey and cook an additional 30 minutes.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT 

This Turkey Rice Soup makes fantastic leftovers. The flavors build and meld and the rice stays al dente and doesn’t absorb excess liquid like white rice can.

  • Storage: Let Turkey Rice Soup cool to room temperature, then cover and store in your Dutch oven or transfer to an airtight container.  Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer:   Turkey Soup can be transferred to an airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months.   Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat per any of the methods below.
  • Stove:  Reheat large batches on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Microwave:  Transfer individual servings to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lids or paper towel.  Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.
  • Crockpot:  Transfer soup to a crockpot and heat on low for 1-3 hours.  The time will depend on how much soup you have remaining.