Turkey Rice Soup

Turkey Rice soup is the most delicious way to use leftover turkey!

This leftover Turkey Rice Soup is wildly delicious, simple to make, nutritious 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.

Warming up to a big bowl of soup not only fills the belly and warms the soul, but is easy, feeds a crowd and makes great leftovers. Don’t miss some of our favorite soup recipes such as Chicken Tortilla Soup. New England Clam Chowder, Zuppa Toscana, Creamy White Chicken Chili, Crockpot Chili, Thai Chicken Noodle Soup and Tomato Basil Soup.

top view of a  bowl of turkey rice soup with a silver spoon

PIN THIS RECIPE TO SAVE FOR LATER

Leftover turkey soup

We all look forward to Thanksgiving all year long, but what to do with all that leftover turkey?!  I like to use leftover turkey like I would rotisserie chicken – freeze it in 2 ½-3 cup size portions (chopped or shredded) then use it in soups, pastas and casseroles such as “Turkey” Divan,Turkey” Enchilada Casserole, “Turkey” Noodle Soup, One Pot “Turkey” Orzo, Million Dollar “Turkey” Alfredo Bake and on and on. But what about a recipe created specifically for leftover turkey? I give Turkey Rice Soup!

This leftover Turkey Soup is like Fall wrapped up in a big bowl of warm, cozy, comforting, filling soup that also happens to be nutritious!  Here’s more reasons to love this Turkey Soup recipe:

  • ONE POT.  With all your Thanksgiving prep, you need a break from all those pots and pans!  This leftover Turkey Soup is all made in one pot (including the rice) which means only one pot to wash!
  • DELICIOUS.  This Turkey Rice Soup is a warm, savory symphony of juicy turkey, al dente rice, tender veggies and layers of complex aromatic flavor swaddled in aromatic broth. The soup is seasoned to perfection with hand-picked Italian seasonings that complement the turkey without overwhelming it.
  • PANTRY FRIENDLY AND FLEXIBLE.  The ingredients for this Turkey Soup recipe are simple, inexpensive and you probably have almost all of them on hand – including the turkey!  If you don’t have wild rice, it should be easy to pick up or you can substitute it with brown rice or even white rice (instructions included for each). This recipe can also be made with any chicken you have on hand and any veggies although I love the specific combination of sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and cauliflower.
  • MEAL-IN-ONE.  This Turkey Rice Soup is chock full of protein, veggies and starch for a complete meal-in-one all made in one pot!  You can skip the sides all together because it is stand-alone worthy or serve it with no-fuss sides like a simple green salad and crusty bread.
  • GREAT LEFOVERS.  This leftover Turkey Soup keeps exceptionally well because the wild rice stays al dente for days without becoming mushy, in fact, it tastes even better the next day! 

WHAT RICE IS BEST FOR leftover TURKEY SOUP?

What makes Turkey Rice Soup so drool worthy is the al dente rice enveloped in the herbaceous broth.  In order to stay far away from the fine line between al dente rice and mushy rice, I highly recommend a wild rice blend, it is by far the best type of rice to use for soups like my Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and Thai Chicken Wild Rice Soup.  I also love it in pilafs such as my Cranberry Apple Wild Rice Pilaf and Butternut Squash Wild Rice Pilaf

Wild rice boasts a nutty, toasted, earthiness and is extremely difficult to overcook, remains al dente and reheats like a champ.  Even leftovers will remain fabulously al dente and even slightly chewy so the soup tastes even better the next day.

WHAT IS WILD RICE?

The excellent texture of wild rice is in large part due to the fact that wild rice actually isn’t rice at all.  Even though it may look like long-grain rice with a brownish-blackish color, it is actually a highly nutritious grain of grass.  Wild rice comes from the seed of long-grain aquatic marsh grass that grows in the shallow waters of lakes, rivers, and bays indigenous to North America; this is considered “true” wild rice.  Today, however, the vast majority of the wild rice sold in the United States is cultivated in controlled fields similar to rice paddies.

WHERE CAN I BUY WILD RICE?

Wild Rice Blends are an exciting blend of rice varieties, which give you complementary firm, fluffy cooked textures and robust, nutty, earthy vibrant flavors.  You can find wild rice blends pre-packaged in a bag or box at your grocery store or in the bulk bins at Sprouts.  I use Lundberg Wild Blend Rice which is made of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, whole grain wehani rice, whole grain black japonica rice. 

If your wild rice package comes with a seasoning packet, you can discard that for our purposes. Also, take care you don’t purchase instant wild rice -or if you do, follow those cooking instructions.

top view of two bowls of leftover turkey soup with rice, carrots, celery, onions and garlic

IS WILD RICE HEALTHY?

Wild rice boasts about 30% fewer calories than brown rice and 40% more protein so it’s healthier than both white and brown rice. Wild rice also boasts impressive amounts of antioxidants, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.  In fact, it has up to 30 times greater antioxidants than white rice.

CAN I USE A DIFFERENT RICE?

You can use whatever rice you have on hand for this leftover Turkey Soup recipe but expect varying results:

  • Brown rice:  You may substitute the wild rice blend with brown rice and cook for about the same amount of time.
  • White rice: You may use long grain white rice but it 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.

CAN I USE LEFTOVER RICE?

Yes!  To use leftover rice, sauté the veggies per the original recipe, then add the sweet potatoes, green beans, broth, seasonings, etc. and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the cauliflower, simmer for 3 minutes then add the rice and simmer an additional 2 minutes to warm through or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Alternatively, add the rice to individual servings if you expect leftovers.

turkey SOUP INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

This leftover Turkey Rice Soup is made with very simple ingredients.  They key to the exploding flavor is building the layers of flavor by sautéing the veggies and aromatic onions and garlic before adding the broth.  You will need: 

  • Turkey. Using leftover roasted turkey makes this Turkey Soup a cinch to make!  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 recipe 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. 
  • Chicken Broth.  Take care your chicken broth is low sodium otherwise your Turkey Soup will be too salty.  Using low sodium broth also allows us to use chicken bouillon which amps up the flavor.
  • Chicken bouillon.  You can use bouillon powder, bouillon cubes or better than bouillon.  Add to the soup without dissolving in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 1 ½ which you crush up and then add directly to the broth.
  • Onion. Use one diced yellow onion. 
  • Garlic.  4-6 garlic cloves depending on your garlic love.
  • Carrots.  Please don’t use baby carrots as they aren’t nearly as flavorful. Chop the carrots on the thicker side because they are going to simmer for 30 minutes or so.
  • Celery.  Also needs to be chopped on the thicker side, about ½-inch.
  • Cauliflower.  I LOVE cauliflower in this soup -please don’t skip because the texture is sublime!  If you don’t have cauliflower, you may swap with broccoli but it’s not quite the same. Chop cauliflower into bite-size pieces. 
  • Sweet potato.   One large sweet potato, about 1 pound, peeled, chopped 1/2-1-inch thick.  You may also substitute 2-3 Yukon gold potatoes.
  • Green Beans.  I like fresh green beans but they are not my favorite vegetable – but I love them in this Turkey Rice Soup. They add a fresh pop of flavor and texture – I highly recommend them!  Also, fresh green beans taste far superior than canned in this application. 
  • Seasonings. Dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, a bay leaf, salt and pepper season our soup to perfection.

CAN I USE FRESH HERBS?

I prefer dried herbs in the actual soup because they get added to the soup at the beginning which infuses the broth with flavor.  You may use fresh herbs, but you will need three times the number of fresh herbs to dried herbs.  Take care to add fresh herbs towards the end of cooking so they stay fresh and flavorful. 

CAN I USE VEGETABLE BROTH INSTEAD?

I do not recommend vegetable broth because it does not have the chicken flavor which enhances the entire recipe.  That doesn’t mean you can’t use vegetable broth, but it does mean the soup will not taste as satisfyingly flavorful.

CAN I USE FROZEN VEGETABLES?

Absolutely!  Frozen vegetables are a great shortcut in this Turkey Rice Soup.  Add the vegetables the last 15 minutes – no need to thaw.  

IS THIS SOUP GLUTEN FREE?

Yes!  All of the ingredients are gluten free.

a ladle spooning turkey soup recipe in a big Dutch oven

HOW TO MAKE TURKEY SOUP

This Turkey Rice Soup is very easy to make – just sauté the veggies, add the rest of the ingredients in stages and simmer away! Here’s how:

STEP 1:  SAUTÉ VEGETABLES: 

  • Melt butter with olive oil over medium low heat in a large Dutch oven.  Increase to medium-high heat, and add onions, carrots and celery; sauté for 5 minutes scaping up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan.   Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • The vegetables will not be completely tender at this point but will soften as they simmer with the soup.
showing how to make leftover turkey rice soup by cooking carrots, onions and celery in a white Dutch oven

STEP 2:  add rice:

  • 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.
showing how to make leftover turkey rice soup by adding wild rice, sweet potatoes and Italian seasonings to a white Dutch oven

STEP 3:  SIMMER SOUP: 

  • 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.

STEP 4:  ADD TURKEY

  • Stir in shredded turkey, and cauliflower and continue to simmer for 5 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and rice is al dente.
showing how to make leftover turkey rice soup by adding leftover turkey and cauliflower to a white Dutch oven

STEP 5: FINISHING TOUCHES

  • 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).
showing how to make turkey soup by garnishing a big pot of soup with parsley

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:

  • 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).
  • Add 9 cups broth instead of 12 cups, wild rice, sweet potatoes, bouillon, all seasonings, and bay leaf.
  • 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.
  • Stir in shredded turkey, and cauliflower. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 cups half and half (you can whisk with as little as ½ 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.

turkey SOUP VARIATIONS

This leftover Turkey Rice Soup is fabulous because it can be made with anything and everything!   Let it serve as a springboard to make it your own with all sorts of add ins or whatever you have on hand:

RICE VARIATIONS

As previously detailed, you can swap the wild rice for brown rice or white rice or even barley or lentils! 

  • Swap rice for barley.  Barley is another delightful texture if you don’t have wild rice on hand that I use in my Beef and Barley Soup.  You will want to use pearl and simmer for about 30 minutes total just like the wild rice.
  • Swap rice for lentils.  Swap the wild rice for 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes total, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
  • Swap rice for quinoa.  For a higher protein option, you can add a about ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  • Swap rice for pasta.  Swap the rice for small pasta such as small/mini pasta shells, orzo, ditalini (the small short tubes), acini de pepe or mini penne.   Add the pasta the last 8-10 minutes and cook just until al dente – meaning it has a little bite to it because it will still cook a little once you remove the soup from the heat.  You can also swap the rice for uncooked fresh cheese tortellini.  Tortellini only require a couple minutes to cook, so watch them closely!  

PROTEIN VARIATIONS

Although this is Turkey Soup, it is delicious with whatever protein you have on hand:

  • Chicken thighs.  Sear chicken thighs, remove from the pot, sauté the veggies then add the chicken back to the pot with the broth.  Simmer the soup for 12 minutes or until the chicken is tender enough to shred, shred chicken, continue with the recipe, then add the chicken back to the soup with the cauliflower.  
  • Rotisserie chicken. Add 2 ½ cups shredded chicken when the recipe calls for adding turkey to the soup. 
  • Ground beef ground turkey or Italian sausage.  Brown beef with the onions, carrots and celery, crumbling as you cook.
  • Sausage. Brown kielbasa, Polish sausage or chicken sausage then remove to a plate.  Slice or chop into bite size pieces then add back to the soup with the broth to simmer with the vegetables.
  • Bacon. Cook the thick-cut bacon until crispy then remove from the pot.  Reserve some of the drippings to cook the veggies in. Add the crumbled bacon to the soup at the end of cooking.
  • Ham.  Add ham at the end of cooking and heat through.  Ham can be quite salty so reduce the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste.
up close of a ladle of turkey rice soup recipe

VEGETABLE VARIATIONS

I recommend sticking with the carrots and celery but you can also add any other vegetables such as: 

  • Potatoes.  Swap the sweet potatoes for waxy potato such as red potatoes, Yukon, new potatoes or fingerling potatoes.  Waxy potatoes do not absorb moisture while they cook so they retain their shape despite extended high heat. 
  • Corn. You can use canned, drained sweet corn or frozen sweet corn – no need to thaw. 
  • Mushrooms. Cremini/baby bella mushrooms will have the most flavor.
  • Bell peppers. Any color will taste great!  Add them the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Butternut squash. Peel, chop into ½-inch pieces.
  • Parsnips.  Add at the beginning of cooking with the broth. 
  • Broccoli.  Chop into bite size pieces and add the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Zucchini. Slice and quarter zucchini and the last 10 minutes of cooking Slice zucchini on the thick side, about ¼-inch so it doesn’t get too soft.
  • Leafy greens. Add spinach or cabbage at the very end of cooking and cover the pot for 1-2 minutes to wilt.

OTHER VARIATIONS

  • Canned beans. I love the addition of cannellini beans for their slight sweetness, creaminess and meaty texture.  Add them with the cauliflower so they soften but retain their structure.
  • Creamy.  Follow the instructions for Creamy Turkey Soup.
  • Cheese.  If you make the Creamy Turkey Soup, you can also make it cheesy!  Stir in some freshly grated sharp cheddar or Parmesan at the end of cooking or get fancy with Swiss or Gruyere like I do in my Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup.
  • Swap Seasonings. Mix up the flavor profile by swapping the seasonings – go Mexican with chili powder, ground cumin, smoke paprika, etc., or go Cajun with black pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne.
  • Spice it up. Sauté a pinch of red pepper flakes in the butter for a kick.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR leftover turkey SOUP

Here is a summary of tips and tricks for the best leftover Turkey Rice Soup:

  • Don’t skip mirepoix.  This Turkey Soup recipe boasts the classic combination of carrots, onions and celery sautéed in olive oil and butter.  They are known as the holy trinity of cooking and provide a richness and depth of flavor that can’t be achieved any other way.  Please don’t skip unless you can’t get your hands on these ingredients.
  • Vegetable size.  Chop carrots and celery at least ½-inch thick because they are going to simmer for a long time.  Avoid chopping your vegetables too thin or they can become mushy.
  • Customize vegetables.  In addition to the mirepoix, you can add whatever veggies you have on hand or mix it up just for fun!  Corn, zucchini, cabbage, spinach, etc. would all be delicious.  Just be aware most vegetables only need 10 minutes to cook -see my detailed instructions in the Variations section.
  • Cook wild rice al dente.  You want the rice to have a little bite to it because it will continue to cook for 5 minutes after you add the cauliflower.   
  • Consistency.  You can make this Turkey Rice Soup less “chunky” simply by adding additional broth at the end of cooking. 
top view of a bowl of turkey soup with rice

WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?

This leftover Turkey Rice Soup is very simple but it does require some chopping vegetables. You can save time by chopping the vegetables a couple days ahead of time, the night before dinner or just a few hours before cooking then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  You will want to store the sweet potatoes, green beans and cauliflower separately from each other separate from the onions, carrots and celery because they are added later in the recipe. 

WHAT TO SERVE WITH leftover TURKEY SOUP?

This Turkey Rice Soup is a meal-in-one complete with protein, veggies and grains.  So, you call dinner done or serve it with any of these additional sides:

CAN I MAKE TURKEY SOUP AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes! The flavors of this Turkey Soup get better the next day so it makes amazing leftovers!  Reheat per below instructions.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT leftover turkey SOUP

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.
  • 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.

how to freeze leftover Turkey SOUP

This Turkey Rice Soup freezes exceptionally well because the rice and veggies are heartier than most so they don’t become mushy.

To freeze:

  1. Cool: Allow soup to cool completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients and prevent it from entering the “danger zone.”
  2. Package:  Transfer soup to an airtight freezer safe container or freezer bag.  You can even use sandwich size plastic bags for individual portions.  Squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn and label
  3. Freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. Thaw/Reheat. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave, crockpot or stove according to aforementioned instructions.
up close of a bowl of turkey rice soup

Want to try this Turkey Soup RECIPE?

Pin it to your Soup, Dinner or Holiday Board to SAVE for later!

Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes!  I am always pinning :)!

©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

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.
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups leftover turkey, shredded or chopped (may sub rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup carrots chopped 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 cup celery chopped 1/2-inch thick
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 cup wild rice blend
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound) peeled and chopped 3/4-inch thick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon or better than bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cauliflower chopped into bite size pieces
  • 8 oz. fresh green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).

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 ½ 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.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @CarlsbadCravings and Use #CarlsbadCravngs

Leave a Review, I Always Love Hearing From You!

Carlsbad Cravings© Original

Reader Interactions

leave a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 Comments

  1. Emily says

    My boyfriend current has Covid. He cannot taste anything. I have been trying so hard to figure out what to feed him. Tonight I made this and he had two bowls! He said the texture and heat was just right. He definitely added some extra red pepper to his bowl. Thank you for creating something he eat during this time.

    Ps. I can taste. And this is so good!

    • Jen says

      I’m so sorry to hear your boyfriend has Covid Emily. I’m so glad he was able to enjoy this soup, it really is about the awesome textures. I will be praying for a full and speedy recovery!

  2. Cbren says

    New fav after Thanksgiving soup.

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thank you!