Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
This Minnesota wild rice soup is creamy and delicious with a rich broth and hearty wild rice. This vegetarian recipe is perfect for a chilly winter evening!
Since we spent the past week in Minnesota, it seems like the perfect time to share this recipe! Soup is the best way to warm up on a chilly evening. But even if you’re not in a cold climate, this soup will hit the spot! It’s an easy one to make, and leftovers reheat well, so it’s great for lunch the next day!
I’ve seen a lot of wild rice soup recipes that call for chicken, but I kept this recipe vegetarian, of course. If you wanted to add mushrooms, you could certainly do that, but I kept this recipe simple with the staples I usually have in my fridge. Even though the ingredients list is short, this soup has tons of flavor!
- Wild rice– Wild rice is hearty, chewy rice that maintains its texture when cooked. Do not substitute for other rice.
- Butter– A little butter adds richness to the broth.
- Celery– Chopped celery adds flavor to the base of the soup.
- Onion– Chopped onion adds additional flavor to the soup.
- Carrots– I love the sweetness and texture of the carrots in this recipe.
- Garlic– A little garlic enhances the flavor of the broth.
- Vegetable broth– I like to use a chicken-style broth, like the “not chicken” broth from Edward & Sons. It’s vegetarian, but it adds more flavor than typical vegetable broth.
- Thyme– Fresh thyme is delicious, but dried thyme can add a similar flavor.
- Evaporated milk– This adds a rich flavor to the broth, but it’s a bit lighter than cream or half and half.
- Salt– Be sure to add salt to taste!
What is Wild Rice?
Wild rice is actually an aquatic grass that is typically grown in Minnesota. It’s harvested from lakes, and it’s not related to other types of rice. You can learn more about how it’s harvested here. Wild rice has a heartier, chewier texture, and it doesn’t get soggy or soft when it’s cooked in soup. It can be a bit more expensive and harder to find, but if you go to a larger grocery store, you shouldn’t have any trouble. If you have leftover wild rice, be sure to try these Wild Rice Burgers!
What is Evaporated Milk?
The other ingredient you might not have in your pantry is evaporated milk. I have to be honest, I don’t remember the last time I bought evaporated milk until I started making this recipe. But it’s a great way to create a creamy broth without using actual cream to get the right texture without a lot of additional fat and calories. If you want to make a vegan version of this soup, I highly recommend using Ripple’s half and half. It’s a great plant-based creamer! You can substitute Earth Balance or olive oil for the butter.
How to Make This Soup on the Stovetop
If you make it on the stove, I recommend cooking the rice separately then adding it to the soup. I usually cook my rice in a rice cooker, but you can also make it on a stovetop in a separate pot. If you want to save a little time, you can make the rice in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days until you’re ready to make the rest of the soup.
How to Make This Soup in an Instant Pot
This wild rice soup is one of my favorite recipes to make in a pressure cooker because the rice can cook right along with the vegetables. It’s easy to throw everything into the Instant Pot, set it, and forget it. I don’t even sauté the vegetables first, I just add all the ingredients into the pressure cooker and turn it on. You will need to add two additional cups of water, as noted below. This is because the rice will absorb a lot of the liquid. Make sure that once the soup is done cooking, you release the pressure and turn the machine off, otherwise, it will stay on a “keep warm” function and will make the rice soggy.
Tips for The Best Soup
- I love the flavor fresh thyme adds to this soup. But if you don’t have fresh thyme you can substitute with dried thyme.
- If you’re making this in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, be sure to release the pressure, then turn it off. Some machines will try to keep the soup warm until manually shut off, which can cause the wild rice to become overcooked and soggy. (I learned this the hard way!)
- I keep chopped onion, carrots, and celery in my freezer so I can make this quickly. I just add the frozen vegetables to my Instant Pot with the other ingredients and hit start. It’s so easy!
Where to Buy Wild Rice
It can be a little tricky to find wild rice, but it’s worth it. I’ve found it at Wegmans, Publix, Whole Foods, Kroger’s, and even Amazon! Don’t try to substitute wild rice for white rice or brown rice in this recipe. Wild rice has a firm texture that won’t get soggy in this soup. Wild rice also looks similar to black rice or forbidden rice, but it cooks differently. Wild rice is a must-have for this soup recipe.
- For a vegan version, try this with coconut milk or dairy free half & half, like Ripple brand.
- I like to use a “chicken-style” vegetable broth, like this one from Edward & Sons. I think it creates the best flavor for this soup. But you can use any type of vegetable or chicken broth.
What to Serve with Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
Try pairing this soup with this easy olive oil bread or a slice of this vegan beer bread. You could also round out the meal with a salad like this spicy kale salad. Or add a side of air fryer roasted broccoli!Print
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, stem removed
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups of water, only if using the Instant Pot Method
- Cook the rice according to the package directions.
- In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat for 30 seconds or until melted.
- Add the celery, onion, and carrots and cook for five minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic and thyme and continue to cook for one minute.
- Add the broth and and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the thyme stems from the pot.
- Add the cooked wild rice, evaporated milk and salt. (Note: if your rice isn’t ready yet, simply turn off the heat of your soup pot and then resume cooking once the rice is ready to be added.)
- Cook over low-medium heat until heated through. If you let this sit before serving, the rice will continue to absorb the broth. Simply add ½ cup of water and stir until you reach the desired consistency.
- Add additional salt to taste, if needed.
Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Method
Note: You need to add an additional 2 cups of water, as noted.
- Add the butter to the Instant Pot and set to sauté.
- Once the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, and carrots and stir until coated with butter. Sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic and thyme and continue to sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the uncooked wild rice, broth, and 2 cups of water to the pressure cooker.
- Cook on manual for 35 minutes, then release the pressure and remove the lid as soon as it is fully depressurized.
- Let the soup cool for 5-10 minutes then stir in the evaporated milk and add salt to taste.
This post was updated October 2022.
If cooking in a pressure cooker, be sure to depressurize after 35 minutes and stop the cooking process. Some models will continue to keep the soup warm until manually turned off. This will cause the wild rice to become soggy.
How to Store Leftovers
As I mentioned, this soup is also great reheated. You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. When reheating leftover soup, you may need to add a splash of water to the soup as it tends to thicken slightly when cooled. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this soup, though, since creamy soups tend to separate when frozen.