Creamy Wild Rice Soup

A hearty wild rice soup loaded with mushrooms, flecked with fresh thyme, and bolstered with Gruyere cheese and cream. The perfect winter warmer.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Do yourself a favor and buy a couple bags of wild rice. Now cook up a big pot, be patient, wait for the rice to plump and split. Freeze some for future meals, and put the rest to use in whatever you’re cooking this week. I’m never sorry to have wild rice at the ready and this creamy wild rice soup is case in point. It’s a creamy winter warmer loaded with chewy, nutty wild rice and pan-fried mushrooms, fragrant with fresh thyme. So delicious!

A pot of soup on a marble table with chunks of sourdough bread and bowls.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup: the Ingredients

The ingredient list for this soup is relatively short. Once you have some cooked wild rice (which you can make a couple days ahead of time), the rest of the prep is primarily chopping mushrooms and grating a bit of cheese.

  • Mushrooms: You have a lot of flexibility here. You can use whatever mushrooms you typically purchase, or experiment with varietals you find at local farmers’ markets.  Brown button mushrooms from the grocery store work well. Or mix it up like I did for the version pictured here. Each mushroom has a unique flavor and texture. Floppy mushrooms I like to tear into pieces. And chopping firmer mushrooms into small pieces is the way to go.
    A sampler of different mushroom varietals
  • Wild Rice: My pro-tip related to wild rice is to avoid undercooking it. It definitely takes some time to cook, often an hour or more, but I like to let a lot of the grains split before draining off any additional water.
  • Cheese: I like to use a creamy, assertive cheese like Gruyere in this soup, but you can experiment. The key is strong flavor - give cheeses like mozzarella a pass here.
  • Cream: I use a heavy cream to give the broth in this soup body and richness. But on occasion I’ll substitute cashew cream - I tend to keep cashews on hand, but not always heavy cream. Instructions for both are included below.

A pot of creamy wild rice soup in a rustic pot.

How To Make Wild Rice Soup

To make this an easy weeknight meal you’ll want to cook the wild rice ahead of time. Just choose a window a day or two ahead of time so it’s ready to go when you want to make the soup. From there it’s quite straightforward.

  1. Saute the shallots and fresh thyme.
  2. Chopped mushrooms go in next, cook until browned.
  3. Add the water, broth, and/or bouillon.
  4. Stir in the wild rice.
  5. Grated cheese and cream are the grand finale.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper.

A bowl filled with creamy wild rice soup topped with fried shallots
Also, don't sleep on the leftovers here. This is one of those soups that is even better the day after. It thickens a bit, the flavors deepen and meld in a wonderful way. 


If you end up loving this soup, and making it part of your cooking repertoire, you can switch up a bit.

  • Make it spicy: I like to add a minced serrano pepper (or two) to introduce a bit of kick here. You could also use dried chile pepper flakes.
  • Not mad at celery: If you add a couple stalks worth of chopped celery along with the shallots, you really introduce that holiday stuffing flavor profile. People love it and the whole situation makes your house smell like a place everyone wants to be.
  • Roasted winter squash: Adding some roasted winter squash to this wild rice soup is an ideal paring. If you finish off each bowl with some roasted delicata squash, or simple, roasted butternut or honeynut squash you add a bit of visual flare as well. And toss in some toasted pumpkin seeds while you’re at it!

A pot of creamy wild rice soup in a rustic pot.

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Creamy Wild Rice Soup

4.5 from 6 votes

Use whatever edible mushrooms you like here, or do what I do (pictured above) and use a mix. You can chop the mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces, or leave them larger if you like. For the creamy component, sometimes I make this with cashew cream in place of the heavy cream. Make cashew cream by blending 1 cup of raw cashews and 1 cup of watering a high-speed blender until silky smooth. And I had a few crispy fried shallots on hand, so I threw them on top of the finished soup. Not necessary, but everyone loves them.

  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 pound mushrooms, trimmed, chopped (or torn)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 6 cups water or broth
  • 1 tablespoon bouillon if needed
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice*
  • 2 ounces / 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the butter. Stir until melted, then add the shallots and fresh thyme. Cook until the shallots soften, 4-5 minutes. Dial up the heat a bit, stir in the salt and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid, and begin to brown, 10 minutes or so.
  2. Add the water (or broth) and bouillon (if you think you need more flavor), and simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Until the broth thickens just a bit. Stir in the wild rice and allow the broth to come back to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the grated cheese and cream. Season with more salt if needed and plenty of black pepper.

Serves 4-6.

*To cook wild rice, your ratio is 1 cup rice to 3 cups salted water. So if you’re cooking 2 cups of wild rice, use 6 cups of water. Boil until the rice splits and grains are tender throughout, usually 50 - 60 minutes. Drain off any extra water if needed.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
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Recipe Rating


I meal prepped this for lunches this week. Was *stunningly delicious*, and I kept eating it when I should have left it for lunch. Definitely going in my rotation. Thank you!5 stars

Elizabeth B

    So happy to read this Elizabeth!

    Heidi Swanson

This looks great! I have a couple boxes of wild rice I purchased accidentally thinking I was getting long grain and wild, lol. I have been wondering what to do with it and then this popped up in my email! I do have a question for you. I am the only one in my family that likes mushrooms, so this would be for me alone. How do you think this soup would freeze? Thank you !


    Hi Sara! I suspect it might freeze pretty well. I might hold back the cheese/cream component and add it on the reheat. Enjoy!

    Heidi Swanson

I made this using Lundberg’s Wild Rice Blend and Shitake mushrooms. Since my partner is lactose “special,” I still used the Gruyere, but opted for the cashew cream, which was much easier to make than I realized! Soaked the cashews in water for about 20 min and then my sub-par blender easily blended it to make the cashew cream. Overall, this soup was very tasty and easy to make. I will definitely be including it into our Sunday soup rotation!5 stars


    Great to hear Jill!

    Heidi Swanson

Hey Heidi! I couldn’t wait to try this. I made it last night, and it was wonderful! I used a wild rice blend since I already had it, tossed in some cubes of roasted honeynut squash from my garden, and included the celery. I topped it off with some quick homemade croutons, and it was perfect. Thanks for this – and for so many of your recipes that are in my regular rotation. I’ll be adding in this one, for sure!5 stars

Steve P

    Thanks for the kind note Steve! So happy you enjoyed it.

    Heidi Swanson

I’m definitely going to make this soup. It sounds so good and enough different from the usual “Minnesota” style I make. I always keep wild rice on hand (typically organic from Canada), but have also used the California wild rice from Rancho Gordo and that is good. I don’t usually keep Gruyere cheese on hand, but from my research it appears that Jarlsberg is an adequate substitute that I usually do keep around. Thanks so much Heidi — this comes at a good time.


    Thank you! And yes, enjoy. You could even go for a Swiss cheese if you. like it and it is easier for you to come by.

    Heidi Swanson

Wild rice is incredibly expensive in the UK, so won’t be trying this.

Annabel Smyth

    Hi Annabel, you could experiment with something like farro or another grain!

    Heidi Swanson

Where might one get wild rice? I’ve tried the crap at the grocery store, that’s not it.2 stars


    Hi John – if you aren’t finding it in the grocery store you can order online from a source like Rancho Gordo, etc. Worth tracking down!

    Heidi Swanson

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