Homemade Chicken With Rice Soup

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Homemade Chicken With Rice Soup – A delicious homemade chicken with rice soup. The perfect comfort food for a busy day. This wholesome chicken with rice soup is easy to make and the whole family will love it. This homemade Chicken With Rice Soup is one that you’ll want this winter. Just looking at the soup it’s smells delicious! You’ll find yourself drooling with each bite.

The BEST Chicken and Rice Soup

This really is one of the best, most flavorful chicken and rice soups we’ve ever tasted! And with the help of rotisserie chicken (or leftover chicken), it’s super easy too!

I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy a bowl of chicken and rice soup. It’s somehow so comforting, kind of like mom and apple pie. Though there’s nothing fancy, just the thought of it, makes me feel good! And when it’s loaded with lean chicken, healthy veggies and a super flavorful broth, I’m ALL in! So “all in”, that I ate two bowls of it for breakfast this morning (well… actually, that was for you, so I could write this post and convey how good it is!).

Overhead closeup vertical photo of a white pot with gold trim filled with The BEST Chicken and Rice Soup.

I think everyone needs a good chicken and rice recipe. While I love a totally-from-scratch soup with a whole chicken (preferably one that you’ve organically raised yourself) that’s been simmered till the meat falls off the bone and the broth is decadently delicious, I generally don’t have the time (or inclination) for that. It’s funny, I thought as I got older, I’d have time for spending all day in the kitchen, but that’s definitely not the case. It seems I’m busier than ever and I’m pretty sure many of you are in the same boat!

How to create a delicious, flavorful broth, not from scratch

That’s why I created this easy chicken and rice soup recipe that utilizes and rotisserie (or leftover) chicken along with a few little tricks to ensure a super flavorful broth without being totally-from-scratch.

The recipe starts out with a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil which combine for a great flavor base. After the butter is melted and bubbly the aromatics are added. Finely chopped onion and shallot along with diced celery are sautéd until soft and tender. (Shallots add a wonderful layer of fine flavor, having a natural richness and a bit of sweetness.) Then comes garlic and a generous scoop of Italian seasoning. Everything is then cooked for another 30 seconds which helps “bloom” the garlic and Italian seasoning.

The rest is super simple. Add the chicken broth (more on that later), carrots, bay leaves, finely minced fresh rosemary, turmeric (mostly for beautiful color), kosher salt and pepper. All this is simmered in an open pot (no cover) which helps concentrate the broth a bit. When the veggies are nice and tender, add the chicken and cooked rice. Sometimes I add a cup of finely chopped fresh spinach at this point to up the nutritional value and include a green veggie, but that’s optional. It’s delicious either way!

Overhead extreme closeup photo of a pot of The BEST Chicken and Rice Soup.

Should you cook the rice in the chicken and rice soup or separately?

You might be wondering why the rice is added at the very end in this chicken and rice soup recipe. I tried it both ways and we prefer the soup with rice that’s pre-cooked. Anytime you cook rice in soup, it absorbs a tremendous amount of the broth and you end up with more of a porridge than a brothy soup. It also doesn’t keep well and doesn’t look very attractive.

I get the rice going first, before prepping for the soup and it’s perfectly done and cooled a bit by the time the soup is finished cooking. If you’re serving a meal with rice, earlier in the week, you could just make an extra cup and you’d be all set for this soup recipe. One other option is to purchase a packet of pre-cooked rice. Most grocery stores offer this type of convenience item in the section where other varieties of rice is stocked. Trader Joe’s packets of frozen rice which are great. Three minutes in the microwave and it’s good to go!

Overhead vertical photo of a pot of The BEST Chicken and Rice Soup on an oval marble surface

A good “to take” recipe!

I love having this Chicken and Rice Soup stashed in the refrigerator for quick meals on busy days. It’s light, yet filling and it seems to always be a hit. This soup would also be a wonderful meal to take to a friend in need or a neighbor who’s been sick. It’s comforting, delicious, easy to warm up and keeps well for several days. Add some crusty dinner rolls or a plate of brioche rolls and you’ve got a delicious “to take” dinner that will bring a smile to just about anyone.

Now that it’s officially fall, it’s definitely soup season, so put this delicious recipe on the menu soon! There will be lots of happy campers around the table!

Vertical photo of a bowl of The BEST Chicken and Rice Soup with a blue and white patterned pot of the soup in the background.

Café Tips for making this Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Ten cups of chicken broth sounds like a lot but you need this much to balance out the other ingredients. Even though the rice is cooking before being added to the soup, it will still absorb some of the broth as it sits.
  • Use a good quality chicken broth for this soup. I really like the organic low sodium chicken broth from Trader Joe’s. It’s got good flavor, nice yellow color and it’s relatively inexpensive.
  • I also like to keep a jar of Better than Bouillion Chicken Base in my refrigerator. It’s a wonderful option when I’m in a pinch and have run out of cans or cartons of chicken broth. It’s got good flavor and is economically a great option. I prefer the regular version on this vs. the low sodium so you do have to adjust the salt when you use it.
  • Don’t be afraid to season this soup. There’s a lot of broth (low sodium) and rice and you need plenty of salt to bring out the flavor. I like to start with 1 teaspoon (as you never know how low sodium a low sodium chicken broth will be) but I almost always add more at the end when I take a test taste.
  • This chicken and rice soup recipe calls for a teaspoon of turmeric. Turmeric is a seasoning widely available in the spice section of most grocery stores. It’s used in curry powder and it also gives mustard its yellow color. It doesn’t really add flavor to this soup but does give it a lovely color. Turmeric is also super healthy, it’s known as a powerful nutrient that has long been used in China and India as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions.
  • The spinach in this recipe is optional. It’s finely chopped so you don’t really notice it as far as flavor goes. It does add a pretty look and some extra nutrition.
  • Want to make your work in the kitchen easier? If you’ve followed The Café for any length of time, you know that I love my Vidalia Chop Wizard and use it all the time. It’s a little kitchen workhorse and saves me a lot of time. I used it in this recipe for the shallots and onion. There are fancier versions, but I really like this basic original model. It’s compact, easy to store and has a measuring cup built-in.
  • What kind of rice to use? I really like jasmine rice but any long grain rice will work for this recipe.
  • To cook jasmine rice, I use one part rice to two parts water. So for this recipe which calls for 1 cup of uncooked rice, I use 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat a little to a steady simmer and let it cook until most of the water is cooked off and craters are forming on top of the rice. I then cover it, turn off the heat and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. It’s then ready to fluff with a fork and serve or cool and use later.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Whether you’re feeling under the weather or just need something quick and easy for dinner that will please the entire family, this one pot chicken and rice soup recipe is comfort food and a perfect meal on a chilly day.

Other classic recipes that are sure to hit the spot are our Salisbury steak, beef stew, and tapioca pudding. I just want to curl up on the couch with all three!

overhead close up of chicken soup in white bowl

We enjoy soup all year round at my house, but I know there is such a thing as soup season – and we’re in the thick of it right now. So, I’m sharing another one of my all-time favorite soup recipes today. This Chicken and Rice Soup is what I consider the best combination of my Chicken Noodle Soup (with rice instead of pasta) and my Greek Avgolemono Soup (with the bright, wonderful addition of lemon.) So healthy, filling, easy, and delicious, hitting all the notes.

Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

Ingredients needed:

  • Chicken – this is a great recipe to use up any leftover roast chicken or bake a chicken breast, but you can also buy some rotisserie chicken to cut back on a step.
  • Rice – regular uncooked long grained white rice (see note below.)
  • Vegetables – sweet onion, carrots, and garlic.
  • Seasoning – kosher salt, pepper, cracked red pepper flakes, dried thyme, and fresh parsley.
  • Chicken broth – low sodium chicken broth is what I use, which gives me better control over how salty the soup is.
  • Lemon juice – this adds a special flavor and brightness to the dish. Don’t skip it!
  • Olive oil – extra virgin olive oil to sauté the vegetables.
overhead of 2 white bowls filled with chicken rice soup

Do You Cook Rice Before Adding to Soup?

This recipe does work by adding in cooked rice at the end, but we prefer using raw rice because it soaks up the flavor of the broth and makes it extra delicious. Plus, one less pot to use!

What Kind of Rice is Best for Soup?

All types of rice are great in soup. For this particular recipe, we prefer long grain, medium, short grain, or jasmine rice – basically, any white rice is ideal. I typically use long grain white rice because I always have a tub of it on hand. For wild rice, we recommend this Panera copycat Chicken Wild Rice Soup.

chicken rice soup in ladle over pot

How to Make Chicken and Rice Soup

Nothing complicated here! The recipe starts with simply sautéing onion and carrots in olive oil with the addition of garlic until fragrant. Raw long grain white rice and Italian herbs simmer in a broth until plump and tender. It’s then finished off with bright lemon juice and cooked chicken pieces.

Storing Leftovers

Even though it’s sort of a drag, I do recommend separating the rice from the broth if storing leftovers. Otherwise the rice continues to absorb the liquid and you’ll end up with something that resembles oatmeal the next day. Use a slotted spoon to separate the rice from the broth, chicken, and vegetables. Then refrigerate or freeze them separately.

Can you freeze Chicken and Rice Soup? You can store this in air tight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat the soup first, then add in the rice and vegetables.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Comforting Chicken and Rice Soup! Made with tender chicken thighs, nourishing fresh veggies, hearty rice and a savory lightly-lemony broth. A simple soup with so much satisfying flavor!

Serving of chicken and rice soup shown in a grey bowl over a wooden plate and red cloth.

Old Fashioned Chicken and Rice Soup

This is such a basic soup made with everyday staple ingredients, yet it packs in so much goodness paired with an enjoyable and welcome flavor.

It’s the; not feeling so well, pick me up kind of soup, a dinner the whole family can agree on soup, or the not much in the fridge what to make for dinner kind of soup.

It checks so many boxes. In other words it’s one of those must try recipes for a rainy day. Literally.

One of the highlights of fall is breaking out all the soup recipes to warm us up and fill our homes with the scent of classic old fashioned dinner. Who can resist a stick-to-the-ribs homestyle recipe like this?

Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs bonless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, diced (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup diced celery (2 large)
  • garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 7 to 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • bay leaves
  • parmesan rind, plus shredded parmesan for serving
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Can I Use Chicken Breasts?

Boneless skinless chicken breasts will work too, just monitor them closely as they simmer and be careful not to cook past 165 in center of thickest portion or they start to get dry.

Photo of ingredients used to make chicken and rice soup shown on a countertop.

How to Make Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Brown chicken thighs in pot: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Dab chicken thighs dry with paper towels, season both sides with salt.
  • Add to pot and sear until browned on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.
  • Saute vegetables: Return pot to medium-high heat (there should be about 1 Tbsp oil in pot now, if needed you can add a little more). Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  • Mix in broth and seasonings: Pour in 7 cups chicken broth, add thyme, bay leaves and parmesan rind. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer then add rice: Bring mixture to a simmer then stir in rice, and return chicken thighs to pot.
  • Cook chicken through, then chop: Reduce to low heat. Cover pot and let simmer until thighs are cooked through, about 8 minutes (they should be 165 in center).
  • Transfer thighs to a cutting board (shake rice that sticks back into pot). Let rest 5 minutes then cut chicken into small pieces.
  • Continue to cook soup: Meanwhile let soup continue to simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 8 to 12 minutes longer.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients: Remove soup from heat. Remove parmesan rind and bay leaves. Stir in chicken, parsley and lemon juice. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese to taste.
  • Helpful tip: As soup rests, it will thicken. You can thin with remaining 1 cup chicken broth if desired.
Eight photos together showing steps of making a pot of chicken and rice soup.

Possible Variations

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Swap white rice for brown rice or wild rice blend (or add white rice during the last 1.5 hours).
  • Saute vegetables in a skillet.
  • Add to slow cooker with rice, chicken, broth and seasonings.
  • Cook on low for about 5 to 6 hours until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through.

Make it Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Replace 1 cup broth with 1 cup heavy cream.
  • Just wait until the end to stir in cream and just warm through.

Add Other Vegetables

Great choices here would be:

  • Mushrooms
  • Bell pepper
  • Peas
  • Sub a cup or two of minced cauliflower for half of the rice
Close up photo of chicken rice soup.

How to Store

  • Soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Thin with more broth as needed.
  • Chicken and rice soup can be frozen as well.

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