Chicken and Rice Soup

November 3, 2021

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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?

Pot of chicken and rice soup with a wooden ladle. Baguette bread is shown in the background.

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)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • 7 to 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 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.

What to Serve with It

Two bowls filled with chicken rice soup.

More Chicken and Rice Favorites to Try

Pot of chicken and rice soup
4 from 2 votes

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! Makes about 10 to 11 cups.
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs bonless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess visible fat
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 1/4 cups diced carrots (2 large)
  • 1 cup diced celery (2 large)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 7 to 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 parmesan rind, plus shredded parmesan for serving
  • 3/4 cup to 1 long grain white rice*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parlsey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Dab chicken thighs dry with paper towels, season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Add to pot and sear until browned on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.
  • 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.
  • Pour in 7 cups chicken broth, add thyme, bay leaves and parmesan rind. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring mixture to a simmer then stir in rice, and return chicken thighs to pot.
  • Reduce to low heat. Cover pot and let simmer until thighs are cooked through, about 8 minutes (they should be 165 in center of thickest portion).
  • Transfer thighs to a cutting board (shake rice that sticks back into pot). Let rest 5 minutes then cut chicken into small pieces.
  • Meanwhile let soup continue to simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 8 to 12 minutes longer.
  • Remove soup from heat. Remove parmesan rind and bay leaves. Stir in chicken, parsley and lemon juice.
  • As soup rests it will thicken you can thin with remaining 1 cup chicken broth if desired. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese to taste.

Notes

*Some reviews have mentioned their soup being thicker than they'd like. Recipe originally listed 1 cup rice but you may want to go with 3/4 cup if you don't want it quite as thick.
Nutrition Facts
Chicken and Rice Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 352 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 109mg36%
Sodium 860mg37%
Potassium 815mg23%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 8749IU175%
Vitamin C 16mg19%
Calcium 119mg12%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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11 Comments

  • Sallie

    I do enjoy your recipes and the very good directions you list. However, I feel there must be an error in this recipe which uses 1 cup rice. The flavor is wonderful, but I am disappointed that it was so thick. I hesitated before putting in the 1 cup rice, as I thought it would be too much with 7 cups broth. I ended up putting in another quart of chicken broth. Has anyone else had this problem with this soup?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I appreciate your feedback Sallie, sorry it din’t turn out how you would have liked! Typically 1 cup rice only needs 2 cups broth to rehydrate but there could be a few variables. I’ve reduced the rice to 3/4 cup and made a note of that in the recipe. Perhaps it varies based on brand of rice, how long it’s simmered and rested, and possibly just personal preference (as some may prefer it a little more stew-like and others more brothy and runny).

  • Kath

    We found this to be pretty bland. There is way too much rice here, I’d half it if I were to make it again. By the time 2 of us had it for dinner, what was left in the pot had already taken on the consistency of oatmeal. If that’s your jamb, great. I hate oatmeal.
    Maybe next recipe?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Hi Kath – I’m sorry it wasn’t what you were expecting! To boost flavor my number one tip for soup is to use a homemade chicken stock it can always be a game changer with flavor if you are looking for a more developed flavor. Then as far as the rice goes perhaps you’d enjoy the texture of brown rice or a wild rice better, or farro or barley (cook time would just need to be increased).

  • Shauna Irons

    Very good and simple. Followed the directions except for the fresh thyme. I used dried. Family loved it! Will make again and again. Thank you! I can’t ever go wrong making one of your recipe. I have made a lot of them. lol you have made me a better cook.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a review Shauna! I’m so glad you have been enjoying my recipes!

  • Duncan Edwards

    This is almost better that mama used to make, make no mistake it was deliciously done, we love it😛

  • Wendi

    Hello! If I’m using leftover already made rice, would I use less broth? Thanks!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes, I would start with 5 cups broth. Then wait to add the rice until the last few mins.