Quick, easy, healthy chicken and rice soup is perfect for chilly days. It’s super satisfying, comforting, nourishing, and can be made with raw or leftover ingredients for the ultimate low-fuss soup!
With the weather chilly and sniffles/bugs on the rise, it’s the perfect time to enjoy low-fuss, delicious, wonderfully cozy and comforting, stick-to-your-ribs soups like minestrone, hearty ramen, and my current ultimate favorite – homemade chicken and rice soup!
Simple, old-fashioned chicken and rice soup recipes are comfort food at its finest, prepared using inexpensive kitchen and pantry ingredients. They combine flavorful chicken broth with juicy, tender chicken, hearty rice, and flavorful veggies. Plus, this soup comes together really quickly!
It’s also simple enough for even the most novice cook to prepare. With minimal chopping and options to use raw ingredients or leftovers, this easy chicken and rice recipe is perfect for when your energy is low. Plus, you can prepare it on the stove-top or in a crockpot as a crowd-pleasing soup the entire family will enjoy.
The Chicken And Rice Soup Ingredients
Learn how to make a cozy, comforting chicken and soup recipe with just a few simple ingredients.
- Chicken broth: I prefer homemade chicken broth, but you could use a store-bought regular or low-sodium chicken broth if preferred.
- Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts to cook directly in the soup. However, you could also use leftover chicken (chicken thighs or breast meat, shredded) to stir in during the last few minutes.
- Rice: I like to use medium or long-grain white rice or jasmine rice for this chicken rice soup recipe.
- Mirepoix: I used a classic cooking base of onion, carrot, and celery for a super flavorful chicken soup rice recipe.
- Garlic: Fresh is best, though you can use powdered garlic in a pinch. Adjust the amount to taste.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a subtle yet noticeable “fresh” aromatic element.
- Oil: Use neutral cooking oil, like olive oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil, etc.
- Salt & Black pepper: To season the rice chicken soup to taste. For extra umami flavor and color depth, use soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free) instead of salt.
What Kind Of Rice Is Best For Soup
In this case, the best rice for soup is long-grain white rice like jasmine rice or basmati rice. It holds its shape far better than shorter-grain rice and cooks in time with the chicken.
However, if you’re using leftover cooked rice or plan to cook it separately, then add it when serving, any medium to long-grain rice will work – brown rice, wild rice, black rice, etc.
You could also transform rice and chicken soup recipes into a chicken noodle soup recipe by swapping the rice for noodles (egg noodles work particularly well). Refer to the package instructions for their cooking time.
How To Make Chicken And Rice Soup
First, prepare the various vegetables and ingredients. Finely dice the onion, carrot, and celery, and mince the garlic. Also, rinse the rice in a colander until the water runs clear and set it aside to drain.
Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the prepared vegetables and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until the onion begins to turn golden.
Next, add the chicken breast and cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping it once to gently sear the outside.
Add the chicken broth and rice, stir, and bring it to a boil. Then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer (about medium-low). Cover and cook for around 30 minutes, or until the vegetables and rice are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the pot and use two forks or a mini food processor to shred it. Then add it back to the soup along with the fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!
I like enjoying a bowl of this chicken and rice stew/soup alongside some bread (like a slice of a crusty loaf) optionally slathered in butter.
How To Add Rice To Soup: Cooked Or Uncooked
There are two ways to introduce rice to this chicken soup with rice: uncooked or cooked.
Cooked: If you have leftover cooked rice or want to avoid it soaking up too much of the broth and becoming mushy, then it’s best to stir separately cooked rice into the soup when serving.
Note that if you’re adding cooked rice, you won’t need as much broth to make the soup. I recommend reducing it to 3-4 cups.
Uncooked: For ease, I love to cook the rice directly in the chicken broth. Just note that if you store the soup and rice together, it will continue to soak up the broth and become very soft.
Can You Freeze Chicken and Rice Soup?
You can freeze this simple chicken soup recipe in Ziplock bags (leaving headspace), spreading it into a thin, flat layer for up to 3 months.
When freezing the rice directly into the broth, it can become very mushy and will continue to soak up broth while it freezes/thaws. For that reason, it may be best to strain the broth and store the solids and broth separately in the freezer. OR, you can omit the rice from the soup and only stir it in upon serving.
Add more chicken broth to your desired consistency.
This will depend on the type of rice you use. You can simply refer to the rice package instructions.
The only way to do this is to avoid storing the two together and add the rice to the soup before serving.
Yes, you can. Stir it into the soup in the last 3-4 minutes, just enough to heat it. You can also use leftover home-cooked or even rotisserie chicken, skin removed – add it in the last few minutes to warm it up.
To make slow cooker chicken and rice soup recipe, first, complete the “sauté” steps on the stovetop (for the mirepoix and searing the chicken). Then, transfer everything to the crockpot and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours (until the rice is tender). If you’re using pre-cooked chicken or rice, add it in the last 30 minutes.
More Simple Soup Recipes
- Cream of Chicken Soup
- Chicken tortilla soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Potato Leek Soup Recipe
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- Simple Lentil Soup
- Vegetable Chickpea Stew
If you try this easy chicken and rice recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Easy Chicken Rice Soup Recipe
- 5 cups chicken broth homemade or store-bought but low-sodium
- 14 oz boneless skinless chicken breast 2 medium breasts, raw OR use leftover cooked chicken meat (thighs or breasts), shredded
- 3/4 cup long-grain white rice or use 1.5 cups of any leftover cooked rice
- 6 oz carrots 2 medium
- 5 oz celery 2 stalks
- 5 oz onion 1 medium
- 0.3 oz garlic 2 small cloves
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil or another neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon salt or soy sauce/tamari for added umami depth
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 0.4 oz parsley a handful
- Prepare the various vegetables and ingredients. Finely dice the onion, carrot, and celery, and mince the garlic. Also, rinse the rice in a colander until the water runs clear and set it aside to drain.
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the prepared vegetables and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until the onion begins to turn golden.
- Add the chicken breast and cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping it once to gently sear the outside.
- Add the chicken broth and rice, stir, and bring it to a boil. Then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer (about medium-low).Cover and cook for around 30 minutes, or until the vegetables and rice are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and use two forks or a mini food processor to shred it. Then add it back to the soup along with the fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!
Make Ahead & Storage Instructions
- Make ahead: This simple chicken soup recipe is great for using leftovers. You can also prepare some of the elements in advance – chicken broth, cooked rice, or cooked chicken. All of these will store in separate containers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Fridge: Allow it to cool, then store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.Reheat: A microwave or stovetop will work to reheat this chicken rice soup gently. If you've stored the chicken soup with the rice, you will probably need additional broth when reheating.Freeze: You can freeze this homemade chicken soup in Ziplock bags (leaving headspace), spreading it into a thin, flat layer for up to 3 months.When freezing the rice directly into the broth, it can become very mushy and will continue to soak up broth while it freezes/thaws. It may be best to strain the broth and store the solids and broth separately in the freezer. OR, you can omit the rice from the soup when cooking and only stir it in upon serving.
- To save time, purchase a pre-prepared soup base (mirepoix) or use a vegetable chopper to speed up the prep.
- Don’t skip browning the meat. This helps to add a deeper color and richer, more caramelized flavor.
- For a heartier soup: increase the rice-to-broth ratio OR puree some of the vegetables into a thicker soup base.
- To avoid mushy rice: You can cook and/or store the rice separately from the broth, adding it in when serving. This is great when meal prepping the soup.
- If you cook the rice separately: Cooking rice with chicken broth will ensure it’s still flavorful.
- Season to taste: I use homemade chicken broth, which is only lightly salted, so I always season my dishes to taste.
- Lemon juice: Add a squeeze of lemon juice when serving for added brightness and flavor depth you won’t want to miss.
- Other vegetables: peas (frozen, added in the last few minutes), leek (thinly sliced, added at beginning), bell peppers (finely diced, added at beginning), spinach or kale (mixed in at the end).
- White wine: Use a dry white wine – around ¼ cup – to deglaze the pan after browning the chicken. The alcohol cooks off, leaving delicious flavor.
- Bay leaves: Add 1-2 bay leaves to the simmering soup for depth.
- Herbs: Add 1-2 sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. Oregano works too.
- Hot sauce: Just a bit for very subtle spicy depth.