Loaded with vegetables, juicy chicken, and tender rice, this homemade chicken and rice soup is easy, healthy, and well-balanced. It’s the perfect one-pot meal for lunch or dinner on a cold day.
This healthy chicken and rice soup recipe is my go-to meal when I’m not sure what to cook. Because it’s made with pantry staples, it’s easy to whip up in a pinch and is a great way to use up leftover roasted chicken or roasted turkey to make a crowd-pleasing soup.
Although this recipe is made on the stovetop, you can also make this delicious soup in the slow cooker and add additional veggies if you like. It’s an incredibly versatile recipe and leftovers keep well in the fridge and freezer, which makes it great for meal prep.
Why You’ll Love This Soup
- Quick and Easy – Ready in less than 1 hour, this recipe is easy to prepare.
- High in Protein – Filled with lean chicken breasts, this soup contains 25 grams of protein per serving.
- Made in One Pot – This stovetop recipe requires minimal preparation and cleanup.
- Great for Meal Prep – This chicken and rice soup is great for batch cooking. It keeps well in the fridge and double and triple batches keep well in the freezer.
Ingredients for Chicken and Rice Soup
- Chicken – Raw boneless and skinless chicken breasts are recommended. If using frozen chicken breasts, ensure they are fully thawed before adding them to the soup. You can also use leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken if preferred. See the notes section of the recipe card for instructions.
- Rice – Long-grain white rice is recommended, such as basmati rice or jasmine rice, however, you can use long-grain brown rice or wild rice is preferred. See the notes section of the recipe card for instructions.
- Onion and Garlic – To add flavor to the broth.
- Carrots and Celery – To add some veggies.
- Chicken Broth – The recipe calls for chicken broth or chicken stock, but vegetable broth can also be used.
- Herbs – Some thyme and bay leaf to enhance the flavor of the soup and some fresh parsley to brighten the soup at the end.
- Salt and Pepper – To season the soup.
To Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free chicken broth.
To Increase the Protein Content: Add an additional chicken breasts and an additional cup of chicken broth.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
Contrary to popular belief, white rice is a healthy whole food and a good source of complex carbohydrates. In fact, the differences between brown rice and white rice are minimal, and including white rice in this soup helps to ensure it’s a balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
How to Make Chicken and Rice Soup
- Sauté the veggies. In a large pot, warm the oil, then add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and sauté until tender.
- Add the herbs and broth. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf, stir to coat the vegetables, then pour in the broth and water.
- Add the rice and chicken. Add the rice to the pot, stir to combine, then add the raw chicken breast to the pot, submerging them in the broth, and simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot, place it on a cutting board, and shred it into bite-sized pieces.
- Simmer the soup. Return the shredded chicken to the soup, along with the parsley, and simmer for a final 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
You can find the detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
Can I make it in a slow cooker?
Yes! Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. Once cooked, remove the chicken breasts, place them on a cutting board, shred them into bite-size pieces, and return the shredded chicken to the soup to reheat for 10 minutes before serving.
Can I make it in an Instant Pot?
Yes! Sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery in an Instant Pot with olive oil before adding the herbs, salt, pepper, broth, rice, and chicken breasts. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Once cooked, remove the chicken breasts from the soup, shred them into bite-size pieces, then return them to the soup to reheat before serving.
Can I use leftover chicken?
The chicken is added raw to the soup and cooks in the broth, however, you can use cooked chicken if preferred. Prepare the recipe as written and then add the shredded leftover chicken once the rice is cooked.
Can I use leftover rice?
The rice is added to the soup raw, and it cooks in the broth along with the soup, however, you can use leftover rice if you prefer. Prepare the recipe as written and then add the cooked rice at the end along with the shredded chicken.
How to Add Extra Flavor to Chicken Soup
You can enhance the flavor of this chicken and rice soup with additional ingredients and seasoning. Here are some suggestions:
- Add salt. Ensure that your soup is well seasoned and contains enough salt. The salt content will vary depending on the type of chicken broth that you use. Simply taste the finished soup and add additional salt as needed.
- Add herbs. Use dried or fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon, dill, rosemary, and parsley to enhance the flavor of this chicken and rice soup.
- Add spices. Use dried spices such as ground turmeric, curry powder, and red pepper flakes to deepen the flavor of chicken broth in chicken rice soup.
- Add toppings. Add extra flavor to chicken and rice soup with garnishes such as croutons, olive oil, chili oil, lemon juice, pesto, toasted nuts, and/or seeds.
Storage + Reheating
To Refrigerate: Allow the chicken and rice soup to cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Freeze: Transfer the cooled soup to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To make grab-and-go meals and reheating easier, you can freeze the soup in individual portion-sized containers.
To Reheat: To reheat from the fridge, place the soup in a pot on the stovetop on medium heat and warm for 5 minutes or until heated through. To reheat from frozen, thaw the soup overnight in the fridge and then place the soup in a pot on the stovetop on medium heat and warm for 5 minutes or until heated through. To reheat the soup in the microwave, place thawed soup in a microwave-safe bowl and warm for 1-2 minutes, with 30 additional 30-second increments as needed depending on the strength of your microwave.
More Chicken and Rice Soup Recipes:
- Wild Rice Chicken Mushroom Soup
- Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Chicken and Rice Soup
This chicken and rice soup recipe is made with chicken breasts, however, you could make it with rotisserie chicken just as easily. You could also swap the white rice for wild or brown rice, but you will need to increase the cooking time accordingly.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: American
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- 1 cup long-grain white rice (basmati or jasmine)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Fresh parsley, to serve
- In a large pot on medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the diced onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender.
- Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, salt, and pepper, and stir to coat the vegetables and warm for an additional minute until fragrant.
- Add the rice and stir to combine with the vegetable mixture. Then pour in the broth and water and add the bay leaf.
- Add the raw chicken breasts to the pot, submerging them in the broth, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 30 minutes, remove the chicken breasts from the pot and place them on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred them into small bite-size pieces.
- Return the shredded chicken to the pot and simmer the soup, covered, for a final 5 minutes. If you find the soup too thick, simply add some extra broth or water until it reaches the consistency of your choice.
- Once cooked, season the chicken and rice soup with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
To Use Leftover Chicken: Instead of adding the raw chicken breasts in step #4, simmer the soup for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Shred the chicken as per step #5 and then add 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken as per instructions in step #6.
To Use Leftover Rice: Instead of adding 1 cup of raw rice in step #3, add 3 cups of cooked rice along with the chicken in step #6.
To Use Long-Grain Brown Rice or Wild Rice: Prepare the soup as per instruction up until step #1, add the brown or wild rice as instructed in step #2, and cook it for 20 minutes before adding the raw chicken as in step #4. Then continue cooking soup as instructed.
To Use Fresh Thyme: Swap the dried thyme for 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme.
To Make it in a Slow Cooker: Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook it on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. Once cooked, remove the chicken breasts from the soup and place them on a cutting board. Shred the soup into bite-size pieces and return them to the soup for an additional 10 minutes before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
To Make it in an Instant Pot: Select the Instant Pot sauté setting, add the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken, and add the bay leaf, raw rice, and raw chicken breasts. Lock the lid, close the pressure release valve, and pressure cook on High pressure for 5 minutes (the timer will count down once pressure is reached, which takes roughly 15 minutes). When done, press Cancel and use the quick-release method to release the pressure. Remove the chicken breasts from the soup, shred them into bite-size pieces, and then return them to the soup to reheat for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 356 calories
- Sugar: 5 grams
- Fat: 7 grams
- Carbohydrates: 47 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 25 grams