This chicken and rice soup recipe is incredibly cozy! Whip up a big batch in just 35 minutes for the best family meal to warm up with on a chilly day.
Want it creamy? You may also like my Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup.
Why you'll enjoy it
This chicken and rice soup is one of our staples to cook for friends and family when someone is feeling under the weather. It's healthy yet filling and comforting and will cheer them right up. This is one of those soups that's perfect when you're craving something that's homey and satisfying.
Often the key to a good soup is its simplicity. There are no fancy ingredients here, and we're using just a handful of them with an effortless cooking method all in one pot. You really don't need much to make homemade comfort food that's just plain delicious!
Ingredients for it
- Olive oil - for sautéing
- Onion and garlic - our aromatic base. I like sweet (Vidalia) onions best.
- Celery and carrots - for veggie goodness
- Chicken - we're using thighs
- Chicken broth - as the base for the rich and flavorful golden soup broth
- Italian seasoning - it's a blend of fragrant dried herbs including rosemary and thyme. It comes in one single convenient jar.
- Rice - I typically use white jasmine rice. White basmati would work too. Any variety of long grain white rice will be fine.
- Parsley - it's optional but adds a pop of freshness
Why use chicken thighs?
- They're more flavorful, and they're also way more forgiving when it comes to not overcooking them (use an instant read thermometer to check if they're done). I use boneless/skinless ones because they're easy, but you could definitely use bone-in ones and just remove them later. You can use chicken breasts if you wish, though!
- Rotisserie or leftover roast chicken would also work, but then I recommend cutting the cooking time down a bit since the chicken is already cooked.
How to make chicken and rice soup
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Prep your ingredients, and then sauté the onion and celery in olive oil, followed by the garlic. Add in the carrots, chicken, chicken broth, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer.
Once the chicken is fall-apart tender, the rice is cooked, and the carrots are softened, take the chicken out and shred it with two forks. Return it to the pot, season the soup with salt & pepper as needed, and top with fresh parsley if desired. Enjoy!
- If you're making the soup ahead of time or are planning to have a lot of leftovers, I suggest cooking it without the rice and adding the rice in before serving it. It won't be a one pot soup and you're missing out on how the rice releases starch to thicken it up and is infused with flavor, but you won't have to deal with rice in the leftovers soaking up the broth.
Substitutions and variations
- You could use brown rice, but it will take longer to cook, and you may need to add a bit more liquid to compensate. I actually recommend cooking it separately if you want to use brown rice.
- Add in a tablespoon or more of fresh lemon juice for a bright and lemony twist.
- If you have some fresh herbs from the garden that need using up, they'd be a fantastic addition to this soup as well to make it your own.
What to serve with this soup
- It's very filling on its own as a meal, but a slice of bread is a great pairing! I recommend sourdough or a crusty baguette. You can also have Cheesy Garlic Bread for extra comfort.
- For a riff on soup and salad, serve it with mixed greens and this Creamy Balsamic Dressing from scratch.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days at least, but keep in mind that the rice will soak up more of the liquid the longer you leave it. You may want to add more broth if you're reheating it the next day to thin it out a bit.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.
- You could try freezing it, but we haven't tested it with the rice. It'll freeze great without it, though, for up to 3 months!
Will you make this quick and easy chicken soup with rice? Questions? Talk to me in the comments below and let me know if you made it!
Easy Chicken and Rice Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped small
- 3 sticks celery chopped small
- 3 medium carrots peeled & sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 6 uncooked chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
- 8 cups chicken broth (two 32 oz. cartons)
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup long grain white rice e.g. jasmine
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped (optional)
- Prep your onion, celery, and carrots.
- Add the oil, onion, and celery to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken thighs, carrots, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and rice to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat so the soup's simmering. Give it a good stir to ensure the rice isn't sticking to the bottom.
- Continue simmering for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, the carrots have softened, and the rice has cooked. Keep in mind the longer you cook the soup, the mushier the rice will get.
- Take the chicken out of the pot and shred it or cut it up prior to serving. Add it back in and then season the soup with salt & pepper as needed and add in the parsley if using.
- Leftovers will absorb the broth, so you may need to add more chicken broth when reheating. If you plan on having lots of leftovers or you're not a fan of very soft rice, you may want to cook the rice separately and add to individual portions when reheating.
- I used about 1.5 pounds of chicken in this recipe. Anywhere from 1-2 pounds should work fine (you don't have to use 6 chicken thighs, but I just buy them in packs of 6). You can use chicken breasts if you prefer (you may need to adjust timing to ensure it's safely cooked to 165F).
- Be sure to cut the celery and carrots small/thin so that they cook fast (no large chunks).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on March 28, 2019. It has been updated with minor tweaks to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!
Fantastic! I added a little broccoli and cauliflower and extra Italian seasoning as well. I was using cooked rice, so just added it at the end. Delicious!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Happy it was a home run, Kate!
This was great!! Heating up some leftovers right now. Thanks!!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're welcome, Kat! So glad the leftovers turned out well. 🙂
This soup is amazing! I cheated and used rotisserie chicken, still very flavorful. The only thing I would do differently would be to cook the rice separately and add to individual bowls. When putting leftovers away most of the broth had been absorbed. Hopefully this way I keep more of the yummy broth. Thank you for a great recipe.
This was so, so yummy! Perfect for a December evening 🙂 I didn’t realize we were out of rice and subbed orzo in a pinch and it was delish!!!
I'm so happy you liked it!! 😀
Very good! My husband loved it. I used rotisserie chicken.
Hi can you freeze this soup?
Hi! Rice doesn't tend to freeze/thaw all that well... it'll likely go a bit mushy. If you're just planning on freezing leftovers, you definitely can, just add more broth when reheating. If you're planning on freezing the entire batch, I'd make the rice separately and add it once the broth has thawed.
Love this recipe. Easy to make and so tasty and comforting. Thank you!
Rachel Call says
hello! I was wondering what the serving size is? I'm super excited to make this!
Hi! It's 1/6 of the recipe. I am not a trained nutritionist, so I can't provide anything beyond that... I don't know what that is in grams/oz/etc. - sorry!
Adina Walker says
My first time making this delicious recipe. My family loved it. I used Rotisserie chicken in this recipe. I will definitely make it again!!
Wonderful! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
Hi! 6 cups chicken broth (it's in the ingredients list). No water. 🙂
Thank you! 😊
So good! I used brown rice and it was really tasty. Thanks!
Loved it! So simple and used very few dishes to prepare. I think I cooked it a bit too long (trying to do too many things at once 😬) so there wasn't much broth left, but it was still so tasty and almost resembled a great casserole when I reheated it in my lunch the next day. Highly recommend!
I'm so glad you liked it!! Yeah, in these types of soups it's normal for rice to soak up the liquid, so you could always add a bit more broth to leftovers next time if you wish.
This soup was delicious! Jasmine rice added so much flavor. Will make this again!!!
Excellent! Thank you!!
Excellent recipe and easy to make. Will definitely make this again
Wonderful! So happy you liked it.
Have made this many times. A great addition to weeknight cooking. If I want to let it simmer longer on stove I will just use the premade rice packets you put in the microwave and add rice at the end. Super easy. I add a little fresh tyme.
I'm so happy you enjoy this recipe! And love that rice tip.
Renée de Gennaro says
Added extra stock, White wine, fresh thyme, Parma rind, and spinach mainly bc to clean out fridge! Delish!!!
Love those ideas!
How do I adjust this for my Insta pot? I’m a new instant pot user and I’m always looking for good recipes.
Hi Laurie, I haven't tested it, so I am reluctant to give suggestions because it may not work. I'd probably cook it for 8 minutes on high pressure. Make sure the rice isn't sticking to the bottom prior to sealing it up (some of the newer Instant Pots especially get burn warnings for no reason). I have Instant Pot recipes here that have been tested: https://www.saltandlavender.com/category/instant-pot/
Billy Clyde says
Superb. When a bachelor can follow a recipe and end up with something worth eating you know the recipe is inherently good. I followed it to the letter and myself and my sons polished it off in an afternoon. Later I did some experimenting and found that ground chicken removes a step and tastes just as good, Keep up the good work.
Awww I'm so glad to hear it, Billy! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂
This recipe was awesome... Very tasty. I used chicken thighs and this time I'm using rotisserie chicken.. I love the basmati rice too.. Excellent!!
I’m so happy you liked it!!
Loved the simplicity of this recipe but I jazzed it up with some white wine (reduced about a 3/4 cups with the onions and celery before adding the chicken and broth etc) and squeezed the juice of about one lemon in before serving. I love lemon in soup! I think it adds a beautiful, complex layer to any lovely soup dish. Also, for those interested, I used basmati rice as I couldn't find Jasmin (here in the UK) and it worked fine.
Sounds awesome, Rissa!
What type of Italian seasoning did you use?
I buy McCormick brand, but Italian seasoning is a fairly standard mix of dried herbs, so I don't think it really matters if you use the same brand or not.
Hannah M. says
I made this for dinner tonight. The recipe was quick, simple, and full of flavor! This will definitely be going in my dinner rotation.
So pleased you enjoyed it, Hannah! Thanks for leaving me a comment!
Chesley Thomas says
This is delicious! But rice was mushy. Ate it anyway because it tasted so good! Maybe I’d add rice later....love your recipes!
Yup, I think that different types/brands of rice can cook at different rates. Either cut down the cooking time a bit or add the rice later on. So glad you still liked it, though! 🙂
Sami Patel says
Do you cook covered or uncovered? Thanks!
Hi Sami! Unless I specifically mention it's covered then it'll be uncovered (I try to specify in my recipes). I don't think it matters too much in recipes like this one, though. You could always cook it covered with the lid slightly ajar. Hope this helps! 🙂
I’m gonna make this! How about minute rice?
I'd add the rice a bit later on so it doesn't get soggy.
Do you put the chicken in uncooked
Yes, it cooks right in the soup.
For such simple ingredients this is amazingly delicious! My entire family came back for seconds, thirds and fourths 😄
That's what I like to hear! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!
Love this recipe, however there wasn’t really any broth left because of the rice when I made it, any tips?! Thanks! Made the hamburger one last week it was also delicious
Hmm... maybe add more broth next time? What kind of rice did you use? I am so glad the flavor was good and you liked the other recipe too! 🙂
Kelly C. says
This is the second recipe of yours I've tried, and it couldn't have been any easier! I used low sodium chicken broth, and added my own salt at the end to taste to keep it heart healthy. Super delicious, and I don't feel unhealthy eating it! Thank you!
Yay I am so glad you liked it, Kelly!! Thanks so much!
Do I use uncooked rice?
Or prepare ahead of time
Uncooked. It cooks right in the soup. ☺️