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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
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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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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!