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Homemade Chicken and Rice Soup is a cozy farmhouse favorite! Made from scratch with tender chicken breasts, fresh vegetables and white rice, it’s a nourishing meal that will warm you from the inside out. Add biscuits, dinner rolls, or a crusty loaf of bread to complete the satisfying, easy dinner on a chilly day.

Ladle serving healthy chicken and rice soup from a pot

Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

The ingredients in this old-fashioned chicken and rice soup are about as basic as it gets, but the classic flavors come together beautifully in a nourishing, hearty dinner. The chicken simmers until tender, while the cooked rice is added at the end. You get perfectly-cooked meat, rice that’s not gummy or mushy, and the most flavorful broth imaginable! Plus, this is one of those great meals that you can let bubble on the stovetop on a quiet Sunday afternoon, and then enjoy the healthy, homemade meal throughout a busy week. So convenient, and so satisfying!

The Best Rice for Soup

While a creamy chicken and wild rice soup is always tasty, this particular recipe calls for long-grain white rice. Really, though, you can use any type of rice that you prefer. Wild rice would work here, as well as brown rice, jasmine rice or basmati rice.

Do you cook rice before adding to soup?

In general, you can use cooked or uncooked rice in soup recipes. Here we’re using cooked rice, which you add at the very end to ensure that the rice doesn’t become gummy or mushy in the broth. If you add uncooked rice to soup, it will soak up a lot of liquid, so you would need to start with more broth than called for here. Also, you run the risk of over-cooking the rice while you wait for the chicken to cook through.

The Best Chicken for Soup

Bone-in, skin-on chicken adds rich flavor to the broth as it simmers. This recipe calls for chicken breasts, but you can easily substitute with about 2 lbs. of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. The chicken is so delicious in this recipe because it’s perfectly cooked! The meat doesn’t get dry from simmering for too long. Instead, you’ll brown the chicken in the pot to add flavor and render the fat, then remove the chicken while you soften the vegetables. Add the chicken back to the pot to finish cooking, stir in the rice, and serve! The end result is perfectly-cooked chicken, perfectly-cooked rice, tender veggies, and a rich, flavorful broth.

Browned chicken breast on a blue and white plate

Can I substitute with leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken?

Absolutely! You will sacrifice a little bit of flavor, but starting with cooked chicken will cut down on the prep time. Plus, chicken and rice soup is a great way to take advantage of leftovers that you might have from a previous meal.

If starting with cooked chicken, you’ll need a total of about 2-3 cups of shredded or chopped meat. Stir the chicken into the soup at the end — at the same time that you add the rice. You’ll only need to simmer the vegetables and broth for about 30 minutes (or until tender), since you’re not trying to cook the chicken breasts.

Use Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

If you prefer to start with two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, those will work fine, too! They won’t contribute quite as much flavor and richness as the bones and skins add to the broth, but the soup will still be tasty. Just brown the chicken in oil (as instructed), remove to a plate, and proceed with the recipe as instructed. The boneless, skinless breasts will cook faster than the bone-in meat, so you will not need to simmer the soup as long.

Close overhead image of a bowl of chicken and rice soup with a side of bread

How to Make Chicken and Rice Soup from Scratch

Prepare a pot of this easy chicken and rice soup for a simple homemade dinner any night of the week. It’s also a great prep-ahead meal that you can reheat and enjoy for quick lunches or dinners on your busiest days.

Ingredients

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • Canola oil
  • Onion, celery and carrots
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaf, thyme, rosemary
  • Chicken stock
  • Cooked white rice
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper
Overhead shot of carrots celery and onion in a blue dutch oven
  1. Brown the chicken on each side. Remove to a plate.
  2. Sauté the vegetables and garlic. Add seasoning and stock.
  3. Return chicken to the pot with the broth, and simmer until cooked through.
  4. Shred the meat, discard the skin and bones, and return shredded chicken to the pot.
  5. Stir in the cooked rice. Simmer the soup just until the rice is warmed through, being careful not to over-cook the rice or chicken.
  6. Ladle into bowls and serve!
Square overhead image of a bowl of homemade chicken and rice soup

What to Serve with Homemade Chicken and Rice Soup

A warm bowl of this cozy, old-fashioned soup goes well with any of these easy sides:

Preparation and Storage Tips

Leftover soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month; however, cooked rice may be mushy when frozen and reheated.

Can you freeze homemade chicken and rice soup?

If you’d like to prepare a batch of the soup in advance, I recommend making the soup as instructed, but do NOT add the rice. Cool the broth and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer, add the rice, and serve.

Tips for the Best Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

  • Cut down on prep time by chopping the vegetables, garlic and herbs while the chicken browns in the pot.
  • To keep the rice from getting mushy in soup, it’s best to add cooked rice at the very end. Simmer just long enough to warm the rice through.
  • We like classic long-grain white rice, but any variety of cooked rice will work in this soup. Try brown rice or wild rice for a heartier, nuttier taste and texture.
  • For a shortcut, use microwaveable packets of rice (such as Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice).
  • If it’s more convenient, you can substitute with 2-3 cups of rotisserie chicken or leftover shredded chicken from a previous meal.
  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs work well in lieu of the chicken breasts. You can also substitute with two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • What can I add to chicken rice soup for even more flavor? This recipe includes fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley, as well as garlic and bay leaf for more seasoning. If you like an even stronger, richer tasting soup, feel free to add more of your favorite herbs like dill, basil, oregano or chives, or a spice blend like poultry seasoning.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? This recipe yields about 12 cups of soup. To serve a smaller group, cut all of the ingredients in half. The rest of the instructions remain the same.
Overhead shot of two bowls of homemade chicken and rice soup on a wooden table with bread

More Cozy Chicken Recipes to Try

Ladle serving healthy chicken and rice soup from a pot

Chicken and Rice Soup

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 cups
Calories 136 kcal
This cozy and nourishing homemade Chicken and Rice Soup is a farmhouse favorite!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 2 lbs. total)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons canola oil (enough to coat bottom of pot)
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
  • ½ cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 clove minced garlic (about ½ teaspoon)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on all sides.
  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Leave about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot; drain off the rest. Saute the onion, celery and carrots in the same pot over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and chicken stock. Return chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove chicken to a large bowl to cool. Keep broth warm in the pot. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and chop or shred into bite-sized pieces. Discard the skin and bones.
  • Return shredded chicken to the pot with the broth. Discard bay leaf. Taste and season the broth with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked rice and warm over low heat, just until the chicken and rice are hot.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice. Ladle into individual bowls and serve!

Notes

  • Cut down on prep time by chopping the vegetables, garlic and herbs while the chicken browns in the pot.
  • To keep the rice from getting mushy in soup, it’s best to add cooked rice at the very end. Simmer long enough to warm the rice through, but be careful not to overcook the rice.
  • We like classic long-grain white rice, but any variety of cooked rice will work in this soup. Try brown rice or wild rice for a heartier, nuttier texture.
  • For a shortcut, use microwaveable packets of rice (such as Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice).
  • If it’s more convenient, you can substitute with 2-3 cups of rotisserie chicken or leftover shredded chicken from a previous meal.
  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs will also work well in lieu of the chicken breasts. You can also substitute with two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • What can I add to Chicken Rice Soup for even more flavor? This recipe includes fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley, as well as garlic and bay leaf for more seasoning. If you like an even stronger, richer tasting soup, feel free to add more of your favorite herbs like dill, basil, oregano or chives, or a spice blend like poultry seasoning.
  • Cooking for a smaller family? This recipe yields about 12 cups of soup. To serve a smaller group, cut all of the ingredients in half. The rest of the instructions remain the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 10gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 625mgPotassium: 324mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 977IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: chicken and rice soup, homemade chicken and rice soup
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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