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Old-Fashioned Chicken Rice Soup

Chicken noodle soup gets all the love in the world, and deservedly so.  It’s a perfect bowl of love.  But chicken and rice soup deserves the same amount of besottedness.  It’s just as comforting, and those little grains of rice are the perfect size to stay put on the spoon, so you can scoop it up and into your mouth at a pretty brisk clip.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Vegetables in Chicken and Rice Soup

You can add any small pieces of vegetables you like into this soup.  In this version, I used asparagus and peas, which get added in towards the end, as they cook quickly.  Little pieces of broccoli, sugar snap peas, sliced string beans would also be good choices.  If you want to add a denser vegetable, like cauliflower, for instance, add it earlier in the soup simmering process as that will take longer to cook.

Other herbs can be used in place of the thyme.  Try tarragon, basil, oregano, marjoram, and know that if you are using a dried herb you want to add less of the herb than you would fresh, as the flavor is more concentrated.

Chicken and Rice Soup

What Kind of Rice to Use in Chicken and Rice Soup?

This is a very good question, with lots of answers.  I used plain old white rice, which results in the most comforting, simple, accessible chicken and rice soup ever.  But you can use arborio or other short grain rice, jasmine, texmati, or any other aromatic rice of your choosing.  Wild rice would also be lovely.  

If you want to use brown or wild rice, you might cook it first in a blend of half water and half chicken broth, since they take longer to cook than other varieties, and will absorb a lot of your soup liquid.  If you add precooked rice to the soup, reduce the amount of broth to about 6 cups.

Chicken and Rice Soup

If you are making the soup from scratch, you don’t need to cook the chicken or rice before adding them to the soup.  The rice and chicken cook right in the broth, and when they are almost cooked, the vegetables are added so they all become perfectly cooked at the same time. Cooking the rice and the chicken in the soup itself ensure that both the chicken and rice absorb extra flavor, and in turn the chicken enriches the broth as it cooks.

You can, however, use already cooked rice and chicken if you have it (and this is a great way to do something delicious with extra rotisserie chicken and leftover rice).  If you want to use precooked rice, just reduce the broth by 2 cups or so, and add that and the precooked chicken, if using, for the last 10 minutes with the vegetables so everything has time to heat through.

Make some Three Cheese and Prosciutto Stuffed Biscuits to serve on the side, and you have an amazing cold weather meal.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken and Rice Soup: Fragrant and comforting, warm and healing, this is the soup to make on a cold night or when someone needs a pick-me-up.

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Chicken and Rice Soup

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Fragrant and comforting, warm and healing, this is the soup to make on a cold night or when someone needs a pick-me-up.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks , halved and sliced
  • 2 large carrots , peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk , sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 cups less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ pounds ½-inch diced boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • ½ cup sliced asparagus
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried


  • Place the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the leeks, carrot and celery, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have become tender and lightly brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and rice, return to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the peas and asparagus , and simmer for 5 to 7 more minutes until the chicken and rice are cooked through and the vegetables are tender.


If you are planning to make it ahead of the Thanksgiving meal, you’ll get the freshest sauce if you make it within a week of serving, and store it covered in the fridge.  But in terms of how long cranberry sauce will keep, you can definitely hold it for about two weeks in the fridge, and it will still be delicious and fine to eat.  


Serving: 6g, Calories: 355kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 1393mg, Potassium: 722mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 4137IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 2mg

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

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