This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our privacy policy.

Chicken noodle soup gets all the love in the world, and deservedly so. It’s a perfect bowl of love. But old-fashioned 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.

This soup is a meal all its own. The vegetables, chicken, and rice all cook in the broth, imbuing it with deep flavor. Make some Three Cheese and Prosciutto Stuffed Biscuits or Popovers to serve on the side, and you’ll have an amazing cold-weather meal all ready to go.

Blue bowl of 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.

Tweet This

Ingredients

  • Olive oil – In this recipe, you use olive oil to cook down the tougher veggies before adding broth.
  • Leeks – Halved and sliced.
  • Carrots – Use large carrots, not baby ones.
  • Celery stalk – Slice the celery stalk and add it to the veggie mix.
  • Chicken broth – I prefer using less-sodium broth whenever possible so that it’s easier to control how much salt there is in a dish.
  • Chicken breasts or thighs – Use boneless, skinless chicken to make this recipe super efficient.
  • Long-grain white rice – See notes below on what kind of rice works best for chicken and rice soup.
  • Fresh or frozen peas – Add them in toward the end of cooking because they cook quickly.
  • Asparagus – Same goes for asparagus — these sliced stalks will be quick to soften, so they should be added when the soup is almost ready to serve.
  • Thyme – Either use 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried.
Ladle scooping Chicken and Rice Soup.

Variations and Substitutions

  • You can add any small pieces of vegetables you like to this soup. In this version, I used asparagus and peas. Little pieces of broccoli, sugar snap peas, and 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.
  • If you add precooked rice to the soup, reduce the amount of broth to about 6 cups.
  • Other herbs can be used in place of the thyme. Try tarragon, basil, oregano, or marjoram. 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.
Spoon in a bowl of Chicken and Rice Soup.

What Kind of Rice Is Best in Chicken and Rice Soup?

This is a very good question, with lots of answers. I used plain old white rice, which resulted 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.

Brown rice is another option, and wild rice would also be lovely. If you want to use brown or wild rice, cook it first in a blend of half water and half chicken broth. That’s necessary because these varieties take longer to cook than other rice and will absorb a lot of your soup liquid.

How to Cook Chicken and Rice Soup

  1. Heat the oil: Place the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the aromatics: When the oil is hot, saute the leeks, carrots, and celery until the vegetables have become tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. Simmer broth, chicken, and rice: Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and rice, return to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the final veggies: 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.
Bowls of Chicken and Rice Soup on a white, wooden table.

FAQs

Do you need to cook the chicken before adding it to chicken 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, infusing the soup with flavor, 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 ensures that both the chicken and rice absorb extra flavor, and in turn, the chicken enriches the broth as it cooks.

If you’re pulling chicken straight out of the freezer, cook it in a pan with a bit of water until it thaws (it should still be pink inside). Then, cut it up and add it to the soup.

Can you use precooked rice and chicken for chicken and rice soup?

You can absolutely use already cooked rice and chicken if you have it. 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. Add in rice and precooked chicken, if using, for the last 10 minutes with the softer vegetables so that everything has time to heat through.

What to Serve With Chicken and Rice Soup

Cheddar Cornbread

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits

Beer Bread

Bowl of Chicken and Rice Soup with a spoon.

More Chicken Soup Recipes

Like this recipe? Pin it to your favorite board on Pinterest.

Pin This

Chicken and Rice Soup

5 from 3 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.

Ingredients 

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • You can add any small pieces of vegetables you like to this soup. In this version, I used asparagus and peas. Little pieces of broccoli, sugar snap peas, and 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.
  • If you add precooked rice to the soup, reduce the amount of broth to about 6 cups.
  • Other herbs can be used in place of the thyme. Try tarragon, basil, oregano, or 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.

Nutrition

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.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Comments

  1. Absolutely love this soup! So quick and easy to pull together at the last minute, and adaptable to what you have available and the season. Made it in fall with corn, peas, and carrots – leeks and asparagus are out of season, sadly – and it turned out delicious and filling. Excellent second day with grilled cheese! Will use the base recipe throughout the year.

Rate & Comment

Recipe Rating