In a season where time is slim, a comforting bowl of homemade chicken rice soup can be the perfect solution for a quick, wholesome meal. This recipe crafts a lemony chicken and rice soup in a matter of minutes using juicy chicken thighs, a trio of veggies, and fragrant jasmine rice. We’ll show you how to get the most flavor out of a simple list of ingredients and have a soup done in under 40 minutes.
How to Make Chicken Rice Soup
First off, let’s cover what ingredients you’ll need for chicken rice soup. Bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs lay the flavor groundwork of this soup. Using skin-on chicken is important for this soup as it renders and is part of the flavor base (we use this method in our Mexican Chicken Soup as well).
You’ll also need mirepoix—a trio of diced carrots, celery and onion in addition to fresh garlic. (Got extra mirepoix? Make Chicken Pot Pie Soup and add some celery.)
For a pop of color and a bit of sweetness, you’ll need some frozen pea along with two pantry staples—chicken broth (or Better than Bouillon) and jasmine rice.
And finally, finish the soup with fresh dill and lemon juice for a dose of freshness.
The process of making this soup is soup-er simple!
- Brown the thighs in a large pot, skin side down, until the skin has rendered and if deeply golden brown.
- Transfer the chicken to a bowl or a plate.
- Add the rice and cook briefly.
- Add the veggies and to the pot and cook just until they start to soften.
- Add the chicken broth and browned thighs back to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the soup from heat, and using tongs, transfer the chicken thighs to a bowl of plate.
- Let the chicken cool until cool enough to handle then shred the meat and add it back to the soup along with the peas, fresh dill and lemon juice.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice as needed.
Do You Cook the Rice in the Soup
Yes, you cook the rice right in the pot with the soup! One of the reasons this soup is part of our Soup-er Simple Series is that it’s quick, requires just a handful of ingredients and it’s all done in one pot.
Do You Cook the Chicken in the Soup
Yes, the chicken is cooked right in the soup! Much of the flavor of this chicken and rice soup is built upon the rendering and browning of the chicken skin. Once browned, the chicken is then simmered in the soup until cooked through before being removed and shredded.
If you have leftover cooked chicken or want to just grab a rotisserie chicken, you can do that too! We use that trick in our Healthy Chicken Soup.)
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are essential for this soup. Boneless and skinless won’t work as well, but if you do use them, skip the browning process at the beginning of the recipe and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil.
Dice the raw chicken thighs, add them to the soup and simmer for about 5 minutes until cooked through.
- Better than Bouillon is a much cheaper and far more convenient option to boxed or canned broth. We use the roasted chicken flavor, but in a pinch the vegetable or beef will also work.
- It’s inevitable that the rice will continue to absorb broth over time (especially if you have leftovers). I always add an extra splash of water or broth when reheating (or right before serving if it needs it). If you do not want the rice to over-swell and absorb more broth you can cook it separately and add it to each individual serving.
Expert Storage Information
Store chicken and rice soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat the soup over low heat just until heated through.
For longer storage, transfer the soup to zipper-lock freezer bags, layer on a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer. Once solid, remove the baking sheet and stack, layer or “file” the soup bags in the freezer. Thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.
Yes, this is a great way to use leftover rice. You can add it one of two ways. First, you can add it with the peas right at the end. Or, you can gently reheat it in the microwave and spoon it into individual bowls of soup as desired.
Once the chicken thighs are cooked through, remove them (using tongs) to a bowl or plate. Immediately remove the soup from heat—it will stay warm enough while the chicken cools enough to be handled and shredded.
Removing the soup from heat will slightly slow the absorption of the broth. However, it’s important to note that the rice will inherently get mushy in this kind of soup unless cooked separately.
Long grain rice is what you need to use here. Jasmine is our rice of choice but basmati will also work as weill brown jasmine rice.
Chicken rice soup freezes beautifully! Transfer the soup to zipper-lock freezer bags, layer on a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer. Once solid, remove the baking sheet and stack, layer or “file” the soup bags in the freezer. Thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.
According to the USDA cooked rice and chicken should both be used within 4 days of cooking. So chicken rice soup lasts 4 days in the refrigerator.
Adding mushrooms would be delicious in this chicken rice soup! Add diced cremini, white button or shiitake mushrooms to the veggies and rice. If you love a mushroom soup, then you’ve gotta try this Hungarian Mushroom Soup!
More Soups to Try
Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 cup long-grain rice, such as jasmine, rinsed
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced onion
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups frozen peas
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs with kosher salt.
- Once oil is shimmering, add thighs, skin side down in pot, and cook, without moving, until skin is deeply golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Flip and cook 2 more minutes; transfer thicken to a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium and stir in 1 cup rinsed rice, cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup carrots, 1 cup celery, 1 cup onion and 3 chopped cloves garlic; season with 1 teaspoon salt and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove and discard chicken skin.
- Add 8 cups broth and browned chicken (and any accumulated juices) to pot, bring to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl and remove pot from heat.
- Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and shred meat into small pieces using two forks; discard bones.
- Add shredded chicken, 2 cups peas, ⅓ cup dill and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Dice the raw chicken thighs, add them to the soup and simmer for about 5 minutes until cooked through. Better than Bouillon is one of the most effective and convenient ingredients you can keep on hand for quick soups. We like the Roasted Chicken Base and the Roasted Beef Base.