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Easiest Chicken and Rice Soup

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5 from 7 votes

Good, old-fashioned chicken and rice soup is a timeless classic that stands the test of time. And there’s one secret ingredient in this easy recipe that’ll take your soup from standard to scrumptious!

Soup season is still in full-throttle, and this chicken and rice soup is one you shouldn’t miss before the season is out! Here’s a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe.

P.S. If you’re looking for noodles instead, try my Chicken Noodle Soup.

Why You’ll Love this Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Easiest homemade soup around! Homemade soup can be a pain to make. This chicken and rice soup recipe is quick and easy, making it achievable even on a weeknight.
  • The chicken is tender and juicy. Most chicken soups have what I call “sawdust chicken.” You know what I mean: that chicken that’s bone dry and cooked to death! Using chicken thighs is a game changer! They stay moist and delicious, no matter how many times your soup is reheated.
  • The rice isn’t mushy. Long grain rice stays al dente for longer. So even if you have leftovers, your rice won’t completely disintegrate into the soup!
  • Make it ahead. If you don’t mind your rice a bit softer the next day, this soup is great reheated. The rice will still be intact and the flavors will be even more delicious as they have time to meld together.
  • The secret ingredient takes it up a notch! The secret is parmesan cheese rinds. They add SO much flavor to your soup. You’ll want every bit of broth in your bowl!

Chicken and Rice Soup Ingredients

  • Low-sodium chicken broth – you can use either chicken broth or stock for the base of your soup.
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs – chicken thighs stay so juicy and tender. You can also use 2 pounds of chicken breasts or 2, 2-pound rotisserie chickens with the skin removed.
  • Long-grain rice – long grain is key! Long grain rice stays al dente for longer and won’t disintegrate. Look for the words “long grain” or “basmati.”  You can use brown or white rice.
  • Carrots – carrots are classic in chicken and rice soup!
  • Celery stalks – celery is also classic, adding flavor.
  • Yellow onions – yellow onions add flavor and texture.
  • Garlic cloves – garlic…because garlic!
  • Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds – this is the secret ingredient and will change your soup game! Add 2 rinds right into your soup, releasing nutty, cheesy flavor as your soup cooks. I use Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds but regular parmesan cheese rinds work too.
  • Bay leaves – bay leaves add traditional herbal undertones.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – a splash of olive oil helps sauté our veggies.
  • Italian parsley – fresh flat-leaf parsley adds a pop of green and freshness.
  • Dried oregano – dried oregano adds peppery, sweet herbal notes. You can also use Italian seasoning (a blend of dried herbs) or dried thyme.
Chicken and rice soup ingredients

How to Make Chicken and Rice Soup

Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!

  1. Chicken.

    Bake chicken thighs on a baking sheet for 18-23 minutes at 425 degrees. Pull apart chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces.

  2. Vegetables.

    In a large pot, add olive oil and then the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sweat veggies over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

  3. Broth.

    Add pulled chicken and broth. Stir.

  4. Add.

    Add bay leaves, cheese rinds, and oregano. Stir.

  5. Boil.

    Turn heat to high and cover pot, bringing soup to a boil. Once boiling, add rice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir.

  6. Simmer.

    Turn heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer soup for the amount of time it says on the back of the rice package. Stir occasionally.

  7. Serve.

    Once rice is al dente, remove the bay leaves and cheese rinds. Serve.

Tips

  • Make sure your rice is long-grain or else your rice will disintegrate in the soup! Look for the words “long grain” or “basmati” on the package. You can use either white or brown long grain rice.
  • Don’t skip the parmesan cheese rinds! They turn the soup from classic to crazy good!
  • Taste the soup towards the end of the simmering process to ensure your rice doesn’t overcook.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make chicken and rice soup ahead?

Yes absolutely! I find the soup is just as delicious a few days later. You will notice that your rice will soften over time with each reheat.

How do I store chicken and rice soup?

Store soup in the fridge, covered after it cools, for up to 4 days.

How do I reheat chicken and rice soup?

You can reheat soup in the microwave, stirring every minute, or over medium-low heat (covered) on the stove until hot.

Can I freeze chicken and rice soup?

Yes absolutely! Freeze for up to 4-5 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Should I cook rice before adding to soup?

No need to cook rice before adding to the soup. Add the rice right into the soup to let it cook in the broth. See recipe for details.

How do you keep rice from getting mushy in soup?

Long grain rice (like basmati rice) will take longer to get mushy, so it’s the best type of rice to use in soup. Rice should be al dente the first time you serve the soup. Every time it’s reheated, the rice will be a bit softer (but won’t disintegrate!).

Can I use another cut of chicken instead of thighs?

Yes, you can also use 2 pounds of chicken breasts (see this recipe for Juicy Baked Chicken Breast) or 2 rotisserie chickens (roughly 2 pounds each) skin removed and shredded.

What do I serve with chicken and rice soup?

My favorite way to serve soup is with warm bread, like these buttery homemade Parker House Rolls or easy Garlic Naan Bread.

Other Soup Recipes You’ll Love!

Easiest Chicken and Rice Soup

Good, old-fashioned chicken and rice soup is a timeless classic that stands the test of time. And there’s one secret ingredient in this easy recipe that’ll take your soup from standard to scrumptious!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, European
Keyword: fall, spring, winter
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 494kcal
Author: TastefullyGrace

Ingredients

  • 12 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock (96 ounces)
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ¼ cups long-grain rice brown or white (look for “long grain” or “basmati”)
  • 4 large carrots peeled and chopped into rounds
  • 4 large celery stalks chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds the secret ingredient!
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Bake chicken thighs on a baking sheet for 18-23 minutes, until the chicken registers at least 165°F (it’s okay if they’re over). Pull apart chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, add olive oil and then the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sweat veggies over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add pulled chicken and broth. Stir.
  • Add bay leaves, cheese rinds, and oregano. Stir.
  • Turn heat to high and cover pot, bringing soup to a boil. Once boiling, add rice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
  • Turn heat to a simmer (medium-low heat or whatever strength heat keeps your soup simmering!). Cover and simmer soup for the amount of time it says on the back of the rice package. Typically long grain brown rice takes around 40 minutes, whereas long grain white rice takes around 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Once rice is al dente, remove the bay leaves and cheese rinds. Serve as-is or with a sprinkle of Parmigiano cheese.

Video

Notes

  • You can also use 2 pounds of chicken breasts (and bake Juicy Chicken Breasts) or 2 rotisserie chickens (roughly 2 pounds each) skin removed and shredded.
  • Make sure your rice is long-grain or else your rice will disintegrate in the soup! Look for the words “long grain” or “basmati” on the package. You can use either white or brown long grain rice.
  • You can also use Italian seasoning or dried thyme instead of dried oregano.
  • Taste the soup towards the end of the simmering process to ensure your rice doesn’t overcook.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 494kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 311mg | Potassium: 1063mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 6866IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3mg
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