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Chicken and Rice Soup is a comforting, one-pot meal that is loaded with flavor. You won’t believe how easy (and affordable!) it is to make restaurant-quality soup at home.

chicken and rice soup served in a white bowl with bread.

Chicken and rice soup is quite similar to chicken noodle soup, only this bowl of comfort food is naturally gluten-free. Because it contains both protein and carbs, it feels like a complete meal and is ready to eat in just about 30 minutes. 

If you don’t have rice on hand, be sure to check out my Chicken Vegetable Soup, which includes even more veggies!

Ingredients You’ll Need

chicken and rice soup ingredients labeled in glass bowls.

You can use any veggies you have for this recipe, but a good base almost always includes onion, carrots, and celery. If you have frozen vegetables on hand, you can add those in, too!

Chicken thighs will turn out more tender when compared to chicken breasts, in this case, but you can use whichever option you prefer. If you would like to use leftover rotisserie chicken in this soup recipe, wait to add it in until the soup has finished simmering. It will heat up quickly! 

Instead of using chicken broth as the base, this recipe calls for water to keep things affordable, and the flavor in your control. Try the recipe as written and see how it tastes! When you simmer the aromatic veggies, herbs, and chicken together, the water transforms into the most delicious broth, without relying on store-bought cartons. 

Note: You can also add a bay leaf to this soup recipe for extra flavor. If you add this, you MUST remember to remove it before serving the soup, because it’s a choking hazard. I’m always scared I’ll forget to remove it, so I tend to leave it out of my soup recipes.

ladle in a pot of chicken and rice soup.

How to Make the Best Chicken and Rice Soup

Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat, and saute the onions, celery, and carrots until they start to soften. This should take about 5 minutes. 

Next, add in the minced garlic cloves, thyme, and oregano and stir briefly, just until they smell fragrant. 

veggies and herbs sauteed in a soup pot.

Immediately add in the water, so the garlic won’t burn, and use your spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot. This will ensure that nothing is stuck to the bottom. Add in the white rice, chicken thighs, salt, and black pepper. 

Bring the soup to a boil on the stovetop, then cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. This chicken will take 15 to 20 minutes to cook through, depending on the size of the meat, and cooking it over low heat will prevent the chicken from becoming tough.

chicken covered with water and cooked until plump in a stainless pot.

Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure the center of the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, then use tongs to carefully transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Shred the chicken with two forks, or alternatively, you can quickly shred chicken with an electric mixer in a large bowl, or chop it up with a sharp knife. 

Return the shredded chicken to the soup pot and adjust any seasoning to taste. If the soup tastes bland, you’ll need to add extra salt, and you can also brighten the flavor with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme, and serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, and are easy to reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave for a meal prep lunch or dinner. 

chicken and rice soup lifted up on a gold ladle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use brown rice instead of white rice?

Brown rice takes roughly 45 minutes to cook on the stove top, so in that case, you might wind up over-cooking the chicken and veggies. Feel free to experiment with it, but in my experience, basmati or jasmine rice works best in this recipe.

Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried ones?

Of course! When using fresh herbs, you’ll typically need to use 3 times the amount when compared to the dried version. 

Should I cook rice before adding it to soup?

No, this chicken soup recipe was designed for the rice to cook with everything else at the same time. The rice will release starch as it cooks, slightly thickening the broth, and if you cook the rice separately, you’ll most likely need to use less liquid than this recipe calls for. 

Can I make it vegetarian?

Yes, you can replace the chicken with 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Or try my Chickpea Noodle Soup for a tested variation.

Chicken and rice soup scooped on a gold ladle in a pot.

Chicken & Rice Soup

5 from 3 votes
Chicken and Rice Soup is a comforting, one-pot meal that is loaded with flavor. You won't believe how easy (and affordable!) it is to make restaurant-quality soup at home.
prep10 mins cook25 mins total35 mins


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 4 medium carrots , peeled & chopped
  • 4 celery ribs , chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup uncooked white rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat and saute the onion, carrots, and celery until they soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Then add in the garlic, thyme, and oregano and stir for 1 more minute.
  • Add in the water, rice, chicken, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat.
  • Once the water is boiling lower the heat and cover the pot. Let the soup gently simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Use tongs to carefully remove the chicken from the pot. Place it on a cutting board and shred it with two forks, or use a knife to cut it into small pieces. Return the chicken to the soup and adjust any seasoning to taste. (I usually add another ½ teaspoon of salt.)
  • Serve the soup warm, and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Nutrition information is for a quarter of the batch, which is roughly 2 heaping cups of soup. This information is automatically calculated and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
For a vegetarian option, replace the chicken with 1 (15 oz) can of drained and rinsed chickpeas or white beans.


Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 1380mg | Potassium: 694mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 10272IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken and rice soup

If you try this chicken and rice soup recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. Yum! Made this using one can of chickpeas as recommended and used chicken broth instead of water to replicate the chicken flavor. I salted everything after tasting and used about 2 tsp of salt.

  2. This might be my new favorite soup! I’m a huge fan of anything chicken and rice. The flavor of this soup is so good! I love that you don’t have to use chicken broth as the base. The flavor from the thyme and oregano pairs so well with the chicken, rice and veggies. Thank you for coming up with another amazing recipe!

  3. You can’t go wrong with a classic like this. I make mine with brown rice, I just use chicken thighs, they don’t get dry when you cook them longer. I also like to add some chopped baby greens at the end for extra nutrition. Comfort in the bowl. 😊
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Anne! Yes, I think quinoa would have a similar cooking time so that should work well. Let me know if you try it!