Creamy chicken rice soup is hearty and flavorful. Delicious any time of year but perfect on a chilly winter night!
Why you’ll love it: Chicken soup is a cozy and comforting meal. Your family will love it.
How long it takes: 45 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large soup pan, sauce pan, sharp knife, cutting board
With big chunks of carrots, celery, and tender chicken basking in a creamy rich broth, gently seasoned and so satisfying, homestyle chicken rice soup is ultimate comfort food. It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Creamy chicken rice soup is so perfect for the cooler weather outside. It really couldn’t be any easier to prepare. All you need is about 45 minutes. This delicious soup will warm you up from the inside out. Mmm, mmm, good!
I’ve made this chicken soup many times and it’s truly a crowd pleaser. It’s simple, hearty, and satisfying. My mom loves to make it, too; it’s one of my dad’s favorite soups. He’s kind of soup guy, I guess; he loves bean and bacon soup and hamburger soup, too. Actually, pretty much any kind of soup makes him happy.
Making a meal to bring to a family? Creamy chicken soup is perfect for new moms or friends who have recently had surgery or sickness and may need a hand with cooking. What a great way to show that you care! Bring a plate of M&M cookies, too.
Chicken rice soup is always a hit at soup suppers and potlucks too. Try it today, you won’t be disappointed!
P.S. If you happen to be looking for a similar recipe that’s made in a crockpot, try slow cooker creamy chicken and wild rice soup.
About This Recipe
One of the reasons this soup is so easy to prepare is that it begins with chicken that’s already cooked. I’ve gotten into the practice of buying chicken in large family packs and prepping it ahead of time. You can poach chicken, roast bone-in chicken breasts, or make chicken in your Instant Pot. Making weekday meals is so much easier when you have chicken all ready to go.
However, don’t worry if all you have is raw chicken. I’ve included instructions for making the soup with both cooked and uncooked chicken.
I’ve also included lots of ideas to customize this recipe so you can make it just the way your family likes or with what you happen to have in your refrigerator and pantry.
I’ll get you started on the recipe here and give you lots of extra helpful tips. Keep reading for the printable recipe card (you’ll find it near the end of the post) with complete instructions and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Carrots, Celery, Onions, Garlic: Plenty of veggies add flavor and nutrition to this soup.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need just one teaspoon of oil (actually I rarely measure it) to start the vegetables softening in the pan. Season with Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste.
- Bay Leaf and Dried Thyme: These two dried herbs subtly flavor this homey soup. You don’t really notice their presence but you’d miss them if they weren’t there.
- Chicken Stock: Use a carton of chicken broth or stock, unsalted or low sodium if possible. If you have homemade, bonus points for you!
- White Rice, Uncooked: Use long or medium grain rice. If you prefer brown rice, that works too but it will take a bit longer to cook. Sometimes I substitute a box of Rice-A-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice just to change things up a bit. Cooked rice is fine, too, if you happen to have leftover rice.
- Cooked Chicken: Whether it’s rotisserie chicken, shredded chicken you’ve prepped in your Instant Pot, or roasted chicken breasts you happen to have in the fridge, already cooked chicken makes this soup really easy to prepare.
- All Purpose White Flour, Butter, Milk: This trio makes the soup creamy without using heavy cream (which often requires an extra trip to the grocery store!). You’ll use flour, butter, and milk instead to make a white sauce that is stirred into the soup.
- Fresh Parsley: A sprinkle of fresh parsley perks up any soup.
How To Make This Recipe
You’ll need about 45 minutes to make this soup. It can be prepared ahead of time and kept on very low heat (covered) until you’re ready to serve it. You can keep it in a crockpot on warm if you prefer.
Find a nice large pot or Dutch oven. Begin by cutting up the onions, carrots, and celery and mincing a clove or two of garlic. That’s pretty much all the chopping you’ll have to do, except for the parsley if you choose to garnish with that.
Heat a little oil in the pan and add the onions, carrots, and celery.
Cook and stir them for five minutes or so, until they begin to soften up a bit. Throw in the garlic and cook that for another minute until it really smells wonderful.
Add the broth, uncooked rice, chicken, and dried herbs.
Bring the soup to a simmer, reduce heat, cover loosely, and let it cook for at least twenty minutes or until the rice is tender.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, prepare a white sauce. The white sauce is added to the soup to make it super creamy and so yummy. It’s really easy: simply melt butter, add some flour for thickening, and whisk in milk. Cook and stir, and bring it to a boil. The sauce should be pretty thick.
Once the rice is cooked, you can add the white sauce to the soup. Just stir it in.
The soup will look a little separated at first but as you stir, the sauce will be incorporated and the soup will have a lovely creamy texture.
Keep the heat on low. You don’t want to boil the soup like crazy at this point because a hard boil will affect the texture. We’re looking for a nice low simmer here. Stir in parsley before serving to add fresh flavor!
Serve the soup with fresh warm bread. Have you tried making Dutch oven bread yet? It’s pretty amazing, so yeasty and soft, and you don’t even have to knead it. Corn muffins or cornbread, dripping with homemade strawberry jam, go well with this soup too.
Usually, chicken and rice soup is fairly thick since the rice absorbs some of the broth. If your soup seems too thin, stir a tablespoon or two of cornstarch into cold water or broth, then stir the mixture into the soup and cook until it thickens.
This creamy chicken and rice soup is quite thick due to the creamy white sauce that’s added.
You don’t need to cook the rice first. Add it to the soup and it will absorb all the flavors of the broth while it cooks, becoming flavorful and tender.
However, be aware that leftover soup with rice in it will become thicker as it sets. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid even while it’s refrigerated. If the soup becomes too thick for your taste, add a bit more broth to thin it when you reheat the soup.
You’ll find that soups that contain rice don’t freeze well. The rice tends to lose its texture and it gets rather mushy. Wild rice freezes better (did you know that wild rice isn’t really rice at all?).
If you want to make soup ahead to freeze, omit the rice until you’re ready to serve the soup. Add cooked rice to the soup before serving.
Make It Your Own
- Looking for a dairy-free soup or just not into creamy soups? Simply omit the white sauce that’s added. You’ll probably want to add a couple extra cups of broth to replace the sauce. The non-dairy version will have fewer calories. If you have a pressure cooker, try Instant Pot chicken and rice soup.
- Add more vegetables or substitute different vegetables. Corn or peas are great add-ins. Finely chopped kale, cabbage, or spinach are great, too. Use what you have in your fridge.
- The seasonings in this soup are pretty low key. If you want, increase the amounts or add different seasonings.
- Melt sharp cheddar cheese into the white sauce for a creamy cheddar cheese soup.
Using already cooked chicken gives you a great head start. To make the process go even more quickly, prep the carrots, celery, and onions ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the soup. Using cooked rice will save you about ten minutes too.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover chicken rice soup is so good reheated the next day. It may become a little thicker but you can easily remedy that by stirring in a little broth, water, or milk. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. It does not freeze well (see FAQ section).
To reheat, warm gently in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave until heated through. Don’t bring it to a vigorous boil; try to keep the heat low.
More Chicken Soup Recipes
Chicken soup is good for the soul, right? And home cooked soup is a good way to show you care. Try:
- Chicken Corn Chowder
- Chile Relleno Soup with Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Kale Soup – healthy & flavorful!
- Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Pesto
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Noodles
- Chicken Barley Soup with Kale and Butternut Squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 ½ cups diced carrots (about 3 carrots)
- 1 ½ cups diced celery (about 3 stalks)
- 1 cup diced onions (1 medium onion)
- 1 clove garlic, minced.
- ½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
- 4 cups chicken stock (unsalted or low sodium if possible)
- ½ cup white rice, uncooked (see note)
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (see note)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper, and sauté until slightly softened and onions begin to look transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, one minute.
- Add broth, rice, chicken, bay leaf, dried thyme. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and stir until blended. Slowly stir in milk, whisking to eliminate clumps. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens.
- When rice is tender, stir white sauce into the soup until blended. Stir in parsley. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Cover, and keep warm on very low heat until ready to serve.
- If you prefer, substitute a package of Rice-A-Roni Long Grain & Wild Rice for the 1/2 cup uncooked rice. Add the seasoning packet, too, if you want.
- Any type of cooked chicken is fine, dark meat or white. Rotisserie chicken is good, too. If you have raw chicken, cut it into small pieces and brown it in 1 tablespoon oil before preparing soup. Remove from pan, set aside and continue with recipe, adding chicken back in with the broth and rice.
- Soup is quite thick. If you prefer, add 1 cup water when adding broth.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.