This hearty, comforting chicken and rice soup recipe is a remedy for cold weather; especially eaten when snuggled up in a thick, soft blanket.
Is Chicken and Rice Soup Healthy?
Rice is considered a clean source of carbohydrates, no matter what kind. To include more fiber and micronutrients, you could use brown rice, which we will discuss below.
In this chicken and rice soup recipe, we’re using skinless, boneless chicken thigh. This part is around 4% fat and 20% protein in weight— protein-packed and flavorful.
Stuffed with not just healthy carbs and proteins, our soup also contains a vast amount of micros:
- Vitamin A: abundant in carrots, vitamin A promotes good eyesight and boosts the performance of our immune system.
- Vitamin B6: coming in decent quantities from the chicken, this nutrient may improve mood, brain health, blood production, and more.
- Vitamin B3: often linked to healthy skin, vitamin B3 also plays other roles in the body. It can help to shift cholesterol levels to a healthy state and boost our brain function.
- Zinc: needed in a small amount, zinc assures several bodily reactions to take place normally, and is an important element of testosterone.
What Kind of Rice Is Best for This Soup?
For the sake of convenience and simplicity, we used medium-grain white rice. Although, it’s not the only choice.
Brown rice is an accessible, healthier option. What’s special about it is that it adds a decent amount of fiber as well as vitamins and minerals.
For example, one cup of cooked medium-grain brown rice yields 216 calories. That’s about the same compared to that of cooked medium-grain white rice.
Plus, it gives about 6-15% RDIs of some B vitamins and a decent amount of an additional 7 minerals.
If you do use brown or wild rice, keep in mind that they demand a longer cooking time.
We suggest you chew the rice to check its texture after simmering for 40 minutes. Then do it again every 10 minutes, until it reaches the texture you want.
Calories in Chicken and Rice Soup
Although the ingredients our chicken and rice soup recipe calls for aren’t calorie-packed, it yields around 500 calories per serving.
You can adjust ingredients so the calories match your liking and needs. But before that, have a look at our healthy eating guidelines first.
What Goes with Chicken and Rice Soup?
Including add-ins is a brilliant choice to make any recipe more delicious, nutritious, and personal. With this chicken and rice soup recipe, you can add:
It’s been said a thousand times, cooked potatoes are comforting, and oh it’s so true. They are tender, cozy, and add a unique mouthfeel to your soup.
But remember to get a balance between rice and potatoes. We’d say half a cup of rice, and half a cup of potatoes cubed into bite-sized pieces.
When it comes to soup, peas are a popular source of vegan protein. Since ours is already not vegan, it adds tender, nutritional little pockets to every bite.
In regards to how much, somewhere around half a cup, a little more or less. We don’t want too much of anything.
More specifically, white/brown mushrooms, and they add tons of flavor when cooked until golden before submerged in the broth.
Throw them in at step 2 (where you cook the carrots) and be guided by the color of the skin. They add few calories and shrink when cooked, so around one and a half cups, sliced would satisfy your tastebuds.
How to Make This Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
Step 1: Sear the meat
In a soup pot, cook chicken thighs in oil on medium heat, for 5 minutes. Season the chicken with half the amount of salt, black pepper and dried thyme.
Step 2: Cook the veg
Take the chicken out. Add butter, carrots, and onion into the same pot and cook for 4 minutes. Then add the rice, celery, and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add the broth
Add chicken broth, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and the remaining salt and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Step 4: Blend and thicken
Use an immersion blender and blend for 5 seconds, no more, no less. It helps to thicken the soup and naturally turns the soup colorful.
Step 5: Finish with cream
Add cream and mix well. Sprinkle parsley and pepper on top to decorate.
Step 6: Serve
Tips for Making The Perfect Chicken and Rice Soup
If you need to make this quickly, then you can use cooked rice in this chicken and rice soup recipe. But remember that there will be some adjustments on the cooking time and the order of ingredients going into the pot.
There is one step in our recipe which instructs you to stir-fry raw rice with veggies in butter. This chars the rice a little bit, which adds depth to the soup’s overall flavor.
If you use cooked rice, it’s fine to skip this step.
After that, since the rice is already cooked, you can add 9 instead of 10 cups of chicken stock. You can add some water if it’s thicker than you would like.
One last thing to remember: this recipe requires you to simmer the veggies and raw rice for 30 minutes. However, doing this to cooked rice will make the overall soup texture mushy.
Unless you enjoy mushy textures, you need to cover and simmer the veggies for 15 minutes first. And after they’re partially cooked, it’s time to add the cooked rice.
Set the pot on low heat and after 15 minutes of simmering, continue with the remaining steps of the recipe.
How Long Does Chicken and Rice Soup Last in Fridge?
The soup can last for 2-3 days if covered and brought to a boil then left sit at room temperature. It can be reheated in the morning and become a hassle-free breakfast, or leftovers dinner.
Can You Freeze Chicken and Rice Soup?
It’s not necessary to freeze the soup if you want it the next morning, but other than that, yes, totally.
First, you need to completely cool the soup down to room temperature before freezing. A sudden shift in temperature can negatively affect your food.
After letting it cool, you can put the soup in either a freezer container or a ziplock bag. We found ziplock bags to be more useful, as you can take the “soup block” out with less effort.
Then, simply place it in a pot and start simmering.
We’d usually put 1-2 tablespoons of water to defrost the soup faster. This is also to make up for the loss of water due to evaporation.
Keep in mind that the reheating should also follow the temperature shifting rule. Never go straight to high heat immediately, but rather, work up to it from medium-low.
What to Serve with Chicken and Rice Soup
Although toasted bread is a nice complement to this chicken and rice soup, it’s not the one and only choice.
We thought it’d be fun to have a bowl of broccoli salad on the side. It brings different textures and various tastes, and most importantly, it’s packed with a lot of nutrients.
Chicken And Rice Soup Recipe
- 8 oz onions chopped
- 12 oz carrots chopped
- 4 oz celery chopped
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
- 12 oz skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp parsley minced
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme divided
- 1.5 tsp black pepper divided
- 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 10 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
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- In a soup pot, cook chicken thighs in oil on medium heat, for 5 minutes. Season the chicken with half the amount of salt, black pepper and dried thyme.
- Take the chicken out. Add butter, carrots, and onion into the same pot and cook for 4 minutes. Then add the rice, celery, and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the cooked chicken and the remaining salt and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender and blend for 5 seconds, no more, no less. It helps to thicken the soup and naturally turns the soup colorful.
- Add cream and mix well. Sprinkle parsley and pepper on top to decorate.
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