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Homemade Chicken Soup With Rice Perfect for a Healthy and Warming Lunch or Weeknight Meal
What came first: the poached chicken, or the poached egg?
For this chicken and rice soup, the poached chicken (because there is no egg).
On an existential level, that is a discussion for another post. And that post will consist of me going back and forth a million times on what came first.
Poached chicken is the star of the show in this easy chicken and rice soup recipe. It gives the soup its body with the chicken meat itself. And adds tons of flavor since you’ll use the poaching liquid for the tasty base.
Plus, it is super tasty. And you don’t need any fancy homemade stock that you simmer and let reduce for hours over hours. This method allows you to cook delicious, healthy chicken and rice soup hassle free.
Poached chicken isn’t always such a rockstar. Poaching typically sits behind other cooking methods like grilling, baking, and pan frying for chicken breasts.
But, poaching is perfect for cooking a super juicy and healthy chicken breast. See for yourself with this homemade chicken and rice soup recipe.
Is this Chicken and Rice Soup Healthy?
This chicken and rice soup is a health packed and complete meal in a bowl.
Chicken breast is loaded with lean protein that your body uses to build muscle and strong bones. Plus, it helps you feel full and control blood sugar levels.Chicken breast is also a good source of vitamin B`12. This promotes brain development and helps your nervous system function.
Rice provides you with carbohydrates to fuel your busy life. Opt for brown rice if possible. Brown rice has not been processed and is more nutritious. But, white rice is often enriched with vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s easier on your digestive system which is why it’s part of the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet for when you have an upset stomach.
Plus, veggies. Kale and carrots pump up the healthiness of this soup by providing you with many valuable vitamins and minerals while being low in calories.
How to Make this Chicken and Rice Soup
This soup all starts with chicken breast. No stock needed. Which is nice because that is the one ingredient that I never seem to have on-hand.
Here’s the rundown of how to make this healthy chicken and rice soup:
- Place chicken breasts, garlic and 2 tsp salt in a large pot. Cover with 8 cups water and bring it to a gentle simmer over high heat. Quickly reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook 8 minutes. Remove chicken and garlic from liquid and let cool slightly while you build the rest of the soup.
- Add short grain rice, sliced carrots, mushrooms, soy sauce, and vinegar to the pot. Simmer 15 minutes while you pull apart or chop the chicken, squeeze garlic cloves out of their skins and smash, and thinly slice kale.
- Add kale to the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes until kale is wilted and rice is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in chicken and garlic. Top with fresh parsley or other herbs if you have them.
Juicy, Not Chewy Chicken
One of the biggest issues with making chicken soup is tough, chewy chicken. Growing up, my mom would make chicken soup and leave the chicken in the broth to simmer for what seemed like hours. By the time it was ready to eat, I felt like I was eating rubber tires that were flavored with the seasoning of Chicken in a Biskit crackers. Don’t tell my Mom I told you this.
How Long Does this Soup Keep?
This soup will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. These OXO leakproof containers are legit. No more leaky soups in the bottom of your work bag. Check out the round version as well because soup just screams round bowl to me.
How to Freeze this Chicken and Rice Soup
You can also freeze this soup for up to 6 months. Let the cooked soup cool completely then store in leakproof freezer safe containers like the OXO ones mentioned in the last section.
If you don’t want to use your nice storage containers to hold soup in the freezer for months, you can use freezer safe bags like these. Or, my personal favorite, incredibly useful and cheap deli/restaurant plastic storage containers.
To eat, place the frozen soup in the refrigerator the day before you’re going to consume to thaw. Once thawed, the soup will last an additional 3 to 4 days covered in the refrigerator.
Best Types of Rice for Soup
I went back and forth with the type of grain I wanted to use for this soup. I initially was going to use farro (aka my favorite grain) because it cooks so quickly. But, I wanted to stay traditional and use rice.
So, the key here is using short grain rice. Short grain rice is more starchy and cooks quicker than medium or long grain. Often you’ll see rice simply labelled as “short grain” at your grocery store. Arborio, bomba, and sushi rice are other short grain rice varieties. Opt for brown rice if possible. Brown rice is not processed and is generally more nutritious.
These rice varieties will make your soup nice and creamy because their relatively high starch content. And because they only take about 20 minutes to cook, you won’t have to simmer your soup for hours.
More Chicken Recipes
- Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad
- Cast Iron Skillet Chicken and Crispy Potatoes
- How to Cook Chicken Breast: 3 Ways
- Sesame Lime Grilled Chicken Wings With Veggies
- Sheet Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken
- Everything You Need to Know About Buying Chicken
- Buttermilk Marinated Whole Roast Chicken
- Sheet Pan Chicken, Cauliflower, and Sweet Potatoes with Lemony Yogurt and Scallions
- Chicken 101: Everything You Need To Know About Cooking Chicken
Easy Chicken and Rice Soup
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast (about 3-4 breasts)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
- 3/4 cup short grain rice
- 4 carrots, sliced into 1/2" pieces
- 8 oz mushrooms, cut or torn into bite sized chunks
- 2 tbsp white wine or rice vinegar (or juice from 1 lemon)
- 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 bunch kale, leaves only, thinly sliced
- Add chicken, salt, garlic, and 8 cups of water to a large pot with lid. Bring to a light simmer over medium-high heat. Then quickly reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
- Remove chicken and garlic from pot. Add rice, carrots, mushrooms, soy sauce and vinegar. Return to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the chicken and garlic while the soup simmers. Once cool enough to handle, pull apart or chop chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Squeeze garlic from their skins. Smash and give a few rough chops to the garlic cloves.
- Add kale leaves to pot and continue to simmer for 5 minutes until wilted. Remove pot from heat.
- Add the chicken and garlic to the pot. Stir to combine.
Get Your Ladle Ready
I remember hearing people making the argument when I was younger that pizza can be a well-rounded meal. Uh, I guess if you add veggies and meat to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy well-rounded meal.
But, soup is. Meat, grain, and veggies. That is quite the plate of nutrients. Sorry, I mean bowl of nutrients (or cup or mug or whatever you eat your soup out of).