My chicken and rice soup is a stick-to-your-ribs comfort dinner the whole family will love.
Made with homemade broth, white wine, and lots of lemon juice, this chicken and rice soup brings a deeply savory broth and pairs it with tender chicken, rice, and plenty of aromatics. The result is an extra tasty soup that will heal your soul on a cold, dreary night.
I’ve been on a chicken and rice kick if you haven’t noticed. The last variation I made was much stewier and thicker. This version is more of a traditional soup with plenty of broth. I also add mushrooms and spinach to give this a little boost in veggies.
Like many of my other soup recipes, the beauty is in the broth. You don’t need a ton of ingredients to get big flavor. Especially in chicken broth, I prefer simplicity over complication. There is so much flavor in bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; this soup lets that homemade broth sing.
How to make my chicken and rice soup recipe:
You only need four ingredients for the broth: chicken, water, salt, and an onion. That’s it. You can even skip the onion if you want, but I like the flavor.
For the soup, you can get creative with your ingredients, but below I’ll list out what I used and some possible substitutions or additions you can make.
What you need
- Soup vegetables: You’ll need cremini mushrooms, diced onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. You can use your favorite mushroom for the soup. Try it with torn oyster or sliced shiitake mushrooms, and adjust the cooking time as needed. You can also get creative with the aromatics. Try it with sliced fennel or even sliced roasted red bell peppers.
- Soup spices: I keep it simple with salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, and crushed red pepper. You could add your favorite Italian spice blend or herbes de Provence. Freshly minced rosemary or oregano would also be delicious. You could bundle a few herbs–like thyme, sage, and rosemary–together with kitchen twine and simply float it in the soup after you add the wine. Once the soup finishes, just throw it away!
- White wine: I use a dry white wine to deglaze the pot before adding the broth. Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy a bottle of wine just for this. If you want to have some of the leftover wine with dinner, then it’s totally worth it. If not, just use water instead.
- Jasmine rice: I use jasmine rice, but try this with brown rice, wild rice, or barley instead. You’ll just need to increase the cooking time. You could also use orzo or pearl couscous and simply decrease the cooking time.
- Lemon and spinach: The soup is finished with fresh lemon juice and chopped spinach. Don’t skip the lemon juice! The acid works so well with the rich, savory chicken broth.
How to make it
- Step 1: Start with the broth. Simply simmer chicken thighs in water with salt and onion for about 45 minutes. Remove the thighs and continue simmering the broth for 15 minutes until it reduces a bit more. Strain the broth through a sieve and discard the onion. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers or two forks. You can discard the skin–OR–you can chop it up and air-fry it, or pan-fry it to crisp it up again. It makes for a yummy crispy garnish on top of the soup!
- Step 2: Make the soup! Start by frying the mushrooms, then layer in the celery, carrots, and onion, then finish with the garlic. Add the soup spices and then deglaze with wine or water. From there, simply add the chicken broth and shredded chicken and cook for about 20 minutes. Add in the rice and simmer until tender.
- Step 3: Finish the soup! Add the lemon and spinach once the rice finishes cooking, and you’re done!
- Step 4: Serve it up and enjoy! It’s even better with warm, crusty bread.
Chicken and Rice Soup
- Soup pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 8 cups water, plus more if needed
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 3 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 2 teaspoons dry thyme
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more if desired
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup dry white wine or water
- 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed well
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 ounces baby spinach, chopped
- Salt and pepper
Make the broth:
- Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Add the onion and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Remove foam and scum as it floats to the top of the broth while the chicken cooks.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a bowl. Return the broth to a low boil over medium heat. Simmer for 10–15 minutes or until the broth reduces and darkens a bit in color. You should be left with about 5–6 cups of broth.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the spent onion. Wipe out the pot and return it to the stovetop.
Prepare the chicken:
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, carefully pick the meat from the bones and shred it with two forks or your fingers.
- Discard the bones and skin. You can also dice the cooked skin and air-fry or pan-fry it to make a crunchy garnish for the soup if you like.
Cook the mushrooms:
- Turn the heat on the pot to medium. Add the mushrooms and cook, turning occasionally, for 8–10 minutes. The mushrooms will release water, and that water will evaporate.
- Once the water evaporates and the mushrooms begin to “squeak” in the pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook for 2 minutes until golden brown. Season with a pinch of salt.
Sauté the aromatics:
- Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the mushrooms and cook for 5–7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, and crushed red pepper to taste. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Simmer the soup:
- Deglaze the pot with 1 cup of white wine or water. Stir well to lift up anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the prepared broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Cook the rice:
- Return the soup to a boil. Stir in the rice and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add another cup or two of water if the rice absorbs too much liquid. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
Finish the soup:
- Add the lemon juice and spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve with more lemon or the crispy chicken skin. Enjoy!