Chicken and Rice Soup

Servings: 5


1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter (or more oil)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, halved then cut into 2/5″ slices (quarter if really thick)
3 celery ribs, cut into 2/5″ slices
3 tsp Vegeta stock powder, or 2 x vegetable or chicken bouillon cube, or 2 tsp powder (Note 2)
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme, optional
1/4 tsp black pepper, finely ground
4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
4 cups water
1.2 lb bone in, skinless chicken thighs, 4 x 5oz (Note 1)
1 cup long grain white rice (Note 3)
Salt, adjust to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley (optional)


Place oil and butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent.

Add carrots and celery, stir for 1 minute.

Add stock powder, dried parsley, thyme (if using), pepper, chicken broth, water. Stir, then add chicken.

Cover with lid, simmer on medium low for 30 minutes. Adjust heat so it’s bubbling a nice amount, but not crazy energetically or super slowly. Skim off excess foam build up once or twice (not critical, just makes broth clearer).

Remove lid, add rice. Stir, cover, simmer 15 minutes.

Remove soup from stove.

Remove chicken into large bowl. Shred with 2 forks, discard bones then stir into soup.

Stir in half the parsley, taste for salt and add if required. Serve, then garnish with extra parsley.

Recipe Notes

1. Chicken: Fat is where all the flavour is, so I use bone in thigh for this recipe. I remove the skin otherwise the soup is a bit too greasy – just pull it off, it comes off easily. Skinless bone in thighs are sold in packets at Woolies in Australia – they are great value.

Alternative cuts: drumsticks will also work, no need to remove skin, use 1 kg/2lb. Skinless boneless thighs are the next best – but only cook for 15 minutes then add the rice, cook for further 15 minutes then take the chicken out, shred then return to soup, serve.

My next choice is store bought rotisserie chicken. Follow recipe except reduce water by 1 cup, use 2 1/2 cups of chopped or shredded chicken. Then add the broth and water, bring to simmer, add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, then add rice, cook for 15 minutes, then serve.

Breast is so lean, it simply doesn’t infuse the broth with enough flavour so I can’t recommend it BUT in the event of an emergency, it can be used. Simmer 500g/1lb of breast gently for 10 minutes, then add rice and cook both for 15 minutes, remove breast, shred, return to soup, serve.

2. Vegeta Stock Powder (vegetable stock powder):

This is just a type of stock powder / bouillon cube in powder form. It’s my favourite for clear soups like this for both flavour and also because it gives it that yellowish tinge that I associate with this soup. It’s sold at supermarkets here in Australia alongside other stock powders & liquid broth, and here it is on Amazon. It’s quite popular in European recipes, from what I’ve seen.

However, any vegetable or chicken bouillon cube (crumbled) or powder is perfectly fine to substitute.

3. Rice: Long grain is my first choice because it’s my “go to” rice I always have. Other rices that can be used with no change to cook time: Jasmine and basmati but note they will add a slight fragrance to the soup, medium and short grain white rice, and quinoa could also be used. Paella, risotto and sushi rice are not suitable. Brown and wild rice needs to be added 5 minutes after the chicken is added (it needs 40 minutes to cook).

4. Storage: Use a slotted spoon to separate the rice and all soup contents from the broth. Store in separate containers, otherwise you’ll end up with a stodgy mushy rice block. Refrigerate then reheat soup first, then add the rice and stuff.

Taking it somewhere? Here is what I do: Cook it all the way to the end but do not add rice. Cook the rice separately as follows: Place 1 cup rice in a saucepan with 1 cup of finished soup liquid plus 1/2 cup of water. Cover with lid then bring to simmer on medium, then cook for 12 – 15 minutes until water is all absorbed (tilt to check). Remove from stove, leave covered and stand for 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff rice, then put rice in a separate container to the rest of the soup. To assemble, heat the soup, then add the rice.

5. Add Ins: Zest and squeeze of fresh lemon is a beautiful touch of freshness. More veggies (chopped zucchini, stir in chopped kale or spinach, bell peppers), sub chicken with other cooked protein (500g/1lb cooked weight), add 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 2 sprigs, or a touch of other dried herbs. Try adding a can or two of crushed tomato for a light tomato based soup.

For low carb, skip the rice and load up on more veggies. I like to fill it out with meaty veggies like broccoli and cauliflower.