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Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

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This Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup is the perfect meal for a chilly winter day! It’s warm, comforting, and packed with flavor. Plus, it’s super easy to make. Just throw all of the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer away!

overhead shot of lemon chicken and rice soup in a large pot

Soup is the perfect comfort food companion for cold weather. There’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of soup to chase away the chill! This lemon chicken and rice soup is the perfect recipe for a cozy night in. The lemon adds a bright flavor to the rich chicken and rice, making it the perfect cold weather soup.

I sometimes think that they say to have chicken noodle soup when you’re sick because of all the nutrients in the soup but also it’s just comforting. It’s like a reminder of mom or something. Or simply just the act of being cared for when you’re sick. I don’t know – chicken soups evoke a nostalgic emotion for me.

up close shot of lemon chicken and rice soup in a ladle in the pot with lemon slices around the ladle

Why You’ll Love This

Okay so what more can I say about this lemon chicken and rice soup? Here are a few more reasons why you’ll love it.

It is a delicious and easy-to-make soup that is perfect to warm you up! You practically throw all the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer away!

Bright, fresh flavors. The lemon gives the soup a bright and fresh flavor (which is what we all need in the cold dreary months), while the chicken and rice provide filling protein and carbohydrates! It honestly sticks to your bones and brightens any dark and dreary day!

overhead shot of ingredients to make lemon chicken rice soup

Now that you know all about lemon chicken and rice soup, it’s time to get cooking! This delicious and easy recipe will soon become a family favorite. Serve with some crusty bread for dipping and enjoy!

Ingredients for lemon chicken and rice soup

Be sure to check the recipe card below for exact measurements!

  • Chicken breast or chicken thighs, boneless and skinless for easy shredding
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water or chicken stock (have you tried my homemade one yet? It REALLY makes a huge difference!)
  • Butter
  • Arborio rice – a short grain rice that is typically used in risotto. It has a high starch content, which gives it a creamy texture. When cooked, the grains are plump and tender but still firm to the bite. It can be found in most grocery stores near the other types of rice.
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh dill

The chicken provides protein, the vegetables add vitamins and minerals, the lemon juice adds a boost of vitamin C and freshness, and the herbs add flavor!

How to make chicken and rice soup

For detailed instructions, be sure to check the recipe card below.

Cook the chicken. You’ll want to add the chicken with garlic, onion, celery, carrots, bay leaves, salt, pepper and water to a large soup pot.

Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from the pot and shred in a bowl and set aside.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer. Add the rice and butter into the pot with the vegetables. After the rice has softened, add the chicken back in and simmer for longer.

overhead shot of the lemon chicken and rice soup in a bowl

What are the benefits of lemon chicken and rice soup?

This soup is not only delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients. The chicken provides protein and the rice and veggies are full of vitamins and minerals. The lemon juice adds a boost of vitamin C, which is great for immunity and we all need a little more of that during cold and flu season!

Tips, tricks, and tidbits

Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect lemon chicken and rice soup:

Use leftover shredded rotisserie chicken to make life easier! Add butter to the pot first, sauté the onion, then add the garlic, carrots and celery and sauté for 7 minutes, until tender. Add in the rice, salt and pepper and stir well, then add in stock (don’t use water if using leftover chicken) and simmer for 15-20 minutes before adding the shredded chicken, lemon juice, parsley and dill. 

Using water instead of broth. Since you simmer the chicken for 30 minutes with the vegetables and spices, you can save money by using water instead of broth and it still ends up tasting super flavorful. If using broth, you may want to cut back slightly on the salt. 

up close and overhead shot of the lemon chicken and rice soup in a bowl

Variations and substitutions

There are endless possibilities when it comes to variations for lemon chicken and rice soup. Feel free to mix things up and add in your favorite veggies or proteins. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Swap out the arborio rice for long grain white rice, quinoa, or small pasta like ditalini or orzo.
  • Add in some chopped kale or spinach.
  • Stir in a can of chickpeas or white beans.
  • Top with crumbled bacon.
  • Serve with a dollop of pesto or Greek yogurt.

No matter how you make it, this lemon chicken and rice soup is sure to become a new favorite! So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

More cozy soup recipes

overhead shot of lemon chicken and rice soup in a large pot

Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

This lemon chicken and rice soup is the perfect recipe for a cozy night in. The lemon adds a bright flavor to the rich chicken and rice, making it the perfect winter soup!
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds (907 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup (101 g) celery, diced
  • 1 ½ cup (192 g) carrot, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups (1893 ml) water, or chicken stock (see notes)
  • ¼ cup (57 g) butter
  • ¾ cup (150 g) arborio rice
  • ¼ cup (61 g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (15 g) fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (1 g) fresh dill, finely chopped

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Equipment

Instructions

  • Add chicken, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, bay leaves, salt, pepper and water to a large soup pot over medium heat and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken from the pot and shred with two forks. Set aside.
  • Add arborio rice and butter to the vegetables and broth and stir well. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add back in the chicken, lemon juice, parsley and dill. Stir well and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes, until rice is tender. Season with more salt and pepper if desired and remove bay leaves before serving.

Recipe Notes

Using water instead of broth: Since you simmer the chicken for 30 minutes with the vegetables and spices, you can save money by using water instead of broth and it still ends up tasting super flavorful. If using broth, you may want to cut back slightly on the salt.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 359 kcal | Carbohydrates: 27 g | Protein: 35 g | Fat: 12 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0.3 g | Cholesterol: 117 mg | Sodium: 872 mg | Potassium: 789 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 3 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken soup, easy chicken recipe, soup recipe, stovetop recipe
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