Creamy Chicken Rice Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
For an easy meal that's equal parts cozy, comforting and satisfying, turn to this 30-minute creamy chicken and rice soup recipe.

Updated: May 12, 2024

It’s no wonder why they call chicken soup food for the soul, when each spoonful is warm, creamy and totally comforting. A hearty homemade chicken noodle soup is a go-to, but sometimes when the weather gets chilly or we’re not feeling our best, we crave a recipe with a little more rib-sticking richness. Adding rice and a few other ingredients is the perfect solution, resulting in a creamy chicken and rice soup.

While other homemade chicken and rice soup recipes typically require an extended cooking time on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, this simple version comes together in only 30 minutes. This short cooking time is possible thanks to precooked chicken, plus the fact that the rice doesn’t need to be cooked in a separate pot. The only thing that could possibly make this creamy chicken rice soup (and any one of these chicken soup recipes from scratch, for that matter) better is serving it alongside a freshly baked loaf of Dutch oven bread so you can dip and dunk to your heart’s content.

Ingredients for Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Mirepoix: Onion, celery and carrots create a classic base of aromatics known as a mirepoix. This simple trio of vegetables is important because it adds depth of flavor to many soup recipes like this one.
  • Chicken: This is a great leftover chicken recipe, as you can use any leftover cooked chicken you have on hand, whether it’s shredded chicken, grilled chicken, poached chicken breasts or oven-roasted chicken breasts. You can, of course, also turn to one of our favorite shortcuts by making this dish into a recipe with rotisserie chicken.
  • Chicken broth: You can use your favorite chicken broth brand from the grocery store or put homemade chicken broth to use if you have it.
  • Rice: A long-grain rice, like basmati or jasmine, is great for this creamy chicken and rice soup since they’re hearty but cook quickly.
  • Seasoning: This creamy chicken rice soup, while simply seasoned, is not short on flavor. You’ll be amazed at how much flavor a bit of dried basil and a pinch of black pepper can create.
  • Evaporated milk: This is the ingredient that makes the soup extra rich and creamy. Evaporated milk is made by heating fresh milk until more than half of the water content has evaporated. It’s very similar in fat content to half-and-half—therefore, half-and-half cream is a great substitute for evaporated milk.

Directions

Step 1: Saute the veggies

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery and onion and saute until tender. Add the garlic, then cook and stir for 1 minute until fragrant.

Editor’s Tip: Carrot, celery and onion are the aromatics in this soup—aka, the herbs and vegetables that help create layers of flavor in a recipe.

Step 2: Cook the rice

Stir the rice, seasonings and broth into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Your cooking time at this stage may vary depending on the rice you’re using. After 15 minutes, taste the rice to ensure it is tender. If it still has a bit of chew, cover the pot and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the desired tenderness is achieved.

Step 3: Make it creamy

Whisk together the flour and evaporated milk until smooth. Stir the mixture into the soup, then bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Bringing the soup back up to a boil not only helps it thicken but also cooks the flour, so it doesn’t have an unpleasant raw flour taste.

Step 4: Add the chicken

Once thickened, stir in the cooked chicken and warm until heated through.

Editor’s Tip: If you would like a thicker creamy chicken and rice soup, let everything simmer for a few extra minutes, uncovered, to allow the soup to reduce. For a thinner soup, you can add up to 1 cup of whole milk.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup Variations

  • Try different grains or rice: For this creamy chicken rice soup recipe, you can use any grain or type of rice that you enjoy, such as brown rice, wild rice, farro or quinoa. If you would like to maintain a quick cooking time, however, consult the package directions before using to ensure the rice or grain can cook in roughly 15 minutes. Note that you may need to adjust the amount of chicken broth depending on the selected grain.
  • Add extra vegetables: For a veggie-packed soup, saute other fresh vegetables you enjoy with the mirepoix. Bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, canned tomatoes, corn, peas or green beans would all be tasty additions.
  • Flavor with herbs: You can add more flavor and depth to this simple soup recipe with other fresh or dried herbs you have on hand. Rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, parsley or dill all pair nicely with chicken and rice.
  • Make it without chicken: For a creamy vegetable rice soup, omit the chicken. Enjoy as-is, or add a can of rinsed and drained cannellini, pinto or great northern beans to the soup for a boost of plant-based protein.

How to Store Creamy and Chicken Rice Soup

Leftover creamy chicken rice soup may be refrigerated in an airtight food storage container for three to four days. To reheat, warm gently on the stovetop until heated through or use the microwave.

We do not recommend freezing creamy chicken rice soup, as soups containing dairy typically do not freeze well. Upon thawing and reheating, the soups tend to separate, giving the leftover soup an unpleasant taste and mouthfeel. Here are more guidelines on freezing soups.

Can you make chicken and rice soup ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this 30-minute soup recipe two or three days ahead of time. Prepare as directed, and refrigerate until ready to reheat and serve.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup Tips

Can you use other kinds of dairy in creamy chicken and rice soup?

Feel free to use half-and-half cream in place of evaporated milk in this recipe. If you would like a dairy-free soup, coconut milk is one of our favorite swaps. It’s rich and creamy and gives this creamy chicken and rice soup the best, velvety, smooth consistency. There are also tons of plant-based heavy creams on the market now that also do a great job of replicating the taste and consistency of milk without using dairy.

Can you use instant rice for creamy chicken and rice soup?

No. Instant rice is perhaps the one grain we do not recommend for this recipe, as it will cook too quickly and become mushy in the soup. If you’ve got a box on hand that you want to use up, there are plenty of instant rice recipes that you can turn to.

What can you serve with creamy chicken rice soup?

While this hearty and comforting soup recipe can function as an all-in-one meal, you can also serve it with an array of other dishes. Serve it with a fresh garden salad, or make it a soup and sandwich combo with one of these equally comforting hot sandwich recipes. Otherwise, you’ll never hear anyone complain about a batch of copycat Olive Garden breadsticks or some homemade focaccia.

Watch how to Make Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute carrot, celery and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in rice, seasonings and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Mix flour and milk until smooth; stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken; heat through.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/4 cups: 312 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated fat), 71mg cholesterol, 699mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 1g fiber), 29g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 1 fat.

I came up with this creamy chicken rice soup recipe while making some adjustments to a favorite stovetop chicken casserole. We like this soup for lunch with a crisp roll and fresh fruit. —Janice Mitchell, Aurora, Colorado