Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

5 from 65 votes

Similar to Chicken Noodle Soup, this Chicken Lemon Rice Soup is a cozy and comforting recipe full of hearty vegetables, chicken and a homemade lemony broth!

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It’s officially Chicken Soup weather here in Michigan and if you’re like me, you dial up the soup recipes this time of year. But if you are looking for a new chicken soup recipe for the family, this Chicken Lemon Rice Soup is such a great way to jazz it up. It’s a very similar idea, but I use rice instead of noodles and finish it off with some freshly squeezed lemon juice for a light and vibrant flavor!

Two bowls of chicken lemon rice soup on a counter with lemons

How to make chicken broth

I love making my own vegetable broth or chicken broth. It’s all about using up the scraps of vegetables you have laying around and cooking it with chicken, some herbs and water. For this chicken lemon rice soup recipe, you can use the scraps from the vegetables needed for the recipe.

  • Step 1: Season chicken breast or chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place inside a large stockpot.
  • Step 2: Peel the outer layers of onions and outer layers of washed carrots; cut the ends and leaves of celery stalk.  Add those “vegetable scraps” on top of the chicken in the pot along with a couple bay leaves. If you have other leftover herbs that you’re trying to use up, you can throw them in there as well.
  • Step 3: Add 10-12 cups of boiling water on top of the chicken, vegetables and herbs, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Step 4: Remove the chicken and shred. Then strain the chicken broth using a fine-mesh sieve. All the vegetable scraps will be leftover and you can toss them. You were probably going to toss them before anyways and now you made your own homemade chicken broth from them!
Pot full of vegetables and chicken thighs to make chicken stock

How do you make chicken lemon rice soup

Now that you know how to make the broth, the actual chicken lemon rice soup is easy peasy. Start by cooking the chopped onions, carrots and celery along with garlic and any herbs you’d like (I love using thyme or oregano). So, making the broth wasn’t all that pretty since we used vegetable scraps. But now we can chop the vegetables finely (and nicely!) because we’ll actually be eating these.

Onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a pot for making Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

Then add the shredded chicken from making the homemade chicken broth. You can also use leftover chicken here. And add the short grain rice.

Collage of two images showing steps to make chicken lemon rice soup

Now you’ll add the broth that you made (or store bought broth) and let everything cook together. The goal is for the rice to get tender and fluffy. That’s how you’ll know the chicken soup is ready.

Collage of two images showing vegetables, rice and chicken with the chicken broth getting poured over

When they say chicken soup is for the soul, they ain’t kidding! This soup is soul warming and seriously has some healing capabilities. But even if you’re not feeling that bug coming on, I think you should still try this recipe! You and your family will love this quick, easy and healthy chicken lemon rice soup recipe!

Tips for making chicken lemon rice soup

  • Cook it quicker by using store-bought or previously made chicken broth and leftover chicken. That will eliminate the time to make the broth and cook the chicken, and you’ll still get a fresh and bright soup.
  • Make it grain-free by using chopped potatoes instead of rice. This would make it Whole30 compliant. To make it low-carb or keto-friendly, you can swap up the starch with celery root, riced cauliflower or chopped zucchini.
  • Don’t add the lemon juice until you’re done cooking. When I’m making soup, I’m tempted sometimes to throw everything together to cook at once in the pot. And that’s fine sometimes. But when it comes to the lemon soup, adding the lemon too early will create a bitter taste to the soup. Instead, adding it after it’s finished cooking will bring out a fresh and bright flavor.
  • Make the soup in a heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Because they are thicker, they conduct the heat more evenly, whereas thinner pans can form hotspots and scorch the bottom of your soup.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it keep?

This soup is great for make ahead meals. Let it cool completely before transferring in an airtight container. It will keep well in the fridge for 4 days. Reheat the soup gently on the stovetop or in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through.

The rice will absorb moisture as it sits, so you may want to stir in a little water or stock when reheating to loosen it back up.

Can you freeze it?

The soup itself is best not to be frozen, but you can make the broth and freeze that before you make the rest of the recipe. The broth will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months and can be thawed in the fridge overnight before using.

What’s the best rice to use?

I like to use white short grain rice, like arborio in this soup. A long grain white rice like jasmine or basmati will also work well. If you like, you can make this with brown rice too, you’ll just need to increase the cooking time for an extra 25 minutes to make sure that it is cooked through.

Close up shot of Chicken Lemon Rice Soup with spoon inside of large mug

This recipe is inspired by the Greek lemon chicken soup (Avgolemono), but it’s not the same recipe because that one includes tempering an egg into the broth. This is a much simplified version that’s inspired by it with a simpler and quicker technique. It’s a very heartwarming, filling and nutritious chicken soup recipe that I’m sure will become a staple recipe in your house, like it is in mine!

For more soup recipes, check out:

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Chicken Lemon Rice Soup recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

Similar to Chicken Noodle Soup, this Chicken Lemon Rice Soup is a cozy and comforting recipe full of hearty vegetables, chicken and a homemade lemony broth!
5 from 65 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Soup
Calories 270
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ cup short grain or Arborio rice
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Parsley for serving

Instructions

  • Place chicken and scraps from the outer layers and end of the onions, carrots and celery in a large stock pot. Season with salt and pepper, add bay leaves and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and shred; then strain the chicken broth using a fine-mesh sieve and discard the vegetable scraps.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken and rice, then return the broth to the stockpot and bring a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with fresh parsley, if desired.

Video

Notes

Recipe: This recipe is inspired by the Greek lemon chicken soup (Avgolemono), but it’s not the same recipe because that one includes tempering an egg into the broth and also includes some butter and flour.
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. The soup will stay fresh for about 4-5 days.
Make Ahead Tips: You can make the homemade chicken broth ahead of time and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use the broth, just thaw in the fridge overnight or for at least 4-6 hours.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of short grain rice, you can use long-grain rice or brown rice. If you’re using brown rice, be sure to add an extra 25 minutes to the cooking time though. You can also use potatoes, riced cauliflower, celery root or chopped zucchini for some grain free and/or low carb options.
  • If you don’t have thyme, feel free to use oregano, parsley, cilantro or other herbs.
Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.  This information should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 96mg, Potassium: 344mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 5245IU, Vitamin C: 4.4mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1.4mg

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Close up shot of Chicken Lemon Rice Soup with spoon inside of large mug

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Comments

  1. Is it 10-12 cups or water or 8 cups of water? In step 3 under “how to make chicken broth, it says 10-12 cups, but in the recipe directions it says 8 cups.

  2. I LOVE this delicious soup recipe! I make this once a week and it just warms my soul. The tangy lemon brightens up the chicken soup and gives it an irresistible flavor! Love trying your recipes because they always turn out amazing!!

  3. Hello my name is Andrea, I love cooking and trying new dishes. I always order out when I have a taste for lemon rice soup. But today I have a little time and a taste for lemon rice soup 😋 So I googled and found this recipe, along with a 5 star rating. I have all ingredients needed so let the fun begin!!

  4. Hello Yumna! I’m Greek and in Avgolemono, there is absolutely never any butter or flour! Only egg tempered with the broth! It’s a pretty big NO-NO for any Greek anywhere in the world who makes it with butter or flour (you’ll never see that anywhere in our cookbooks or recipes). Butter is not something us Greeks use in our cooking (more only in baking),

    1. Hi Maria! Oh that’s good to know! I think I noticed it in a few popular recipes for Avgolemono, but they must not be authentic greek recipes then. Thanks so much for letting me know, and I just deleted that part from my sentence.

      1. Thank you Yumna! I’m a big fan of yours and love your recipes! Yes, the recipes on the net where they add flour and butter and definitely not Greek people posting it:)

  5. So easy to make, even when making the broth yourself. I did change up the cooking instructions & I made this soup in my crockpot. After all the ingredients, except the lemon, were together I cooked it on low for 4 hours. It was SO delicious! So metal can taste, completely fresh! Accompanied with a crusty bread it was a perfect, satisfying meal! The absolute best part of making this soup, other than eating it, is I had ALL the ingredients!! No trip out to stores! I so appreciate recipes I can put together without an extra shopping trip!

    1. Thank you, Sheila! I’m so glad to hear this recipe can be made in the crockpot too. Next time I’m going to enjoy this with some bread!

  6. I will use ground chicken (well seasoned) and make tiny balls for this soup..similar to Italian Wedding Soup.

  7. I have 2 pounds of bone in chicken thighs. Should I use all of that or just use half. Recipe calls for 1 pound but I didn’t know if that was for boneless. Or does it matter?

    1. Good question actually! You an use 2 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs since I used boneless thighs. I just clarified this in the ingredients. Thanks for bringing it up!

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