Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

5 from 51 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 51 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!

  8. YES! A food blog by a Michigander!! So happy I found your site! I’m going to make this recipe tonight for my girlfriend.

  9. Hi Yumna, I tried the soup, it was absolutely delicious. My husband and I both loved it. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Hi ma’am.. I hope you are doing well. Happy Ramdan!. yesterday I tried your chicken lemon rice soup recipe and it was really amazing. I had in iftar ?? Thank you so much for motivating us and sharing awesome recipes. Loads of love from ??.

  11. Hi ma’am.. I hope you are doing well. Happy Ramadan. Yesterday I tried your chicken lemon rice soup recipe and it was really amazing. I had in iftar ?? Thank you so much for motivating us and sharing awesome recipes. Loads of love from ??.

  12. So delicious and super easy! This is definitely on my weekly rotation for my family. Plus, I’ve never made my own chicken stock before trying this recipe. Now I do it all the time!

  13. Really good! Needed a ton of salt added for me and my household. I also added some cilantro and avocado, which was really good!

    1. Haha, that’s why I left the salt and pepper to taste because it depends on the broth and personal preference. Love that you added cilantro and avocado to it! Yummy!

    1. Yes you can! Just make sure to add the rice in the last half hour because otherwise it will become too mushy.

  14. ? my 6 year old son loved it and the cabbage soup last week.
    He said “Mom, you’re the best cook!” ??
    I’m a huge novice but thank you so much for making recipes that are easy to follow ?

  15. I did 10 cups of water instead so I had to double the rice and use an extra lemon but it’s so good!!! Thanks for the recipe! Very fresh and filling!

    1. Yes, that might be a good idea! I love to bring out a big lemon flavor since it’s an important part of the recipe, but I agree that two might be too much for some taste buds. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Made this for dinner tonight for my fam and it was absolutely so good! I cheated a bit and bought a whole rotisserie chicken from Costco and cooked rice in our Asian rice cooker ha ? Empty pot said it all! Delicious, easy recipe and a keeper! ?

    1. That’s so awesome! I love the shortcuts you made and I think what matters is the empty pot in the end haha!

    1. I know what you mean and it’s 100% edible. But in general the stalks are what most people eat. Like you, I find the leaves delicious, and I like to chop them up to include in salads and soups. But most of the time, I save them as “scraps” for making chicken broth since they are so flavorful.

    1. Great question. I use 8 cups of water that gets reduced to make about 6 cups of chicken broth. So if you’re using store-bought, try 6 cups and you can always adjust it. 🙂

    2. store bought is fine but why? with this recipe? you are chopping the veggies anyway and boiling the chicken anyway..however I am no stranger to convenience so as the recipe says 8 cups of broth it doesn’t matter where you get it. FYI I used 5 cups of broth bc that is how many fit in my pot… worked fine. this is a very nice soup, it stands to reason, her name begins with YUM

    1. Yes you can leave the skin on. It will give the broth more flavor. But I recommend taking it off when shredding for the soup, although that comes down to preference 🙂

  17. This was so easy and delicious! I added some zucchini and only the juice of one lemon instead of two. So excited to eat this as my meal prep lunches. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  18. ok love chicken lemon rice soup. reciepe calls for 2 lemons. can you use lemon juice from a bottle. if so how much?

    1. Yes, you can use lemon juice from a bottle. Each lemon has about 2 tablespoons of juice, so I would recommend up to 1/4 cup, but feel free to adjust it by your preference 🙂

  19. Thank you so very much for this recipe! A dear friend will begin chemo next week … and we’re making this recipe as our friend’s favorite soup so she can eat … even when she doesn’t feel up to it! Thank you so much for the keto friendly tips … my friend is doing paleo while doing chemo, so this is very helpful!

    1. That makes my heart so happy. Thank you for sharing, and hope this soup brings some warmth to your friend. She’s so lucky to have you thinking of her!!

  20. Any opinions on using chicken breasts instead of thighs? It’s all I got thawed right now, eek!

    1. Yes, that’s absolutely fine. You’ll need to boil the chicken for only 15 minutes then. And you can actually boil it when it’s frozen! Enjoy 🙂

  21. Tried this recipe because it looked interesting and now it’s a weekly staple! Delicious, wholesome and so easy to make. I didn’t have celery and thyme so skipped those two and it still turned out to be amazing.