spoon with chicken and rice hovering over a bowl of soup

Chicken Soup With Lemon And Rice

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Chicken soup might just be the most comforting food on the planet. Many, many cultures have a version of the warm, cozy, chicken-y goodness: chicken congee, avgolemono, matzo ball soup, arroz caldo, chicken curries, the list goes on and on. Today we’re going to be making a recreation of the chicken soup that my Nana used to make.

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My Nana was a great Southern cook. I remember cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls with butter, fudge, peanut brittle, glazed carrots, and this chicken soup. I remember standing by the pot in her tiny trailer kitchen as she told me the secret to her chicken soup – lemon juice. We looked forward to chicken soup every time we came up to visit her and Pop. Over the years, Alzheimer’s took her ability to cook, but my family will always remember her delicious legacy.

Ingredients For Chicken Soup With Lemon And Rice

  • olive oil
  • onion
  • carrots
  • celery
  • garlic
  • long grain white rice
  • juice of one lemon
  • Chicken stock – I prefer to use chicken Better Than Bouillon and water. It tastes better than boxed stock.
  • cooked chicken – I like to use rotisserie chicken
  • salt
  • pepper
chicken soup falling from ladle


That’s it! That’s all you need! You can totally do this.

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How To Make Chicken Soup

This soup is so easy to make. Here is what you do:

  • Dice the onion, carrots, and celery.
  • Cook the vegetables in olive oil.
  • Add the garlic and uncooked rice. Toast the rice with the vegetables for a few minutes.
  • Deglaze the pan with one half of the lemon juice. I recommend using a fresh lemon. It tastes better.
  • Add the chicken stock. I like to use 8 cups of water and 1 and 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of chicken Better Than Bouillon.
  • Add salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the cooked chicken.
  • Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. I remember my Nana’s soup having rice that split down the middle, so seeing that makes me happy. If your rice doesn’t split, that’s fine, just as long as it’s cooked.
  • Add the rest of the lemon juice, adjust the seasoning and serve!
square edit of bowl of chicken soup


Store this soup in the fridge for up to 5 days. Because of the rice, the texture will be really compromised if this recipe is frozen. If you really want to freeze this soup, Cook the rice separately, so it can be added to the warm soup, bot not stored with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook raw chicken in the soup?

Yes, you can. After you add the chicken stock, add two raw boneless skinless chicken breasts. Bring the soup up to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. The chicken should be done when the rice has cooked through, which should take about 20 minutes. Check the temperature of the chicken. The internal temperature should be at least 155 degrees Fahrenheit. See this article to see why I say 155 and not 165. Dice the cooked chicken and add it back to the soup.

To take the temperature of the chicken, insert an instant read thermometer, such as the ThermoPop 2 from ThermoWorks into the thickest part of the chicken breast. I own two of these blessed thermometers, and they are speedy and super accurate, not to mention really affordable. If you need even faster results, you can use the Thermapen One – the Cadillac of instant read thermometers. These two products are also America’s Test Kitchen recommended. Did I mention I love them!?!?!

Could I use brown rice instead of white?

Yes, but I would cook it separately, as brown rice takes so much longer to cook than white rice. We don’t want the chicken and veggies to turn to mush.

What other additions do you recommend?

Fresh dill would be awesome sprinkled on top of this soup. I have a dill hater in my house, so I didn’t write it in, but it would be very tasty.

spoon with broth dripping into a bowl of soup

Other Soup Recipes You Might Enjoy

I Love To Hear From You!

When you make this chicken soup, will you pretty please leave me a comment on this post? I love to hear how your dishes turn out. Thank you so much for being here, dear reader, and I will be back next week with another installment of SOUP MONTH 2023!

Happy cooking!

spoon full of chicken soup

Chicken Soup With Lemon And Rice

Gracious Cooking
Is there anything more comforting than a warm bowl of homemade chicken soup? Of course not, and this recipe has the added bonus of being very easy to make. The rice cooks right in the soup, and a healthy amount of lemon juice adds depth of flavor. So, light your favorite candle and get ready to make one of the most classic comfort foods of all time.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 large pot, I like to use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.


  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large carrots about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of diced carrot
  • 1 celery rib diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • juice from one lemon divided
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock I prefer to use water and 2 Tablespoons of roasted chicken Better Than Bouillon. See note.
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken I prefer to use rotisserie chicken. See note for instructions for using raw boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper more to taste


  • Dice the onion, carrots, and celery into a small or medium dice, whichever you prefer.
  • Heat a large pot over medium heat, add about 3 Tablespoons of olive oil, and add the diced onions, carrots, and celery. Add a pinch of salt and cool for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. If the vegetables start to brown, turn down the heat.
  • Add the minced garlic, and the uncooked rice. Stir to combine. Toast the rice for a couple of minutes, stirring the rice and vegetable mixture constantly. You may need to add a little more oil. This process is complete when the rice smells a little bit nutty.
  • Deglaze the pot by adding half of the lemon juice, and scraping up any brown bits.
  • Add the chicken stock. If you are using Better Than Bouillon, add 8 cups of water, and 1 and 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of chicken Better Than Bouillon. The paste will dissolve once the water begins to boil. Stir.
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Add the cooked rotisserie chicken. See note for how to use raw, boneless skinless chicken breasts instead. I prefer the taste and texture of the rotisserie chicken.
  • Bring the chicken soup up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup covered for 20 minutes, or until the rice has cooked.
  • Add the other half of the lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve!


  1. Unless you are using homemade chicken stock, I recommend Better Than Bouillon for the chicken stock. I find it has a much better flavor than boxed chicken stock, not to mention it is far, far cheaper. 
  2. If you are using raw, boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of cooked chicken, add 2 of them when you add the stock. Follow the rest of the recipe as outlined. After 20 minutes of simmering, pull the chicken out and see if it is done. It should register at least 155 internal temperature on an instant read thermometer. (see this article by ThermoWorks to see how I got that number). Let the chicken breasts rest on a cutting board until you can handle them, then dice the chicken and add it back to the soup. Bring the soup back to a simmer, then add the second half of the lemon juice and seasonings. 
Keyword Chicken, Comfort Food, homemade, Lemon, Quick & Easy, Rice, Rotisserie Chicken, Soup

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