This lemony Chicken and Rice Soup is quick, comforting, and nutritious. Rotisserie chicken, hearty rice, seasonal veggies, and herbs make a rich base brightened up with fresh lemon juice. Top this low-calorie soup with a bit of parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for the perfect finish.
Lemony Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
It’s officially soup season! If you’re anything like me, cooler weather means rich, hearty soups that are good for the body and the soul. I have a few chicken soup recipes on A Healthy Life for Me, but this is the one I turn to if I’m feeling a little run down.
Our immune systems take a beating on even the most normal of days. Hectic schedules, lack of sleep, and good old-fashioned stress run us down. When the days get shorter, and we can’t get outside as much, the combination makes us more susceptible to getting sick.
So, let’s fight back against cold and flu season with healthy soup recipes! This chicken and rice soup is high in vitamin C, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and magnesium. These are exactly the tools you want in your corner to keep your immune system in fighting shape this winter.
Plus, this soup is delicious and keeps well as leftovers. Talk about a win win!
What Lemon Adds to This Chicken Soup
Adding lemons takes this chicken soup from ‘really good’ to exceptional. Fresh lemon juice brightens the rich flavors of the chicken and herbs and brings the soup into perfect balance. Lemons are also incredibly good for you and add a nice dose of vitamin C, iron, and citric acid to this healthy soup.
What You’ll Need
Lemony chicken and rice soup comes together with only a few ingredients. We use rotisserie chicken to save time, fresh seasonal veggies, and toothsome jasmin rice. Scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.
For the Soup
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Leek: How to wash and prep leeks → Learn more here
- Chicken Base: This recipe is made with an organic, reduced sodium chicken base (concentrated bouillon). You can also use our Homemade Chicken Bone Broth for added flavor and nutrition. If you use stock or broth, omit the water.
- Jasmine Rice: I love the taste and texture of jasmine rice, but you can also sub in wild rice if you prefer. Adjust the cooking time as needed.
- Lemon Juice
- Eggs: I recommend using large, organic free-range eggs.
- Rotisserie Chicken: You can also use chicken breasts or chicken thighs if you prefer. I use rotisserie chicken to keep this recipe really easy.
- Baby Spinach: I recommend fresh for this soup, but you can use frozen if that’s all you can find. Be sure to thaw first and squeeze out as much moisture as you can to avoid adding additional water to the soup.
- Seasoning: I used salt, pepper, Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram), and red pepper flakes.
- Parmesan Cheese: This is an optional topping, but adds a really nice finish.
How to Make Chicken and Rice Soup
This hearty chicken and rice soup comes together in under an hour. Simple ingredients combine to make a low-calorie soup that is nutritious and delicious!
- Heat a Stockpot. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
- Add the Aromatics. Chop carrots, garlic, and leeks and add them to the pot once the oil is shimmering. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until the veggies are soft and smell amazing.
- Add the Chicken Base. Add the chicken base to the vegetables and stir until they’re evenly coated. I like to ‘toast’ the base for a minute or two to add more depth of flavor.
- Add Water and Seasoning. Add the water, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the veggies. If you’re using chicken stock or broth instead of the base, add that now. Bring the soup to a low boil over medium-high heat. You want there to be bubbling along the edge of the pot; you don’t want to see a roiling boil at this stage.
- Add the Rice. Once you see bubbles along the edge of the pan, add the rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until the rice is done. This should take 20-25 minutes. If you’re using rice other than Jasmin, cook it as long as needed so the grains are soft enough to bite through comfortably. The rice should be al-dente and not mushy.
- Whisk Temper the Eggs. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add a cup of the hot broth to the egg mixture, whisking it together until it’s completely blended. This process allows you to temper the eggs without scrambling them.
- Add Eggs to the Soup. Add the tempered eggs back into the stock pot and lower the heat to low.
- Add Spinach. Add the fresh spinach to the soup. As soon as the spinach starts to wilt, remove the pot from the heat.
- Add the Lemon Juice. Add the lemon juice at the end of the cook for a wonderful level of brightness.
- Add Cheese and Seasoning. Add parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Serve and Enjoy! Serve the soup while hot. Feel free to add an additional sprinkle of parmesan cheese, a swirl of olive oil, or more red pepper flakes as desired.
Tips for Success
- Wash Your Leeks Really Well. When using leeks in your recipe, make sure that after you chop or slice your them, you rinse them in water to remove dirt and sand. Because leeks grow in the soil, it collects the soil and sand that it grows in between those layers. Just rinse your cut leeks in water and drain, throwing away the water.
- Temper the Eggs. If you pour eggs directly in the soup, they’ll start to scramble. Since that’s not at all what we want for this recipe, be sure to add just a cup of broth to the eggs as directed. This will allow the heated broth to combine with the eggs without starting to cook them.
- Add the Lemon at the End.
- Don’t add the lemon juice until you’re done cooking. When I make soup, I often throw everything in the pot at the same time to cook together. That works great in some recipes, but when it comes to the lemon in this soup, that’s not what we want to do. Adding the lemon too early will create a bitter taste, which isn’t what we want! Instead, add the lemon after the soup is finished cooking to bring out the bright, fresh flavor we want.
How to Store
This lemony chicken soup will keep well in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 3-5 days. The rice will soak up quite a bit of the broth while it’s in the fridge, so the soup will appear thicker the longer it sits.
Can I Freeze This Soup?
Yes, chicken and rice soup freezes really well. Place leftover soup in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. If you leave the soup any longer than that, the rice will start to get mushy. Defrost the soup overnight and reheat it in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. You may want to add additional chicken broth if the rice soaked up too much.
Lemony Chicken and Rice Soup
- Stock Pot
- Cutting Board
- Chopping knife
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 3 medium carrots finely chopped
- 1 large leek finely chopped and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons of organic reduced sodium roasted chicken base
- 10 cups water
- ⅔ cup dry jasmine rice
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice from 2-3 large lemons
- 2 large organic free range eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning.
- 3-4 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 organic rotisserie chicken meat picked and shredded into bite-size pieces
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
- Add garlic, carrots, and leek to pan; cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until vegetables are soft and aromatic.
- Add chicken base and stir into the vegetables until they are evenly coated for about a minute or two.
- Add water, Italian Seasoning, and Red Pepper flakes. Bring to a soft boil over medium-high heat. (this means bubbles along edge of pan not a roiling boil)
- Once you see bubbles along the edge of the pan add the rice and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is nearly done, about 20-25 minutes. Take a few grains out of soup and test for doneness. You want the rice soft enough to bite through comfortably.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs. Then add about 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg mixture, whisking until completely blended together. This will allow you to temper eggs without scrambling them.
- Add whisked eggs and broth mixture back into the pan and lower heat to low.
- Add spinach, parmesan, salt and ground black pepper. As soon as you see spinach start to wilt, remove the pan from heat.
- Add the lemon juice once you've removed the pan from the heat. Stir to incorporate fully.
- Serve and enjoy.
- Top with an additional sprinkle of parmesan, swirl of olive oil, and/or more red pepper flakes as desired.
Can be frozen for 3 months.