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chicken soup in a bowl

Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice

  • Author: Sara Wells
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50
  • Yield: 8 cups soup
  • Category: Comort
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


A comforting twist on traditional chicken soup with hearty rice, tender chicken and vegetables, and a bright hit of lemon.


12 tablespoons butter or oil
2 ribs celery, diced
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
23 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill
8 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dry/uncooked rice
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (rotisserie works great)
2 cups finely chopped kale leaves (a couple of large leaves, trimmed and chopped- see instructions in recipe details)
24 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Heat large stock pot to medium heat.  Add oil or butter.  Add chopped celery, carrot, and onion.  Saute 3-4 minutes until tender.  Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds more. Stir in salt, pepper and dill.  Add broth, stirring to scrape any bits off the bottom of pot.

Bring soup to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Add rice and stir occasionally until cooked through (about 20 minutes.)

While soup is simmering, wash kale leaves and use a sharp knife to remove leaves from stems. Holding leaves tightly together, finely chop into very small pieces.

After rice is cooked through, add chicken and kale and stir for 1-2 minutes until chicken is heated through and kale is wilted.  Remove soup from heat and stir in lemon juice to taste. (A little grated lemon zest would be good, too!)

Makes about 8 cups of soup, and even though it’s broth-based, with the rice absorbing liquid, it can become quite thick the longer it cooks.  If you’d like to thin it out a bit, or extend serving sizes, feel free to add more broth to your liking.


If you have raw chicken to use instead of fully cooked (as is called for in the recipe), follow the recipe as written, but after you finish sautéing your carrots, onions, and celery do the following:

Sprinkle 1-2 chicken breasts with some salt and pepper. Push veggies over to one side of pan.  Drizzle a little additional butter/oil if needed and place chicken in pan.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned and flip.  Do the same for the remaining side.

Continue with recipe as written, adding broth and letting chicken breasts poach in soup liquid. Cook until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. After soup is done cooking, remove chicken, shred, and place back into pot.

Keywords: chicken soup