This homemade chicken and rice soup recipe is a gluten-free and delicious soup you'll make again and again. It's a set-it-and-forget-it healthy soup recipe! Made in the slow cooker with simple ingredients like boneless skinless chicken breasts, canned tomatoes, sweet corn, and brown rice, the whole family will love this warming and healthy soup.
Chicken soup is in the house!
Chicken and rice soup that is.
There's something about rice in soup that is just so right. Don't you think??
If you love chicken and rice soup as much as as I do, then I think you'll love this recipe for Southwest Chicken and Rice Soup!
This is one of those "set-it-and-forget-it" recipes.
It's super easy to make.
You'll get a sear on your chicken breasts and then get them and all the other ingredients into the slow cooker and 4 hours later, you have a delicious soup.
Looking for more soup recipes?
Check out these easy chicken soup recipes that are also naturally gluten-free (and one with turkey🦃):
- 📝Ingredients for chicken and rice soup
- 💃What to serve with chicken and rice soup
- 🥡Storage and Freezing
- 🏅Top tips
- ❓Should you cook rice before adding to soup?
- 🙋♀️What happens if you put rice in soup?
- 👌What rice is best for soup?
- 😋What can I add to my chicken soup to give it flavour?
- Want more?
- 📖 Recipe
📝Ingredients for chicken and rice soup
Here's what you'll need to make this easy slow cooker chicken and soup recipe:
- Olive oil
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Green pepper
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- Minced garlic
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Low sodium chicken broth
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Frozen corn
- Brown rice (uncooked)
- Lime juice
- Avocado, cilantro, sour cream, or tortilla chips for serving
See recipe card for quantities.
Here's the high level steps for this recipe:
In a skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high heat and the brown chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper.
Add chicken, onion, green pepper, jalapeno, garlic, chili powder and cumin to the crock pot.
Then add canned diced tomatoes, corn, rice, and lime juice into the slow cooker.
Add broth and stir. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Spoon into bowls and garnish with avocado, cilantro, sour cream, or tortilla chips.
Hint: Searing the chicken helps to lock in moisture and flavour. It's a step worth keeping!
- This chicken and rice soup is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
- You can sub-in cubed beef instead of chicken if you have it.
- Leftover rotisserie chicken to use up? Instead of chicken breasts, add in shredded rotisserie chicken in the final 30 minutes of cooking.
- To go totally vegetarian, skip the meat all together and use chickpeas or very firm cubes of tofu.
- If you have leftover cooked rice, feel free to use that instead of the brown rice. Cooked wild rice works too. If using leftover cooked rice, add in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
💃What to serve with chicken and rice soup
This soup recipe is a meal all-in-one but if you're looking for something else to serve with it, here's a few ideas:
- Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese
- Kale Salad with Cranberries
- Spinach and Citrus Salad with Sweet and Spicy Almonds
- Roasted Carrots with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese
The main equipment you'll use for this chicken rice soup recipe is your slow cooker or crock pot. You can also use the slow cooker setting on an Instant Pot too.
And if you use your Instant Pot, you can sear the chicken breasts using the saute function on the Instant Pot and then just get everything in the pot. A pan saved from cleaning😄
🥡Storage and Freezing
Leftovers of this soup are good in the fridge for about 3 days.
Here's an important thing to know about rice in soup in general: the longer the rice stays in the broth, the more moisture (chicken broth) it soaks up.
So you'll notice, if you don't finish the soup the first night you make it, as it sits in the fridge, the rice will continue to swell up a bit.
So to use leftovers of this soup, simply re-heat with some extra chicken broth (or water.)
If I'm re-heating this soup portion by portion, I'll warm myself a bowl of it up with just about ¼ of water or so. Just enough to get the consistency I like.
You can freeze leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.
Don't skip the step of searing the cubes of chicken! You'll seal in juices from the chicken and develop some delicious flavour.
And note that the brown rice is NOT cooked before it goes into the soup. ie, it goes raw (uncooked). It cooks perfectly in the 4 hours.
❓Should you cook rice before adding to soup?
You don't have to cook rice before adding it to soup. The rice will cook with the soup while everything cooks together. There's an exception though: if you have a quick cooking soup and the rice won't have time to be completely cooked. In that case, you can cook the rice separately, then add it to the soup as a last step.
🙋♀️What happens if you put rice in soup?
Rice absorbs water (or broth) as it cooks so if you put raw or uncooked rice in your soup, it'll take up some of the broth as it cooks. That's what makes the rice nice and soft😄
If you don't account for this absorption of moisture / broth / water by the rice, you'll end up getting something that more resembles a chili in terms of consistency, or like a very thick soup.
Whether you're following a recipe or improvising, keep in mind that raw (uncooked) rice will cause your soup to be LESS "soupy". You can account for this by adding more water, broth or even ingredients that bring a lot of moisture with them like canned diced tomatoes for example.
👌What rice is best for soup?
The best types of rice for soups are short grain like basmati and jasmine rice. Brown rice is also a really nice rice to add into soup because it holds it's texture in soup. Wild rice can also be really tasty in soup, it just takes a little longer to be fully cooked.
😋What can I add to my chicken soup to give it flavour?
In a word: salt! Making sure you have enough (but not too much) salt in your chicken soup will help to make sure you get that delicious flavour. Be mindful if you use sodium-free versions of the chicken broth, canned tomatoes and other ingredients that you may have to add more salt than usual during the cooking process.
If you're using chicken broth, canned tomatoes and other ingredients that already contain sodium, you will likely need to add less salt in the cooking process. Taste as you're cooking so you don't go overboard. A little salt can do a great job but too much can be unpleasant.
Other salt-free ways to give chicken soup flavour is by developing flavour with other ingredients, like onions or shallots; dried herbs like oregano and basil with fresh ground pepper; and using chicken broth with a little sodium (salt) in it (see above point re: salt in general.)
Hope you love this Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe like we do❣️
If you try it, please consider leaving a star review and a helpful comment for others making this soup😄
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Southwest Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
- Slow cooker or crock pot
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cubed, 2 medium chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 shallot or small onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno seeded and diced
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes, 3.5 cups or 796ml (large can)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- ¾ cup brown rice (uncooked)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Avocado chunks, cilantro, sour cream, or tortilla chips for serving
- In a skillet, heat olive oil to medium-high heat and brown chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides.
- Add chicken, onion, green pepper, jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomatoes, corn, rice, and lime juice into a 6qt slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Stir a couple times while cooking.
- Spoon into bowls and garnish with avocado, cilantro, sour cream, or tortilla chips.