This Instant Pot chicken and rice soup recipe produces a simple but delicious soup in just 30 minutes.
Full of hearty flavors and warmth, chicken and rice soup is an easy dinner, you can rely on during busy times. It’s also the best thing to offer to your friends and family who are battling sniffles or having a hard time with the cold nights.
This recipe comes with two options: cook the soup in a regular pot to warm up the kitchen or use an Instant Pot to reduce the cooking time. Each has its perks but the result is the same hearty pot of soup.
Is Chicken and Rice Soup Good for You?
Not only good for the soul, our chicken and rice soup is also good for your body.
For starters, it has a healthy amount of calories (504), about 18-25% of what a moderately active adult needs daily. It comes from lean chicken thighs, rice, and plenty of vegetables that pack vital nutrients like proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
The cream and salt the recipe typically calls for was cause for concern regarding the sodium and saturated fat content. However, we adjusted these ingredients so that the soup has only 9 g saturated fat and 560 mg sodium, yet is still creamy and flavorful.
Learn more about what our healthy eating guidelines entail here.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
This Instant Pot chicken and rice soup recipe calls for simple ingredients.
1. Chicken Cuts
Chicken soups are typically made with either breasts or thighs. We picked thighs because we love the tender texture of dark meat, but you can go with breasts if you prefer.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get boneless chicken so we had to remove the skin and bone by hand. We highly recommend you find boneless chicken thighs, as it will save lots of prepping time.
2. Vegetables and Aromatics
We selected hearty vegetables for such a hearty soup, including carrots, onions, and celery. You can add more to the mix — soft veg like spinach or even chewy mushrooms work like a charm.
For the aromatics we used garlic and thyme, giving the soup a soothing aroma. Use fresh thyme if dried thyme is too intense for you — we prefer fresh in this recipe but know not everyone does.
3. Rice Choice
Not wanting the soup to be exclusive, we went with something that’s highly available and works. Our favorite type is jasmine rice, with a mild aroma, soft texture, and the perfect starch content to make soups.
Other options include many long-grain kinds like basmati, brown rice, or even wild rice. They have slightly different textures, nutritional values, and cooking liquid amounts, but it’s not a problem, as you can always add more stock if needed.
Speaking of stock, you don’t have to use the one we recommend. Chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable stock, play around with the flavor profile and see what you like best — just make sure it’s unsalted.
5. Other Ingredients
We used some olive oil to sear the chicken and butter to sauté the vegetables.
Finally, the seasoning: we use just salt, pepper, and some heavy cream for richness, as there’s plenty of flavor from the chicken and veg. Some recipes even call for a thickener like cornstarch, but we’ll show you a better way.
How to Cook Chicken and Rice Soup in the Instant Pot
The steps are quite straightforward:
Cook the chicken and set aside.
Sauté the vegetables and rice.
Add chicken stock and pressure-cook.
Add the cooked chicken and simmer to fuse the flavor.
Add cream, and blend to thicken the soup.
Top with parsley and serve.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- You’ll be working with the ‘sauté’ mode most of the time, except for step 3. It uses ‘meat/stew’ mode.
- The chicken will be cooked again in the end, so there’s no need to cook it all the way through in step 1. Leave them to sear until a golden color is achieved, then give them a flip and cook for 2 minutes before taking them out.
- Using leftover rotisserie chicken can help you skip step 1.
- Some people use cooked rice to save time, but the 5-7 minutes saved isn’t worth the flavor they’re missing out on. Sautéing raw rice with butter and veg allows it to absorb all of the deliciousness, which you experience every time you bite into a grain.
- Always add heavy cream at the end when cooking with a pressure cooker. Otherwise, it’ll create lots of foams that will eventually shoot up the steam vent and get everywhere.
- As always, add heavy cream at the end when the heat is off. Cooking it can curdle it, which isn’t a pleasant sight to see in soups.
- By ‘blend’ in step 5, we mean pulsing 3 or 4 times with an immersion blender until the soup reaches your desired consistency. We love totally blitzed-down small bits, so what you’re looking at is the result of leaving it on for a solid 10 seconds.
- Don’t have an immersion blender? Add 2 ladles into a food processor, blend until smooth, then add the thick mixture back into the pot.
For exact measurements, check out the ingredients list in our Instant Pot chicken and rice soup recipe at the bottom.Jump to Recipe
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Soup
The best way to store it is in the fridge — keep the leftovers in an airtight container and it’ll last for about 5 days. To reheat, simmer the soup in a pot over low heat until bubbling.
Freezing rice soups or pasta soups is not raved about as the rice will turn a little mushy when thawed. If this is something you’re not fussed about, freezing can make it last as long as up to 3 months.
Side Dishes for Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
Our top suggestion for a side is broccoli salad. It’s a combination of a whole variety of flavors and textures, which contrast with and add freshness to our mild, hearty soup to make for a fun, yet wholesome meal.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 12 oz skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp thyme fresh
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp garlic about 1 clove, minced
- 4 oz celery about 1 large stalk, chopped
- 8 oz onions about 2 medium, finely chopped
- 12 oz carrots about 5-6 medium, diced
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice like jasmine
- 6 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp parsley finely chopped
- Select ‘sauté’ mode on your Instant Pot and add 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add a piece of minced garlic, and when it sizzles, add 12 oz chicken thighs, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp fresh thyme. Stir it around a little, leave it to sear for about 3 minutes, then flip each chunk and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Melt 2 tbsp unsalted butter in the pot, and add to it 1 tsp garlic, 4 oz celery, 4 oz onions, and 12 oz carrots. Sauté for 3 minutes or until softened, then tip in 1 cup long-grain white rice (we use jasmine). Stir for about 2 minutes.
- Pour in 6 cups unsalted chicken broth, then close the lid. Turn the steam handle to ‘sealed’, select ‘meat/stew’, adjust the time to 15 minutes, then allow it to cook.
- Place a kitchen rag onto the steam handle, switch it to ‘venting’ with a spoon, wait for the steam to escape, then carefully open the lid. Add the cooked chicken along with 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp salt, and cook for 2 minutes on ‘sauté’ mode.
- Press ‘cancel’ to turn off the heat, and stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream. Pulse the soup several times with an immersion blender, or, add 2 ladles to a food processor, blend until smooth, then add it back into the soup pot.
- Sprinkle 1 tsp parsley on top and serve hot.