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Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe by ePressureCooker.com.  Make this light and tasty homemade soup from scratch in about 20 minutes using your pressure cooker, leftover chicken or turkey, and common pantry and refrigerator items.  Includes alternate instructions for brown rice, non GMO or gluten free options.

© 2014 ePressureCooker.com

Chicken and Rice Soup is always a kid favorite. But canned soup is expensive, the value for your dollar is poor, and it often contains preservatives and ingredients you don’t want your family eating. Instead, use your pressure cooker, leftover chicken or turkey and common pantry / freezer staples to make a homemade batch of chicken and rice soup that will satisfy the whole family. My recipe is familiar enough that children will eat it, yet it has a few extra ingredients to please adult palates as well. It takes only a few minutes, and you get to control what goes into your family’s meal. Makes a great last minute meal or a quick thermos lunch to make at night after the stores have closed. I’ve also included alternate instructions for brown rice, gluten free and GMO free versions of this soup.

Why Should I Use Long Grain Rice for this Soup? While many cookbooks and cooking sites will tell you to use long grain rice for soups because they have less starch than shorter grain rice, that’s only part of the explanation. Rice contains two kinds of starch, amylose (which provides structure for the rice grains and absorbs water) and amylopectin (which tends to break apart from the rice and act like a sticky, glue like substance on the surface of the grains). Per How to Read a French Fry, “short and medium-grain rices have a higher percentage of amylopectin than long-grain rices, so they tend to be sticky, while the grains of long-grain rice tend to remain separate and distinct after cooking.”  To keep grains of rice separate, as well as reduce clouding of your broth, a higher percentage of amylose, compared to amylopectin, is preferable.  The Science of Good Cooking puts the percentages of amylose for long grain rice at 22%, for medium grain rice at 18% and for short grain rice at 15%.  On Food and Cooking puts the percentages at 22% and (15 – 17%), respectively, for long and medium grain rice.

But The Science of Good Cooking mentions another reason why long grain rice is preferable to medium- and short-grain rice for this application: “as a result of the differences in the amylose and protein content, the starch granules in long-grain rice swell and gelatinize at a much higher temperature (158 degrees) than the granules in medium grain rice (144 degrees).”  How to Read a French Fry explains further that because “short grain rices finish cooking at a lower temperature, they are very sensitive to overcooking. If you overcook them, the swelling starches will burst through the outer layer, emptying into the cooking liquid and thickening it.”  Because your pressure cooker can reach up to around 250° F, it is easier to overcook medium and short grain rice, and if you do so, it may burst, clouding, or even thickening, your soup. Long grain rice is better able to tolerate the high temperatures involved in pressure cooking. Therefore, in most (but not all) pressure cooker applications, long grain rice is a better choice.

Ingredient Substitutions. Chicken: This recipe calls for leftover (cooked) chicken or turkey, but you can also use either frozen or uncooked chicken. If using fresh, bone and skin the meat, and cut it up into ½” cubes. If using raw or frozen meat, add one minute to the cooking time under pressure. Carrots: You can use either fresh or frozen diced carrots for this recipe. Rice: If you only have medium- or short grain rice, you can use it instead (longer grains are preferable), but medium and short grain rice will release more starch into the broth, making it cloudier and a little thicker. If you want to use brown rice instead, cook the rice by itself in the broth first (pressure cook at High Pressure for 8 minutes), manually release pressure, add the chicken and carrots, and cook an additional 2 minutes at High Pressure. Do not use instant rice: not only is there no need to ever use instant rice in a pressure cooker, but the process used to make rice “instant” degrades the flavor and weakens the grains, making them more likely to release a lot of starch into the broth or to break apart completely.

GMO Free and Gluten Free Options for This Recipe. If you want GMO free soup, buy organic ingredients. Organic chicken and carrots are readily available (you can get both at Costco), local grocery stores sell organic celery and chicken broth, and if you can’t find it in your grocery store, you can purchase Organic Long Grain White Rice or Organic Long Grain Brown Rice online. If you’re on a tight budget, its better to omit the celery than to buy non-organic, and I’ve read that Thailand is restricting genetically engineered crops and specifically, as of the time I write this, Thailand has banned the cultivation of GM rice. So if you can determine the country of origin, look for rice grown in Thailand. For those who want gluten free soup, rice, fresh carrots and chicken are fine, if you’re using processed chicken or carrots, you’ll need to check the ingredient list for unsafe ingredients, and of course, make sure you purchase Gluten Free Broth.

1 cup long grain rice
2 – 3 cups diced leftover chicken or turkey (1/4″ dice)
2 cups diced carrot (1/4″ dice)
½ – 1 cup diced celery (1/4″ dice) (optional)
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons vermouth or white wine
1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon Chicken Base
Electric Pressure Cooker
12″ Silicone Tipped Tongs
Colander or strainer to rinse the rice
6″ chef’s knife
Cutting board
Hand held wire strainer or colander
Ziploc bag (optional)
Meat Mallet or heavy skillet to whack the garlic (optional)
    Rinse off the carrots, peel them, and cut into ¼

  1. Wash the carrots and then peel them. Cut each carrot into several segments, approximately at the points where the carrot tapers. Then cut each segment into ¼” planks, each plank into ¼” thick carrot sticks, and the sticks into approximately ¼” cubes. Measure 2 cups of diced carrot.
  2. Clean the celery stalks, cut into strips, and then dice

  3. Optional: Clean the celery stalks. Cut the stalks into ¼” sticks, and cut the sticks into ¼” cubes. Measure ½ – 1 cup of diced celery.
  4. Break apart the garlic head, peel the cloves, and roughly chop them

  5. Place the garlic head inside a Ziploc bag and seal it. Whack lightly with the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet to break apart the head. Remove the root and any loose garlic skin and re-seal the bag. Whack the individual garlic cloves lightly again to separate the garlic skin from the cloves. Remove everything from the bag, discard the loose garlic clove peels. Cut off the root end, remove any brown spots and green sprouts, and roughly chop the garlic.
  6. GARLIC TIP: Buying peeled or minced garlic is often ridiculously expensive, and refrigerated or jarred products are often lacking in flavor and less than fresh. I’ve tried lots of different ways of peeling garlic, including Martha Stewart’s method, which involves breaking apart the garlic cloves and then shaking them between two bowls. It works if you use heavy enough bowls, but then you have to wash the bowls. Not my idea of a timesaver. Instead, I use a Ziploc bag and a Meat Mallet as detailed above. The Ziploc bag keeps the garlic from flying around the kitchen, and the meat mallet easily breaks apart the head and with a very light whack, separates the clove from its skin. (A harder whack once the garlic skins are removed can be used to crush the garlic, if desired.) Once finished, I’ll rinse out the Ziploc bag and use it to store leftovers.

    Remove the bones and skin from your leftover chicken, dice into ¼

  7. Remove any bones and skin from your leftover chicken / turkey and discard. Dice the chicken into approximately ¼” pieces. If you are using uncooked chicken, cut into ½” pieces (they will shrink when they cook). Measure 2 – 3 cups of the diced chicken.
  8. Rinse the rice in cold water until the water doesn't cloud up

  9. If you are using white rice, rinse the rice in cold water, stirring it thoroughly with a spoon or clean fingers, until the water doesn’t cloud up. This removes excess starch from the surface that will otherwise cloud up and thicken your soup broth. (You can give the rinse water to your garden plants.) If you are using brown rice, you can skip this step – whole grain rice does not have starch on the surface of the grains.
  10. Add the wine, chopped garlic and chicken base to the pressure cooker

  11. Add 1 tablespoon of chicken base, the chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons of vermouth or white wine to the pressure cooker pot.
  12. Add the chicken, rice, vegetables and broth to the pressure cooker

  13. If you are using white rice, add your diced chicken, carrots, celery, rice and 6 cups of chicken broth to the pressure cooker. Lock the lid on the machine, and pressure cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 2 minutes using QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE. If you are using uncooked chicken, add an additional minute to the time cooking under pressure. If you are using brown rice, per the Ingredient Substitutions above, add only the broth and the rice to the pot. Pressure cook for 8 minutes at high pressure, release the pressure manually, add the vegetables and the chicken, and pressure cook an additional 2 minutes at high pressure.
  14. When the timer goes off, turn off the 'Keep Warm' function and release pressure manually

  15. When the timer beeps that the machine is through pressure cooking, turn off the “Keep Warm” function and manually release pressure. Unlock the lid, holding it at an angle over the bowl to allow any hot broth to fall back into the pot. Give the soup a quick stir, and then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

Closeup of Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup
Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Make this easy, light soup in about 20 minutes using your pressure cooker and common pantry and refrigerator ingredients
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 – 3 cups diced leftover chicken or turkey (1/4" dice)
  • 2 cups diced carrot (1/4" dice)
  • ½ - 1 cup diced celery (1/4" dice) (optional)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons vermouth or white wine
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Base
  1. Wash and peel the carrots. Cut into ¼" pieces and measure 2 cups of diced carrot.
  2. Optional: If you want to add celery, clean the stalks and cut into approximately ¼" pieces. Measure ½ to 1 cup of diced celery.
  3. Break apart the garlic head, discarding the garlic peel. Peel the cloves, Cut off a slight bit of the root end of each garlic clove, remove any brown spots and green shoots, and then roughly chop the garlic. If you'd like to see my method for breaking apart the garlic head and removing the garlic skins, see Step 3 above.
  4. Bone and skin your chicken or turkey. If you are using leftover (cooked) chicken, cut into ¼" size pieces. If you are using uncooked chicken or turkey, cut the raw meat into ½" size pieces. Measure 2 – 3 cups of the poultry.
  5. If using white rice, wash the rice in cold water until the water no longer clouds up. (You can save the rinse water and give it to your garden.) If you are using brown rice, there is no need to rinse the rice.
  6. Add your chicken base, chopped garlic and either white wine or vermouth to the pressure cooker pot.
  7. If you are using white rice, add the rest of your ingredients (chicken, rice, carrots, celery and broth) and pressure cook at HIGH PRESSURE (10 PSI) for 2 minutes using QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE. If you're using raw poultry, add an additional minute to the cooking time under pressure. If you are using brown rice, add only the brown rice and the broth to the pot, pressure cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes, using manual release, then add the meat and the vegetables and pressure cook an additional 2 minutes on High (quick pressure release).
  8. When the timer goes off, turn off the "Keep Warm" feature and manually release the pressure. When pressure has been released, unlock the lid, holding it at an angle over the pot to let any hot broth fall back into the pot. Stir the soup once or twice, and you're ready to serve!
Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Soup. If you'd like to add more vegetables to your soup, make it even more of a one pot meal, you can add kid favorites like peas, green beans and corn. To make it even easier, you can use frozen vegetables like a vegetable medley. (You want a total of about 4 cups of vegetables.) To keep your peas and green beans bright and colorful, follow Steps 6 and 7 from my Chicken and Alphabet Soup Recipe.
Chicken, Herb and Rice Soup. This recipe already includes garlic and wine/vermouth to improve the flavor, but if the adults want a little something more, sprinkle a little dried tarragon in their soup bowls. Tarragon pairs beautifully with poultry, carrots, celery and rice, it adds a lovely perfume to the soup, and it has a delicate, delicious herb flavor that goes very well with this dish.

12 Responses to Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Nancy Morgan says:

    Only cook for two minutes? No sautéing of the garlic?

    • Yes, that’s correct. There’s no need to saute the garlic to take the edge off it because its roughly chopped and pressure cooking will take care of that for you. And it only takes 2 minutes under pressure (normally rice takes 3 minutes under pressure) because I adjusted the recipe to account for the volume of the food in the pot. The greater the volume of food in the pressure cooker, the longer it takes to come up to pressure, and that means the food is boiling for longer before the timer starts, so it all evens out.

  • Rebekah says:

    Can you use jasmine rice?

    • Rebekah, I’ve never personally used jasmine rice for this, but I think you should be able to. But its easier to overcook short and medium grain rices, and from what I remember, jasmine rice physically appears a little more fragile, so you might want to change the pressure setting to low (6 PSI) the first time you make the soup, because the lower pressure setting and consequent lower temperature will be a little more gentle in case your rice is more delicate. If its undercooked, you can just simmer it for a few additional minutes to complete the cooking process, and then try it at high pressure the next time to see if it can take the higher temperatures without being overcooked.

  • Stephanie says:

    The whole cooking process is only 2 minutes?

    • Hi Stephanie. Two minutes on HIGH pressure, three if you’re using raw chicken. That’s all it takes. (Of course, that doesn’t include the time it takes for the machine to come up to pressure, that could be 10 – 15 minutes, depending on your machine.) White rice cooks really quickly under pressure, and small pieces of chicken, carrots and celery cook really quickly as well.

  • Kathleen says:

    I made this and it came out more like a porridge than soup. I wonder if it’s better to cook the rice separately and add it in once the stock is done.

    • Kathleen: I think I need to find out what you mean by porridge in order to advise you. I usually write my soup recipes so they are chock full of starches, vegetables and protein, so it may be that I simply put too much volume of ingredients for your taste, in which case the remedy would be to decrease the amount of rice next time you make it. Now if by porridge you mean the rice was overcooked and turned into mush, my guess would be that you used short or medium grain rice instead of long grain. Or possibly that your electric pressure cooker goes up to a higher pressure for the HIGH setting. Is it 10 PSI for your machine?

      Now, if its neither of those two things, and its simply that the rice absorbed too much of the broth and became more flavored rice than soup, you sort of are on the right track, but just cooking the rice separately won’t do it. There’s another step needed. I can actually tell you how to fix the problem, but you’ll need to make the rice at least 24 hours in advance for this trick to work. I was actually debating whether to re-write the recipe so it could be used as a freezer meal soup, but I wasn’t sure whether the revised instructions would put people off or confuse them. Anyway, here’s what you do: pressure cook the cup of rice in 1 and 1/2 cups of the chicken broth for 3 minutes the day before you make the rest of the soup. (If you use Swanson broth, that’s 1 and 3/4 cups, that’s close enough, you can use the whole can.) Then you must refrigerate the rice for at least 24 hours before adding it to your soup. Don’t freeze, freezing wouldn’t work, the rice must be refrigerated.

      During that time, the rice undergoes a physical change called retrogradation. I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically the starches in the rice partially revert to the original structure they had before cooking, and in the process, they become resistant to further gelatinization, which means they basically won’t absorb much more liquid. If you make the rice ahead of time, and refrigerate it long enough for the retrogradation to take place, then make the soup the next day as instructed (reducing your chicken broth to 4 1/2 cups to account for the 1 1/2 cups already absorbed by the rice) the cooked rice shouldn’t absorb much, if any, additional liquid. I’ve put a gallon mason jar full of soup made with retrograded rice (or pasta) in the fridge for days and it doesn’t absorb all the broth. It stays soup!

      The added bonus is, I saw a newspaper article about a study that was ongoing, and they believe that retrograded starch isn’t digested as quickly, so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels as much as freshly cooked rice does. Even better, their studies suggested that when the retrograded starch is re-heated (in their case, they had study participants eat re-heated spaghetti) as it would be when you pressure cooked the soup, blood sugar levels spike even less than they would if the starches were eaten cold.

  • Chelsea Rutledge says:

    If using raw chicken, how long should it be pressure cooked for?

    • The answer is it depends on the size of the pieces of chicken, but if you are cutting the chicken up into bite size pieces, or a little larger since they will shrink as they cook (and they’ll add liquid to the soup, so it’ll be a little bit thinner) I’d add 1 additional minute of cooking time, just to be safe. That should be long enough to thoroughly cook the chicken without overcooking the rice. Though I would recommend you use a full three cups of raw chicken since once it cooks the volume will be closer to 2 cups.

  • Betsey Lane says:

    This is going to sound like a dumb question, but, do you cook the rice before putting it into the pressure cooker?

    • That’s not a dumb question. You put in regular dried, uncooked rice. I know 2 minutes under pressure sounds like a really brief cooking time, but remember that’s just the cooking time under pressure, it will also be cooking as the water comes up to the boil and the machine gets ready to pressurize, and in most electric pressure cookers, that’s going to take around 10 minutes, maybe a little longer.

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