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When To Add Rice To Soup: Cooked vs. Uncooked Rice

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Rice makes an excellent ingredient for soup. It gives the soup extra body and flavor as well as making it hardier. As my mother would say, it makes the soup “stick to your ribs.” And what she meant by “stick to your ribs” is that adding rice to chicken soup makes the soup more filling and satisfies your appetite for a longer period of time.

Uncooked rice should be added between 15 and 45 minutes before the soup is done, depending on the type of rice being used. Add white rice 20 minutes and brown rice about 45 minutes before the end of the cooking process. Cooked or instant rice should be added at the very end of the cooking process.

When to add rice to soup:

TypeWhen to Add to Soup
White Rice20 minutes before the end of the cooking process
Jasmine Rice15 minutes before the end of the cooking process
Basmati Rice15 minutes before the end of the cooking process
Brown Rice45 minutes before the end of the cooking process
Cooked RiceAdd near the end of the cooking process

While this gives you a good general idea, the best time to add rice to soup depends on several things: (1) whether the rice is cooked or uncooked, (2) what kind of rice you are adding, and (3) how you are cooking the soup. 

The next three sections discuss three different methods of cooking soup, and the different kinds of rice that can be used in cooking chicken and rice soup by each method, and how to use both cooked and uncooked rice in each one.

When Cooking Soup on the Stovetop:

Hand Adding Rice to a Pot
  • Cooked rice should be added to the hot soup at the very end of the cooking process. Just allow enough time for the rice to heat through.
  • Instant rice should also be added at the very end of the cooking process. You only need to allow 5 minutes for the instant rice to be fully cooked.
  • Uncooked white rice, which cooks in 20 minutes, should be added 20 minutes before the soup is done.
  • Uncooked basmati and jasmine rice usually cook in 15 minutes and should be added 15 minutes before the soup is done.
  • Uncooked brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook and should be added 45 minutes before the soup has finished cooking.

Be sure to stir well as you are adding the rice, no matter whether it is cooked or uncooked nor which kind of rice you are using.

When Cooking Soup in an Instant Pot:

  • Cooked rice should be added as soon as the instant pot is opened after cooking the chicken and vegetables, and should be allowed to sit in the hot broth at least 5 minutes, or long enough for the rice to heat through.
  • Instant rice should be added as soon as the instant pot is opened and should be allowed to sit in the hot broth for at least 5 minutes before serving to allow the instant rice to cook.
  • To use uncooked white rice, follow these steps:

-Set the instant pot on saute and cook the chicken, vegetables, and seasonings until they begin to brown.

-Add the rice and the liquid to the instant pot when the other ingredients have been sauteed and stir well after each addition. 

-Close the lid, begin the cooking process on high pressure, and set the timer to cook the soup for 4 minutes. 

-Allow the instant pot to cool down for at least 10 minutes before pressing the quick-release button and opening the lid.

  • Basmati or jasmine rice should be cooked separately and added to the soup after it has finished cooking to avoid rice that is overcooked and mushy.
  • To use uncooked brown rice, follow these steps:

-Set the instant pot on saute and cook the chicken, vegetables, and seasonings until they begin to brown.

-Add the rice and the liquid to the instant pot when the other ingredients have been sauteed and stir well after each addition. 

-Close the lid, begin the cooking process on high pressure, and set the timer to cook the soup for 13 minutes. 

-Allow the instant pot to cool down for at least 10 minutes before pressing the quick-release button and opening the lid.

Anne-James-Instant-Pot
My trusty instant pot

When Cooking Soup in a Slow Cooker: 

  • Cooked rice should be added to the soup in the slow cooker about 10 minutes before the soup is served to allow time for the rice to heat all the way through.
  • Instant rice should be added 5 to 10 minutes before the hot soup is served to allow it to cook completely.
  • Uncooked white rice should be added to the slow cooker one hour before the soup will be done. If cooking on high for 4 hours, add the rinsed white rice after 3 hours of cooking time and allow to cook for 1 more hour. If cooking on low for 6 hours, add the rice after 5 hours.
  • Uncooked basmati or jasmine rice should be soaked for 30 minutes, drained, and added to the soup in the slow cooker on the low setting 1 and ½ hours before the end of the cooking time.
  • Uncooked brown rice should be rinsed well and cooked along with the chicken and vegetables during the entire time that it takes for the chicken to cook. On its own, it takes 2 to 4 hours to cook brown rice in a slow cooker on the high setting, depending on the type of slow cooker that you use.

Should Rice Be Rinsed Before Adding It to Soup?

The same rules for rinsing rice apply whether the rice is being cooked on its own or whether it is being added to soup.

Uncooked white rice, basmati rice, and brown rice all should be rinsed well before adding them to soup to rinse out the extra starch that could make the rice sticky and gummy.

Jasmine rice and instant rice should not be rinsed before cooking.

The best way to rinse rice is:

  1. In a bowl, combine the rice with enough water to cover.
  2. Use your hand or a spoon to swirl the rice in the water.
  3. Strain the rice through a colander or strainer when the water turns cloudy.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until the water is clear.
  5. Let the rice sit for 30 minutes in the bowl of water.
  6. Repeat the rinse process, steps 1 through 4.
  7. After rinsing, cook the rice by following the package directions..

Can You Add Uncooked Rice to Canned Soup?

Yes, you can add uncooked rice to canned soup. However, one important thing to consider when adding uncooked rice to canned soup is that rice soaks up a lot of liquid when you cook it. Most types of rice require 2 to 2&½ cups of water or other liquid for each cup of rice. So, if adding uncooked rice to canned soup, you will probably need to add extra liquid to avoid having soup that is too dry and has the consistency of a casserole rather than that of soup.

If you decide to cook the rice separately and add the cooked rice to canned soup, it is better prepared right before it is served rather than preparing it ahead of time and reheating before you serve it. If you add the rice too early, it will continue to cook and become overcooked and mushy.

Should I Precook the Chicken for Chicken and Rice Soup?

Wrapped-Whole-Chicken

There are several different ways to cook the chicken for chicken and rice or chicken noodle soup. Here are a few of those ways:

Method #1: If you are cooking bone-in chicken with the skin intact to make soup, the best way to cook the chicken is to follow these steps:

  • Cover the chicken with water in a saucepan or Dutch oven.
  • Add seasonings and vegetables for flavor.
  • Bring it to a boil over high heat on the stovetop, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken is done.
  • Remove the chicken from the broth, cool, and debone the chicken.
  • Discard the skin and bones, and cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. 
  • Let the broth cool, refrigerate for several hours or overnight, and then skim the fat off the top of the broth.
  • The chicken and the broth are now ready to cook with the vegetables and rice or noodles to make the soup.

Method #2: If you are cooking boneless chicken pieces for the soup, you can cook the chicken pieces whole in broth or water along with the vegetables, add the rice or noodles when appropriate, and cut the chicken into bite-size pieces when done and add the chicken back to the soup.

Method #3: If using boneless chicken pieces for the soup, you can cut the raw chicken into bite-size pieces, cover them with water or broth in the pot you are using, add vegetables, seasonings, and rice or noodles when appropriate, and cook all the ingredients together.

Method #4: Use packaged or canned broth or previously-made homemade broth and cook them together with seasonings and rice or noodles. When the soup is done, add shredded rotisserie chicken, heat, and your soup is ready to serve.

How Long Does Chicken and Rice Soup Last in the Refrigerator?

Homemade chicken and rice soup will last at least 4, possibly 5, days in the refrigerator. For the best flavor and texture, however, use the soup by day 3.

To maximize the length of time the soup will last in the refrigerator, store in a covered airtight container that will prevent cross-contamination with other foods in the refrigerator.

Can You Freeze Chicken and Rice Soup?

Even though soups are a great thing to keep on hand in the freezer, soups made with such ingredients as pasta, rice, and potatoes do not freeze well and can end up mushy after being frozen, thawed, and heated. 

The best thing to do is to make extra chicken and broth when making soup so that you can freeze part of the chicken and broth, then all you have to do is thaw them, add the rice or other ingredients, and in just a few minutes you have fresh homemade soup without all the fuss.

Be sure to label anything you freeze with the contents and the date frozen. I occasionally get busy and don’t label what I put up thinking I’ll know what it is. But, the truth is that I usually don’t remember, and it is often hard to tell what something is when it is frozen.

How Can You Freeze Soup to Avoid Freezer Burn?

To avoid freezer burn no matter what kind of food you are freezing, be sure to use the right containers. Here are two of the best options for freezing soup:

The best way to freeze soup is by storing it in reusable freezer-safe containers like these that are not only stackable and airtight but are also dishwasher safe.

Another good way to freeze soup that will maximize storage space in your freezer, try these freezer bags from Ziploc that are easy to open and close and have an expandable bottom for easy filling. But, the best feature is that they can be flattened and stacked easily to save space in your freezer.

Final Thoughts

So, no matter how much time you have for making soup, what kind of equipment you have in your kitchen, and the ingredients you have on hand, I’m sure you can find an option in this article that will provide the information you need to make that perfect batch of chicken and rice soup the next time you are in the mood for a hearty and delicious pot of soup!

Thanks for stopping by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss Do You Cover Rice When Cooking? (I Tested Both Methods).

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