Charlotte’s Favorite Panera Inspired Chicken & Rice Soup

For years Charlotte has loved the chicken and rice soup at Panera Bread. I’ve recently found a way to replicate it and make something even better!

I feel a little bit like my Grandpa when I tell her “this is even better than Panera!” I remember when I was her age my Mom would pick-up an Arby’s roast beef and cheddar sandwich for lunch and take it to our bar to have lunch. We had such good food at the bar, I don’t know why we would do this! My Grandpa would say “Kelly! I can make you something so much better!” He would spend so much time crafting a delicious (and so much better than Arby’s!) sandwich. My Grandpa was such a great cook. And even better Grandpa!

I hope you enjoy this soup. It’s great the day it is made but even better the following.


Chicken & Rice Soup

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Inspired by the chicken and rice soup served at Panera Bread.



1 large onion, diced

6 carrots, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 parsnips, diced (optional)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

salt & pepper to taste

1 pound chicken thighs

1 quart chicken stock or broth

one box of Uncle Ben’s original long grain rice

1/2 cup of rice (your choice of type)

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream


In a 5 1/2 quart dutch oven (or equivalent) combine the onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, thyme, chicken and stock. Fill the rest of the pot with water leaving about an inch of space at the top. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low for several hours, the longer the better. Aim for at least 4 hours.

Remove chicken from the pot and shred into small pieces discarding any fat and/or bones. Add the chicken back to the pot. Add rice, Uncle Ben’s rice and the seasoning packet to the pot. Simmer for 25 minutes to cook the rice.

Finally add milk and cream. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve hot.

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