Arroz Caldo | Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup
Whether you’re sick, craving soup, or need food that feels like a hug, soups are a reliable go-to. This quick version of Arroz Caldo (Filipino chicken and rice soup) can be made in about 30 minutes, and is fantastic for your body and soul.
When you need a little TLC, there’s nothing better than chicken and rice soup, and in the Philippines, Arroz Caldo is the answer to a comforting bowl. This is my quick and easy, fast and speedy way of making Arroz Caldo. Ready in just about half an hour, it’s perfect for weeknight dinners.
Note: This post first appeared October 31, 2012, and has been updated with improved kitchen notes, recipe annotation, photography, and video. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen!
I spoke with him on the phone. The storm was beginning to pick up, but my dad assured me that he had enough water. Enough food. Batteries. A generator. Even a power inverter. And I slowly felt reassured. If anyone could McGuyver his way through a hurricane, then it’s my dad. He’s always been Mr. Handy. And he’s a mechanical engineer.
But his one concern was the trees. As he spoke of the large trees in front of my childhood home, I became nostalgic. I remembered each of those trees fondly. The majestic walnut that dropped its nuts, leaving round, treacherous obstacles to those not paying attention when they walked past our house. The dogwood whose leaves had surely turned brilliant magenta by now. The oak that was home to the squirrels who scampered on our lawn. The Japanese maple, whose only job, it seemed, was to look pretty. I once played amongst those trees, and now I worried that they would fall.
It was hard to be away, to worry from afar. I took solace in knowing that my brother and his fiancee were a relatively short drive away and that he had checked in on him before Hurricane Sandy.
Relief came this morning when I heard from family and friends. Everyone was fine. But the images on the news are hard to swallow.
So, today, I cooked from the archives. Something quick, but sentimental. Arroz Caldo is the chicken soup that brings warmth and comfort – I cooked it for my dad when he was sick, and I cook it now for my family whenever we need a little extra hug. I hope that wherever you are, you can have a steaming bowlful and feel my warm thoughts with you.
If you enjoyed this Arroz Caldo recipe, be sure to check out these other comforting soup recipes:
Chicken and Asparagus Sotanghon (Glass Noodle) Soup
Sausage Molo Soup (Filipino Wonton Soup)
Filipino Meatball Noodle Soup: Misua Bola-Bola
Sweet Potato and Kale Coconut Curry Soup
Habanero Spiced Pumpkin Soup
Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Soup
Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1 1/2-inch piece ginger peeled and sliced in thick chunks
- 2 lbs chicken tenderloin or a combination of boneless, skinless thighs and breast, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce patis, to taste. If you don’t have this handy, just use salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 cups chicken stock low sodium
- 1 cup sushi rice or jasmine rice
- 4 scallions finely sliced
- In a large stock pot, saute the onion, garlic and ginger over medium-low heat until onion starts to become transparent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add chicken, fish sauce and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is nearly all cooked.
- Stir in the chicken stock and rice. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
- Cover and continue to cook until chicken is very tender and the rice is fluffed and cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Take out the medallions of ginger (no one really likes biting into chunks of ginger!).
- Garnish with scallions and freshly ground black pepper before serving.
- What kind of rice works best for arroz caldo? I recommend using sushi rice or jasmine rice for arroz caldo. Sushi rice gives you a creamy consistency and works especially well, however, jasmine rice is just as delicious!
- What kind of chicken should I use? Chicken tenderloins (chicken tenders) are a great choice for this quick and easy version. However, I have also traditionally made this with a combination of chicken thighs and chicken breast. You can also use all chicken thighs.
Looks amazing but why use tenderloins?
When I’m in a hurry, I prefer tenderloins because it has the leanness of chicken breast but the tenderness of dark meat. Feel free to use chicken thighs or a combination of chicken thighs and breasts. This recipe is very flexible.
How big is one “piece” of ginger considered?
Does this recipe hold up well to freezing?
Hi Christine, I use a chunk of ginger that is about 1.5 inches wide and slice it into three (or more) coins/medallions. Keeping the pieces of ginger makes it easier to remove from the soup when serving. I hope that helps!
So helpful! Thank you! (It was almost like mixing up cloves and bulbs of garlic based on what I was thinking lol) looking forward to trying it soon!
I’m so glad that helps, Christine!! :)
Oh! And yes, this soup is great when frozen! Enjoy!
I love this recipe! I’ve made it many times – so fast and so delicious!
This makes me so happy, Leilani! I’m so glad to hear that!
I make arroz caldo every once in awhile. I love this comfort food. We haven’t been eating as much rice in awhile because we are trying to eat healthier, so I decided to cut the rice in half and replace the other half with quinoa. Will comment again when it’s done to see if it still tastes good.
Hope you enjoyed it with the quinoa, Monique! I haven’t tried that before!
This sounds delicious!
Thank you, Lauren! I made another batch this week when my little guy got sick! It’s always a soother.
This will be perfect for dinner!
Sorry my last comment was cut off. And glad your family is ok.
Perfect for a cold evening! Such great comfort food.
I’ve made your recipe twice and my family loves it. I’m half Filipino, but never grew up with that part of my culture so I never learned how to cook the food. Your recipe is amazing and I’m going to make it a third time tonight. Thank you for posting this! :-)
Love the recipes!
Hello my friend, hope you are enjoying a wonderful autumn day.
I would love to make this recipe for a dear friend who cares for my Mom.
The fish sauce that you refer to, patis, is this similar to the fish sauce that would be purchased in an asian grocery store?
Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes with all of us.
Hi Pat! I made this yesterday, as a matter of fact, and will be enjoying a bowl again tonight (made a large batch). This is the perfect time of year for it. Patis is indeed fish sauce, it is simply the Filipino word for fish sauce. Any kind of Asian fish sauce will work :) I hope your friend enjoys it!
So glad your family is fine — its been nerve wrecking ever since Sandy. I’m sure everyone would find comfort in this delicious bowl of homemade soup!
Hi Liren, I saw this evocative photo somewhere on the internet last week and couldn’t get it out of my mind. It reminded me of something very similar I saw in 2010 when I dived head first into the foodblogosphere and it was one of the earliest blog posts I had read and commented on. Today, on a hunch, I tracked it and here I am :) I’ve come full circle – I loved your work then, and I love it now, even when I don’t know it’s you. Congee is soul food and medicine for me too. I’m glad to know your dad and family are fine. I hope they remain safe and well in this difficult time.
I loved this post. It reminded me of how I have felt when learning a loved one had made it through a rough patch. And there’s just nothing like soup for comfort! Glad your family is safe.
It’s been a rough week. I think this soup would be perfect comfort food for us. Thank you for sharing :)
Gosh, I’m glad to hear your family is safe and sound. It’s so crazy the photos! This soup looks like the perfect comfort food.
Liren, so glad to hear everything is fine with your family. I know a bit about what that worry feels like. I lost contact with Jael for hours during the storm. She, along with so many others, is still without power and will be for days. She will be fine though. The wonderful thing about family recipes is that it can bring us closer to the ones we love, even when they are far away.
I’m glad that your family is fine after the hurricane. I’m sure you didn’t sleep so well thinking about what was happening to your Dad. A bowl of arroz caldo is something I would like to have right now. It had been raining all day, dark, gray and very cold here.
Hi darling… I am sure it was hard to be away, to have to worry from afar. I’m glad he’s doing alright and that your family and friends are safe.
Such a wonderful, comforting soup. I hope it helped calm your nerves a bit.