This Hearty Pumpkin Chicken Soup is warming, comforting, and cozy! It’s loaded with feel-good and wholesome ingredients like corn, asparagus, butter beans, shredded chicken breasts, and rice. It’s also wonderfully spicy, naturally gluten-free, creamy (without using any heavy cream), and ultimately the BEST fall soup!
Prepare all the ingredients: Chop the onion, garlic, asparagus, and red chilies. Clean and pat-dry the chicken breasts with paper towels. Drain the can of butter beans, rinse, and set aside. Measure out the cream, corn kernels, rice, and water, and set aside. Combine all the spices in a small bowl – the freshly cracked black pepper, kosher salt, ground cayenne, crushed red chili pepper flakes, ground cinnamon. Cover and set aside.
For the Hearty Pumpkin Chicken Soup:
Heat unsalted butter in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and is frothing, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened, then add the red chilies, ginger, and asparagus. Sauté until fragrant – about 1-2 minutes.
Add the chicken breasts, pumpkin puree, low sodium chicken broth, cooking cream, water, corn, butter beans, the spices and seasonings in the bowl, and brown sugar. Stir to combine, then lower the heat to medium and cover. Simmer for 18-25 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through. (Note: the time for cooking the chicken will vary depending on how thick your chicken breast pieces are).
Once the chicken breasts are fully cooked and no longer pink on the inside, use tongs to carefully transfer them to a chopping board and add the rice to the soup. Shred the chicken with two forks, while stirring the soup periodically to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Transfer the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine. Simmer uncovered for the 3-5 minutes or until the rice has cooked through, then turn off the heat.
To Serve: Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with a few dollops of Greek or plain yogurt (or sour cream), chopped coriander, shredded cheese, and cooked crispy bacon pieces. Feel free to add any of your other favorite toppings!
If using store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time: Shred the meat with two forks. Add it to the pot when you add everything else in step 2 (except the rice). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. The soup will be done and ready to serve once the rice is fully cooked.
If using leftover chicken to save time: You can also use leftover shredded chicken if you have some in your fridge/freezer. Thaw it in the fridge if frozen first. Then add it to the pot when you add everything else in step 2 (except the rice). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. The soup will be done and ready to serve once the rice is fully cooked.
To make this vegetarian: Omit the chicken and use veggie broth. Just simmer all of the other ingredients (step 2) for 10-12 minutes, and then add the rice. The soup will be done once the rice is fully cooked.
To make this gluten-free: Every ingredient in the soup is naturally gluten-free, and no adjustment is required.
To make this dairy-free: Omit the cooking cream. The soup tastes delicious and is fabulous with or without the cream!
To freeze: Cool the soup in the fridge and then transfer it to freezer safe containers. You can store the soup in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pot on the stovetop, or in a dish/bowl in the microwave.