Hearty and delicious, this pumpkin chicken soup is made with canned pumpkin (perfect for that left-over canned pumpkin!), chicken, rice and red bell pepper.
Who would have guessed that my first pumpkin recipe of the Fall season would be a soup?! Yes, the first can of pumpkin I opened this year was for this hearty and delicious Pumpkin Chicken Soup.
If you were a bit taken aback when you read “pumpkin” together with “chicken soup”, I get it. When it comes to canned pumpkin, we immediately think of muffins or pie. Sweet things. I can assure you that there is nothing sweet about this soup. And no, it doesn’t taste anything like a muffin :)
Together with the canned pumpkin that flavours this soup, there are hearty chunks of chicken, lots of diced onion and red bell pepper and a bit of rice. The rice in this soup both adds to the heartiness and contributes to the thickening of this hearty soup.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chicken Breasts: I like boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this soup, though boneless thighs would work, as well. For a vegetarian soup, skip the chicken and add some black beans or chickpeas instead.
Pumpkin: This soup uses canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling). The recipe specification of 14oz is 1/2 of that standard 28oz can. You don’t have to be precise. Just eyeballing 1/2 of the can is fine. (Scroll down for the perfect use for the left-over 1/2 can!)
I understand that canned pumpkin is unavailable in some parts of the world. You could substitute 1 cup of any cooked, mashed squash, such as butternut or you could cook up and mash your own pumpkin.
Chicken Broth: For a vegetarian soup, simply swap out vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Corn: Either fresh, cut from the cob corn kernels or frozen corn will work nicely here.
Long Grain Rice: Long grain rice is recommended for this soup, as it holds its shape and doesn’t get mushy when simmered in a soup. You can use either white or brown long grain rice.
Basil: Some fresh, chopped basil is very nice with the flavours of this soup, but dried basil is fine, if fresh isn’t available. If you don’t have either, it’s not a deal breaker. Just omit.
Salt: As with all soups, adding enough salt is the key to great flavour. Taste your soup at the end of simmering and add salt as needed, to bring all the flavours together.
As noted above, be sure to salt your soup well, to really bring out all the great flavours.
Leftover soup stored in the fridge will thicken as it sits, as the rice will continue to absorb the liquid from the soup. You can enjoy it this way (it’s more stew-like at that point) or you can thin it with a bit more chicken stock when you re-heat it.
This pumpkin soup is delicious as is, but if you’d like to make a vegetarian version or you want to change it up once in a while, here are some ideas for you …
Make it vegetarian! Skip the chicken and replace it with black beans or chickpeas. Replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
Curry it Up! Add a bit of mild curry powder or stir in a bit of Thai red curry paste, to bring a curried twist to this chowder.
Tex Mex It! Add some black beans (about 1/2 cup) and a bit of chili powder and/or cumin to the soup.
If you started with a 28oz can of pumpkin, you will end up with 1/2 of the can left-over. This happens to be the exact amount that you need to make my Simply Perfect Pumpkin Muffins! Just sayin’ :)
Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Chicken Soup
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 14 oz canned pure pumpkin, not pie filling (1/2 of a large can)
- 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup long grain rice, white or brown
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Additional salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley and/or additional fresh chopped basil, for garnish
- Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring for a few minutes. Add the diced onion and red pepper and continue cooking until the onions have softened and the chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken broth, pumpkin, corn, rice and basil. Stir well to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer soup for 20-30 minutes, to cook the rice, thicken the soup and develop the flavours. Taste the soup. Ensure that the rice is cooked. Add additional salt, as needed (*if the soup tastes flat, it needs more salt!) and stir in some additional black pepper and/or fresh basil, if desired.
- Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
More Fall Soup Recipes to Love!
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!