Arroz Caldo: Comforting Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup

Authentic Filipino Arroz Caldo: Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

Discover the ultimate comfort food with this hearty, flavorful Arroz Caldo – a Filipino chicken and rice soup that will warm your soul and tantalize your taste buds.

Arroz Caldo, a Filipino twist on congee, is the perfect remedy for cold winter nights, rainy days, or when you’re feeling under the weather. This soul-warming dish combines tender chicken, fragrant jasmine rice, and aromatic spices to create a bowl of pure comfort that’s sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire.

What makes this Arroz Caldo truly special is its balance of flavors and textures. The ginger and garlic infuse the broth with a subtle heat, while the fish sauce adds a savory depth. Topped with crispy fried garlic, fresh scallions, and a squeeze of zesty lime, each spoonful is a delightful explosion of taste and texture.

Best of all, this Filipino favorite comes together in under an hour, making it an ideal weeknight dinner or a quick pick-me-up when you’re feeling less than your best. Let’s dive into the world of Arroz Caldo and discover why this humble soup has captured hearts across the globe.

Mastering the Crispy Garlic Topping

The crispy fried garlic is the crown jewel of Arroz Caldo, elevating the dish from delicious to irresistible. While it might be tempting to skip this step, trust us – it’s worth the extra few minutes of effort. The golden, crunchy bits of garlic add a delightful texture and intensify the savory flavors of the soup.

Our simplified method involves slowly cooking minced garlic in cold oil until it reaches a perfect light golden-brown. This process takes just 5-10 minutes and results in perfectly crispy garlic without the need for milk-soaking or excessive oil. The satisfying crunch and burst of garlicky flavor in each bite will have you wondering how you ever enjoyed Arroz Caldo without it.

Crafting the Perfect Soup Base

The key to a flavorful Arroz Caldo lies in building layers of taste from the very beginning. We start by sautéing thinly sliced onions until they’re soft and translucent, then add minced garlic and ginger to create an aromatic base that will infuse the entire dish.

Next comes the star of the show – the chicken. While chicken thighs are traditional and offer richer flavor, breast meat works well too. The choice is yours! Browning the chicken adds depth to the soup, while fish sauce and black pepper bring a savory kick that’s distinctly Filipino.

The magic happens when we add unwashed jasmine rice to the pot. The starch on the rice’s surface helps thicken the broth, creating that perfect congee-like consistency that makes Arroz Caldo so comforting. As the rice simmers in chicken stock, it absorbs all the wonderful flavors we’ve built, resulting in a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Finishing Touches for the Perfect Bowl

The beauty of Arroz Caldo lies in its customizable toppings. A sprinkle of sliced scallions adds a fresh, oniony bite, while a generous helping of our homemade crispy garlic brings texture and intensity. For those who enjoy it, sliced hard-boiled eggs make a traditional and protein-rich addition.

A squeeze of citrus is essential to brighten the rich flavors of the soup. While calamansi is the traditional choice in the Philippines, a wedge of lime or key lime does the job beautifully, adding a zesty note that cuts through the creamy rice and tender chicken.

Remember, the best Arroz Caldo is the one that comforts you. Feel free to adjust the toppings to your liking – after all, comfort food should be personal!

Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup)


  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup freshly minced garlic (about 12 medium cloves), divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces (see Notes)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon calamansi, key lime, or lime juice (see Notes)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into 1/4-inch slices (optional)
  • 2 fresh limes or calamansi, quartered


  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup oil and 2/3 of the minced garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic turns a light golden brown. Strain the garlic through a fine-mesh sieve and spread it on a paper towel-lined plate to cool and crisp up.
  2. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Toss in the sliced onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and remaining garlic, cooking until the onion begins to brown, about 3 minutes more. Stir in the fish sauce and pepper, letting the flavors meld for 1 minute. Add the rice, stirring to coat each grain with the aromatic oil.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock, using a spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is completely tender and the stock has thickened into a creamy consistency. Stir in the lime or calamansi juice and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. Ladle the hot Arroz Caldo into bowls. Top each serving with a generous sprinkle of sliced scallions, a handful of crispy fried garlic, and sliced hard-boiled eggs if desired. Serve immediately, accompanied by lime or calamansi wedges for an extra citrusy kick.


While chicken thighs are preferred for their tender texture and rich flavor, you can substitute an equal amount of breast meat if desired.

Calamansi, a small citrus fruit common in Filipino cuisine, can be challenging to find fresh. Fresh lime or key lime makes an excellent substitute, providing the necessary bright, acidic notes to balance the rich soup.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
497 Calories
24g Fat
25g Carbs
49g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 497
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 208mg 69%
Sodium 1728mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 24mg 120%
Calcium 103mg 8%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 975mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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