Canja de Galinha Recipe – Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup

Oi Gente!!

This canja de galinha recipe is a classic Brazilian chicken and rice soup, made in the instant pot with little effort and lots of returns! This delicious, filling and nourishing recipe goes a long way and freezes wonderfully for a week’s worth of comforting meals.

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canja de galinha recipe Brazilian chicken and rice soup

What is Canja de Galinha?

Canja de galinha, or just canja, is the Portuguese name for chicken and rice soup. It literally translates to something like chicken congee, ya know, chicken and rice soup.

Canja is a very popular soup, not only in Brazil, but also in Portugal and Cape Verde, and each place has their own recipes and traditions for how to make, how to eat and when to eat this dish.

In Brazil, canja de galinha is traditionally made with the whole chicken, or with whole pieces of chicken, such as wings, or legs including the bone as well as the skin. When prepared this way, this Brazilian soup is known as canja gorda (fat congee) because of all the fat from the chicken skin that dissolves into the soup.

The lighter version of this chicken and rice soup recipe, the one I’m about to show you how to make, is known as canja magra (skinny congee), and is made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

canja de galinha recipe Brazilian chicken and rice soup

When we were upset or sick, my mom would always make us some canja to either heal our hearts or our broken bodies. And boy, it works!

Canja is like true love in a bowl.

Bom Apetite!

Beijinhos!! xoxo

How to make Canja Chicken and Rice Soup

This soup is really easy to make and requires pretty minimal chopping and prepping. I use an instant pot for this recipe, to make it easier and faster to shred the chicken. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can just cook it in a normal pot on stove top, but the liquid quantities, and the time to cook will change.

Here are the 5 easy steps to make it:

Step 1 – Prepare your Ingredients

  • Season the chicken breasts with some salt and pepper, and set aside.
  • Chop the veggies.

Part 2 – Seal the chicken

  • Seal the chicken by sauteing about a minute on each side.
Instant pot chicken and rice soup

Part 3 – Cook the Chicken

  • Add the stock and thyme, close the pan, and set the instant pot to 25 mins on manual, and let it cook.
Instant pot chicken and rice soup

Part 4 – Shred the Chicken

  • After 25 mins, safely release the pressure, turn off and open the pan when you are able.
  • Remove the tomato skins, and the thyme sprig and discard.
  • Using a wooden spoon, “smash” the cooked chicken to shred it. You’ll never want to shred chicken any other way… this is so easy and fast!
Instant pot chicken and rice soup

Part 5 – Simmer the soup

  • After the chicken is shredded, turn the pot back on using the ‘saute’ function and add the rice, and the veggies, and top with the water.
  • And just let it cook open (still on saute function) until the veggies and the rice are fully cooked. I prefer to keep everything fork tender, but still firm. Some people like to cook the rice and veggies until they practically dissolve. You decide!
Instant pot chicken and rice soup

To serve, just drizzle a little (or a lot of!) olive oil on top, and you’re all done!

FAQ for this Chicken and rice soup recipe

Can you freeze chicken and rice soup?

The short answer is yes. But, just be aware that, typically, the texture of any soup with pre-boiled pasta or rice will change after freezing, thawing and re-heating. The rice will get a bit mushier after you freeze and re-heat. I don’t personally mind that, so I freeze it anyway!

canja de galinha recipe Brazilian chicken and rice soup

Check out other Brazilian soup recipes:

If you love this Brazilian chicken and rice soup, you may also like:

Try these other homemade chicken soup recipes:

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5 from 64 votes

Canja de Galinha Recipe – Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup

This canja de galinha recipe is a classic Brazilian chicken and rice soup, made in the instant pot with little effort and lots of returns! This delicious, filling and nourishing recipe goes a long way and freezes wonderfully for a week's worth of comforting meals.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Aline Shaw

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs about 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts you can also use thighs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 Tbsps of Brazilian Sofrito or 1/2 an onion, diced plus 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, halved and seeded or a tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1.5 cups of chicken stock or water + 2tsp of chicken bouillon
  • 3 large carrots peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 2 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup of uncooked white rice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Season the chicken breasts with some salt and pepper, and set aside.
  • Heat up the olive oil using the ‘saute’ function of your instant pot.
  • When the oil is hot, saute the Brazilian Sofrito until fragrant, about 2 mins.
  • Add the chicken, and brown both sides – about a minute per side.
  • Add the tomatoes, the thyme and stock. Close the pan, and set the instant pot to 25 mins on manual, and let it cook.
  • After 25 mins, safely release the pressure, turn off and open the pan when you are able.
  • Remove the tomato skins, and the thyme sprig and discard.
  • Using a wooden spoon, “smash” the coked chicken to shred it.
  • After the chicken is shredded, turn the pot back on using the ‘saute’ function and add the rice, and the veggies, and top with 6 cups of water.
  • Let it cook open (still on saute function) until the veggies and the rice are fully cooked – about 10 mins.

Bom Apetite!!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!

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    39 Comments

    1. Thanks for posting. My boyfriend is from Sao Paolo, and this is what he craves when he is sick. Now it is my go-to feel better soup! I have made some modifications- adding lemongrass and ginger to the chicken saute, using thighs instead of breasts, and adding way more broth, but he says it is exactly what he remembers! Which is a great thing since he is so far from home 🙂

      1. Hi Julie!! Awesome!! I think all Brazilians crave a good canja when we’re down. I’m so glad you incorporated this into yours and his life and that your cooking helps him feel closer to home – he’s one lucky fella! <3 Any questions shoot me an email! Beijinhos xxx

    2. 5 stars
      I love canja!! Before I came to the US I had never even attempted to make it, even though it didn’t really seem complicated. My first try I just put the ingredients together and hoped for the best. It was good but not amazing, and then I found this one. I made it once and it was really really good but the second time around was like BEYOND DELISHt! I think the fact that I used your chicken stock recipe really kicked it up a notch! I also love it because it’s a big batch so I can freeze part of it and save for another time.

      1. Awesome, Angela! I’m so happy this recipe worked out for you and you love it!! I also love that we can freeze this soup – it’s so practical!! Beijos! xx

    3. 5 stars
      I made this soup as the first dish in my new instant pot. The recipe caught my interest at Facebook as my dog is called Canja. 😊
      I made the Sofrito this morning and the house smelled so great already then.
      It’s a delicious soup. We really liked it and it’s now known as “the dog soup” 🐶😊
      I’m sorry I cannot post pictures here.

      1. hahaha OMG, Marjun! That’s so hilarious and awesome!! I’m so happy you and your family liked the Canja – now you can never forget it since your pooch has the same name aahaha And yes, the sofrito is wonderful and so helpful! I hope you love it – let me know if you have any questions!!

        As for the photos, you can email them to me at [email protected] I’d love to see them!! xx

    4. 5 stars
      Hoo boy, I loved this chicken soup. Wasn’t far removed from most other chicken soup recipes I’ve tried. So good.

    5. 5 stars
      What a great soup recipe! It’s so easy to make, especially with the Instant Pot, and it’s perfectly cozy for the fall. Thanks so much for sharing!

    6. 5 stars
      Love your pictures! This chicken and rice soup is a bowl of pure comfort, perfect for the cold season. We loved it!! Thank you!

    7. 5 stars
      This Brazilian flavor twist sounds amazing! I love my Instant Pot. And chicken and rice soup is always a fall (and winter!) favorite!

    8. 5 stars
      This canja de galinha recipe is a blast! Really delicious and comforting. My family has been loving it this Fall.

    9. 5 stars
      There’s nothing like a big pot of chicken soup on a cool day. This chicken and rice soup smells amazing when cooking.

    10. 5 stars
      Hi this is excellent. I loved it. There is a very similar recipe in Greek cuisine called Avgolemono soup
      Except a tempered sauce of egg and lemon is added in the end for that touch of creaminess.

    11. 5 stars
      First time trying and it was amazing… I made some modifications such as not including celery and adding 2 cups of rice!
      AMAZING! Wanted to post a photo, but platform does not allow…

    12. 5 stars
      Neighbor and her family were sick. I made them this soup and they absolutely enjoyed it.
      My grandmother used to make a similar soup and recipe was not shared whem she passed. Your recipe brought good memories. Thanks for the great instructions and super delicious and easy recipe.

    5 from 64 votes (47 ratings without comment)

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