You have to make this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup! It’s a Greek-style chicken noodle soup recipe with tender chicken, yummy vegetables, and pasta in a savory and bright lemon infused broth. Ready in just 45 minutes!
I just know that you’ll have this recipe on your “make-again” list after you try it. It’s definitely one of my favorite chicken soups.
Soup season is the best season! I make soups at least once per week during fall and winter, either as dinner or for meal prepping lunches. Need some new ideas? See my soup section for all the best recipes, or try one of my favorites, like Chicken and Rice Soup, Ham and Bean Soup, or Cheddar Broccoli Soup.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- So Much Flavor: The addition of lemon to chicken soup brings a classic dish to a new level. It’s bright, tangy, savory, and salty all at the same time, like a comforting explosion in your mouth.
- Mediterranean Style: Lemon Chicken Soup with orzo, or Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup is popular in Greek restaurants, and this dish definitely has Mediterranean roots. This soup is healthy, packed with lean chicken and vegetables, and perfectly seasoned with herbs and lemon.
- Cooks Quickly: This entire soup recipe, including cooking the chicken, is done in under 45 minutes. You can make this soup on a busy weekend just as easily as you can make it on a lazy Saturday.
- Great for Meal Prep: Lemon Chicken Soup freezes well, and the flavors get better after it sits for a day or two. Make a big batch of this soup and enjoy healthy lunches all week long.
Lemon Chicken Soup Ingredients
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Olive Oil and Butter: Yes, I’m using both! This adds a delicious bit of fat to the broth and adds to the silkiness of the soup.
- Onion, Carrot, Celery, Garlic: This mirepoix mix plus garlic is the base of almost all soups, sauces, and gravies. These vegetables add flavor, nutrition, and aroma. Your kitchen is going to smell amazing.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is used to thicken this soup to give it some body. Gluten free AP works perfectly too.
- Broth: You’ll need six cups of chicken broth. Use what’s easy for you. Canned, boxed, or homemade chicken broth will all be delicious.
- Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts are my choice for this soup. Other cuts of chicken can also be used.
- Herbs: Dried herbs including oregano, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf simmer with the soup and add lots of flavor. Fresh Parsley is a beautiful garnish.
- Orzo Pasta: The orzo is cooked in the broth so it soaks up all of the amazing flavor.
- Lemon: You can adjust the amount of lemon to your own liking. I used 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, plus the zest of a whole lemon in mine.
How To Make Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo
- Sauté: In a dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, or until fragrant.
- Add Flour: Stir in all-purpose flour, and cook for 1 minute. This is what will thicken the soup later.
- Mix: Pour in chicken stock, then add the chicken breasts, bay leaf, and dried herbs.
- Simmer: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. The chicken will cook while the flavors blend together.
- Cook Orzo: Add the orzo and cook, uncovered, while stirring regularly for 10 minutes. This keeps the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Shred Chicken: Once the orzo is cooked, remove the soup from the heat and remove the chicken from the soup. Shred the chicken and then return it to the pot. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
- Season: Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, tasting and adjusting to your preference.
Recipe Success Tips
Adjust the Lemon: You might want your soup to be very lemony, or you might prefer a more subtle lemon kick. For a milder lemon flavor, leave out the lemon zest, or reduce the amount of zest or lemon juice. If you’re a big lemon fan, try making this Creamy Lemon Chicken sometime soon.
Making Ahead: If you plan to store or freeze this soup, consider leaving out the orzo, or cooking it separately. Pasta will absorb the liquid and become very soft when reheated. If you do add the pasta before freezing or meal prepping, you may need to add extra water or broth to make up for the liquid absorbed by the pasta.
Shortcut: Meat pulled from a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken is delicious in this soup, and will save a bit of time.
Add Things: Baby spinach, kale, or other greens will add some tasty nutrition to your soup. You might even like to add a bit of spice with some crushed red pepper.
Use low sodium chicken broth to make this soup, then season with salt to match your personal preference.
What To Serve with Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Bread: If you’ve read any of my soup recipes, you know that I always want some bread with any type of soup that I make! Try a nice crusty french bread, or make these Olive Garden Breadsticks.
Sandwiches: This lemon chicken soup reminds me of enjoying lunches in Greek diners, so a simple sandwich sounds perfect. Try making a Tuna Melt, a Reuben Sandwich, or try my elevated Peanut Butter and Jelly.
This soup freezes very well. I do suggest freezing it without the pasta, and instead cooking and freezing the pasta separately. Add the orzo back in after thawing for the best texture. You may also want to give the soup a squeeze of fresh lemon before serving.
This recipe can easily be adapted to the slow cooker. Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, and put it back into the soup. Allow it to continue to cook for about 20 minutes before serving with pre-cooked orzo pasta. Pasta doesn’t cook well in the slow cooker, so I recommend cooking it on the stove.
You have a few options when it comes to reheating leftover soup. Lemon Chicken Orzo soup will likely need some additional broth or water added when reheating, since the orzo will soak up some of the liquid.
Microwave: This method works best for reheating single servings of soup. Heat in a microwave-safe dish, covered, for 90 seconds. Stir and microwave for 30 second intervals until hot.
Stove: Return the soup to a pot on the stove and cook over low to medium heat until warmed through.
Crockpot: Use your slow cooker to reheat the soup on low for 1-2 hours.
Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo is one of my favorite ways to put a different spin on traditional chicken noodle soup. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup yellow onion diced
- ½ cup carrot peeled and diced
- 2 sprigs celery diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 6 cups chicken broth Note 1
- 1 pound chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 cup orzo uncooked, regular or whole wheat
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + lemon zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
- In a dutch oven, over medium high heat. Heat olive oil and melt the butter.
- Add onion, carrot and celery, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add flour, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour chicken stock, add the chicken breasts, bay leaf, and dried herbs.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
- Add the orzo and cook uncovered while stirring regularly for 10 minutes (you don’t want the orzo to stick to the bottom of the pot).
- Remove from heat, discard bay leaf, take the chicken out (and make sure it reached 165°F/74°C) and shred it then return it.
- Stir in the lemon juice, zest, and parsley, season with salt and pepper. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings to your preference.
- Use low sodium chicken broth to make this soup, then season with salt to match your personal preference.
- Crockpot: This recipe can easily be adapted to the slow cooker. Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, and put it back into the soup. Allow it to continue to cook for about 20 minutes before serving with pre-cooked orzo pasta. Pasta doesn’t cook well in the slow cooker, so I recommend cooking it on the stove.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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