Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup – A chicken soup that’s loaded with tiny bits of tender orzo pasta, lean protein rich chicken breasts, fresh vegetables and it’s seasoned with plenty of bright fresh lemon. It’s a delicious Greek flavored soup that will leave you craving more!
Cozy Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup
Let’s just start by saying this is a must try soup! It’s a ready favorite and a family favorite.
It’s nutritious, full of flavor, easy to prepare, cooks in one pot, and it’s the perfect pick me up, feel better soup.
You’ll love it on a cold blistery day or even on a summery day with its vibrant lemony goodness.
Serve it with fresh hearty buttered bread or a side salad to finish the meal.
I think you’re going to love every last sip of this!
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe Ingredients
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts – Thighs could be substituted just increase cook time slightly.
- Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
- Olive oil – Only a little is needed for sauteing the vegetables.
- Carrots, celery, yellow onion and garlic – This mirepoix blend build up the flavor of the soup. And these veggies make it more nutritious.
- Chicken broth – Or use my homemade chicken stock recipe to make it even better!
- Dried oregano and basil – Italian seasoning could be substituted.
- Parmesan rind (plus shredded parmesan for serving) – I love finding ways to use up those leftover rinds. They work perfectly for simmering in soup.
- Lemon – You’ll add both the juice and the zest so don’t forget to zest before halving and juicing.
- Spinach – Stick with fresh for best texture.
How to Make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
This soup is really easy to make. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:
- Pound chicken even then season with salt and pepper.
- Sear chicken in pot until browned on both sides, transfer.
- Saute veggies.
- Add broth, parmesan rind, seasonings and return chicken.
- Bring to a simmer then add orzo.
- Simmer until chicken is cooked through and pasta is tender.
- Remove rind.
- Dice chicken then return to soup with lemon juice and zest and spinach.
Can I Make it with Rotisserie or Leftover Chicken?
Yes. You can also make it with Rotisserie or leftover chicken breasts or thighs. If doing so wait to add cooked chicken until near the end of cooking.
Can I Make it in a Slow Cooker?
Yes. If you want make it in the crock pot:
- Saute the veggies first then add to slow cooker along with other ingredients up to and including parmesan rind (keep chicken whole).
- Cook on low about 5 hours. Remove chicken.
- Add orzo to soup, cook on high heat until tender about 20 minutes or so.
- Return chicken, add lemon zest and juice and spinach. Cook until spinach wilts (should wilt within a minute or two).
Does it Freeze Well?
- If you aren’t a soggy pasta snob (like myself) then yes this soup freezes really well as is.
- If on the other hand you don’t like soft pasta then cook the pasta separately (add a little less broth to the soup), then freeze the pasta separately as well.
- It will freeze up to 3 months.
More Delicious Soup Recipes to Try!
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
- Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
- Creamy Potato Soup
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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (about 3 large)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 1 parmesan rind, plus shredded parmesan for serving
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp each dried basil, thyme and rosemary
- 1 cup (6 oz) dried orzo pasta
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 5 oz (5 packed cups) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- Place chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and pound evenly to about 1/2-inch thickness. Dab chicken dry with paper towels and season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil a large enameled cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear on both sides until browned, about 2 - 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate leaving oil in pan.
- Add carrots, celery and onion and saute until nearly softened about 6 to 8 minutes. Move veggies to the side, add garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Pour in chicken broth, add parmesan rind, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to pot and bring to a simmer.
- Add orzo, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 4 - 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees in center on an instant read thermometer).
- Remove parmesan rind and chicken and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let chicken rest 3 to 5 minutes then cut into very small cubes, about the length of the orzo. Meanwhile continue to cook soup until orzo is tender a few minutes longer.
- Return chicken to soup along with lemon juice, lemon zest and spinach and heat through. Serve warm with parmesan cheese. Note that as soup rests the pasta will absorb the broth so you can as a little more broth as desired.