Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

October 5, 2015

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup – A chicken soup that’s loaded with tiny bits of tender orzo, lean, protein rich chicken breasts, fresh veggies and seasoned with fresh lemon.

A delicious Greek flavored soup to serve any day of the year!

Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Fall hits and all I want for dinner is soup! Every and any kind of soup. One of my go to soups is chicken noodle soup but I decided I wanted to try a different variation on it, something a little more vibrant.

And what is more vibrantly flavorful than lemon? Plus lemon pairs so well with chicken, especially when you add in a blend of Greek herbs and fresh spinach.

I really couldn’t get over how much I loved this Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup! It will definitely be added to our dinner rotation and it was a soup my whole family enjoyed.

It’s one of those one pot, easy to make soups that you’ll be craving during the entire cold season – and even come those warm months I’m sure I’ll still be wanting this one.\

Perfect Feel Good Soup

Such a comforting soup if you come down with a cold or when you’re just getting over the flu (knock on wood).

Plus, to me, it even seems like a detox soup with the generous amount of spinach, the fresh lemon juice, garlic and other veggies.

It’s a perfectly filling soup and it’s an ideal way to relax after a long day – with a big bowl of this and a thick slice of fresh french bread slathered with butter. Don’t mind if I do.

Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy

What Ingredients are Needed for Lemon Orzo Soup?

  • 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 – 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.

Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking ClassyHow to Make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This soup is really easy to make. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

  1. Pound chicken even then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Sear chicken in pot until browned on both sides, transfer.
  3. Saute veggies.
  4. Add broth, seaonings and return chicken.
  5. Bring to a simmer then add orzo and parmesan rind.
  6. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and pasta is tender.
  7. Remove rind.
  8. 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).

Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy

More Delicious Soup Recipes to Try!

4.98 from 37 votes

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

A chicken soup that's loaded with tiny bits of tender orzo, lean, protein rich chicken breasts, veggies (carrots, celery and spinach) and it's enhanced with a nice zip of bright lemon. A delicious soup to serve any day of the year!
Servings: 5
Prep15 minutes
Cook25 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 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 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp each dried basil, thyme and rosemary
  • 1 cup (5.8 oz) dried orzo pasta
  • 1 parmesan rind, plus shredded parmesan for serving
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 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. 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 an additional 1/2 Tbsp olive oil to pan then add carrots, celery and onion and saute 3 minutes. Move veggies to the side, add garlic and saute 1 minute. 
  • Pour in chicken broth, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to pot and bring to a simmer. 
  • Add orzo and parmesan rind, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 8 - 10 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 5 minutes then cut into very small cubes, about the length of the orzo. Meanwhile continue to cook soup, covered while chicken is resting.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 395 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 514mg22%
Potassium 1151mg33%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 9235IU185%
Vitamin C 23.8mg29%
Calcium 102mg10%
Iron 2.8mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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  • Leah

    This soup is amazing! Mama’s homemade chicken noodle soup always did the trick when I was under the weather. This soup will be my new go to! So delish- the whole family loved it!

  • Jane

    This soup is wonderful! It is easy to make and guests are quite impressed with it. The lemon adds just the right flavor to the broth. A great way to have spinach in the diet. I make it quite often. As the recipe says, it is good for any time of the year. Love ❤️ it
    (I usually use rotisserie chicken which makes it even easier. I put the chicken at the step just before the spinach).

  • Barb Mauldin

    Just happened to have all ingredients on hand on this snow day – even went out and cut some fresh rosemary from under the snow- this recipe is fabulous- I was hoping it would be good, but it was out of this world! Also appreciated That it wasn’t a soup that needed to simmer for hours- it came together really quick and everybody was so happy with it! One thing I like to do with recipes that call for fresh spinach is only add the spinach to the portion that I will use for a particular meal. Then, when it’s time for leftovers, I bring the soup up to a simmer and add the spinach – Tastes so nice and fresh.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Paula

    This soup is positively the BEST!! I love the delicate lemon flavor and the way all the ingredients taste in my mouth. My husband, who never really “wants” a particular meal, has asked for this soup several times. It’s a WINNER!!

  • Jess

    Delicious! You may want to add the orzo after the chicken is finished cooking through. I added mine and the chicken wasn’t nearly finished by the time the orzo was, so the orzo was a little over cooked. Maybe the chicken was not thin enough! Seasoning and everything was perfect. Thank you!

    • Julie

      Just made this soup. I used 40% lower sodium chicken broth and white meat rotisserie chicken, just wondering why the the fat, cholesterol and sodium are so high. Tastes great !
      Thanks, julie

      • Jaclyn

        Jaclyn Bell

        Sorry I’m unsure, it’s an automated calculated that comes up with the numbers. I’m glad you enjoyed it!