Lemon Chicken and Spinach 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.

Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy

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. My mom couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved it too. 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. It would be 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 Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup | Cooking Classy


Lemon Chicken and Spinach Orzo Soup

5 from 3 votes

Yield: About 6 servings


  • 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 , dried thyme, and dried 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Recipe source: Cooking Classy



  • christina: GREAT RECIPE! Trying to print to PDF to save it but the Prego ad is smack in the middle — is there any way you can remove it? Thanks! October 6, 2015 at 8:00am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for letting me know! I’ll have my ad guy look into it. October 7, 2015 at 9:16am Reply

  • Linda: Thanks for the new twist on the common chicken soup. My kids will love it! October 7, 2015 at 6:59am Reply

  • Diane: This soup is AMAZING! Even better the second day. I added two 4 cup cartons of low sodium chicken broth plus 2 cups water with chicken bouillon. I like my soup soupy!! Also felt no need to cook chicken whole so cut it up while cutting veggies. Only used 3 cloves of garlic. Next time will not use lemon zest and will cut lemon juice back to 1/4 cup as it was slightly too lemony for our taste. The orzo does absorb some broth so I added 2 cups chicken broth (from bouillon) to leftover soup for the next day. November 15, 2015 at 6:55am Reply

    • Barbara: Um. In ‘other words’ you’ll make another recipe ? 😄 July 20, 2017 at 12:39am Reply

  • Leslie stoehr: Trying to make the soup today ..
    But there’s no mention of when to add the spinach ??
    Iam assuming it’s at the end .. December 12, 2015 at 11:36am Reply

  • Leslie stoehr: Oops .. I didn’t read till the end when it says to add the spinach December 12, 2015 at 11:52am Reply

  • Phuong: My rind dissolved in the soup….is it still edible? December 20, 2015 at 6:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I doubt it actually dissolved I think it would take something pretty harsh to do that, it’s probably just hard to spot it. It should be fine. December 20, 2015 at 8:07pm Reply

  • Heidi: This soup was delicious! Didn’t use quite as much lemon juice because I only had 1 lemon but it was perfectly lemony! Served with some crusty bread, and was perfect for lunch on this snowy day. January 19, 2016 at 11:29am Reply

  • Jennifer: Absolutely wonderful!! I am an avid soup maker and this one will be at the top of my list. I did make some small changes though. I went to sprouts/ he eras and bought some favored chicken sausage, spicy Itailian, chicken parmesan actually 6 links and browned them first and then used 2 chicken breast, gave the soup an incredible flavor. I increased the broth to. 12 cups and did not add all the lemon juice. Added a little more spice because do the broth. Can wait to eat it again tonight!!!!!! February 1, 2016 at 7:32am Reply

  • Dave: Loved this! Since we Greeks also love mint, I added about-ish a 1/2 tsp of dried mint. So good! March 14, 2016 at 4:45pm Reply

  • Valérie: Hello Jaclyn,
    Thanks for this great recipe, I will try it next week.
    I was surprised by the parmesan rind, never heard about this in any recipe before, but it sounds like a good idea :) June 7, 2016 at 9:28am Reply

  • Peggy: Can u tell me the nutrients and how much of each item in calories. September 21, 2016 at 5:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I don’t have nutritional info. September 21, 2016 at 10:03pm Reply

  • Jodi: Ok, probably dumb question, but what is parmasan rind? Also lemon zest? I don’t cook very often and we have been trying to eat a little healthier at home. 😊 November 5, 2016 at 5:24pm Reply

    • Lisa: Find is sold in your grocer’s cheese section. It’s exactly what you think it is. You remove it before the soup is eaten, but it helps with both flavor and giving some dimension to the broth. If you don’t see it, ask your cheese maker. Zest is lemon peel grated in teeny tiny shards. September 25, 2017 at 7:34am Reply

  • Sarah McGregor: Did anyone have the orzo absorbe all the liquid? I love this recipe but by the end of the second day the orzo absorbs all of it and become mushy. Am I suppose to pre-make the orzo and dry it out first or add it straight from the box? Thanks! November 11, 2016 at 9:43am Reply

    • Jaclyn: What I’d recommend doing next time if you don’t plan on eating all of it right away is to cook the orzo separately and just add it to each individual serving then store the orzo and soup separate in the refrigerator. I hate soggy pasta :). November 11, 2016 at 7:03pm Reply

  • Julie: Seriously the best recipe! Thank you so much for sharing! November 18, 2016 at 9:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Julie! November 28, 2016 at 12:35pm Reply

  • Ali: Is there any way I can make this in a slow cooker?!? December 31, 2016 at 2:10pm Reply

  • P Smith: When do I add the veggies back?! January 10, 2017 at 3:57pm Reply

  • Earlice: YUMMY! I an not a good cook but I adventured to try this soup. It’s soooo good, I don’t believe I made it, thanks to you..

    The only difference, since I am on a low sodium diet, I used not 3 cups reduced sodium broth & the rest with water.. Still awesome.

    Your directions we easy to follow.. January 12, 2017 at 2:16pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad it was enjoyed Earlice! January 13, 2017 at 3:00pm Reply

  • Kollynne: Have you ever used rice instead of orzo? February 18, 2017 at 4:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I haven’t but that would also be delicious! February 19, 2017 at 12:29am Reply

  • Jenn: Help! I added the lemon to the crock pot initially with the other ingredients. Will this still be edible? February 21, 2017 at 8:56am Reply

  • Vanessa: Was delicious! I added fresh dill because I love dill in chicken soup. Also did extra broth as well. March 5, 2017 at 11:57am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Great suggestions – Glad you liked it Vanessa! March 27, 2017 at 11:53am Reply

  • Jana: I made this the other night, invited my folks over for dinner, it was a HUGE hit! Thank you for the recipe! I made a few tweaks just because I could see I was loosing broth due to adding more orzo. I cooked in a 6 quart pot and added 2 cups of orzo so I uped the both to 10 cups and added 1 cup of water towards the end because the orzo sucked up the both. I also love the flavor of fresh lemon so I added 3/4 cups of fresh lemon juice and it was awesome! Light and fresh flavors! I will surely be making this again and again! Thank you!! March 8, 2017 at 9:28am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great feedback! March 27, 2017 at 11:50am Reply

  • Julie: This recipe looks delicious. Will it freeze well? May 3, 2017 at 11:03am Reply

  • Anna: This soup is amazing! Cooked it today and everyone loved it! Thank you for great recipie! Added to my favourites xxx September 1, 2017 at 9:03am Reply

  • Emily: Very tasty and hearty recipe!! Will definitely be making it again… September 18, 2017 at 6:15pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it! September 19, 2017 at 10:12am Reply

  • Morgan: this is seriously the best soup ever. I use 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth (one extra cup) and don’t use the parmesan rind. I live alone and this makes enough for me to eat for over a week and it gets more delicious each day! I’m literally in love and have made it several times since finding this recipe over a year ago. October 7, 2017 at 4:39pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this orzo soup Morgan! Thanks for your review! October 8, 2017 at 9:59am Reply

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